[This was actually written in my study journal on 1/13/10. Writing each post twice may not be necessary, but it allows me to really grasp and revise what I have learned from historical truth. In other words… I am an overacheiver.]
I promised a year of digging deeper. I do not really want to call it a New Year’s resolution because those are silly and always broken promises. Really, this is born out of a thirst for more from God. It sustained me for quite a while after BigStuf and with the help and encouragement of my brother in Christ, Zack, and other friends who got me through the fall. Passion 2011 in Atlanta refreshed my spirit to where it was at last summer when God awakened it like I had not felt in such a long time. Both of these times I have come to God ready to learn and attentive to His voice.
Like I said in my previous entry, “365 Abba” is my year of disciplining myself to spend 30 minutes to an hour each day with God. This is not my personal journal, but my questions, scribbles, guesses, and observations. I am no scholar, but that is my long-term goal. I am no Piper or Driscoll, but they are who I strive to be, deeply rooted in my faith. And so I have chewed this week on three verses. Yes, only three. But, my father asks me to study his word; to think on it.
RC Sproul says that we fail in our duty to study scripture not because it is dull or too hard to comprehend, but that it is work. “Or problem is that we are lazy,” he says. John Piper says that, “the point of Christian learning is to understand God’s two books – scripture and the world – and, with that understanding, to glorify God.” It is not enough that we simply attend the best churches and listen to the best podcasts. We can attend the best conferences and camps and still never know God. A.W. Tozer says in his book, The Pursuit of God, “How tragic that we in this dark day have had our seeking done for us by teachers.”
God asks for us to seek Him. So, maybe now more than ever, I am. My heart is eager for scripture and no pastor or band can fulfill this need. I almost want to divide this into two parts, for your sanity and make the time between this entry and the next less, but I will not dilute what I have learned from these passages. So grab some coffee or tea and let’s continue.
3 Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ! According to his great mercy, he has caused us to be born again to a living hope through the resurrection of Jesus Christ from the dead, 4 to an inheritance that is imperishable, undefiled, and unfading, kept in heaven for you, 5 who by God’s power are being guarded through faith for a salvation ready to be revealed in the last time.
1 Peter 1:3-5 (ESV)
John Piper notes how the start of this book shows an emotional side of Peter. We know Peter was with Jesus and we know he saw his ascension into heaven. Peter starts verse three with the word “blessed.” We are truly blessed and Peter tells us why in these verses. He has shown us mercy and gives us all the comfort we need.
In 2 Corinthians 1:3-5 it says he should be blessed because he comforts us in all of our afflictions, and with that comfort we can then comfort those afflicted around us. We all share in Christ’s sufferings, and He in ours. In Ephesians 1:3 (I would urge you to read to verse ten). he says we are blessed and should bless Him because he has blessed us in Christ with every spiritual blessing in the heavenly places.
He is our fountain, and in Him we have nothing to fear because we have the Holy Spirit giving us all we need. Titus 3:5 says, “according to his own mercy by the washing of regeneration and renewal of the Holy Spirit, whom he poured out on us richly through Jesus Christ our Savior.”
He is also our “living hope.” His promise of eternity gives us something that is not empty or in vain like all else. Due to Adam we are all condemned to hell, separated from God. In 1 Corinthians 15:22 it says, “For as in Adam, all die, so in Christ shall all be made alive.” He has given us a new birth. Mark Driscoll says we have a “complete reorientaiton of who we are.” And like we played no part in our natural birth, we play no part in our spiritual birth. God did it all. He took the initiative to give us life (Eph. 2:4-9).
In verse 4 it says we are born into an inheritance. Romans 8: 16-17 says we are children of God, co-heirs with Christ, suffering with Him so we can be glorified with Him. In Him our inheritance is imperishable, undefiled, and unfading. It continues in v. 4 to say that it (our inheritance) will be kept in heaven. Our inheritance, His glory, can not be destroyed.
In v. 5 it says that our inheritance is “being guarded through faith.” Our reward is not earned by works, we can not boast. The only way we can gain reward and assure its protection is through faith. There is one thing that can prevent us from salvation, and it is not suffering or death, but a lack of faith.
We are protected in times of temptations, stress, and failure. Through our faith in Him, God is holding us together. We are saved now, but our salvation is not complete. We can not simply ask Him into our hearts, we must have faith that is steadfast in Him. For we were once “saved,” and lose faith, we lose our protection and inheritance. He sustains our faith and inspires us, nourishes us and strengthens us if we let Him. If we do not, it will be as if we never knew Him.
All of this is for His glory. We did not cause or new life and inheritance, God did it and He will get the glory for it. He will hold us in his hands and comfort us because we are His.
These three verses and the ones to come instate emotion, act, and duty of worship.
Worship is when the mind apprehends great trust about God, and the heart kicks in with deep feelings of brokeness or wanter and gladness and admiration and gratitude, and the mouth says something like, “Blessed be God! O blessed and praised and honored and glorified be the God and father of our Lord Jesus Christ.”
– John Piper
This is what Peter has done and what we must do.