So what are we working towards? What is Peter stressing to those who hear his word? Salvation. What a word! It is very theologically deep and, therefore, can be very frustrating to the non-Christian.
Salvation essentially means the redemption of our souls. That still sounds very deep. So, basically, salvation is God opening the gates to heaven for those who give up their life to follow Him. It is not something where he picks and chooses those who are most faithful, it is available for anyone who want to stop living for nothing and start living for something. It is for those who earnestly seek it. It is for those for which it is their only hope.
I do not mean to make light of salvation, because it is no laughing matter. It is life and death. To God it is no joke. It is his attempt to bridge the gap between our sin, and the only way that gap could be bridged is through Jesus Christ. He is by no means an evil God, but one that longs to see his creation with him in eternitiy.
He has taken the first step at every point in history. No man initiated contact with God, he always makes the first move, either softening our hearts or placing blatant signs in front of us. He revealed Himself to us. We then have the choice when He makes himself known to us to act on it.
1 Peter 1:10 opens talking of this salvation. Almost immediately after the fall of man in Genesis, God was working out our salvation. He promised Abraham his descendants would outnumber the stars in the sky, saying a very special descendant would come from his lineage. He spoke to Daniel in a vision where he saw “the appearance of a man,” (Dan. 8:15) also known as Jesus Christ. God was wanting to rescue us and make things right again and he made known that this would happen though a man.
Prophets and Jews both longed to see what has come to pass (Jesus’ coming, resurrection, and ascension) and were not able to see it (Matt 13:17; Luke 10:24). In Daniel 9:24-26, prophets spoke not only of the coming of a Savior and his death and resurrection, but of the Holy Spirit that would live in them (Rom. 8:9; Acts 16:7). Isaiah too knew of this coming Messiah more than 100 years before the birth of Jesus. “He was wounded for our transgressions, he was bruised for our iniquities; upon him was the chastisement that made us whole, and with his stripes we are healed. All we like sheep have gone astray; we have turned every one to his own way; and the LORD has laid on him the iniquity of us all (Isaiah 53: 5-6).” These people had faith without having any physical contact with the savior or even a disciple and through only word of mouth, and yet they still showed faith that most of us will never display.
These people would not live to see Christ’s return, but that didn’t stop God from making himself known. Prophets such as Daniel spoke of the coming messiah. They spoke of the hope they had in him. They spoke of the Holy Spirit coming down on those should redeemed that was only possible through Christ’s crucifixion and resurrection. The prophets longed to see the Messiah, but knew that what they were prophesying was not for the people of their time, but for those of us who are living after his birth, death, and resurrection. (1 Peter 1:11) They call us blessed to live and see the fulfillment of the prophecy. Even Jesus says we are blessed to be able to see the fulfillment after so many of the righteous followers of the Old Testament hoped earnestly to live to see the fulfillment.
Jesus said to his disciples once, “Blessed are your eyes, because they see; and your ears, because they hear. For truly I say to you, that many prophets and righteous men desired to see what you see, and did not see it; and to hear what you hear, and did not hear it” (Matt 13:16-17)
What about the angels? They too awaited for Christ’s coming. Since they were not human, they would not be able to experience His sacrifice. Instead, the angels worship his mere existence and resurrection. We are experiencing something the angels are not able to experience due to being without sin. If the angels are celebrating over our salvation, how much more should be we dancing because we are actually experiencing it? In “What the Prophets Sought and Angels Desired,” a sermon by John Piper he states, “how much more should we who are the very beneficiaries of that salvation (not just onlookers) love to look into it and be thankful for it and say with Peter, “Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ. . .”
Doesn’t that make you stand in awe? These prophets of the Old Testament were not just writing about us, they were writing to us. They weren’t just speaking to the people around them, they were telling them, “The Messiah is going to come and save us, let us stand and wait and long for Him to return before we die, and if we don’t see his coming, may we continue to preach to our children and their children of things to come and let us worship Him.”
It took much bravery and courage from our ancestors to place all hope in a coming Messiah. Should we not be mute in awe? Should we not be constantly praising the everlasting fount of joy, hope, love, grace, and peace? We have been given so much that so many died for to make sure that the word was carried that there was a Savior who was going to save us?
Dry Bones by Gungor