Living Eternally – the fullness of Salvation

I’m going to start posting a weekly Scripture chunk for you to devour.  I’m motivated by the recent study in Revelation that “eating the Scroll” is something we must do more and more of.  These will be my little way of spurring you into it deeper.  Please leave any thoughts/comments/questions. . .

I Peter 1:3 Praise be to the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ! In his great mercy he has given us new birth into a living hope through the resurrection of Jesus Christ from the dead, 4 and into an inheritance that can never perish, spoil or fade-kept in heaven for you, 5 who through faith are shielded by God’s power until the coming of the salvation that is ready to be revealed in the last time.
6 In this you greatly rejoice, though now for a little while you may have had to suffer grief in all kinds of trials. 7 These have come so that your faith-of greater worth than gold, which perishes even though refined by fire-may be proved genuine and may result in praise, glory and honor when Jesus Christ is revealed. 8 Though you have not seen him, you love him; and even though you do not see him now, you believe in him and are filled with an inexpressible and glorious joy, 9 for you are receiving the goal of your faith, the salvation of your souls.

Peter’s epistles are stunning in their clarity, forcefulness and their endtime/eternal focus.  I love them!  And think — this guy was appointed, by Jesus Himself (!), to be the Lead Apostle of the Church as it was being born!  We, as the current Church can learn well from his words recorded in Scripture. 
In this passage, he is declaring the glory of our new birth, what we would call our “salvation experience”.  “In (God’s) great mercy, He has given us new birth into a living hope . . . into an inheritance that can never perish, spoil or fade” (v.3-4).  In recounting to us the glory of our rebirth through Jesus’ resurrection, Peter connects it immediately with eternity.  This tells us a few things:
1.  The glory of our salvation is not just in being saved from sin and hell, and being made into a new creation, though these are all true and wonderful.  Our ETERNITY begins when we are reborn!!
2.  Salvation is not just the moment we surrender to the calling of Jesus, and receive Him as Lord and Savior.  That is the beginning, but the fullness of our salvation comes “in the last time” (v. 5).  In other words, what we enter into reaches it’s completion when Jesus returns to reign on the earth and restore paradise on the planet;  where God and man dwell together in face to face intimacy free from the curse of sin.
Do you see it?  Our salvation changes our citizenship from earth to Heaven, setting us on a course of Life that is Eternal!  As such, it sets our vision on a life that is WAY beyond a few decades, but one that stretches on forever!  It should cause us to long for and love the day of Christ’s return, so that we can receive the fullness of what He paid for!!   This is much different than the common Christian mindset that views salvation as a “get out of Hell free” card, which we stick in our back pocket and go ahead with our lives as “usual”.  This salvation is an ongoing process of change, which hardly leaves us to live “life as normal”.  No!  It calls us to change EVERYTHING about the way we live as we focus on Eternity!
So, what happens now?
1.  EXTRAVAGANT WORSHIP!  “In this you greatly rejoice” (v.6).  We THANK Him for saving our souls and we worship Him for inviting us into His eternal Kingdom.  We worship Him NOW because it is a precious gift of faith that we give to Him.  For, when He appears, our faith will become “sight”, and worship will be automatic!!  Today, we make a CHOICE — and this blesses Him even more.  Our short lives in this “tent” (our unglorified body). 
2.  Trials (v.6-7).  I call this the “suffering of faith”.  Paul called it “fighting the good fight of faith”.  Peter tells us we WILL “suffer grief, in ALL KINDS of trials”.  These are NECESSARY components to purify and strengthen our faith.  Our natural inclination in trials is to doubt everything we believe.  But, as we stand firm, with our eyes on eternity and worship Him in the midst of trouble, frustration, etc. — our faith becomes real.  Faith that isn’t tested isn’t really true or trustworthy.  Trials are a gift to strengthen us so that the faith we have has true SUBSTANCE. 
3.  We Love Him, NOW.  We love him know, KNOWING that we will see him, SOON.  And, as we look forward to our Eternity with him, and give Him the gift of our voluntary love today, WE ARE FILLED WITH SUPERNATURAL, OVERFLOWING JOY! (V.8).  Why?  Because as we set our heart and mind on the things that are Eternal, we actually begin to taste of the eternal pleasures of God, NOW!    
Oh, how I love Jesus!
Because He first loved me!

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