The Goal of Our Faith
I pray that all is well with you and yours. I have been led to the books of 1 and 2 Peter. So, over the next few weeks, we will delve into Peter’s teachings, and while I pray that you enjoy hearing Peter’s words, even more, I pray that you will learn something from him. Peter is The Rock.
Do you think about your salvation? It cost you nothing. Its price was paid for us by Jesus Christ. It cost him dearly. Jesus gives it freely to all who by faith, believe in him. But, because we really don’t bear the cost, I believe that many of us give little thought to how much of a treasure our salvation truly is. What a worthy investment our salvation is. Do you invest in your salvation? We invest in our 401ks. How would you invest in your salvation? Study of God’s Word, prayer, seeking the guidance of God’s Spirit, and spiritual growth are a few ways that I’d recommend.
Have you ever thought of sharing your salvation? Preachers do this, or at least it's what we are supposed to do. But you can do it too, and you can do it as good or better than clergy.
We talk about our faith, but salvation is really the goal of our faith. Let’s get to Peter. 1 Peter 1:1-2,
“Peter, an apostle of Jesus Christ, To God’s elect, strangers in the world, scattered throughout Pontus, Galatia, Cappadocia, Asia, and Bithynia, who have been chosen according to the foreknowledge of God the Father, through the sanctifying work of the Spirit, for obedience to Jesus Christ and sprinkling by his blood: Grace and Peace be yours in abundance.”
What a beginning. “Strangers in the world”, do you feel like a stranger to this world?
I can testify that I have never in my life felt more like a stranger in the world, than I do now. The world and I have parted ways. Evil seems to have unveiled itself.
Have you been born again? If you have been born again, you probably feel as I do, like a stranger in this world. If you have not been born again, there is a strong chance that the world may not seem so uncomfortable to you. You may feel at home in the world of today. I would respectfully submit that you may not be born again. Your eternity with God is in question. You may still have a decision to make regarding Jesus.
Christ died for us all. God’s Holy Spirit is continually calling to us, drawing us to Jesus. Some of us answer this call. Through the foreknowledge of God, God knows who will and who won’t answer, but all of us are called. Not all answer, sadly.
Then, there are those of us who have grown spiritually in our walk, experiencing the sanctifying grace of God’s Spirit, and those of us covered by the blood of Christ, Peter is writing this letter to all who believe in Jesus Christ. What an opening paragraph. 1 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,”
Peter was called the Rock by Jesus. Like Paul, he will speak in long sentences, with lots of commas and semicolons. Just slow down, take it a section at a time, and read what Peter is teaching us. It is foundational, it is inspiring, and it is truth. Peter the Rock is laying the foundation for our understanding of faith.
For those who feel comfortable in the world, what Peter says to you in 1 and 2 Peter, will seem like a different language to you. It also means that you probably do not have "a living hope" through Jesus’ resurrection. For believers, this is hope, not wishful thinking, but a firm conviction like faith, that we too, as believers, will be resurrected to be with Christ. 1 Peter 1:4-5,
“and into an inheritance that can never perish, spoil, or fade – kept in heaven for you, 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.”
This is the 401k part. Our problem with our 401ks is this, they are tied to the stock market and the valuation of the dollar. If we have poor leadership, our 401ks tank, they fade, and they spoil. Our inheritance as an heir to Christ will never fade or falter. In addition, we can share this inheritance by sharing Jesus with others. It will not diminish our inheritance because there is so very much in our inheritance.
Also, those who have placed their faith in Jesus are shielded by God’s power, nothing can take our salvation away. Nothing in the world, no power, not Satan himself can take it away. The only way that we can lose our salvation is if we surrender it, and give it up of our own free will. Like pigs returning to their mud hole of sin. 1 Peter 1:6-7,
“In this (salvation) you greatly rejoice, though now for a little while you may have had to suffer grief in all kinds of trials. These have come so that your faith – of greater worth than gold, which perishes even though refined by fire – may prove genuine (faith) and may result in praise, glory, and honor when Jesus Christ is revealed.”
God speaking through the prophets, Jesus' own words, and those of the disciples have never hidden from us this truth: Though we believe in Christ we too will suffer grief. Our God always tells us the truth. The truth is this: Difficulties in our lives will draw us closer to Jesus. Jesus will get you through the trials of life.
Mentally raise your hand if Jesus has helped you through a difficulty in your life. Can I get an Amen? These trials don’t weaken our faith, these trials strengthen our faith.
Surviving these trials brings praise, glory, and honor to Jesus and his Father. Which is as it should be. No matter what happens in our lives, somehow, it always results in praise, glory, and honor to God. Listen to Peter now, 1 Peter 1:8-9, tell me that Peter doesn’t understand us. He gets us, he’s in our heads and our hearts, verses 8-9,
“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, for you are receiving the goal of your faith, the salvation of your souls.”
Salvation is the goal of our faith. We experience salvation as Jesus guides us through the good and bad times in our lives. We experience the goal of our faith, the salvation of our souls, as we live in this life, in a world that is foreign to us, and our next life which will be in eternity with Jesus. Salvation is a joy to be experienced and shared now. Salvation is for Today.
Do you know this joy? Do you not understand? Are you too hard-headed, too stubborn, too proud? Isaiah 35:8-10,
“And a highway will be there; it will be called the Way of Holiness. The unclean will not journey on it; it will be for those who walk in that Way; wicked fools will not go about on it. No lion will be there, nor will any ferocious beast get up on it; they will not be found there. But only the redeemed will walk there, and the ransomed of the Lord will return. They will enter Zion with singing; everlasting joy will crown their heads. Gladness and joy will overtake them, and sorrow and sighing will flee away.”
If you are a believer today, you are on this highway, the Way of Holiness. Do not let anyone convince you to get off. If you get off, you will lose your salvation. Do not let Satan fool you with his lies. He will try.
If you are not a believer, give your heart to Jesus, confess your sinfulness, and seek forgiveness and salvation. Then hop onto the Way of Holiness and start praising.
Do no harm, do good, and stay in love with God.
and Harmony UMC