Rejoicing in Our Sure Salvation
These Tenuous Days
In my more than six decades on planet Earth, these are the most tenuous days I have ever experienced. Though there is an air of hopefulness regarding the Covid-19 pandemic, no one really knows where it will lead us. We say things such as, When this is over and When we return to normal, but we have no guarantee this will happen.
As believers in the Lord Jesus Christ, however, though we share these concerns, we are not to despair because of them. Rather, we are to focus on the promises of God and the assurance He has given us of the great reward awaiting us at Christ's return.
This jolt of encouragement comes courtesy of the apostle Peter, who explains our basis for hope: Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, who according to His abundant mercy has begotten us again to a living hope through the resurrection of Jesus Christ from the dead (1 Peter 1:3).
Notice the phrase living hope. Though the nature of this transient world is deterioration and death, the nature of faith in Christ is hope and life. This hope – that Christ will one day return and take us to be with Him for eternity – is sure and alive. Because Jesus Christ conquered death and lives forever, so will all who put their trust in Him. Even if the world is destroyed, our hope in Christ is untouchable, solid, and unmovable – immune from deterioration and death.
In verse 4, Peter confirms this living hope, promising us we will obtain an inheritance incorruptible and undefiled and that does not fade away, reserved in heaven for you. Our living hope is incorruptible (imperishable is a better word) because it is being kept for us in Heaven; it is God Himself who gives us the assurance, and it is God Himself who holds firm our assurance.
Our Great Protection
Living in our current decaying bodies, it is difficult to grasp these glorious assurances. However, Peter wants no doubts arising, particularly in such unsettling days. And don't forget, he wrote during days of rising Roman brutality against Christians.
Peter assures believers there is nothing on Earth that can harm our promised eternal salvation. Referring back to the tail end of verse 4, he tells us in verse 5, reserved in heaven for you (v. 4), who are kept by the power of God through faith for salvation ready to be revealed in the last time (v. 5).
Here again we have the promise of God protecting our promised salvation – the sure guarantee that no force in the universe can take it from us. But what of the phrase, salvation ready to be revealed in the last time – aren't we already saved?
Yes, if you have put your faith in the Lord Jesus, you are saved – spiritually. Your sins have been forgiven, God's wrath has been lifted from you (John 3:36), and you will spend eternity with Christ. However, we are not physically saved. With the exception of those who will be alive at the Rapture, believers will die in this world. For now, our salvation is spiritual only.
However, we will be physically saved, and this is the meaning of salvation ready to be revealed in the last time. The last time refers to the return of Christ, when His first order of business will be to Rapture His Church – both the living and the departed – before pouring out His wrath on Planet Earth. It is at the Rapture we will receive our new, immortal, and imperishable bodies (1 Corinthians 15:35-49). That is when we will be physically saved.
Living In It
Having explained our sure salvation, Peter encourages believers to live in the light of it: Therefore gird up the loins of your mind, be sober, and rest your hope fully upon the grace that is to be brought to you at the revelation of Jesus Christ (v. 13).
This does not mean we are not to be concerned with the daily doings of this world, but that we should not let them emotionally and spiritually destroy us. We are always to be consciously focused on our living hope (v. 1) – that is, our sure salvation – and live in the light of that, and not the terrors plaguing the planet.
Far from lamenting the direness of our earthly existences, the Lord encourages us to rejoice in our sure salvation. Yes, this is a challenge, but remember that we are not redeemed with corruptible things, like silver or gold ‚Ä¶ but with the precious blood of Christ, as of a lamb without blemish and without spot (vv. 18-19).
May God bless you with His manifold assurances in these trying and tenuous days!
David Ettinger is a writer/editor at Zion's Hope, Inc., and has written for Zion's Fire magazine since its inception in 1990.