The Bible has many stories, themes, and lessons that can be learned. But all of these stories culminate into and point to the greatest story of all — the gospel. 1 Peter provides us with an excellent overview of the gospel. It tells us the implications toward our past, present, and future, and how it changes everything. Let’s briefly look a little more in depth at what it teaches.
1 Peter 1:3 - God has caused us to be born again to a living hope
In verse 3, we see a short description of what happens to us when we are saved: we are born again. This is a phrase many churched an unchurched have probably heard, and often it carries with it a negative connotation or memory for those who grew up in the religious south. However, the beauty of its meaning cannot be overlooked. Our past, our old selves, have been reborn through the gospel. Your past doesn’t go away, but is instead redeemed for God’s glory.
More importantly, however, we are immediately saved from the penalty of sin. That which separated us from God has been washed away, and we are created anew. This isn’t all the gospel accomplishes, though!
1 Peter 1:6-7 - We are promised a life of suffering and sanctification
In verses 6-7, we see Peter unpack the process of sanctification a little further. Sanctification is the process by which God gradually brings us from darkness to light, and from depravity to holiness. It begins at salvation, when the gospel frees us from the power of sin, and continues until the end of our lives. Both Peter and Paul wrote candidly - and from experience, I might add - that sanctification is a process saturated with suffering.
It’s through suffering that our hope is shifted from ourselves and our temporary home in this world, and back to our eternally faithful God. It is also in suffering that our sin bears its roots, allowing it to be pruned and cast away.
1 Peter 1:7-8 - Because of Jesus, our future hope is in Jesus
Finally, Peter covers our future hope in Jesus. Because Jesus has accomplished what we could not, and honestly what we would not, we are free to have hope in a future without sin, and its necessary consequences. Death, illness, pain, and suffering are all eradicated and reduced to nothing but memories of a former time. The separation between us and God is broken down even further, and we can once again be in His presence and behold His glory in its fullest.
As Joyful Sojourners, we know our home is with Jesus, and because of this we can have hope even in the suffering that marks our lives. Is this where you place your hope in the midst of suffering?
As Pastor Boyd continues to preach through the Joyful Sojourners campaign, our Missional Communities will be studying the gospel and its implications for the past, present, and future, as well as how we are to respond to these truths. If you haven’t yet, consider joining a Mission Community in your area. It’s a blessing to have people around you who endure suffering alongside you and to point you back to your hope in Jesus.