Friday, November 14, 2014

The Elegant and Meaningful Message of the Book

1 Peter 1:3-9 (NIV) 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. This inheritance is 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 all 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 the proven genuineness of your faith—of greater worth than gold, which perishes even though refined by fire—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 end result of your faith, the salvation of your souls.

There is so much noise surrounding the Bible.  There is so much rhetoric.  There is so much bias.  There are so many skeptics, with so many things to say.  But when you actually open up the Bible and read it, wow.  Just wow.  The message is elegant, beautiful, deep, and meaningful.  There are so many ideas, so many stereotypes.  It's taught to mean things it never meant and twisted to say things it never said.  But in the end, when I actually, myself, open up the book and read it myself, I find something quite different.

That has been my experience in many areas.  History is another example.  I was very illiterate regarding history and as I read it, more and more I understand the present problems the world faces.  Another area is regarding church history, the crusades, and the development of the New Testament canon.  I had read books like the Da Vinci Code and the Gnostic gospels.  Such fabrications, such obvious forgeries.  Hindsight is always twenty-twenty.  In retrospect I was looking for a reason to disbelieve.  I read a bunch of conjecture and took it as fact.  I watched the movie Zeitgeist as well.  It was an interesting look at world politics, but it also tore apart Christianity.  At first I was impressed.  But after reading up on the topic, I realized that most of the information about religion in Zeitgeist was simply not true.  I watched a rebuttal to Zeitgeists claims regarding Jesus, and similar stories in other religions, and almost none of Zeitgeist's claims held up under academic scrutiny. 

Truth gets lost very easily in this world.  So does trust.  But there is one outside the system in whom we can trust.  That is God our Father, through his son Jesus Christ.  

Our Father in heaven is indeed faithful.  And I will in return be faithful to him.  During this present hour of struggle we must suffer in all manner of trials.  I've found these trials particularly taxing on my emotions, my ability to keep going everyday, and my ability to sleep soundly.  These trials often hurt badly, it's no doubt.  But, as verse 7 says, the testing and building of my faith is yielding something worth more than gold.  Did you know that an ounce of gold today is worth 1,180 dollars?  An ounce is the size of a peanut.  Imagine what your faith will be worth in heaven. 

I choose to believe what God says today, in his book.  That is a radical thing to do, even in a church setting.  A lot of people will give it lip service, but they don't live it.  After youth group they go home and have sex with their girlfriend.  They go get drunk and watch the game.  On and on.  It's radical to really believe and follow the Book.  Can you handle that?  Can we do that?  

Let's do it.  Do you really believe him?  I do.  He says in verse four "This inheritance is kept in heaven for you."  That's not just a nice religious thing to say, or a romantic tradition, it's a fact and a reality.  

Verse 3, in his great mercy we have a new birth into a living hope.  It's so elegantly stated, don't you think?  The scriptures cut right through my mind, my emotions, and the Holy Spirit within gives me a trigger that what I'm reading is actually true.  I love that.  It's just awesome.  It's amazing.  It's foundational.  It cuts through all the advertisements, false truths, sexualized culture, rhetoric, pomp, and lets me know there and then that God is indeed the sovereign creator of the known and unknown universe. 

Verse 5, we through faith are shielded by God's power until our coming salvation.  Wow.  Shielded through God's power.  I love that.  I need that shield, everyday.  When I wake up in the morning I take a few minutes to lean over and make my petition that God my dad would shield me from the temptations of this world.  Verse 7 the perseverence of our faith through this world of skeptics, and reasons to doubt will, yes, will result in praise, glory, and honor at the coming of Jesus Christ.  

Verse 8, though you don't see him, you know him, you love him, you believe in him.  Remember what Jesus said to Thomas?  Jesus said: "Blessed are those who have not seen and yet have believed" (John 20:29).

Finally at the end of verse 8, and going into verse 9, you are filled with an inexpressible and glorious joy, because you are receiving the end result of your faith, which is the salvation of your souls.  Very simply, it is eternal life we are receiving through Christ Jesus our Lord.  


Related Posts:
The Philosophy of Jesus Christ
Jesus: The God who Came
Why is Jesus the perfect example to follow?
Psalm to the Holy Father
Momentary Troubles & Eternal Glory