The Treasure of the Christ Revealedk

“Concerning this salvation, the prophets who prophesied about the grace that was to be yours searched and inquired carefully, inquiring what person or time the Spirit of Christ in them was indicating when he predicted the sufferings of Christ and the subsequent glories.” 1 Peter 1:10-11 ESV

The Bible reveals to us Gods marvelous salvation plan.  Praise God for the prophets and the Scriptures given to us through them!  We can’t dismiss them as outdated.   Just like a treasure chest of gold and pearls would be of great value to us years later, the gold mine of God’s Word—specifically the gospel, is history’s greatest treasure.  The prophets point us to Jesus and how much we need his saving grace.  We hold the fullness of the treasure of the gospel in Christ made known to us!

All of the 66 canonized books of God’s breathed out words are relevant for our daily living (2Tim3:16).  It, first of all, points us to how far short we fall of meeting God’s standards.  “All have sinned and fall short of the glory of God” Rom 3:23.  Then, it provides the only way of escaping God’s just wrath upon us for rebellion against his law.  “For while we were still weak, at the right time Christ died for the ungodly. For one will scarcely die for a righteous person—though perhaps for a good person one would dare even to die— but God shows his love for us in that while we were still sinners, Christ died for us.” Rom 5:6-8.  And it teaches us how to follow Christ, “For they themselves report concerning us the kind of reception we had among you, and how you turned to God from idols to serve the living and true God, and to wait for his Son from heaven, whom he raised from the dead, Jesus who delivers us from the wrath to come.” 1Thess 1:9-10.  With as much enthusiasm as the prophet’s year ago, we too should search and study carefully God’s promises and how we are called to follow and point others to the Messiah-King until they are fully realized.

The Blessed Joy of Suffering

“Though you have not seen him, you love him. Though you do not now see him, you believe in him and rejoice with joy that is inexpressible and filled with glory, obtaining the outcome of your faith, the salvation of your souls.” 1 Peter 1:8-9 ESV

Doesn’t affirmation make our heart sing? Most of us yearn for words that validate our hard work and make the difficulties of life purposeful.  We feel down in the dumps when we get criticized, humiliated or attacked.  The early persecuted church that Peter wrote to was rejoicing solely in the Lord for His affirmation in their suffering.  And they received more affirmation from Him through the pen of Peter.  The apostle was impressed in the strength of their faith despite the fierce trials they faced.  He was especially moved by the fact that they hadn’t seen Jesus the way he had…yet they still believed when their faith seemed futile.  The persecuted church was blessed for their great faith.

The blessing for their faith in Jesus was salvation, not only eternally but in the here and now. There is inexpressible joy found only in the Lord as our refuge.  The most agonizing trials can purge us from all the other things of the world that dilute our devotion and reliance on Christ alone.  It is in our weakest more desperate moments that we abide in our Savior and in His presence is fullness of joy (Ps 16:11).  “Salvation refers to believers’ constant, present deliverance from the penalty and power of sin—from its guilt (Rom 6:18; Eph1:7; Col2:13-14), condemnation (Rom 8:1), wrath (Rom5:9; 1Thess1:10), ignorance (Rom10:3; Gal4:8; 1Tim1:13), distress, confusion, hopelessness (1Cor15:7,1Pe1:3), and dominion (Rom 6:10-12).” John MacArthur goes on to say, “‘Receiving’ can literally be translated ‘presently receiving for your selves’ so that the idea is an immediate deliverance from the power of sin.  Ultimate salvation will further deliver us from the presence of sin.” When our hearts still faint in the constant battles, we can look forward to a full victory when salvation is realized in heaven.

The Greatest Joy in the Greatest Salvation!

“In this you rejoice, though now for a little while, if necessary, you have been grieved by various trials, so that the tested genuineness of your faith—more precious than gold that perishes though it is tested by fire—may be found to result in praise and glory and honor at the revelation of Jesus Christ.” 1 Peter 1:6-7 ESV

This weekend I celebrate a decade of having been saved by God’s amazing grace! As I look back at all that the Lord has done, it is just blows my mind!  I never would have guessed my life would’ve turned out this way.  Through the ups and downs, God has patiently been teaching me to seek His likeness.  Sometimes I just can’t believe all that has happened.  It can be easy to feel sorry for myself.  Then, I take a look at the incredible salvation He has started, grown and is completing, and my heart is filled with joy! Out of everyone in my family, I was the least likely to be saved.  I was the lost black sheep straying every which way.  Initially, my dad thought this new Christianity thing would be a phase I’d soon get over… Ten years later Jesus has proven His faithfulness!

Despite the deep trials we must walk through, we are filled with joy in their outcome—that our true faith, more precious than anything on earth, may be refined as by fire to shine with His glory when Christ returns.  It’s astounding that God chose to set His affections on sinners like us and that we get to bring honor to Christ.  If He suffered so brutally on the cross for the forgiveness of my sins, shouldn’t I be willing to suffer in this temporary life for His name? The potential agonies of this life are all worth it when we can look ahead to the glory they will reveal one day. Whatever God wills to do with our ransomed life is His prerogative.  Our unshakable joy comes from delighting in His salvation, and submitting in faith and trusting obedience to His glorious plan.  “Peter’s goal in this text is to have believers understand the joy that should be their own constant expression in light of eternal salvation.” MacArthur “…In light of the blessedness of salvation, no earthly difficulties should have diminished their joy.”

A Beautiful Inheritance that Will Never Fade

“…an inheritance that is imperishable, undefiled, and unfading, kept in heaven for you” 1 Peter 1:4

When people think of an inheritance we often think of money or something of great value left by a deceased relative.  An inheritance does not have to be of monetary—it can hold sentimental value.  After Josh went to heaven, I inherited many things…  One thing that at first I wanted to eagerly give away was a skunk hide that he had tanned in our garage with a friend that left our entire neighborhood stinking all year.  After considering the memories of that stinky skunk and how it was used as a sermon illustration of being a fragrant aroma of Christ at a city-wide youth event—capturing the eyes and attention of an auditorium full of teens, I hesitated to part with it.  It is now a family heirloom that tells a story and imparts spiritual truth and wisdom.

More than any earthly treasure that we can claim, God has a wonderful spiritual inheritance that awaits His children in heaven.  It is one that at first reeks of godliness—a foul spell to our flesh that craves the sinful appetites of this world like apple pie.  Yet, God in His rich love and kindness woos us to the world’s greatest treasure—our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ. This rich inherence is indestructible, without defect, and forever lasting.  It does not come close to comparison to anything on this planet.  No matter our trial, sorrow, loss or how spent we may be after chasing other things, Christ pleads us to turn to Him where true treasure is found and kept in heaven securely. When we feel tempted to fear the many uncertainties and pending threats of the future… May we hold still in today’s promise and run toward the arms our a loving Heavenly Father who lavishly and eternally cares for us.  “The Lord is my chosen portion and my cup; you hold my lot. The lines have fallen for me in pleasant places; indeed, I have a beautiful inheritance.” Psalm 16:5-6