HOPE TO THE END
1 Peter 1:10 Of which salvation the prophets have enquired and searched diligently, who prophesied of the grace that should come unto you: 11 Searching what, or what manner of time the Spirit of Christ which was in them did signify, when it testified beforehand the sufferings of Christ, and the glory that should follow. 12 Unto whom it was revealed, that not unto themselves, but unto us they did minister the things, which are now reported unto you by them that have preached the gospel unto you with the Holy Ghost sent down from heaven; which things the angels desire to look into. 13 Wherefore gird up the loins of your mind, be sober, and hope to the end for the grace that is to be brought unto you at the revelation of Jesus Christ;
For the true believer there is yet a future grace, yet to be brought to him. It is the grace that is to be brought unto you at the revelation of Jesus Christ. It was a life-giving grace that caused our birth, in order to begin our spiritual lives. And it is that inner life of God that causes others to enquire of our hopeful attitude in facing the circumstances of life. 1 Peter 1:3 Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, which according to his abundant mercy hath begotten us again unto a lively hope by the resurrection of Jesus Christ from the dead, 15 But sanctify the Lord God in your hearts: and be ready always to give an answer to every man that asketh you a reason of the hope that is in you with meekness and fear:
And a continued present hope is vital to the receiving of this future grace. Natural hope is just a favorable anticipation, that may come and go, depending on the mental attitude regarding outward circumstances at any given time. But this God-granted hope is a constant and firm reliance upon the revealed word of God, no matter what the outward circumstances! Listen to the Prophet Habakkuk speak of this spiritual hope in some difficult conditions: Habakkuk 3:17 Although the fig tree shall not blossom, neither shall fruit be in the vines; the labour of the olive shall fail, and the fields shall yield no meat; the flock shall be cut off from the fold, and there shall be no herd in the stalls: 18 Yet I will rejoice in the LORD, I will joy in the God of my salvation. 19 The LORD God is my strength, and he will make my feet like hinds’ feet, and he will make me to walk upon mine high places. To the chief singer on my stringed instruments.
This hope ranks in the top three graces granted to the elect sinner by the Sovereign and Holy God! 1 Corinthians 13:13 And now abideth faith, hope, charity, these three; but the greatest of these is charity (or Love). When we enter into the eternity of God, these first two stages of believing life shall drop away, like the first stages of the rocket that propels the capsule containing the astronaut into his desired orbit.
Romans 8:24 For we are saved by hope: but hope that is seen is not hope: for what a man seeth, why doth he yet hope for? 25 But if we hope for that we see not, then do we with patience wait for it. 1 Corinthians 13:10 But when that which is perfect is come, then that which is in part shall be done away.
Therefore, as the first two stages of that rocket are absolutely essential to achieving the desired destination, so this living hope continues throughout the believer’s life, never failing until his comes into the presence of his glorified Lord. Hebrews 3:6 But Christ as a son over his own house; whose house are we, if we hold fast the confidence and the rejoicing of the hope firm unto the end.
It is the true believer’s determined effort to continuously be nourished and to abide in this hope. For this hope continues to be his soul’s anchor throughout his entire life! For it connects him, like the branch on earth, to the Vine in heaven! For only thereby does he maintain his spiritual fruitfulness! It connects him even into the divine works of Christ, our High Priest, unto the divine workings of purposed redemption, that deals with the Father and Son’s unknowable mysteries! Hebrews 6:18 That by two immutable things, in which it was impossible for God to lie, we might have a strong consolation, who have fled for refuge to lay hold upon the hope set before us: 19 Which hope we have as an anchor of the soul, both sure and stedfast, and which entereth into that within the veil;
Can we even begin to fully realize the depth of that mysterious work between the Father and the Son regarding eternal redemption? Can you fully comprehend that which the Trinity expresses of Itself in the following passage? Think of the Lord Christ as the angel mediating our prayers to the Father. And he is co-mingling our prayers with the sweet incense of his obedience, even into his death at Calvary, in order to do so! What human mind can fathom that? Revelation 8:1 And when he had opened the seventh seal, there was silence in heaven about the space of half an hour. 2 And I saw the seven angels which stood before God; and to them were given seven trumpets. 3 And another angel came and stood at the altar, having a golden censer; and there was given unto him much incense, that he should offer it with the prayers of all saints upon the golden altar which was before the throne. 4 And the smoke of the incense, which came with the prayers of the saints, ascended up before God out of the angel’s hand. 5 And the angel took the censer, and filled it with fire of the altar, and cast it into the earth: and there were voices, and thunderings, and lightnings, and an earthquake.
Christ alone – our Mediator – has made us accepted in himself! 1Timothy 2:5 For there is one God, and one mediator between God and men, the man Christ Jesus; Ephesians 1:6 To the praise of the glory of his grace, wherein he hath made us accepted in the beloved.
He alone shall present us as faultless to the Father! Jude 24 Now unto him that is able to keep you from falling, and to present you faultless before the presence of his glory with exceeding joy, 25 To the only wise God our Saviour, be glory and majesty, dominion and power, both now and ever. Amen.
And who can fully encompass that with the human mind? Romans 11:33 O the depth of the riches both of the wisdom and knowledge of God! how unsearchable are his judgments, and his ways past finding out! 34 For who hath known the mind of the Lord? or who hath been his counsellor? 35 Or who hath first given to him, and it shall be recompensed unto him again?
For God in his invisible essence is unknowable! 1 Timothy 6:16 Who only hath immortality, dwelling in the light which no man can approach unto; whom no man hath seen, nor can see: to whom be honour and power everlasting. Amen. We are exclusively indebted to the Lord Christ for revealing Him! John 1:18 No man hath seen God at any time; the only begotten Son, which is in the bosom of the Father, he hath declared him. John 14:6 Jesus saith unto him, I am the way, the truth, and the life: no man cometh unto the Father, but by me.
These heights are too high! These depths are far too deep! These breaths are far too wide! Ephesians 3:17 That Christ may dwell in your hearts by faith; that ye, being rooted and grounded in love, 18 May be able to comprehend with all saints what is the breadth, and length, and depth, and height; 19 And to know the love of Christ, which passeth knowledge, that ye might be filled with all the fulness of God. 20 Now unto him that is able to do exceeding abundantly above all that we ask or think, according to the power that worketh in us, 21 Unto him be glory in the church by Christ Jesus throughout all ages, world without end. Amen.
Have you figured out all there is to know about your salvation? If so, then you are just a formal religionist! Your just have a systematic theology of reason and logic, and no true salvation at all! If you have figured out your God, you don’t have a God at all! You just have a glorified image of yourself! Psalm 50:21 These things hast thou done, and I kept silence; thou thoughtest that I was altogether such an one as thyself: but I will reprove thee, and set them in order before thine eyes.
This living, spiritual grace of hope is all that the believer has to keep him consistently desiring to attain to the purity of holiness. 1 John 3:3 And every man that hath this hope in him purifieth himself, even as he is pure. And it focuses him upon that higher and deeper world of the realm of faith and hope, which extends his consciousness into the eternal! 1 Corinthians 15:19 If in this life only we have hope in Christ, we are of all men most miserable.
What a wonderful gift is this grace of hope! Especially when we mentally itemize the ‘dangers, toils, and snares through which we have already come.’ (“Amazing Grace” by John Newton.) For without it we would have never progressed into any degree of holiness. Consider the very next verses after our above listed context: 1 Peter 1:14 As obedient children, not fashioning yourselves according to the former lusts in your ignorance: 15 But as he which hath called you is holy, so be ye holy in all manner of conversation; 16 Because it is written, Be ye holy; for I am holy. Personal godliness cannot be pursued without this hope.
That word Greek word, here translated “fashioning” is only used in one other place in the New Testament. It appears in Romans 12:2 as “be…conformed.” There we are instructed not to be CON-formed to this world’s image, but to be TRANS-formed! Romans 12:2 And be not conformed to this world: but be ye transformed by the renewing of your mind, that ye may prove what is that good, and acceptable, and perfect, will of God.
And the evidence of our possessing this grace of hope that shall sustain us unto the very end is the expression of God’s character continuing to develop within our own hearts. 2 Peter 1:5 And beside this, giving all diligence, add to your faith virtue; and to virtue knowledge; 6 And to knowledge temperance; and to temperance patience; and to patience godliness; 7 And to godliness brotherly kindness; and to brotherly kindness charity. 8 For if these things be in you, and abound, they make you that ye shall neither be barren nor unfruitful in the knowledge of our Lord Jesus Christ. 9 But he that lacketh these things is blind, and cannot see afar off, and hath forgotten that he was purged from his old sins. 10 Wherefore the rather, brethren, give diligence to make your calling and election sure: for if ye do these things, ye shall never fall: 11 For so an entrance shall be ministered unto you abundantly into the everlasting kingdom of our Lord and Saviour Jesus Christ.
And this grace of hope shall be most needed to those living in these last days. For we have been warned by our Lord that therein shall iniquity abound, causing love for the Lord to grow cold! Matthew 24:12 And because iniquity shall abound, the love of many shall wax cold. 13 But he that shall endure unto the end, the same shall be saved.
This is what God says concerning the Laodiceans: Revelation 3:15 I know thy works, that thou art neither cold nor hot: I would thou wert cold or hot. 16 So then because thou art lukewarm, and neither cold nor hot, I will spue thee out of my mouth.
But here is how they saw themselves: Revelation 3:17 Because thou sayest, I am rich, and increased with goods, and have need of nothing; and knowest not that thou art wretched, and miserable, and poor, and blind, and naked:
Here is that which is required: Revelation 3:18 I counsel thee to buy of me gold tried in the fire, that thou mayest be rich; (that is, be rich in faith, tried in fiery afflictions. 1 Peter 1:7 That the trial of your faith, being much more precious than of gold that perisheth, though it be tried with fire, might be found unto praise and honour and glory at the appearing of Jesus Christ:), and white raiment, that thou mayest be clothed, (that is, the righteous garments that clothe the soul. Revelation 19:8 And to her was granted that she should be arrayed in fine linen, clean and white: for the fine linen is the righteousness of saints.) and that the shame of thy nakedness do not appear; and anoint thine eyes with eyesalve, (that is, the anointing of the Holy Spirit. 1 John 2:20 But ye have an unction from the Holy One, and ye know all things. 27 But the anointing which ye have received of him abideth in you, and ye need not that any man teach you: but as the same anointing teacheth you of all things, and is truth, and is no lie, and even as it hath taught you, ye shall abide in him.) that thou mayest see. 19 As many as I love, I rebuke and chasten: be zealous therefore, and repent. Hebrews 12:6 For whom the Lord loveth he chasteneth, and scourgeth every son whom he receiveth. 7 If ye endure chastening, God dealeth with you as with sons; for what son is he whom the father chasteneth not? 8 But if ye be without chastisement, whereof all are partakers, then are ye bastards, and not sons.
Dear Reader, this grace of hope is absolutely essential for one to endure the trials of this ungodly society so as not lose the vitality of our spirituality! In this following passage we read of Job who successfully endured the hardness of the thought of death, long before the doctrine of the resurrection was clearly brought forth in the gospel, doing so by the blessedness of his grace of hope.
Job 19:25 For I know that my redeemer liveth, and that he shall stand at the latter day upon the earth: 26 And though after my skin worms destroy this body, yet in my flesh shall I see God: 27 Whom I shall see for myself, and mine eyes shall behold, and not another; though my reins be consumed within me.
Remember, it is the finish line, not the starting gate that is all important. We must make it to the end. But we cannot do so without the abiding grace of hope! Matthew 10:22 And ye shall be hated of all men for my name’s sake: but he that endureth to the end shall be saved.
Pastor Gene Breed
March 1, 2018