by Roger McCay
19 January 2020
Sermon Passage: 1 Peter 1:13-21
Link to Audio Version
The mutual fund model of security, in investments, makes a lot of sense when we plan towards our future hope of retirement utilizing IRAs. Yet, the mutual fund is a disastrous model for security when it comes to our future hope of eternity. Our hope in Christ is not just one hope among many, with the idea that if it turns out a less secure bet than we thought it might be, then the hope invested in other securities will keep the entire hope afloat, ensuring our eternal future. Salvation does not come from hedging our bets.
Yet, history is fraught with people who sought to do just this. The OT provides the perfect example with Israel, who consistently devolved from worship of God alone towards a syncretic form of religion, lumping worship of the Lord in with the worship of Asherah and/or other gods.
An old but contemporary form of this divided hope is the lumping of hope in the Lord with hope in our own works. Works plus faith is nothing but putting your hope in Christ while also hedging your hope in yourself. It’s hedging your bets.
Such divided hope is no hope at all. Rather, it is evidence of a lack of faith in Christ. Whenever we put our hope for our salvation on anything other than Christ, while saying we also hope in Christ, we fool ourselves. Hope in the Lord is an all or nothing equation. Faith plus anything equals no faith at all. In the Lord, we find the only living hope that leads to eternal life. Hope in the Lord is the only rational, sober-minded course of action. For, when hope is divided, confusion in mind and action logically results.
Peter, after his beautiful doxology proclaiming the glorious work of God’s mercy in Jesus Christ in vv. 3-12, follows up with a “therefore” in v. 13. Because of the truths of what God had done for God’s people, Peter explains to us what we are now to do for God. Through vv. 13-21, Peter follows a pattern, weaving together the motivations and resulting conduct of a true disciple of Christ.
The primary motivation Peter gives for Christian living is God’s Grace—v. 13: “the grace that will be brought to you at the revelation of Jesus Christ.” This grace is the salvation that will come when Christ returns bringing the consummation of his Kingdom. It is a forward-looking hope based on God’s holiness, work, and our identity as his children. Like the redemption that the Israelites experienced, when God redeemed his people from slavery in Egypt, taking them to the promised land (Ex. 12:51), so also our salvation will take us from the various trials of this life to eternal life in paradise when he comes.
This living hope in Christ is not without grounds. Our motivation is grounded in God’s holiness (vv. 15-16), God’s work (vv. 18-19, 21), and our identity as his children (vv. 14, 17).
As a holy God (v. 16) the Lord is unique. He is perfectly loving. He always keeps his promises; and his character, his holiness, is perfectly reflected in his commandments. He is utterly reliable. There is no fault found in him. When he says we are saved by grace through faith in Jesus Christ in Eph. 2:8, it is as sure a statement as his word of creation with its immediate results in Gen. 1.
God’s work is consistent with his holy character. It is perfect. It is complete. It is good. It is utterly reliable in its results. Hence, when the Lord, through his apostle Peter in vv. 18-19, says that we are ransomed with the precious blood of Christ, it means we are ransomed with the precious blood of Christ. Like the Israelites relied on the blood of the Passover lamb that was without blemish (Ex. 12:5), so we rely on the blood of the ultimate Passover Lamb, Jesus Christ, who, having kept the Law perfectly, was “without blemish or spot.” There is no need for any other payment. No other payment could obtain what Jesus’ blood purchased—our redemption, the salvation of our souls. This is the result of God’s plan from before the beginning. Before anything was created, we were foreknown, predestined, and elected as God’s people for eternal life (1 Pet. 1:1-2). His plan that the Son of God would come and save us was foreknown and in place before God ever said, “Let there be.”