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Thursday, September 4, 2008

BLESSED BE

"Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, who according to His great mercy has caused us to be born again to a living hope through the resurrection of Jesus Christ from the dead, to obtain an inheritance which is imperishable and undefiled and will not fade away, reserved in heaven for you, who are protected by the power of God through faith for a salvation ready to be revealed in the last time." 1Peter 1:3-5


It is said that in interpreting scripture, the three most important rules are "context, context, context", but at times I am compelled to lift certain verses from the page, to ponder them on their own, away from the verses before and after. I want to set them apart, like when I find some exceptionally lovely beads when I want to make some jewellry. They stand out from the others in the display, and I hold them up, examining and admiring them for their unique qualities. In that way, many verses are "stand alone" in their beauty and richness of truth.

Sometimes when we read scripture, verses that we have seen time and again can stop us in our tracks and let us go no further. In reading the above passage this morning, I was amazed, perhaps for the first time, by the list of incredible, encouraging truths it contains:



  • We are to bless God. He is blessed already, in that He is Who He is. Yet we are to bless Him for that, praising and thanking Him for what He has done for us.

  • He is merciful. Because of His mercy, His great mercy, He has acted on our behalf to make possible the following:

  • We are born again. I don't think we see this term used many times in scripture. I can think of one other time, in the Gospel of John (3:5), when Jesus said we must be born again to see or enter the kingdom of God. The gist of it is, that we were once spiritually dead, but God in mercy brought us to life. In the spiritual sense, we are born dead. And it is a state that we cannot bring ourselves out of, any more than a cadaver can raise itself to life. Dead means dead, with no life or power existing to change that status. God brought us to life spiritually.

  • We have a living hope. When we were still spiritually dead, we may have put our hope in various things for ultimate contentment and safety in this life, and the hereafter. Those hopes were dead; pointless and founded on lies, since they did not include hope in Jesus Christ as our Savior. But since we are now included in Christ, and are joint heirs with Him, we can be confident that our hope is secured by His perfect life, death, and resurrection. He is our hope, and He is a risen, living Saviour.

  • We have an inheritance waiting for us in heaven. It is perfect, secure, for sure, and forever. It will not diminish, fade, or disappear. That inheritance is our completed salvation, glorification and sanctification. It is reserved for us, and will be revealed in the last time, or the end of time as we know it.

  • We are protected or kept by God! He didn't just save us, then leave us to carry on in our own strength. Grace is not just for our initial salvation; it is something that is poured out into our lives every moment that we live and breathe. God is able to keep us from falling, and to present us, blameless before Himself (Jude v 24).

God's word is so rich. These verses are not truly stand alone, in that they describe truths that are reinforced and reiterated throughout scripture. But as I consider all that is said in this one sentence, I am struck anew by God's mercy and provision for lost sinners. He gives us new birth, brings us into His family with Christ as our Brother, provides grace to keep us till the end, then welcomes us into eternity where we will enjoy sinless, blessed communion with Him forever.

If you are in Christ today, I hope these verses speak peace and joy to your soul as they do to mine.


2 comments:

William said...

Melanie,

Your wishes that "these verses speak peace and joy to your soul as they do to mine" was realized for me -

According to the world's standards I am poor. This has been much on my mind lately. I have been steadily contemplating the material abundance of persons around me, and had been confounded by the level of wealth in evidence. I live near water, and while I used to know what yachts cost I had since lost track. I was astounded to find out that even middling cruisers go for $250,000 new, and that larger yachts are commonly sold in our area marinas for several million. Where I live, many, many persons have yachts of this description. I finally determined that not all this wealth, perhaps not even the majority of it, has been earned - much of it had been inherited.

Now, in America, "inheritance" is a word infrequently spoken - Americans admire persons who are self-made, and there is a palpable sociological contempt for those who didn't have to "work for it". Consequently, even if a person did inherit much of his or her wealth, that is not something he or she is going to talk much about. One unfortunate consequence of this social construct is that those of us not the beneficiary of inherited wealth may come to feel inadequate, if we compare ourselves to the people around us.

Now, the fossil record is a testimony, most especially, to the wholesale death brought upon the world by the Flood. Oil, natural gas, coal, peat and other hydrocarbon-based energy sources are the dead remnants of once living organisms that we feed/survive upon today. In the same way - whether men admit it or not - many today feed upon the flesh - so to speak - of their dead relatives through those relatives' legacies. This feeding off the dead is not sinful (inheritance played a major role in God's management of Israel in Old Testament days), but it is more than interesting to note the encouragement we are given in the New Testament to place our hope on a different sort of inheritance.

Your posting came at a good time for me, as I was lanquishing a little in self-pity at not having been the beneficiary of a temporal inheritance. Thank you.

I would also like to comment that you should be aware, if you are not, that many, many people do not believe in the concept of Total Depravity, which you so confidently assert. I do not point this out by way of disagreement, so much as to alert you to the fact that what some of us (as Protestants) assume as a given is not a "given" in the minds of millions. My recent study of the church and church history is opening my eyes to the remarkable diversity of opinion within and without of Protestantism. Being aware of the differing views will make you stronger and better equipped to defend your own views. You might consider doing an internet search on the words "Total Depravity" to get some flavor of the raging debate. (Hint - Liberals in particular reject the concept of Total Depravity).

Maureen said...

William I am glad that my post, or rather those dear verses as highlighted in my post, gave you some encouragement today.

In reading your comments, I couldn't help but compare the notion of having a self earned or inherited fortune in the temporal sense, with our heavenly inheritance. In the latter, we have no choice. It cannot be earned, by any means. It can only be freely given as a gift from God. And, we do not need to keep a watchful eye on the stock market, fearing it will diminish or disappear. It is guaranteed, reserved for us in the eternally secure keeping of Almighty God.

Some day all those that put their trust in temporal wealth, looking to it for security, prestige and reputation will see the tragic futility of having wasted their lives persuing increasing riches.

How blessed are we who, having little of possessions or reputation on earth, can look forward to an eternity enjoying that which is without price, the salvation of our souls.

"For what will it profit a man if he gains the whole world and forgeits his soul? Or what will a man give in exchange for his soul?" Matthew 16:26

Thanks for the advice re Total Depravity. I realize it is a touchy subject for many. I am convinced, however, and that conviction flavours much of what I write. For me the notion that I am totally incapable of rescuing myself from myself only increases my appreciation of the grace of God. I cannot imagine believing any other way, but as you say, it is helpful to understand how different opinions and belief systems developed over the centuries. I am finding that out in my delving into church history as regards modern day church vs. New Testament church experience.