Trust and Obey

 

Therefore, buckling the belts of your minds for action, keeping level-headed, set your hope entirely on the grace that will be brought to you at the revelation of Jesus Christ.   1 Peter 1:13

The encouragement that comes in suffering is not mystical; it doesn’t just suddenly appear from nowhere. The Christian himself is responsible for it. If he doesn’t experience the joy, gladness, and hope mentioned in the previous verses, that is his own fault. He cannot complain against God, the church, or anyone else; this verse makes it perfectly plain that he is responsible for developing the hope that will sustain him in trial.

Encouragement in trial is not merely a matter of trusting in God’s promises in some purely intellectual manner. Surely that is important—indeed it is a theme that Peter never really leaves behind—but there is another side to the page; the suffering believer must do good. That doing of good begins with the matter of hope. Right here, at the outset, the believer’s trust in God’s promises is pictured as a matter of obedience: “set your hope on the grace . . .” That is a command, involving a duty. Consistent with the major thrust of the entire epistle, Peter already strikes the note: Trust and Obey! There is no other way to be happy in trial, but to trust and obey. God holds the individual believer responsible for his behavior in times of trial and trouble and says that these two elements constitute that responsibility.[1]

[1] This post is an excerpt from Dr. Adams’ short homiletical commentary on 1 Peter entitled Trust and Obey (now out of print).

Are You Troubled?

Are you troubled by the machinations of wicked persons? Well, you ought to be since God is! But is it all one-sided? Are God’s people the only ones to endure ills—and no one else?

Listen to what God said about this matter:

There is no peace for the wicked says my God.   (Isaiah 57:21 HCSB)

Take heart in the fact that the wicked are like the troubled (storm-tossed) sea (v. 20) They do not have true, lasting peace. Oh, they have their seasons of happiness, revelry, etc., but these don’t last. Nor are they truly satisfying. God sees to that. He troubles them inwardly—even if you can see no such trouble outwardly—Be assured of this! He calls them through their troubles to repent. Some do—and it may or may not make the headlines. But, of course, most do not. So God brings judgment. Now that is real trouble!

Regardless of how they respond to troubles, be assured they do come!

God’s Faithful Love

The temple destroyed . . . God’s people captive . . . distress of every kind on every hand . . .

Those are the conditions under which the writer of Lamentations 22 wrote:

His mercies never end, they are new every morning; great is Your faithfulness.

Do you believe it, Christian? If not; why not? May I suggest a reason?

You have trouble singing the hymn based on this verse because you don’t look for those mercies every morning! Jeremiah (the probable author of these words) looked—and he found! If you are on the lookout, you too will do so. How about it? Do you need a coffee “fix” in the morning, or a wake-up call to explore God’s mercies?

Hope

In writing to the Thessalonians, Paul speaks of the work of faith, the labor of love, and the endurance of hope. What has he got in mind?

Elsewhere, he places these three virtues in a different order when he enumerates faith hope and love. It would seem that the last of the three is the one that he is emphasizing, the other two building up to it.

If that is so, in this letter, he is emphasizing hope. And rightly so. There was confusion in the Thessalonian church about death and the resurrection. Evidently, as the second letter clarifies, some rumor had reached them to the effect that no Christian would die before the Lord’s coming. Presumably some of their loved one had died, and this caused confusion and consternation among them. So hope was the uppermost quality they needed.

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Purity by Expectation

He who has this hope in him, purifies himself just as He is pure.
1 John 3:3

It is essential to understand what biblical writers mean by the word “hope.” When we say, ‘I hope so” we usually mean, “I have no certainty about what will transpire, but I hope against hope that it will be like such and such.” For us today, hope is a hope-so hope.

The biblical meaning of the word is very different. The element of uncertainty has been removed from it—when you read the word “hope” think “expectation,” or ‘anticipation.” It is applies to something that is certain, but is a “hope” because it just hasn’t happened yet. The blessed hope isn’t the blessed “hope-so.” It’s the happy expectation—the joyous anticipation OF Christ’s coming in glory as the “great God and Savior.” What makes it a hope is not that it is uncertain, but that it is still in the future.

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