By Robert Halsey Pine
“Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ! By his great mercy he has given us a new birth into a living hope through the resurrection of Jesus Christ from the dead, and into an inheritance that is imperishable, undefiled, and unfading, kept in heaven for you, who are being protected by the power of God through faith for a salvation ready to be revealed in the last time.” (1 Peter 1:3-20 NRSV).
I think that I’ll take Peter’s word for it. Here is a man that was as close to Jesus as any man. Here is a man who denied his Savior three times in as many days but recovered to lead the apostles in a shout that continues to be heard around the world. What are we to do with this wonderful message from St. Peter? Do we really understand the depth of and the consequences of our “new birth into a living hope through the resurrection of Jesus Christ from the dead?”
We are shy about stepping forward to receive our gift. We allow the world to intimidate us and keep us from properly living out our life in Christ Jesus. We have an interest in lotteries, the stock market and other speculative ways to accumulate wealth, but we don’t take time to collect the prize that has already been won for us through the blood of Jesus. This prize, as Peter says has been placed “Into an inheritance that is imperishable, undefiled, and unfading, kept in heaven for you.”
In my younger days as a Christian, I thought that I had a relationship with God. It was actually no more than an intellectual understanding of who God is supposed to be. As far as having an ongoing daily relationship with God, I was in a deep deficit position. I had no idea that part of my faith experience was to communicate with God as did Jesus in the manner of an ongoing conversation. I could not understand that I was in a two-way relationship with my Holy Father.
We must step forward with boldness and accept our Father’s gift. We are born into a new right relationship with our Father. Christ died once for all. Our treasure has been put up in heaven for us. We are protected by the power of God through faith. Our salvation will be revealed to us at our last day. God is merciful. We should spend more time with Him and praise Him constantly for our new birth into a living hope.
Robert Halsey Pine is a graduate of Northeastern University and completed the program of Theological Education by Extension: Education for Ministry, School of Theology, the University of the South.