Tuesday, May 27, 2014
May 27: Undeserving of God’s great mercy
Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ! By his great mercy he gave us new birth into a living hope through the resurrection of Jesus Christ from the dead, that is, into an inheritance imperishable, undefiled, and unfading. It is reserved in heaven for you, who by God’s power are protected through faith for a salvation ready to be revealed in the last time. This brings you great joy, although you may have to suffer for a short time in various trials. (1 Peter 1:3-6 NET)
Peter wrote this letter to the men and women of faith “living abroad” in Pontus, Galatia, Cappadocia, the province of Asia, and Bithynia — modern day Turkey. These believers had fled the Christian persecution in Jerusalem and settled in other parts of the world, but were still undergoing persecution. But Peter was no different, he wrote this letter from Rome — using the code word “Babylon” for that city — and was about to be martyred himself. And yet he was brimming with faith and encouragement, far from being depressed, negative, anxious, or bitter. It is abundantly clear that he considered the Lord Jesus his greatest treasure.
The fact that our salvation is based on God’s great mercy, not on our goodness and holiness is a truth that we cannot forget. God has compassion on us in spite of our sins and failings, which are many. Not one of us deserves God’s mercy, but when we turn to Him in faith and have pure hearts, He treats us much, much better than we deserve. Anyone who thinks that he has very few sins is far away from God; the closer we get to Him the more we understand how sinful and unworthy we are, and the more grateful we are to Him for considering us worthy of His mercy. Only when we continually remind ourselves of this truth will we be shielded from the pride and laziness that causes so many to fall away from the Lord Jesus.
Peter mentions an interesting concept in today’s promise: we have been given new birth into a LIVING HOPE through the resurrection of Jesus from the dead. Our hope is not wishful thinking. It is not static and passive, it is alive. It is a strong, living conviction about God’s promises — our blessings now and our future in heaven — that develops and grows as the years go by. Once more, when we have this type of hope we guard ourselves from falling away from Him.