In my last post I dealt with the issue of earning salvation, or ‘doing holy’. 1 Peter 1:18-21 mainly deals with the call to holy living, but one word stuck with me and I’ve been wrestling with it ever since.
Here’s the verse, 1 Peter 1:21:
21 Through Christ you have come to trust in God. And you have placed your faith and hope in God because he raised Christ from the dead and gave him great glory.
Several read-throughs later, I began looking at this verse in a different light. In its context, Peter is reminding his readers (believers scattered all over Asia Minor) in Whom their faith and hope lie. He is also reminding them why their faith and hope is in Him. And when I began to break this verse down, I started hearing more of a question of verification than a statement of fact.
Could Peter say the same in a letter written only to me?
Could he confidently suffix my ‘because’?
I honestly don’t know.
Simply put, I think my reasons for trusting God become clouded and confused way too often. I mean, why do I even keep trusting in God?
Why do my faith and hope rest in Him?
I think it’s an important question to consider, not as an endorsement for doubt, but as an honest calibration of the heart. More of a shift of focus than dogmatization.
If I put my faith in God simply because He gives me things, my faith becomes transactional and entitled. It runs on the receipt of things that will perish, so its future is bleak. The second His provision changes, I quickly and politely reprimand Him, as if to say, “Excuse me, Sir, Who do You think You are?”
God’s provision is amazing and perfect, of course, and undoubtedly a piece of His faithfulness. But how gloriously different my life becomes when I put my faith in God first and foremost because He raised Jesus from the dead and set Him on the throne of glory!
The overwhelming beauty here is that it all rests on Christ as the payment for my debt, the cancellation of my sins, and the redemption of my empty life. He rose from the dead and pulled me from the pit. I just trusted that He wouldn’t let go. It’s through Christ’s Spirit pursuing my heart that I came to trust in God in the first place. It was never some deed I performed or some reward I received.
Faith grounded in an imperishable gift will never spoil or fade.
That’s the kind of faith God is teaching me to have. He’s reshaping my faith to be exclusively centered on Him. It’s a gut-check for sure, but anything’s worth looking that much more like Jesus.
So how do I even go about doing this?
For one, I’m trying to thank Him more simply for not staying dead.
That sounds trite and a little sarcastic, but maybe the more I thank Him for this, the more it becomes a part of my thought-routine, and the more I will begin to understand His love as it applies to my own journey. It will slowly reinforce my faith in Him along my own life’s path, studded with specific problems and struggles. If His resurrection is always on my heart, His power will surely follow.
I’m also making sure to view His ‘blessings’ as simply that and not as gauges of His love.
Sure, I’m proud to be an American. I thank Him continually for my wife and for my family. I’m very blessed to have the car I drive and the job I have. A car and a job at all for that matter.
But God’s blessings aren’t benchmarks of His favor. There’s no proportionality between His blessing and His love.
He loves me because I am His image of Being. His precious creation for which He died.
And rose. To seal the victory over my last enemy.
What if I lose the job I was so sure God called me to?
What if I my marriage is breaking?
What if my child dies?
My reaction depends on where my faith lies.
Let’s put our faith back in God because He is a Savior-raising, death-defeating God.
Why do you trust God?