Let me focus in for a moment on Simon Peter, one of the key disciples surrounding Jesus. You may know the story by heart in which Peter asserted that He would never dessert the Lord Jesus, to which Jesus replied, “Before the cock crows, you will have denied me three times.” Sure enough, Peter forsook his allegiance to the Lord Jesus and denied Him, even cursing, to distance Himself from the cross.
For Peter, the story didn’t end there. There was a time of restoration and healing. Two elements would dominate Peter’s life for the rest of his existence. First, healing now. Second, hope forever!
Let’s listen to the heart of one man who was radically changed by the first Easter… one man who would never be the same again…
Healing Now… (1 Pet. 2:23-25)
The Cross is a death sentence to sin’s penalty. This happens the moment I receive Christ as Savior.
“So then, as through one trespass there is condemnation for everyone, so also through one righteous act there is life-giving justification for everyone.” Romans 5:18 (HCSB)
The Cross is a death sentence to sin’s power. This happens over my lifetime as a Christian.
“A new power is in operation. The Spirit of life in Christ, like a strong wind, has magnificently cleared the air, freeing you from a fated lifetime of brutal tyranny at the hands of sin and death.” Romans 8:2 (Msg)
The Cross is a death sentence to sin’s presence. This happens when I go to heaven someday.
“O wretched man that I am! who shall deliver me from the body of this death? I thank God through Jesus Christ our Lord…” Romans 7:24-25 (KJV)
Sin, in the Christian’s life hangs around, affecting our present life.
Thankfully, Paul makes it clear that we’ll eventually be glorified and removed completely from the presence of sin altogether!
Hope Forever. (1 Pet. 1:3-9)
We have the hope of an inheritance we don’t deserve.
“Lay up for yourselves treasures in heaven, where neither moth nor rust destroys and where thieves do not break in and steal.” Matt. 6:20 (NKJV)
We have the hope of a protection we desperately need. The word “kept” in this passage is a word that refers to a garrison of soldiers lining the inside of a city’s walls. If the enemy ever broke through at any point, the entire garrison would rush to the weak spot. This is how the Holy Spirit protects us.
We have the hope that our suffering makes sense. The “testing” of our faith refines it and purifies it. We are prepared for the throne-room judgment by suffering.
We have the hope of a real and everlasting joy. Peter proclaims that we receive from the Lord an inexpressible joy. We ought to simply be bubbling over with excitement about our new life in Christ. Peter also gives the basis of this joy – a rock-solid relationship with Jesus Christ.
“The Spirit of the Lord GOD is upon Me, Because the LORD has anointed Me To preach good tidings to the poor; He has sent Me to heal the brokenhearted, To proclaim liberty to the captives, And the opening of the prison to those who are bound; To proclaim the acceptable year of the LORD, And the day of vengeance of our God; To comfort all who mourn, To console those who mourn in Zion, To give them beauty for ashes, The oil of joy for mourning, The garment of praise for the spirit of heaviness; That they may be called trees of righteousness, The planting of the LORD, that He may be glorified.” Isaiah 61:1-3 (NKJV)
Is there joy in your life today? Do you know you have a precious inheritance waiting for you? Why not have healing today? Why not have hope forever?