February 11, 2022
1 Peter 1:8-9 NIV
8 Though you have not seen him, you love him; and even though you do not see him now, you believe in him and are filled with an inexpressible and glorious joy, 9 for you are receiving the end result of your faith, the salvation of your souls.
8 Though you have not seen him, . . . True.
you love him; . . . True
even though you do not see him now, you believe in him. . . True
and are filled with an inexpressible and glorious joy, . . . hmmmm
Why the hesitation on that last one? I mean, inexpressible and glorious joy—that is over the top. This is the common inheritance of every follower of Jesus and yet is a quite uncommon reality. When is the last time you saw someone who was carrying an inexpressible and glorious joy? When is the last time you felt this experience? Why is this? It comes down to the next verse:
9 for you are receiving the end result of your faith, the salvation of your souls.
In the present age, the vast majority of Christians do not have a biblical understanding of salvation. We tend to see salvation as something that happened in the past which will insure something that will happen in the future (i.e. going to heaven). This understanding is not entirely wrong; just woefully incomplete. So what is the biblical understanding of salvation?
We have been saved. We are being saved. We will be saved. And there we have the first, second, and third halves of the gospel (see what I did there?). Most Christians only have a first half and third half of the gospel understanding. Salvation was something that happened in their past, when they walked an aisle or got baptized or raised their hand. They got saved. They have a forensic or legal grasp of the gospel. It is salvation as transaction. And the first half of the gospel transaction guarantees the third half of the gospel transition into heaven when they die.
Salvation is a past event. Salvation is a future event. But the missing link for most Christians is the notion of salvation as a present and ongoing experience. It is this present experience that leads to being filled with an inexpressible and glorious joy. Salvation in the past inspires gratitude. Salvation in the future inspires hope. Gratitude and hope, great as they are, do not rise to the extraordinary level of inexpressible and glorious joy. It is salvation in the present in the midst of the vicissitudes of life that fills one with inexpressible and glorious joy. The text points us to salvation as a present and ongoing experience as the source of the inexpressible and glorious joy. See for yourself:
and are filled with an inexpressible and glorious joy for you are receiving the end result of your faith, the salvation of your souls.
He didn’t say “received” nor did he say “will receive.” He said “are receiving.” It’s why the second half of the gospel is the linch pin of the whole gospel. The “end result” of the initial transaction is actually being pulled back from the future into the present moment. It is the lived experience of “on earth as it is in heaven.” The second half of the gospel is the right here, right now, supernaturally abiding presence of Jesus Christ in us. This is the mystery and the miracle mostly missing from the life of the average Christian. No-one has taught and trained us in the transformational realism of what it means to continuously be saved—to receive the sanctifying grace of Jesus rather than the slavish striving to change our behavior and manage our appearance. This is the second half of the gospel.
Peter, through his letters, is going to coach us up into the second half of the gospel. That’s where we are headed.
Jesus, you are the Messiah, the Son of the Living God. I want this inexpressible and glorious joy. I am thankful for the forgiveness of my sins. I am confident in an eternal future with you in Heaven and later in the New Creation. But what I want most of all is to know you more today, to live and move and have my being in you; to be filled by the Holy Spirit with all the fullness of joy. Yes, Jesus, I am saved. I will be saved. But the inexpressible and glorious joy is that I am right here and right now being saved completely and to the uttermost. Yes, Father, more of this. Praying in Jesus’ name, Amen.
So are you seeing it? The first half, the second half, and the third half of the gospel? Are you grasping the essential and yet largely missing link of the second half of the gospel?
For the Awakening,