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					                                            The Outcome of Your Faith
                                                                     I Peter 1:9
HI: Christ guarantees the outcome of our faith – the eternal salvation of our souls
Intro Renowned Greek Scholar traveling on train, asked by zealous young Christian “Are you saved?”
He responded “Young lady, I was saved, I am now being saved and I will be forever saved”
I. Differentiating between salvation and Salvation
     A. Several months ago in v.5, we looked at Peter’s announcement of “a salvation ready to be
        revealed in the last time.” You may recall a distinction I drew between the occasional small-s
        salvations experienced by God’s people – at the Red Sea, for instance – and the big-S
        salvation purchased by Christ upon Calvary. The view I preached was that Peter was
        communicating a promise that was ready to be fulfilled in the first century to suffering
        Christians – believers whose world seemed to be crashing down around them. God will save
        you from all of the persecution you face, as surely as He saved Moses and the Israelites from
        Pharaoh and the armies of Egypt. We had some good discussion afterwards in adult Sunday
        School about this distinction – a discussion which even touched at one point on v.9 and the
        phrase “salvation of your souls.” Now while you might expect our treatment of v.9 to be a
        variation on the theme of v.5, I want to suggest that it really stands in direct contrast to what
        we saw there. It is, I believe, the difference between “a salvation” and “the Salvation” – small s
        vs. big S. Now I know that some may wonder “why”? Have I become convinced that I was
        previously wrong and need to retract and recant? Not at all! But rather, I think we’re seeing in
        Peter’s epistle a very subtle point that Jesus earlier made in His Olivette discourse in Matthew
        24 – that there is a distinction and a difference between the temporal and the eternal –
        between the proximate and the ultimate. So what Peter heard The Teacher say, he now
        repeats for his own audience.
     B. Now in order to understand this, let me pose a problem that afflicted not only the twelve
        disciples, and troubled the early church, but still bothers people today. The problem is this –
        fallen men with their sin-warped minds can and do often confuse God’s temporal judgments
        with God’s final and ultimate Judge at the end of history. You might dub this “Chicken Little
        Syndrome” – an outbreak of temporal judgment against a particularly wicked person, or
        culture, or society and suddenly the world is coming to an end. For some reason, man is not
        able to easily distinguish between the end of a nation, for instance, and the end of history.
        Take our own experience as an example. Could you imagine if the United States collapsed
        and suddenly was no more? If one morning you woke up and there was no more Washington
        DC, no more Good Morning America, no more NFL playoff games? Could you imagine if
        suddenly Walmart and McDonalds and the Shell Station on the corner – all gone? What if the
        major cities were instantaneously obliterated – Detroit, Chicago, New York – all gone! And
        what if your job vanished with it? And if you had neither home nor transportation, wouldn’t
        you be tempted to think the world had basically come to an end? As far as I know, not even
        the most drastic Y2K scenarios envisioned such a complete eclipse of America-as-we-know-it.
        Yet I think there are a good number of people in our generation who would immediately
        conclude that the end of America equaled the end of time and history.
     C. Such confusion was obvious among Jesus’ disciples prior to his crucifixion. And so Jesus
        carefully delineates between what will happen “in those days” – days of judgment and God’s
        vengeance on covenant breaking Israel – and what would happen “in that Day” – the great and
        awesome Day of the Lord at the end of history. Judgment on Jerusalem was not the final
        judgment day, and Jesus wanted his disciples to understand that distinction clearly. And, I
        think, Peter is here in these verses addressing that same distinction. There is a difference
        between the temporal salvations of God and the Ultimate Salvation of God. They are both
        real, they are both legitimate, and they are both important to understand and appreciate. God
        saves His people in this life from rascals like Pharaoh, and God saves his people for all
        eternity from sin, from death and from the wrath which we so rightly deserve.
II. The Importance of Temporal salvation
  A. And so I think it is important for us to understand temporal salvation – “s” salvation. The
     occasional temporal salvations provided by God for his faithful people show us a number of
     very important things about God and about His world. Let’s think about the salvation promised
     and delivered at the Red Sea as an example. What does that event teach us? Well, first, it
     tells us that God is intimately involved in time and space – he’s not the distant watchmaker of
     the Deists – detached from the everyday events of His creation. Rather, God is intimately
     involved in history – in our history – yea, in our lives. Not a hair falls from your head without
     his full and perfect knowledge – in fact, He caused it to fall when it did and where it did. And if
     God superintends your hair loss, how much more is He involved in the affairs of men and
     nations. Remember that it was God who told Moses where Israel should camp – before Pi-
     Hahiroth, between Migdol and the Red Sea. And it was God who hardened wicked Pharaoh’s
     heart, stirring up the Egyptians to pursue the Israelites. Moreover, this story teaches us God’s
     sovereignty over the circumstances. He brought the Egyptians right up to the Israelites, but
     then intervened between the two camps with His glory-cloud. Thus the angel of the Lord kept
     the Egyptians at Bay throughout the night. That was God protecting His people and frustrating
     the wicked Egyptians. God’s actions also display His power over the natural elements – He
     caused the sea to divide and wind to blow all night so that His people could walk through on
     dry ground. And after all of the Israelites were safely through the Sea, and after He had driven
     the Egyptians into the heart of the Sea, God caused confusion amongst the Egyptians, He
     caused their chariot wheels to swerve and made them drive with difficulty, and then He caused
     the waters of the sea to come crashing down upon their heads – killing ever single last one of
     Pharaoh’s hosts. And not only did the Lord bring about a complete and total defeat of the
     Egyptians, He sovereignly used this temporal salvation to teach His people a lesson. As they
     saw His great power, and as they witnessed the Egyptian dead on the seashore, they feared
     the Lord. They believed in Him and they sang His praise. You see, God was using a temporal
     salvation to confront the faithlessness of His rebellious people and to evoke faith and worship.
     One other aspect of temporal salvation that I think is important to note – God uses temporal
     deliverance to teach us about the ultimate Salvation provided by Him in Christ’s death,
     resurrection and ascension. It is an object lesson to move the eyes of our hearts from this
     world to the next – from the temporal to the eternal.
III. The Real Outcome of our faith – Eternal Salvation.
  A. And this is what Peter is really driving at in v.9 – the real outcome of our faith, namely, the
     eternal and ultimate salvation of our souls. I think there can be no doubt that this verse speaks
     to Big “S” salvation. For if this is only a temporal salvation in v. 9, then the outcome of our faith
     is merely the saving of our skins. Then Paul’s conclusion in I Cor 15 applies – if we only have
     hope for this life, we are of all men to be most pitied. But Peter affirms what Paul also
     concludes – our hope is for both this life and the next. And so Peter’s message is that you live
     life not in vain. Rather, there is a glorious goal – a grand purpose to it all. The End, or the
     outcome of your faith is nothing less than your eternal salvation, the saving of your soul. And
     this is our comfort, is it not – that no matter how much persecution I face in this world, God will
     save my soul. No matter how often I’m mocked as a religious zealot – God will save my soul.
     Yea, if I am called upon to give up my very life for the faith, as so many martyrs have in days
     goneby, God will still save my soul – as surely as He saved them.
  B. And so the outlook for the Christian is bright, is it not? We are called into fellowship with God’s
     Son, our Lord Jesus Christ. And although He may lead us through the furnaces of affliction, he
     promises grace and small “s” salvations to get me through this vale of tears. And then, having
     lived a life of service to my faithful Lord, I will hear His “Well done, good and faithful servant.
     Enter into your Master’s happiness”, and our glorified bodies and our purified souls will spend
     all eternity under the shadow of His wing. And so no wonder we have an inexpressibly
     glorious joy – no wonder we can rejoice in the midst of difficulty – God will save us now & ever

				
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