As I struggle with all these emotions (and more), I think about a passage I read in 1 Peter a week ago.
3 Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ! According to his great mercy, he has caused us to be born again to a living hope through the resurrection of Jesus Christ from the dead, 4 to an inheritance that is imperishable, undefiled, and unfading, kept in heaven for you, 5 who by God's power are being guarded through faith for a salvation ready to be revealed in the last time. 6 In this you rejoice, though now for a little while, if necessary, you have been grieved by various trials, 7 so that the tested genuineness of your faith—more precious than gold that perishes though it is tested by fire—may be found to result in praise and glory and honor at the revelation of Jesus Christ. ~~1 Peter 1:3-7 (ESV)While I put my attention mainly on verses 6-7 by trying to rejoice in the way Christ will use this current trial to prove that my trust in Him is genuine, I recognize that the rejoicing shouldn't be in the trial itself. Rather, Peter calls me, along with all of his Christian readers, to rejoice because our trials will give us assurance of our heavenly inheritance. And that inheritance results from being regenerated, or born again.
Peter specifies that our new birth comes through Christ's resurrection. Interestingly, I'd planned to continue my series on the Gospel by introducing the doctrine of the resurrection today, but didn't quite know where to begin. How could I explain the significance of Christ's resurrection in relation to the basic Gospel message?
Thinking about relating Christ's resurrection to the Gospel overwhelmed me this morning.Throughout my Christian life, I've always believed that Christ physically rose from the dead, even leaving my childhood church because the minister said it didn't matter whether people believe Jesus rose from the dead literally or figuratively. I've always known that faith in His literal resurrection marks legitimate Christianity. But I have difficulty articulating the specific role His resurrection plays in the Gospel.
Over my next few posts, I'll discuss a few implications of Christ's resurrection, but I praise God that my struggle over my PCA situation drew my attention back to 1 Peter 1:3-7. The connection between His resurrection and the believer's new life gives me a starting point. As His blood puts our sin to death, so His resurrection brings us into a new life as God's children.
As God's daughter, I anticipate an inheritance of eternity with Jesus, forever gazing on His glory and worshiping Him without distraction. That wonderful promise encourages me as I go through all the frustrations of advertizing, interviewing and training the endless parade of PCAs. Yes, I react imperfectly, allowing myself fits of self-pity and wishing Christ would take me Home. As I age, it all gets harder and my weariness increases. Yet I know that the risen Lord wants to purify my faith through this trial, preparing me for my eternal inheritance.