Dear Brothers and Sisters,
The Fruits of the Spirit and Hope have been a theme in our messages over the past year. As we finish up the spring holy days, we naturally start to think about the fall days now, where the we have an opportunity to 'sample' the inheritance God has in store for those that love Him and keep His commandments.
As we consider this gospel, or good news, we can consider the words of Peter, as he wrote a letter to the congregations he pastored:
It is this salvation the prophets spoke to you, and the grace that would come to you. It is to us that they were ministering the gospel that has been preached to you by those inspired by the Holy Spirit, sent from heaven.
Therefore, be careful to pay attention and take seriously these words, and rest your hope fully on the grace that is to be brought to you at the revelation of Jesus Christ. Do not conform yourselves to the former lusts, as in your ignorance, but as He who called you is holy, you also be holy in all your conduct, because it is written, "Be holy, for I am holy."
As the Father will judge us without partiality, conduct yourselves throughout the time of your stay here in fear, knowing that you were not redeemed with corruptible things, like silver or gold, from our aimless, conduct received by tradition from your fathers, but with the precious blood of the Christ, as of a lamb without blemish and without spot. (I Peter 1:10-19, paraphrased)
In this letter Peter indicates to the church that we have a great opportunity to understand God's words now, and that our understanding of His Word gives us access to the knowledge of His plan, which gives us tremendous hope for the future, as we know the truth that there is much more to this life than just the here and now.
In fact, this life is truly a preparation for the next. The knowledge, wisdom, and character we develop in this live is to serve each other now, yet also to prepare for the time when we will be united with Christ as part of the Family of God!
He also reminds us that we should have tremendous respect, or fear, for God, who will ultimately hold us to account for what we have done with our time and the knowledge that He has given us. The penalty for our sins was not paid with money, but with the precious blood of our Lord Jesus Christ.
The bottom line is that this knowledge changes us. It changes our priorities, it changes how we interact with each other, and it changes what we value. We strive to become like our elder brother, knowing what He gave for us. Let's live every day with this in mind! Let's be diligent to do our best before God in everything we do and conduct ourselves according to the words that we have been blessed to understand!
Your brother in Christ,