Dear Friends,
As we approach Easter, it is so good to be reminded of the truths which are
right at the heart of our faith that bring joy and certainty, the hope of Easter. We
all face death and grief in countless ways. We all face the temptations of sin and
the condemnation by God which sin brings. Yet in Jesus Christ we have one who
has dealt with the condemnation from God that we deserve by dying in our place
and has brought life to all who believe in Him. This should fill our hearts with
praise and joy, whatever we are facing. We have a living hope, if we are believers,
as Peter reminds us: “Praise be to the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ! In
his great mercy he has given us new birth into a living hope through the resurrection
of Jesus Christ from the dead and into an inheritance which can never perish spoil or
fade, kept in heaven for you who through faith are shielded by God’s power until the
coming of the salvation that is ready to be revealed in the last time. In this you
greatly rejoice, though now you may have had to suffer grief in all kinds of trials.
These have come so that your faith, of greater worth than gold, which perishes
though refined by fire, my be proved genuine and result in praise glory and honour
when Jesus Christ is revealed.” 1 Peter 1:3-7. What wonderful words! They remind
us that the Christian life is fundamentally about what God has done for us. He has
given us new birth as we have been considering of late. He has given us a living
hope, through the resurrection of Jesus Christ. He has given us an inheritance that
can never perish spoil or fade. He shields us with his power, not from the trials and
griefs of life, but in them, so that our faith is refined for our glory (and his also,
because he has done all this) when he is revealed. So, as we approach Easter and all
its celebrations, let us remind ourselves of these joys. As Peter continues “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, for you are
receiving the goal of your faith, the salvation of your souls.” 8-9. This inexpressible
and glorious joy can go hand in hand with grief and trials. It is a joy that springs
from our love for him, a knowledge that even through grief and trials, we are
receiving salvation. The resurrection is not only an event in history, its effects are
experienced throughout our lives as the resurrection power of Jesus brings us to
new birth, gives us a living hope, keeps us going through trials and enables us to see
his work in our souls! But maybe we need to pray for a deeper understanding of
this? As Paul puts it “I pray also that the eyes of your heart may be enlightened in
order that you may know the hope to which he has called you, the riches of his
glorious in heritance in the saints and his incomparable great power for us who
believe. That power is like the working of his mighty strength which he exerted in
Christ when he raised him from the dead….” Ephesians 1:18-20. May we be those
who can see that the resurrection power of God is not only something we celebrate
as an historical event, but as a present reality, through trials, to open our eyes to
our inheritance, our home in heaven, our living hope, the joy of his life in us. May
this be our prayer for each other this Easter season.
With love in Him, John Parker

CategoryWelcome Letter
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