Last week, the home group that meets in my home were studying 1 Peter chapter 1. We are going real slow, trying to meditate on every sentence and truth together.
What one person misses, another observes, and together we "teach and admonish one another" (Colossians 3:16).
This week one verses stood out:
"Set your hope fully on the grace to be given to you when Jesus Christ is revealed." (1 Peter 1:13)
Place your hope on heaven
We are tempted and prone to set our hope on many things. Perhaps it's the answer to a particular prayer, perhaps it's the resolution of a family problem, perhaps it is the end of some kind of suffering, perhaps it's the prospect of a relationship to end loneliness - the list is endless.
All of these are understandable hopes, but Peter exhorts us to set our hope FULLY on heaven - the grace that we will one day receive in the fullest measure in heaven.
That requires a real big dollop of mental effort and faith! To continually divert our natural tendency to hope in earthly things, up ten gears to heavenly things.
Heaven is Christ
But what really struck me at our home group and has followed me around all week, is the next thing Peter writes. He says that heaven is when Christ is revealed. The joy of heaven, the reward of heaven, the centre of heaven is the revelation of Jesus Christ.
We, again, get things wrong so often. We imagine heaven to be about a perfect new powerful body, about perfect peace, about lack of suffering - and all those things are true.
But supremely, heaven is a revelation of Jesus Christ in all his gracious glory, his love, his righteousness, his power, his sovereign rule.
This must be the hope that dominates our minds when we look the future. All other hopes must play second fiddle, all other visions subservient: heaven is Christ.
Face to face with Christ, my Saviour,
Face to face—what will it be,
When with rapture I behold Him,
Jesus Christ who died for me?
Face to face I shall behold Him,
Far beyond the starry sky;
Face to face in all His glory,
I shall see Him by and by!
Only faintly now, I see Him,
With the darkling veil between,
But a blessed day is coming,
When His glory shall be seen.
What rejoicing in His presence,
When are banished grief and pain;
When the crooked ways are straightened,
And the dark things shall be plain.
Face to face! O blissful moment!
Face to face—to see and know;
Face to face with my Redeemer,
Jesus Christ who loves me so.