DID YOU KNOW THAT most newspapers use to announce astounding news on the
front page is called "second coming" type. That large, black, heavy type
is reserved only for the most amazing and extraordinary news such as the
second coming of Christ. The end of World War II was proclaimed with
this type. The assassination of John F. Kennedy and the shooting of
Ronald Reagan was declared with "second coming" type. Many great events
have been heralded with this bold headline.
One of these days, the event for which this type is named will occur.
Jesus will come again just as He promised in John 14:1-3. No type will
be set, and no headlines will be read, for it all will be burned up. In
fact, there will be no need for the newspapers to herald His coming for
"every eye shall see Him" (Revelation 1:7). It will be a horrible day
for some. They will call for the rocks and mountains to fall on them and
hide them from the wrath of God (Revelation 6:16). To the saved, it will
be a wonderful day, for they will hear the Lord say, "Well done...enter
into the joys of thy Lord" (Matthew 25:21).
It was to this day the apostle Peter was referring when he said in 1
Peter 1:7-9, "That the trial of your faith, being much more precious
than of gold that perisheth, though it be tried with fire, might be
found unto praise and honour and glory at the appearing of Jesus Christ:
Whom having not seen, ye love; in whom, though now ye see him not, yet
believing, ye rejoice with joy unspeakable and full of glory: Receiving
the end of your faith, even the salvation of your souls." When Jesus
comes again, our joy will be full and our reward will be great. Is that
all there is to the end (or purpose) of our faith? Just pie in the sky
in the sweet by and by? No, and Peter gives us some ends of our faith in
the text. At least six things are suggested in this text.
FAITH IS THE MECHANISM OF OUR CHRISTIAN LIFE
Peter talks about the "trial of your faith" and "receiving the end of
your faith." Our relationship with God is based on faith. We are saved
by faith (Romans 5:1). We are sustained by faith (1 Peter 1:5). The
Hebrew writer tells us that faith stands under our hope and is the proof
of the things we cannot see (Hebrews 11:1). Yes, faith is the mechanism
that drives our Christian life.
JOY IS THE FRUIT OF THE CHRISTIAN LIFE
Peter says, "we rejoice with joy unspeakable and full of glory." Jesus
said that the joy He gives is a "joy no man taketh from you" (John
16:22). This joy is not just "having fun," although it doesn't exclude
it, but it is a joy so deep and satisfying that it is present even in
the time of difficulties. It is something bubbling up from within that
says, "It's good to be a Christian!" It is like having a "good time"
going on inside of our very being all the time. This is the fruit of the
Spirit (Galatians 5:22) and part of the "abundant life" (John 10:10).
But our joy will be complete only when Jesus returns (1 Thessalonians
LOVE IS THE MOTIVE FORCE OF THE CHRISTIAN LIFE
Peter says, "Whom having not seen, ye love." It is love for Christ that
motivates us to live for the Lord so that we will be ready when He
comes. Paul said in 2 Corinthians 5:14 that "the love of Christ
constraineth us." Love is the compelling motive for all the Christian
does. Love proceeds from faith (1 Timothy 1:5). Faith and love work hand
in hand. Paul informs us that the faith that avails is a "faith which
worketh by love" (Galatians 5:6). It is our love for Christ that causes
us to "love His appearing" (2 Timothy 4:8), and only those who love the
appearing of Jesus will be ready when He returns.
HOPE IS THE CONFIDENCE OF THE CHRISTIAN LIFE
It is hope that causes us to "rejoice with joy unspeakable" as we look
to the "end of our faith." Paul calls the Father "the God of hope" in
Romans 15:13, and he prays that "ye may abound in hope, through the
power of the Holy Ghost." He further says that we are saved by hope
(Romans 8:24). Hope sustains us today. But Hope will culminate in sight
when He comes again. All will be right when He returns if we are found
faithful to Him.
TRANSFORMATION IS THE PRODUCT OF THE CHRISTIAN LIFE
This the purpose of the trial of our faith - that we "might be found
unto praise and honour and glory at the appearing of Jesus Christ." Paul
urges, "Be not conformed to this world: but be ye transformed by the
renewing of your mind, that ye may prove what is that good, and
acceptable, and perfect, will of God" (Romans 12:2). He says that God
predestined that we "be conformed to the image of his Son" (Romans
8:29). Then in 2 Corinthians 3:18, he states, "But we all, with open
face beholding as in a glass the glory of the Lord, are changed into the
same image from glory to glory, even as by the
Spirit of the Lord."
The word "transformed" comes from the Greek word metamorphoo which means
"to change into another form." The word "metamorphosis" is derived from
this word, which is the process by which an ugly caterpillar changes
into a beautiful butterfly. The Christian experiences a metamorphosis
into the beautiful image of Christ. And he does so "from glory to
glory," which suggests that our transformation is progressive. It does
not happen all at once, but gradually. And transformation comes by
"beholding," which suggests contemplation and meditation, not just a
momentary glance. When we behold His glory as it is revealed in the
mirror of His word, we are gradually changed "into the same image from
glory to glory." But when He comes again we will have complete
transformation then (1 John 3:1-3).
SALVATION OF OUR SOULS IS THE END (PURPOSE) OF THE CHRISTIAN LIFE
Peter says, "receiving the end of your faith, even the salvation of your
souls." Salvation is the message of the Bible from beginning to end. God
is the God of our salvation. In the Old Testament it takes a physical
form. First as salvation from Egyptian captivity, then salvation from
sundry enemies, then salvation from Babylonian captivity, or in the
Psalms and in Job as salvation from personal troubles. In the New
Testament, salvation becomes salvation from sin and its punishment. As
Zacharias prophesied concerning the Messiah, "To give knowledge of
salvation unto his people by the remission of their sins" (Luke 1:77).
We have this salvation today (2 Corinthians 6:2), but we will have it
completely when Jesus comes again. "So Christ was once offered to bear
the sins of many; and unto them that look for him shall he appear the
second time without sin unto salvation (Heb 9:28).
A special word was on the lips of First Century Christians. It was
Maranatha (1 Corinthians 16:22), which means "Lord come." They looked
forward with eager anticipation to the second coming of Christ. Their
desire was, "Even so come Lord Jesus." One day mankind will witness the
great event for which the "second coming" type was named for - the
return of Jesus Christ. Then we will receive the complete end of our
faith, the salvation of our souls. May we say with the apostle Paul, "I
know whom I have believed, and am persuaded that he is able to keep that
which I have committed unto him against that day" (2 Timothy 1:12).