Recently I posted a few thoughts regarding "telos", a word with a rich background in the search for purpose/meaning of what we're doing here on this planet and life. The "purpose/outcome/result/goal" word has come up once again in this past week's Scripture, 1Peter 1:3-9.
This time, it is not the "end/result" of a specific path over against another. Verse 9 highlights the "telos" of our faith. This is a pretty important declaration, for several reasons. It's can also be a humbling/uncomfortable verse for us to read openly.
If we look at churches in Western Christianity, and asked "What is the perceived Goal of our faith?", we would probably get some answers that make us shift in our seats. Influence, power, financial well-being, name recognition, growth in numbers, self-preservation, and oh yes...saving us from hell, and tickets to heaven.
But I didn't intend to critique the Bride of Christ here, plenty of other sources/books out there currently can do that. Much of it is needed and helpful, as long as we are being pointed in a healthy/new direction. I think the only "goal" in the above list that we may hear embraced out loud would be the goal of "going to Heaven someday" as the purpose of our faith.
Verse 9 declares "..you are receiving the goal of your faith, the salvation of your souls." It does not say "You will receive...", or even "You have received...". So what is being spoken of here? This entire chapter seems wrapped up in a few messages to encourage those believers being persecuted in Asia Minor:
1. God has some great and eternal things in store for us. (salvation)
2. Through the resurrection of Jesus Christ, we share in a taste of those things even now. (salvation)
3. Sharing in these things now is not automatic/passive, but requires faith and obedience, resourced/enabled by the Spirit of Christ that we have received. (salvation)
On the path to a wedding, there are many celebrations that occur. Wedding showers are awesome, and any young couple that has traveled the aisles at Target with a laser gun knows how much fun it can be. But no matter how many showers you have, or how incredible the gifts you receive at them are, a wedding shower is nothing compared to a wedding reception.
We are the bride of Christ. We believe someday there will be a coming together of heaven and earth like never before. The celebration that will take place, and "inheritance" we will receive is indescribable. But while we wait, we have weekly "wedding showers". We journey toward that wedding day, reflecting two who desire to become one.
We are freed from the confines, powers and bindings of a selfish lover. The world that whispers how great things can be, and makes promises of wealth, security, happiness, and power...even when these things occur, they are found to be empty. We are receiving the goal of our faith - the salvation of our souls. The tastes of our ultimate inheritance.
The question is...do you wait for the wedding day to realize all of the shower gifts you could've opened? Will we live as someone who is receiving the salvation of our souls even today?
A Song For the Lent Season
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