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From Fear to Fulfillment

1 Peter 1:3
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, (NIV)

What a relief to be free! For the released prisoner, it brings hope of a new future; for the guilty conscience, forgiveness lifts the shame and the fearful shadow of punishment. Peter was writing from personal experience. He had disowned his relationship with Jesus, cursing and swearing that he did not even know Jesus (Mark 14:66-72). But Peter knew that Jesus died to cover his sins as well as ours. And after the resurrection the Lord showed mercy to Peter, trusting him again to work for God's kingdom (John 21:15-22).

God's mercy does not come because he thinks our sins are insignificant: He is merciful because our sins, which were such a problem, can be totally forgiven because Jesus has been punished instead of us. Everybody who admits their sins and trusts in the sacrifice of Jesus for them - will receive God's mercy along with His forgiveness, pardon and release from a guilty conscience (Hebrews 10:22). Although most Christians know what they have been saved from (God's wrath and hell to come), many do not know what they have been saved to. Peter explains that there is a whole new life to be lived and future to be won.

Christ's resurrection is God's guarantee of a new tomorrow. Jesus conquered death, so death can no longer have the last word. Jesus' new life assures us that those who are born again have already started their eternal life with Him. The 'hope' of the Christian is not just a vague wistfulness that things might get better - but a confidence that every day we are secure in Jesus, until we meet Him and He rewards our faithfulness. Your friends and colleagues, who do not know Christ, cannot enjoy this freedom from guilty fear or the glorious prospect of all that heaven holds. As we give thanks for God's mercy to us, we need to pray for our friends at work - that they will also welcome God's invitation to receive His mercy.

Dear Father God. Thank you for releasing me from a guilty conscience as I trust in Christ's sacrifice for me. Help me to leave the past behind and to look forward to enjoying my life with You today, and every day, forever. Please fill me with Your joy which puts the little worries into perspective; and give me a prayerful heart to see Your mercy welcomed by my friends too. For Christ's sake, Amen
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© Dr Paul Adams