It is one thing to have a lot of biblical knowledge about what God is going to do in the future, it is another to have that knowledge shape your entire way of looking at the world.
What does it look like to fix your hope on the grace to be brought to you at the revelation of Jesus Christ?
There’s a sense in which the whole book of 1 Peter is basically written to answer that very question actually.
It is like an exposition of what it means to fix your hope on the return of Christ.
Throughout this letter you find seven characteristics of the person whose eschatology is making a difference in their life.
* 1 Peter 1:3
He thinks great thoughts about God even in the middle of profound personal difficulties.
Let me ask you a question.
What if God told you that you were going to be martyred? How would that affect your view of God?
He told Peter just that.
And look here, steady.
Blessed be God.
Because of his hope.
His view of what God was going to do in the future was so big, it made even profound, real, intense suffering look small.
* 1 Peter 1:6
His whole life is characterized by an overwhelming glorious joy.
It is not that he is without pain.
It is not that he is without suffering.
It is that, that stuff doesn’t dominate him. What dominates him is joy.
Glorious, inexpressible joy.
* 1 Peter 2:11,12
He keeps on doing what is right even when it is not popular.
In the day of visitation, so that is a purpose, keep your behavior excellent so that, in other words as people slander you, the person whose hope is really fixed, he keeps on doing good even when he is slandered because he doesn’t just look at the moment, he looks to the return of Christ and responds in such a way that over the course of his life people are actually changed by his response.
* 1 Peter 3:8,9
The person whose eschatology affects his life, he consistently overcomes evil with good. He is not returning evil, for a reason and that reason has to do with his hope, that he might inherit a blessing in the end.
* 1 Peter 3:15
When a person’s hope is fixed, he often has other people asking him about the hope that is inside of him. Other people actually see it.
* 1 Peter 5:1-4
He is talking to elders. He begins by reminding them of glory, then he gives them practical instructions, and then he closes verse 4 with motivation, the glory that is to come. He is saying hope is to affect us all the way down to leadership style. Specifically the person who has his eschatology right, is freed up from being authoritative or greedy.
* 1 Peter 5:6-11
To the congregation in general. The people whose hope is really fixed have strength to endure persecution and stand firm faith under attack.
And you know the amazing thing is that it is just Peter, I ran through the New Testament this week and marked down nine other ways that what we believe about eschatology is supposed to affect us.
It seems like it is everywhere.
* Fixing our hope causes us to keep on doing the right thing even when it seems pointless.
1 Corinthians 15:58
“Therefore, my beloved brethren, be steadfast, immovable, always abounding in the work of the Lord, knowing that your toil in the Lord is not in vain.”
* Fixing our hope changes the way we perform religious duties like giving, praying and fasting.
“Beware of practicing your righteousness before men to be noticed by them; otherwise you have no reward with your Father who is in heaven.
“When you give alms, do not let your left hand know what your right hand is doing that your alms may be in secret and your Father who sees in secret will repay you.”
* Fixing our hope changes where we are putting our treasures.
“Do not lay up for yourselves treasures upon earth, where moth and rust destroy, and where thieves do not break in or steal; but lay up for yourselves treasures in heaven, where neither moth nor rust destroys, and where thieves do not break in and steal.”
* Fixing our hope causes us to stop being hyper-critical of those in leadership.
1 Corinthians 4:5
“Therefore, do not go on passing judgment before the time, but wait until the Lord comes who will both bring to light the things hidden in the darkness and disclose the motives of men’s hearts; and then each man’s praise will come from the Lord.”
* Fixing our hope changes who we go to for help when there are problems in relationships with the church.
1 Corinthians 6:1-3
“Does any one of you, when he has a case against his neighbor, dare to go to law before the unrighteous, and not before the saints? Or do you not know that the saints will judge the world? And if the world is judged by you, are you not competent to constitute the smallest law courts? Do you not know that we shall judge angels? How much more, matters of this life?”
* Fixing our hope makes us work hard at being pure.
2 Peter 3:14, 1 John 3:3
“Everyone who has this hope fixed on him, purifies Himself, just as He is pure.”
* Fixing our hope causes us to rejoice when we are insulted for Jesus’ sake.
“Blessed are you when men hate you, and ostracize you, and cast insults at you, and spurn your name as evil, for the sake of the Son of Man. Be glad in that day and leap for joy for behold your reward is great in heaven.”
* Fixing our hope changes the way we respond to injustices in our lives.
It produces patience.
He’s talking to individuals who have been abused by their rich employers and he says,
“You too be patient, strengthen your hearts, for the coming of the Lord is at hand.”
* Fixing our hope changes the way we respond to aging and the decaying of our bodies.
2 Corinthians 4:16ff
“Therefore we do not lose heart, but though our outer man is decaying, yet our inner man is being renewed day by day. For momentary light affliction is producing for us an eternal weight of glory beyond all comparison.”
And that’s just the New Testament. That’s nine ways eschatology should affect the way we are currently living, just from the New Testament. If we turned from Peter and the rest of the New Testament to look at the Old Testament prophets to discover what it looks like to fix our hope on the coming salvation that Jesus the Messiah is going to bring, we’d probably be here all night.
All this stuff that Peter’s told us about, the stuff we believe about the return of Jesus Christ, what He is going to do when He returns, it is supposed to make a difference, “therefore fix your hope completely on the grace to brought to you at the revelation of Jesus Christ” and when we start getting specific about what it actually looks like to fix your hope on what God is going to do we see that is not just some sort of airy fairy cliché, but a down to earth reality that should change everything about us.