Christian Privilege

Christians enjoy many privileges.  But one we don’t often think of is where we are at in salvation history.  We live in light of the fact that Christ has come, paid our penalty for sin, resurrected, ascended, and who now sits at the right hand of the Father interceding on our behalf.  1 Peter 1:10-12 says,

Concerning this salvation, the prophets who prophesied about the grace that was to be yours searched and inquired carefully,
inquiring what person or time the Spirit of Christ in them was indicating when he predicted the sufferings of Christ and the subsequent glories.

It was revealed to them that they were serving not themselves but you, in the things that have now been announced to you through those who preached the good news to you by the Holy Spirit sent from heaven, things into which angels long to look.

Growing up, there were times when I’d be listening to a sermon, and I’d be thinking, “Man, this is an interesting story.  Boy, I wish I could be in this story.  I’d much rather be there, hearing from God directly, rather than sitting here in church on a sunny, Sunday afternoon listening to a preacher tell me about it.”  But in my youthful ignorance I had missed a couple of fundamental points when I thought like that:

(1) God was speaking to me; He was speaking to me through His Word; through His Spirit.  I had what Moses and Samuel and Isaiah had: revelation from God.  Maybe I didn’t get the warm glow of the burning bush that Moses got, or the audible whispers in the night that Samuel got when God spoke to Him, or the visions of a heavenly throne room like Isaiah got, but I had access to God and I could hear from Him at any time.  I had the Holy Spirit; I had God’s Word.  I didn’t have to wait for 40 years taking care of sheep to hear from God up on a mountain.  And for you, Christian, this is true as well.  If anyone’s envious or desirous to switch places, it’s them—it’s the prophets.  It shouldn’t be you; it shouldn’t be me.

(2) And more importantly, I had something that Moses and Samuel and Isaiah didn’t have: I had the fulfillment of the story.  And that is what Peter is talking about here.  By God’s inspiration, the prophets were talking about and hoping for a time that has come and gone, in which, you and I now reap the benefits.  Christ came and accomplished what these prophets were looking for.  And here you are, and your story begins in the final act of God’s story.  You’re there when things started to get good.  The battle has been won.  All you have to do is stand firm.  Do you understand what Peter is trying to do here?  He’s giving believers a perspective on life.  Sure, you’re suffering.  Sure, you’re going through trials.  But, despite all that, you’ve got something really good.  Even in all of the various things that grieve you, you are experiencing the grace of God.  This was what the prophets were looking for.  This is what they searched and inquired carefully about.