Sermon Text: 1 Peter 1:13–21
Preacher: Pastor Brian Sauvé
Future Glory & Our Father’s Futility
Last week, Peter told us that the substance of the message of the Old Testament is the sufferings and subsequent glories of Jesus. That on it’s own terms, the whole Bible—not just from Matthew on—is about Christ’s coming, saving, rising, and reigning.
Hopefully you saw that this is the case, that we can’t begin to properly understand the message of the New Testament without seeing the tight weave of thousands of long threads from the very first sentences of the Scriptures to the last in one, great, colorful tapestry of Scripture. That you can’t understand the New without the Old or the Old without the New.
And what you find as you tug on those threads and follow them through the Scriptures is that there are passages, moments in history, where hundreds and even thousands of threads from the tapestry of Scripture meet and shoot out again into other parts of the whole.
The book of Exodus is one of those places. In fact, any reader of our text in 1 Peter today is impoverished if he doesn’t have that story in mind.
Exodus is the story of God unleashing his glory by judging evil Egypt and her gods and freeing his people to worship their God in the Promised Land he would give them. The climax of the book comes in chapter 12, when God brings down the final plague of judgment—the death of the firstborn son of every household in Egypt—on the heads of the Egyptians.
In that moment, the two main themes of the book, which could be said to be mega themes not only of Exodus, but the whole Bible, meet: God’s glory in judging his competitors, and God’s redemption of his people.
In chapter 12, God tells his people that the angel of death will spare their firstborn sons if every household takes a spotless, male lamb from their flock, kill it, and spread the blood of the lamb over their doorposts.
They were then to do two really important things: One, they were to feast. To roast the lamb and feast together. But two, they were to be ready for flight to freedom—to do this feasting with their belts fastened, their robes girt for action, their sandals on—ready for their redemption and flight to freedom.
In our text this morning, 1 Peter 1:13–21, Peter takes the bright, black and crimson threads of this story and weaves them into his instruction to us, Jesus’ redeemed people. And so what we’ll find is that there are threads in 1 Peter that pull on that Exodus story as we tug on them.
There are five threads from Exodus specifically that we will follow through our text together:
1. We, too, are on an exodus—an exodus to future glory.
2. We, too are to dress for action, gird up our loins, and fight to set our hope and compass bearing for a new land.
3. We, too, are to flee the futile ways of our enslaved forefathers.
4. We, too, begin our journey by the blood of the blemishless Lamb of God, who makes death pass us over.
5. And we, too, journey towards that hope with strength drawn from feasting on the lamb.
Look with me at 1 Peter 1:13–21,
“Therefore, preparing your minds for action, and being sober-minded, set your hope fully on the grace that will be brought to you at the revelation of Jesus Christ. As obedient children, do not be conformed to the passions of your former ignorance, but as he who called you is holy, you also be holy in all your conduct, since it is written, “You shall be holy, for I am holy.” And if you call on him as Father who judges impartially according to each one's deeds, conduct yourselves with fear throughout the time of your exile, knowing that you were ransomed from the futile ways inherited from your forefathers, not with perishable things such as silver or gold, but with the precious blood of Christ, like that of a lamb without blemish or spot. He was foreknown before the foundation of the world but was made manifest in the last times for the sake of you who through him are believers in God, who raised him from the dead and gave him glory, so that your faith and hope are in God.”
-1 Peter 1:13–21
An Exodus To Future Glory
The first thread from Exodus lands in verse 13:
“Therefore, preparing your minds for action, and being sober-minded, set your hope fully on the grace that will be brought to you at the revelation of Jesus Christ.”
-1 Peter 1:13
Peter’s message in this verse is simple: Your life is an exodus towards future glory. He says, “Therefore,” meaning, “In light of the great hope, salvation, new birth, and glorious inheritance secured for you in Christ that we’ve been talking about since verse 3, set your hope full on the grace that will be brought to you at the revelation of Jesus Christ.”
When Peter says that the object of our hope is“…the grace that will be brought to you at the revelation of Jesus Christ,” what does he mean? This is a very particular hope, not a vague or general hope. He’s specifically referring to our own future glory.
What grace does Jesus bring at his revelation, that is, at his coming? Our glorification. “When Christ, who is your life appears, you also will appear with him in glory,” Paul tells us in Colossians 3. This is what Paul also refers to in 1 Corinthians 15:43, when he tells us that what is sown in dishonor is raised in glory; that what is sown in weakness is raised in power; that what is sown a natural body, is raised a spiritual body.
Glory. Glorification. Set your hope in future glory! In this respect, Peter intends for verse 13 to act like a compass bearing for our lives. Israel daily followed the pillar of smoke and fire to the Promised Land; we set our hope in the New Creation, both of ourselves and of all things.
Life, Peter would say, isn’t a meaningless wandering from nothing to nowhere. No, God is taking us somewhere and he is making us something.
So this is what you’re doing in life: Journeying to future glory, a glory ready to be revealed at the last day. But the second thread we can follow from 1 Peter to Exodus tells us that this isn’t going to be easy.
Set Your Hope in Future Glory
We, too are to dress for action, gird up our loins, and fight to set our hope and compass bearing for a new land. The exodus was no light thing. It was nothing less than the abandonment of a whole way of life, a whole place of origin, and the undertaking of a lengthy journey—fraught with danger from beginning to end.
“Therefore, preparing your minds for action, and being sober-minded, set your hope fully on the grace that will be brought to you at the revelation of Jesus Christ.”
-1 Peter 1:13
Is this going to be easy? No. No more than the journey from Egypt to Canaan easy. They needed to dress for action from the day they set out—and so do we. Peter’s message is plain: Daily make it your aim to set your compass bearing on that hope with everything you’ve got. You will need to fight to set your hope in this future glory.
Listen, friends, this is a worthy fight. It is massively worthwhile. What happens when we fix our hope in our future glory? At least three things happen when we tenaciously set our hope in this future glory:
1. Hoping in future glory braces us in present trials.
What you set your hope in is key in determining your joy in any given circumstance. I can prove it with a study of one of our biggest demographics at Refuge Church, our kids.
No human being is more able to put their hope in a thing than a child. I have watched my kids so fully set their hope on an ice cream cone that the loss of it resulted in waves of nihilism and existential despair. You haven’t parented a toddler until you’ve heard a three-year-old quoting Nietzsche after losing a treat.
What you set your hope in is key in determining your joy in any given circumstance. And this is so key to understanding the way that Peter and other biblical authors talk about suffering. If you have a hope that holds through death, sickness, loss, financial ruin, failure, sin—through anything—you can be joyful even through all of those things.
But if your hope is vulnerable to any of those things, if it gives way in any of those circumstances, you are cooked if those things happen. If you hope in your marriage, your kids, your success, your health, than a car crash, a bankruptcy, a divorce, or a simple failure can destroy your joy.
What Peter is saying is that that the people of God have a better place to set their hope: Future glory. And if you set your hope with tenacity in that future glory, nothing can touch you, since that glory is utterly secure. Hoping in future glory braces us in present trials.
2. Hoping in future glory is a vanguard against the howling waste of hoping in passing pleasures.
Our society is unquestionably the wealthiest, most comfortable societies ever to have existed, period. A middle class Utahan is arguably better off than King Charles II in 17th-century England.
But have we eradicated depression? Meaninglessness? Suicide? No. Why not? Why do wealthy, successful, comfortable people commit suicide? Because ephemeral, passing pleasures on their own aren’t able to produce anything like a durable joy. In fact, cultures that fully set their hope on wealth, comfort, economic activity end up producing a howling waste of comfortable meaninglessness if they don’t have a better hope to anchor them.
When you feel depressed, anxious, bored, and meaningless, are you often tempted to reach for a new show to binge on Netflix, another cup of coffee, a quick trip through the Chick-Fil-A drive-through? Do you find yourself reaching for your phone to check your notifications?
What is going on in those actions and impulses? I think Peter would say that as we reach out to grasp onto those endorphins and sugar and caffeine and shopping—what we are actually reaching for is God. We’re reaching out in hope for joy that can only be properly found in future glory.
And so Peter says, “Gird up the loins of your mind, with a sobriety of thought that sees through your own sinful impulses, fight the lie that endorphins and caffeine and entertainment is a good enough hope to hold your joy! Hope in future glory, not passing pleasures!”
Only hope in future glory, in the limitless wells of living hope from a living Christ—who gives meaning and purpose to every second of your life—will do. Hoping in future glory guards you from hoping in ephemeral pleasures that can’t satisfy.
3. Hoping in future glory severs the root of present sin.
When you set your hope in future glory, you sever the root of present sin.
The root of sin is is the lie that we will find our pleasure and our joy and our meaning in the hope of living autonomously from God rather dependent upon God. And here’s the important part: The way we starve out the false hope isn’t with the power of our own will, but with the power of a superior hope.
When you come face to face with temptation, preach to your own soul, “This temptation is luring me into sin with a false hope. It will not deliver what it is promising. Christ will deliver on the living hope he extends, because my Jesus is reigning in heaven over all things.”
And so as the people of Israel dressed for action, set their compass bearings on a better hope, and fled to freedom, so we gird up our minds for the fight to hope in our future glory in Christ.
In the third thread from 1 Peter to Exodus, we find that part of what we’re doing as we fight to hope in future glory is not just journeying towards future glory, but also flight from something else.
Fleeing Our Father’s Futility
With Israel, we, too, are to flee the futile ways of our enslaved forefathers. Look again at verse 14,
“As obedient children, do not be conformed to the passions of your former ignorance, but as he who called you is holy, you also be holy in all your conduct, since it is written, “You shall be holy, for I am holy.” And if you call on him as Father who judges impartially according to each one's deeds, conduct yourselves with fear throughout the time of your exile, knowing that you were ransomed from the futile ways inherited from your forefathers…”
-1 Peter 1:14–18
Some of us come from good, godly men. Some of us come from generations of Christian fathers, men who were sinners, yes, but who were forgiven, cleansed, restored, and walked with Christ.
But all of us, without exception, don’t have to reach back too far in our bloodlines or reach too far to the right or left in the present generations of our own families now to find futility. Every earthly family has been marred by sin and has felt it’s sting. Every earthly lineage is one shot through with futility.
From our first father Adam on down, our forefathers in the flesh created a world of chaos and death. They worshiped at altars of sin and became like the gods they bowed to. Which altars have our own fathers, have your fathers worshiped at? Which high places? Which green groves?
Alcoholism? Substance abuse? Many sons inherit the whirlwind from fathers enslaved to addiction—inheriting the poverty, shame, and baggage that comes with it.
Anger? Abuse? Domestic violence? Ask any police officer in our city and you will find that anger and violence and hatred has sowed bitter seeds in homes in our own neighborhoods. Some of you had fathers who terrified you or were raised by fathers who did the same. Some of you have uncles, grandfathers, or brothers who abuse their wives and children.
Adultery? Pornography? Sexual foolishness? Many of us come from men who left their wives for other women. Or from men who utterly failed to cultivate their own garden and went out and loved other women. Many of us come from men with the stash of pornographic magazines in the garage, men with illicit search histories, enslaved to sexual folly.
How about a respectable futility? How many of our forefathers worshipped money, success, or career? How many worshiped their own families?
We are a world of broken men from a vast lineage of broken men. The Bible is full of men like this. History is full of men like this from the famous and remembered to the obscure and forgotten.
And what Peter would have us see is that Jesus has ransomed us from that inheritance of folly and futility by his blood, and he has done so in order that our faith and hope might be in God, the divine Father who gives us a better inheritance.
“As obedient children, do not be conformed to the patterns of your former ignorance, but as he who called you is holy, you also be holy in all your conduct, since it is written, ‘You shall be holy, for I am holy.’”
-1 Peter 1:14–16
Do you hear it? The inheritance of your enslaved forefathers is slavery, but you have a new Father. You are now new sons, called to now bear a new family resemblance. This whole first chapter of Peter’s epistle comes together to create a bright contrast between the inheritance of our earthly fathers and that of our divine Father. In them, futility. In him, future glory. In them, ignorance. In him, inheritance.
And in the fourth thread we can follow back to Exodus, we find that all of it is of grace.
By Blood & Fire
We, too, begin our journey by the blood of the blemishless Lamb of God, who makes death pass us over. Look at verse 17,
“And if you call on him as Father who judges impartially according to each one’s deeds, conduct yourselves with fear throughout the time of your exile, knowing that you were ransomed from the futile ways inherited from your forefathers, not with perishable things such as silver or gold, but with the precious blood of Christ, like that of a lamb without blemish or spot. He was foreknown before the foundation of the world but was made manifest in the last times for the sake of you who through him are believers in God, who raised him from the dead and gave him glory, so that your faith and hope are in God.”
-1 Peter 1:17–21
Nobody takes one single step towards future glory without the shed blood of Jesus, the Lamb of God. We’re not ransomed from our forefather’s futility by better education, more information, or some kind of inevitable human progress. Without Jesus, the trajectory of man from our father Adam down is futility. Only Jesus, our second Adam, our Lamb, our savior, our redeemer, can free us.
Do you hear that language of ransom? You were held hostage by sin. You were held hostage to futility. And this Lamb stepped in and paid a blood ransom for you—this ransom couldn’t be paid with any other currency.
Israel couldn’t take one step towards Canaan without the lamb’s blood, and you can’t take one step towards future glory without the lamb’s blood. On the cross, Jesus died to ransom a people from futility to future glory. On the cross, the Lamb of God was slain by sinners and for sinners—to bring them to a new Father.
Finally, our fifth thread from Exodus to 1 Peter, we aren’t just covered by the Lamb, we feast on the Lamb and journey in his strength.
Strength for our Sojourning
We, too, journey towards that hope with strength drawn from festal meal—from feasting on the lamb. Verse 20,
“He was foreknown before the foundation of the world but was made manifest in the last times for the sake of you who through him are believers in God, who raised him from the dead and gave him glory, *so that* your faith and hope are in God.”
-1 Peter 1:20–21
Through him, believers in God! Through him, raised from the dead! Through him, our faith and hope rises up to the glory of God!It is through Christ that we come to God. It is through his body and flood, true bread and true wine, that we hope in God. Every day of our lives, we live on Jesus—“Give us our daily bread!” Every day, we journey towards future glory in the strength drawn from the feast God has laid for us in Christ, a table of strength and friendship in the wilderness.
From their first step out the doors of their house, it was that feast of lamb that strengthened them. And then to the last step, it was that feast of manna—bread from heaven—that sustained them. So it is for us. We take not one single step towards our future glory without the strength of Christ, our festal lamb, and Christ, our true bread.
Follow the Smoke & Fire
So let met sum it up for us before we leave this morning. Here’s Peter’s message to us in 1 Peter 1:13–21:
Set your hope fully and tenaciously on your future glory, walking as obedient children of the Father and not in the futile ways of your forefathers, but in the ways of the Son of God, who ransomed you by his blood in accordance with the definite plan of God from eternity past. He is bringing us to a better Father, a divine Father, a Father who gives us the unparalleled and unfading inheritance of the divine and firstborn Son.
And as we turn now to the Lord’s Table, we say, “Come and welcome to Jesus Christ. Come to his table dressed for action—gird up the loins of your mind to set your hope on your future glory in him. Come and welcome to Jesus Christ! Come and feast on his body and blood, your strength for the journey ahead.” Let’s pray.