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)
This is Peter’s very first command to his first readers, yet it’s a command for all believers in every age. Preparing our minds for action, and being sober-minded, we are to set our hope fully on the grace, or unmerited favor, being brought to us when our Lord Jesus is revealed in all of His glory. It’s an astounding thought, and one that should cause our hearts to burn within us: God promises to lavish His redeemed with even more grace in the future!
As Christians, when we look back at our lives, and even further back to the time when there wasn’t even a world in which we’d be able to live our lives, the grace of God was already being lavished upon a people yet unborn. The doctrine of election is nothing more than God extending His grace towards wrath-deserving sinners in Christ Jesus before the ages began (2 Tim. 1:9). God chose us in Christ before the foundation of the world so that we would forever praise the glory of His grace (Eph. 1:4-6).
Not only is God’s grace the spring of election, but grace was the very thing that motivated our Lord Jesus to humble Himself for us: “For you know the grace of our Lord Jesus Christ, that though He was rich, yet for your sake He became poor, so that you by His poverty might become rich” (2 Cor. 8:9). According to Paul, redemption through the blood of Christ, and the resultant forgiveness of our trespasses, is owing to the riches of Christ’s grace (Eph. 1:7).
We can also trace the miracle of the new birth, or the reality of being made alive, back to the grace of God (Eph. 2:5). Those who are called are called by God’s grace (Gal. 1:5), and those who believe believe only through God’s grace (Acts 18:27). So whether we look back to the Father’s sovereign election, the Son’s selfless sacrifice, or the Spirit’s work in calling and regenerating us, grace is the fountain from which all of it flowed.
As wonderful as it is, God’s grace didn’t stop with our regeneration. The imagery of believers being commended or entrusted or handed over to the grace of God is found three times in the book of Acts (Acts 14:26; 15:40; 20:32). What a powerfully encouraging reality! You and I, as Christians, are entrusted to and “set before” (Gk. paratithemi) the grace of God. We’re standing in grace (Rom. 5:2), under grace (Rom. 6:14), gifted by grace (Rom. 12:14), sustained by grace (2 Cor. 12:9), and strengthened by grace (Heb. 13:9). As we pray, we approach God’s throne of grace and we’re guaranteed to receive mercy and grace to help us in our time of need (Heb. 4:16).
Christians can look back and up and down and around and see the grace of God everywhere they look. Yet there remains a future manifestation of God’s grace, “the grace that will be brought to [us] at the revelation of Jesus Christ” (1 Pet. 1:13). It’s this grace, according to Peter, that we’re to set the entirety of our hope upon. In fact, it’s appropriate to think of this future grace as the great end for which all the past and present grace is extended to us. In other words, the grace behind election, redemption, regeneration, sanctification, and preservation is preparing us for the grace to be displayed in the breathtaking experience of glorification, when all the blood-bought children of God will be perfectly conformed into His image.
Glorification has been defined as “the consummation of human nature in God’s image.”1 It’s the final link in Paul’s golden chain of redemption: “And those whom he predestined he also called, and those whom he called he also justified, and those whom he justified he also glorified” (Rom. 8:30). Glorification involves the redemption, resurrection, and transformation of our lowly bodies (Rom. 8:23; 1 Cor. 15:43; Phil. 3:21). It refers to “the complete and final redemption of the whole person, when in the integrity of body and spirit, the people of God will be conformed to the image of the risen, exalted, and glorified Redeemer, when the very body of their humiliation will be conformed to the body of Christ’s glory.”2
In that day, our heavenly Bridegroom will “present the church to Himself in splendor, without spot or wrinkle or any such thing, that she might be holy and without blemish” (Eph. 5:27). In Luke 12, we’re given a breathtaking picture of the marvelous grace that our Lord will bring to us in that day:
35 “Stay dressed for action and keep your lamps burning, 36 and be like men who are waiting for their master to come home from the wedding feast, so that they may open the door to him at once when he comes and knocks. 37 Blessed are those servants whom the master finds awake when he comes. Truly, I say to you, he will dress himself for service and have them recline at table, and he will come and serve them. 38 If he comes in the second watch, or in the third, and finds them awake, blessed are those servants! 39 But know this, that if the master of the house had known at what hour the thief was coming, he would not have left his house to be broken into. 40 You also must be ready, for the Son of Man is coming at an hour you do not expect.” (Luke 12:35–40)
Mark and remember those words: “He will dress Himself for service…have them recline at table, and He will come and serve them.” We have a tendency to think of Christ dressing Himself for service and serving us only at His first coming (Matt. 20:28), but He’s coming to serve His people yet again. He’s coming in grace and with grace to bestow even more grace upon His redeemed. He’s coming to serve us by glorifying us with Himself (Rom. 8:17). He’s coming to serve us by granting to us the unspeakable privilege of being able to be with Him to forever behold His glory:
Father, I desire that they also, whom you have given me, may be with me where I am, to see my glory that you have given me because you loved me before the foundation of the world. (John 17:24)
- Frame, Salvation Belongs to the Lord: An Introduction to Systematic Theology, 223
- Murray, Redemption Accomplished and Applied, 175