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Exploring and enjoying the gospel.
My assurance doesn’t rest on my shoulders but on the shoulders of Another.
I am currently studying for my sermon series examining the letters of St. Peter. I have found such tremendous comfort and encouragement in the words of this apostle, mainly, I think, because I know how like him I am. Which is to say, I know the fickleness of my own heart, the frailty of my faith, and the thousand-and-one ways that I fail on a daily basis. Peter knew these realities too, which is what makes his letters so intriguing and invigorating, precisely because he everywhere speaks of the assurance the Christian can have in this present life. The Peter of the Gospels is a radically different man than the Peter of the Epistles, and it is all due to the settling fact of faith in the gospel of God’s righteousness (2 Pet. 1:1–2).
I am thankful that my assurance doesn’t rest on my shoulders but on the shoulders of Another, who has already performed perfectly on my behalf. I am now a blessed recipient of the “redemptive power of grace,” which serves to energize the life of faith in me to explore and enjoy the abundant inheritance of the gospel. Such is how the Rev. John Henry Jowett delineates it in his commentary on St. Peter’s letters:
It is all-important that we hold the apostolic teaching that the Christian gospel is not a theory to be defended, but an inheritance to be explored and enjoyed. The Christian is not first an apologist, or even an evangelist, but an experimentalist, dealing personally with the proffered grace and power of his Lord. At every moment the Christian is both passive and active, passively receiving the redemptive power of grace, and actively working it out in rich and perfected character. He is both suppliant and ambassador; he communes with God, he intercedes with man. He is not separately a man of the cloisters of a man of the street; he is both in one. He keeps in touch with the tremendous background of grace in order that he may fill his foreground with the fruits of grace in Christian life and duty. He brings the infinite into the trifle, and he knows that without the powers of eternal salvation he cannot redeem the passing day. In a word the Christian takes knowledge of his resources and does not dare to seek to live his life without them.
Soli Deo Gloria!
John Henry Jowett, The Epistles of St. Peter (New York: A. C. Armstrong & Son, 1906), 238–39.