Pastor Tom’s Note
listen to the sermon here
Cataclysmic events such as the recent onslaught of hurricanes, floods and earthquakes are stark reminders that “creation itself is in bondage to corruption” (Rom 8:21). The word “corrupt” can also be translated “perishable,” as in decaying and disappearing (see 1 Peter 1:18). In response to these grim realities, here is the good news of the Gospel: the death and resurrection of Jesus makes that which is perishable imperishable. This is why Peter’s optimism knows no bound: According to God’s great mercy, “he has caused us to be born again to a living hope, through the resurrection of Jesus Christ from the dead, to an inheritance that is imperishable, undefiled, unfading, kept in Heaven for you” (1 Peter 1:3-4). In our efforts to make ourselves comfortable in our earthly inheritance (houses, countries, material goods), Peter has a different take on the adage “don’t be so heavenly minded that you are no earthly good.” In his own forthright way (he is the Galilean fisherman after all!), he is reminding us it’s no use to be ‘earthly good if we’re not heavenly minded.’ Our inheritance is kept in heaven, not on this decaying and unpredictable earth.
Abraham had a great handle on this reality when he chose to give up a great piece of land, the Jordan valley, which at the time was like the Nile valley (the most fertile area in the entire ancient world). In fact, it felt like “the garden of the Lord” itself! Instead, he was prepared to give up these earthly goods to prefer his nephew Lot (see the story in Gen 13). Yet, by letting go of the best of the land and taking the rugged highlands of Canaan (rocks and wooded areas), Abraham ‘chose wisely’ as it unleashed the outpouring of blessing upon him in a way that Abraham couldn’t even grasp: “I will make your offspring as the dust of the earth” (Gen 13:16). It’s in our dying that life will come by faith in Jesus: an imperishable inheritance, safely kept in Heaven.
What about us today? Where is our inheritance? Is it a treasured home, place or country? Are we willing to let go of this earthly inheritance in order to gain an imperishable inheritance, kept in heaven? The question actually gets more fundamental: have we in fact put our trust in Jesus for the present, which is so fragile, prone to decay? Are we ready to answer the call, we the “ungodly” (aka perishables, see Gen 13:13; 2 Peter 2:6; Rom 4:6) so that we might become “partakers of the divine nature” (aka the imperishables, see 2 Peter 1:4)? It’s time for us to become a little more heavenly minded and not so focused on this ‘good’ earth, which actually is passing away to give way for a “new heaven and a new earth” (Rev. 21:1).