Concerning this salvation, the prophets who prophesied about the grace that was to be yours searched and inquired carefully, 11 inquiring what person or time the Spirit of Christ in them was indicating when he predicted the sufferings of Christ and the subsequent glories. 12 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.
The prophets received the wonderful truth, the mystery of the Gospel long before the Christ came in Jesus. They recognized the wonderful good news and they sought to know more about who He would be and when He would come. But God in His wisdom told them what He had told them was enough, the Messiah would come at another time for another generation, and that the words they received were sufficient for them to believe and would be sufficient for the ones who received them in later generations to believe. It was God’s grace that saved before Jesus came and grace that saved after He came.
Jesus is such an amazing and special gift for us! He made plain every word of the prophets, He fulfilled their prophecies, He fulfills their laws (Matthew 5:17) and we only have to believe and follow Him. The Spirit of Christ who is the Holy Spirit showed the exiles and us these amazing wonderful things which even the angels desired to know. Some of the exiles had been alive and saw Jesus in the flesh, but many had not. We, of course, were not alive to see Him during his 33 years on this earth. But we see the bigger picture, we get to read four different detailed accounts of His life, we get to see how He fulfilled all those prophecies, and we get to look at the prophecies about The Day of the Lord, Jesus’ Second Coming, and New Jerusalem through the eyes of the Gospel realized, accomplished, and completed. Our faith is based on this and our hope is based on this.
As followers of Christ then we cannot just sit on this wonderful truth. The prophets longed for more revelation of the King of kings and Lord of lords, don’t we long to know Him more fully? The song Day by Day comes to mind as I write this and reflect on these verses. The hope of salvation realized in Christ Jesus makes me want to “see thee more clearly, love thee more dearly, and follow thee more nearly.”[i] And that is what our walk with Christ is about to know Him evermore clearly and as He reveals Himself to us. To love him evermore dearly and so have His love perfected in us and realized in how we interact with people. And to follow Him evermore nearly our transformation to His image is attained. This faith moves us to action, it calls us to be more than pew warmers and walk with Christ, after Christ, and be transformed to be like Christ. Verses 13-16 read,
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. 14 As obedient children, do not be conformed to the passions of your former ignorance, 15 but as he who called you is holy, you also be holy in all your conduct, 16 since it is written, “You shall be holy, for I am holy.”
The verse says to set hope fully on the grace that will be brought by the revelation of Jesus Christ. We could not know that grace until Jesus was revealed to us. And I for one am further flabbergasted day by day as He is further revealed to me at just how awesome and amazing that grace is. Because we know Jesus is the Christ we are free to be new creations, born again to a new and active hope. Not the eternal death we once ignorantly lived in, but the eternal life we now live and operate in. We are not who we once were but who we are meant to be. In psychology, some counselors help people to become self-actualized, which means to live up to and achieve their greatest potential, to have their inner person and outer person align. As a believer our hope is to become Christ-actualized, to be the image of Christ, to have our selves and the Holy Spirit align so that we will be who Christ means us to be.
We not alone, floundering, wishing to be like Jesus. There is no way we could ever be like Jesus without Jesus! His work, not ours, made us Children of God and gave us the deposit of the Holy Spirit to seal the deal. We have the privilege of calling on our Father anytime for anything. Ephesians 3:10-19 reads,
so that through the church the manifold wisdom of God might now be made known to the rulers and authorities in the heavenly places. 11 This was according to the eternal purpose that he has realized in Christ Jesus our Lord, 12 in whom we have boldness and access with confidence through our faith in him. 13 So I ask you not to lose heart over what I am suffering for you, which is your glory. 14 For this reason I bow my knees before the Father, 15 from whom every family in heaven and on earth is named, 16 that according to the riches of his glory he may grant you to be strengthened with power through his Spirit in your inner being, 17 so that Christ may dwell in your hearts through faith—that you, being rooted and grounded in love, 18 may have strength to comprehend with all the saints what is the breadth and length and height and depth, 19 and to know the love of Christ that surpasses knowledge, that you may be filled with all the fullness of God.
I want us to read this again, this time from The Message
Through followers of Jesus like yourselves gathered in churches, this extraordinary plan of God is becoming known and talked about even among the angels! All this is proceeding along lines planned all along by God and then executed in Christ Jesus. When we trust in him, we’re free to say whatever needs to be said, bold to go wherever we need to go. So don’t let my present trouble on your behalf get you down. Be proud! My response is to get down on my knees before the Father, this magnificent Father who parcels out all heaven and earth. I ask him to strengthen you by his Spirit—not a brute strength but a glorious inner strength—that Christ will live in you as you open the door and invite him in. And I ask him that with both feet planted firmly on love, you’ll be able to take in with all followers of Jesus the extravagant dimensions of Christ’s love. Reach out and experience the breadth! Test its length! Plumb the depths! Rise to the heights! Live full lives, full in the fullness of God.
Verses 17-20 read,
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, 18 knowing that you were ransomed from the futile ways inherited from your forefathers, not with perishable things such as silver or gold, 19 but with the precious blood of Christ, like that of a lamb without blemish or spot.
We get to call the LORD God Almighty, Father. But in doing so, we need to remember whose name, whose family we honor or dishonor by our conduct on this earth. We walk to glorify, honor, and exalt God, our Father, the Son, and the Spirit by our behavior, especially the way we interact with people. We were saved from the senselessness of who we once were by Jesus’ precious blood. How pointless it would be to act like we once did instead of who we have become. Jesus died on the cross, making His blood is more costly than gold. He rose from the dead and conquered death and sin, making salvation more exquisite than diamonds. But it doesn’t cost a thing, it is freely given by grace and available to whosoever will believe and ask. Jesus is more treasured, more cherished than anything or anyone we could follow or want and He is here, obvious to us because we can see all those prophecies perfectly fulfilled in Him. Verses 20-21 read,
He was foreknown before the foundation of the world but was made manifest in the last times for the sake of you 21 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.
The prophets knew about Jesus, God always knew He would step out of Heaven and take on flesh to bring us into a relationship with Himself. He became flesh for us, you and me Believer! And we have that hope because of Him. What is our response to that? It is to become like Him, allow Him to be perfected in us and manifest Jesus to every person we interact with. Our choice to obey, our choice to put on the new self through the grace of the Holy Spirit continues to develop us and bring us to that Christ-actualization, the revelation of Christ in us. Verses 22-25 read,
Having purified your souls by your obedience to the truth for a sincere brotherly love, love one another earnestly from a pure heart, 23 since you have been born again, not of perishable seed but of imperishable, through the living and abiding word of God; 24 for
“All flesh is like grass
and all its glory like the flower of grass.
The grass withers,
and the flower falls,
25 but the word of the Lord remains forever.”
And this word is the good news that was preached to you.
You are not born merely from your parents’ sexual acts to live 75-120 years on this earth. You were born form God, chosen, and made new to live eternally! Jesus Christ did it for you. The Holy Spirit lives in you. The word of God, that is every prophecy, every law, every praise, every warning, and every commandment lives in you as Jesus Christ who satisfies every iota, scintilla, and jot. So live out the Word, believer! Live it out in love, hope, and faith. Live it out and be the gospel of Jesus Christ to the world who needs to see Him revealed as much as you did.
[i] Stephen Shwartz Day by Day from Godspell 1971