Saturday, October 07, 2006

Vos: "The Christian lives with his destiny ever in full view"

"The Christian is a man, according to Peter (1 Peter 1:3-5), who lives with his heavenly destiny ever in full view. His outlook is not bounded by the present life and the present world. He sees that which is and that which is to come in their true proportions and in their proper perspective. The center of gravity of his consciousness lies not in the present but in the future. Hope, not possession, is that which gives tone and color to his life. His is the frame of mind of the heir who knows himself entitled to large treasures upon which he will enter at a definite point of time; treasures which will first enable him to become a man and develop his powers to their full capacity, and every one of whose thoughts therefore projects itself into the period when he shall have become of age and enjoy the fruition of his hope.

"It is characteristic of youth to live in the future because youth knows instinctively that the true realities, the great possibilities of life lie before it; that that which it now is, is merely provisional and preparatory; that growing is for being. Yet even more emphatically this is true of that youthful stage of Christian life which believers spend here on earth. For after all, that which young people expect in the future is indefinite and uncertain. They know that what they have is not yet the true life. But what the true life, when it comes, will bring, if it comes at all, they cannot tell. Here hope is negative. But the Christian's hope is positive. His youth is like unto that of the heir during his minority who knows precisely what awaits him. Nay more than this, the Christian has the assurance which no heir in temporal things can ever have. He knows with absolute certainty that not merely will the inheritance be kept for him, but that he will be kept for it.

"Here then there is something that possesses all the requirements necessary to make hope a safe and normal life-principle. The Christian can hope perfectly. He is the only one that can hope perfectly for that which is to be brought unto him. For him not to have his face set forward and upward would be an anomaly, sickliness, decadence. To have it set upward and forward is life and health and strength. The air of the world to come is the vital atmosphere which he delights to breathe and outside of which he feels depressed and languid." -- Geerhardus Vos, "A Sermon on 1 Peter 1:3-5"