A few weeks ago I was driving down 28th street in Grand Rapids. And as I drove one particular sign caught my eye at the Lincoln dealer. It said, “we’re the home of the new every two”. That’s a catch phrase. What happens to a car after you drive it around, eat chick fillet in it, and have your kids throw up in the back seat? After two years that beautiful new car smell is totally gone. It’s dead.
Dave Ramsey doesn’t approve. But if you lease a car and you get to turn it in for a new one every two years, you are always going to feel fresh and alive. I suspect that’s the reason why people use the expression “I have a new lease on life”.
A new lease on life is an apt description of the Christian. And that idea is carried out in first Peter chapter 1 when God tell us that our new life looks forward to our inheritance and our new life trusts in God’s protection during struggles.
God’s Word writes, “Praise be to the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ! In his great mercy he has given us new birth into a living hope through the resurrection of Jesus Christ.
New birth. When someone is getting ready to have a child, that new birth brings with it a lot of excitement. Why? Because it’s a new life with new possibilities. What will they be like, how will they talk, what will they look like?
Jesus on Good Friday went into the tomb. And when he came out on Easter Sunday born out of the tomb – you followed him up out of the dead Peter says. So now you have the excitement that comes with that new birth. A life without fear.
Those are all great facts but we need to know why a Christian possess those things in this life.
God says that Christians are born, “into an inheritance that can never perish, spoil or fade. This inheritance is kept in heaven for you”
Now maybe some of you have had an inheritance before. In our world that is sometimes a good thing. But sometimes – it’s bad. Inherently to get an inheritance someone has to perish. Along with that it can be wrecked and spoiled when siblings fight over the money. And after you get it you can go wild and spend it all and waste it.
The inheritance of the Christian? It is stored in heaven for you and it will never perish spoil or fade. The Christian through the resurrection of Christ has a new lease on life that looks forward to the eternal life that is in store for them.
When I was little my mom and dad had a bank deposit box at Leighton State Bank in Milwaukee, Wisconsin. You would go into the bank and ask to see your box. You’d walk into this big vault and you had your own little box where you could store valuables protected, insured, watched over.
People used to keep things like that in the vault box because it made them feel secure if something happened.
God says that you have a new life in Jesus that looks to an inheritance kept in heaven for you. He gives you the key to that inheritance in the resurrection of Jesus in the Word. But I wonder friends if you and I have forgotten the key that is in our pocket?
If we’re honest I think as we have been looking in our pockets we’ve been reaching down trying to find some hope and life in places where true hope can’t be found. We’ve been trying to unlock hope with these keys. We’ve been thinking that we’d inherit some hope and a new life with some unemployment coins and some stimulus checks. We’ve been trying to secure an inheritance by protecting this earthly life even more than seeking to protect eternal life with God’s Word. We’ve been having arguments about what is essential and maybe the essential key to heaven the word of God is falling out of view. Satan wants that – he wants you divided from the inheritance that rightly belongs to you. He wants you to think that this life and fears surrounding it are your primary issues.
And while our world is shrouded in doubt and fear – you might notice that there is no doubt in these verses. These verses are firm promises. For the dead in sin me and you God did this “In his great mercy he has given us new birth into a living hope.” The inheritance in heaven you are going to receive is not dependent upon whether you clung tightly or loosely to it. God says, “it IS kept in heaven for you”. What you have stored up in heaven is so much more sure than any false hope of this world.
See when Jesus Christ died and rose exactly what he did was this. He offered up his very life as a ransom payment to God the Father saying I am putting this sacrifice on deposit for them a debt that they could not pay to give them a new life for today and for eternity. That’s what he bought for you and that is what you possess. That is one day what you will physically cash in.
And as you possess that new lease on life eternal now you trust God’s protection for today’s struggles.
God writes, “In all this you greatly rejoice, though now for a little while you may have had to suffer grief in all kinds of trials.
Let me tell you an interesting fact about this verse. God says in all this you are greatly rejoicing…that’s present tense right. How do you rejoice when troubles are passing? The realized joy of the coming salvation makes the present grief seem a thing of the past.
In other words. Because you are guarded by the power of God through struggles. Because you have an inheritance on deposit in heaven. Now you leave your death, your pain, your loss, and your fear at the tomb.
When you know the sure promise of your lock box in heaven. That makes it so that today you can smile in the midst of grief, you can rejoice in the midst of sadness, you can be joy in a despairing world.
I have to tell you there is a phrase that is really starting to annoy me. I keep hearing people say, “well pastor you need to learn that this is just the new normal” as if the NFL, NBA, and NCAA was just going to close forever and all of us are going to permanently be stuck in our homes with no outside interaction. As though our church needs to be live streamed forever and no one will ever again gather.
What an amazing thing that as Christians you coined that phrase long before the media did. There is in fact a new normal and here it is…Christians staring job loss, sickness, political unrest, today’s struggles in the face and saying God protects me, God loves me and I have a new normal in Jesus. A new normal that says heaven is mine and that I will no longer live in fear of things unseen because I love and trust the God who I will see in Heaven. AMEN