2. The Grace that Is to Come
Grace is the normal state of being the image of God. Grace is the central dynamic of the revelation of God. Grace is the ability to be the dwelling place of Almighty God. Grace is the capacity to contain all the fullness of God; grace is the ability to release Him in a river of life that heals all things; grace is the power to bring all things into submission under His feet.
2. The Grace that Is to Come
Rest your hope fully upon the grace that is to be brought to you at the revelation of Jesus Christ. 1 Peter 1:13
These words spoken by the Spirit of God through Peter are a commandment of the New Testament. These words are God speaking directly into me – a word of creation. As such they are Spirit and they are life.
As a New Covenant command, these words are something we “do,” though it is not us doing it, but Christ doing it through us. If we forget and find ourselves fearful, no problem; when we remember, we simply place our hope back where God told us to put it. We do not “perform” obedience in order to measure up. On the contrary, the commands of the New Covenant are simply doorways of God’s provision through which He releases joy and goodness into our lives.
Peter commands us here to “rest.” Another translation says “set.” But the meaning is the same, as when you set the dishes on the table where they “rest” waiting for food to be placed upon them.
We do not perform in order to please God, but there are actions of Christ through us that release the provision of God in our lives. Jesus commanded us to ask. James said that we do not have because we do not ask. I receive whatever I ask God for and expect to receive. If I do not ask with expectation, I will not receive. Whatever a person expects is what that person experiences.
When was the last time you or I raised someone from the dead? Not lately? Could it be because we do not expect to see such a thing? Yet there are precious fellow believers in other parts of the world who see people raised physically from the dead and restored to grieving and needy families because they expect God.
Do not imagine that not seeing God do things in us and through us is an indication that God does not do those things through His people. We do not expect God to do those things, therefore we do not see them. Do not ever limit God, nor put bounds around Him by saying, “This far and no more.”
Next, Peter says that we are to “hope fully.”
Paul gives us three elements of the reality of Christ in us; they are first love, then faith and hope. Even though hope is third, it is still vital to our lives. These are the “three legs of a stool.” Remove any one of the legs and the stool falls over.
Hope is critical to our lives. Paul said in Romans 8 that we hope for something we do not now have. All things spoken by God we possess now in all reality through faith. But there are some experiences from God that we have not yet received. These are future, yet we are to place our hope upon them.
The most significant thing we hope for is the redemption of our bodies, the moment when our present physical bodies are swallowed up in life, made just like Jesus’ resurrected body.
The hope Peter commands us to “rest upon” is part of that same experience. Keep in mind that little word “fully.” This is a big deal to God and to us.
Third, we set our hope fully upon a “grace that is to be brought to you.”
We have already received two levels of grace from God. Here, Peter speaks of a third measure of grace no one on this planet has received or known. First, Peter said, “Hope,” which means it is something we do not presently have. And second, he speaks this word into the church and into this present age, which means us.
The first level of grace we have received is the reality of Christ our life. I am in Him and He is in me. Christ is my life; I have no other life.
The second level of grace is the power of the Holy Spirit upon us for ministry. That grace, Paul said, enabled him to minister the gospel. Through that grace we see physical healing and provision; we are enabled to speak in tongues and cast out demons, to discern spirits and to know wisdom from God. It is even that second work of grace that enables us to understand the first work of grace and especially, to see the Bible as a Spirit word, Christ, alive and made new inside of us.
But Peter says, here, that there is a third measure of grace that none of us have ever known. He commands us to set our hope, our expectation, our hearts, fully upon the moment when we receive this third mighty grace, this third enablement from God that is even now coming upon us.
We never imagine that our present knowledge of Jesus Christ and of our union with Him means we have “arrived.” A million years from now, after 365 million more revelations of Christ, new every morning, we will have hardly begun to know Him or the power and reality that He reveals through us.
More than that, we understand that neither Peter nor Paul nor John could teach us anything about this third measure of grace. They could not because they never experienced any part of this grace in their lives. That is what “hope” means. It has not yet come to the church.
Fourth, we must address this little word, “at.”
Most of Christianity has decided that the word “at,” here, means two specific things. They believe that it means “in” heaven. That the moment Christians die and find themselves “in heaven,” from then on they enjoy fully this grace not yet received. A second thing it means to many Christians is “after.” After Jesus reveals Himself visibly to all of the people on earth, coming down out of the sky, then, after that, we will know this grace that Peter is talking about here.
These definitions of “at” are nothing more than the original accusation against God: “Not here and not now.”
The word “hope” also contains the immediate immanency of this grace. I expect God to give us this full measure of grace at any moment. The leaping expectancy of my heart, in fervent anticipation, knows that any day now we will receive this enablement from God that no Christian has ever known, save Jesus.
Hope is filled with faith. That means I make the fullness of Christ personal to me, with my expectation continuously raised high.
I reject both of those definitions of the word “at.” We know that those who are in heaven do not have this grace, otherwise why would they still be waiting upon us? “In heaven” is just another way to believe not God, not now.
The word “at” as Peter used it means “in the midst of,” “out of the operation of,” “alongside of,” “as part of,” the revelation of Jesus Christ. This grace we continually set our expectation upon, any day now, with excitement and faith, is part of the “apocalupsis” of Jesus Christ, the unveiling, the removal of that which keeps the King of Glory in us yet unseen.
What is this third level, this third measure of grace we are expecting?
First, it belongs to all who belong to Jesus, whosoever will. It is the expectation of the normal Christian life. Yet it comes only through faith – it must be believed and received in order to become our experience.
Are you called to receive this grace coming upon God’s people in these days? It is an extraordinary grace. It includes the fulfillment of every word God has ever spoken into this world from the beginning in and through us. It means a glory and power far beyond what was seen in Moses or Elijah or even in Jesus. It is not a “superman” grace, but the grace of a God who is meek and lowly of heart.
Are you called to receive a grace that neither Peter nor Paul nor Patrick nor Guyon nor Wesley nor Branham ever knew or received or tasted?
Do you want this grace? If you want this grace, the ability to stand with Him as He reveals Himself in His glory – through you. To be ready and able and willing in the day of His power. If you want it, you are called to receive it.
If you are not interested, if the grace you have already received from God is all you want to know, you still walk in a wondrous way of life. If that is enough for you, you are blessed. But I am writing this letter to those who long to be with Him as He reveals Himself in His glory. Those who think only of His triumph and glory.
You have every right in God to expect this grace, this third level of grace, to come upon you as Jesus Himself reveals Himself privately to you. Expect it, soon, any day now, with all the expectation of your heart.
Rest Your Hope
Rest your hope fully upon the grace that is to be brought to you at the revelation of Jesus Christ. 1 Peter 1:13
We also who have the firstfruits of the Spirit, even we ourselves groan within ourselves, eagerly waiting for the adoption, the redemption of our body. For we were saved in this hope, but hope that is seen is not hope; for why does one still hope for what he sees? But if we hope for what we do not see, we eagerly wait for it with perseverance. Romans 8:22-25
Hope is something that fixes itself upon what is not seen. But hope is not a passive acceptance of “not seeing.” Hope is eager anticipation with perseverance. Hope is groaning for something we do not presently experience.
Christ is all that God is speaking. I groan for all that God speaks in the New Covenant. Peter claims there is a grace we have never seen – a grace to groan for, to wait upon God for, with eager anticipation and perseverance.
I live in a grace I already know. I have seen His grace in my life innumerable times in all the years I have walked with Him. I have seen His grace in the power of the Holy Ghost upon me and upon His people. I have watched Him heal physical bodies and deliver myself and precious friends from the agony of demonic assault. I have known His hand guiding my steps, preparing the way before me, bringing goodness and mercy into my life.
I have known His love in the midst of my bitterness, His strength in the midst of my weakness, His faith welling up in the night watches when all I could feel was loss and emptiness and missed opportunity.
I have watched Him deliver me from physical death more times than once.
I know His grace that has never let me get away with anything that was not His purpose for my life, constraining me, blocking my way, keeping me from evil. I have known affliction and sorrow and great grief, and in the midst of all of it – Jesus, in tenderness and in grace.
All my life is seized in the grip of His determination; I know His grace.
But God places before us a grace we have never known. And God commands us to set our hope fully upon the coming of that grace. This command of God is Christ in me, and Christ in me is all that the Father speaks.
What is this grace that is to come? This grace no believer in Christ has ever tasted or known? First, it is grace.
There is a definition that says that grace is a passive “going to heaven when you die” even though we don’t deserve it. That God looked down upon our lost-ness and had mercy on us, to do for us what we could never earn. It’s an astonishing thing, but I have never found that definition of “grace” in the New Testament. I don’t know where it comes from, but God did not say it.
We cannot know what grace is without knowing the determination and purpose of Almighty God for the present state in which we were born. God is determined to have many sons just like Jesus, a many-membered Christ, as Paul said, through whom God Himself can be seen and known and handled.
Jesus was the Lamb slain from before the foundation of the world. Every part of the salvation of God was found in Jesus before Adam sinned; man was already fully redeemed before sin entered the universe. But that redemption did not apply to anyone until red human corpuscles mixed with the dirt of the earth. God requires Christ in dirt and sweat and physical, human reality.
Everything real and true in God must be revealed inside the sweat and tears, the agony, the hopes and dreams of physical, temporal life on this earth.
Why? God created angels that obey Him without question by simply speaking a single word. Yet we know that the son God will have is birthed through the agony of travail, through the tears and pain of a woman giving birth.
If grace is just a passive acceptance of what is already true for us in Christ, then God would never have placed us in this vale of darkness, nor would He have ever placed the groaning of hope within our hearts. God is not a criminal; He does nothing or allows nothing except what is essential for the fulfillment of His determination and purpose.
I am the groaning and travail of God birthing Himself out of His very heart into human flesh. I am born from above. I am more real than anything in the physical universe. I am alive unto God.
God is determined to bring many sons into the glory of Christ; He is determined to conform me to the image of His dear Son. God created the universe, allowed sin to enter it, and made all of it subject to vanity for the sole reason that this is how He chose to birth that Son out of Himself, out of His very heart.
In this context alone grace has meaning. Grace is the fulfillment of God in us.
Jesus said, “I am the door . .” So many want to camp out in the door. “It’s all done; there’s nothing else.” But a door is for entering into what is beyond. The door is to enter the determination and purpose of God. I am convinced that there is a door into this grace that is coming, a grace that we have never known. That door is found in two places in the New Covenant.
Therefore, if anyone is in Christ, he is a new creation; old things have passed away; behold, all things have become new. Now all things are of God, who has reconciled us to Himself through Jesus Christ, and has given us the ministry of reconciliation, that is, that God was (is) in Christ reconciling the world to Himself . . . 2 Corinthians 5:17-19
Therefore, brethren, having boldness to enter the Holiest by the blood of Jesus, by a new and living way which He consecrated for us, through the veil, that is, His flesh, and having a High Priest over the house of God, let us draw near with a true heart in full assurance of faith, having our hearts sprinkled from an evil conscience and our bodies washed with pure water. Let us hold fast the confession of our hope without wavering, for He who promised is faithful. Hebrews 10:19-23
These two points of truth are the two “lungs” through which every word God speaks – every breath He breathes – must pass to find its fulfillment in our lives.
If you see yourself as a self separate from God, trying to come into obedience; if you see yourself as having two natures, one Christ, the other fallen human; if you see your “self ” as something that “needs to die,” having escaped death 2000 years ago and come back to haunt you; if you regard that which is dead; if you surmise that God is lying when He says that all things in you are become new, all things in you are of God and that everything you are and everything you are going through is God in Christ reconciling the world to Himself – then you cannot know this grace that is yet to come, for you are unable to know it.
If you allow in any part of your mind the consciousness of sin or sins or falling short or blowing it, any hint of regard for any possible effects of “sin”; if you draw back from the Holiest of all because you imagine you might be unworthy or might not make it or maybe, maybe someday; if you hesitate to speak and confess and declare your hope, that you are just like Jesus before God right now, though you see it not, because you imagine that would be “presumptuous” – then you cannot know this grace that is yet to come, for you are unable to know it.
We receive the grace to come through the full revelation of our own utter weakness and inability and the sufficiency of the grace we have already received.
There is nothing more dear to most religious Christians than having a self seperate from God, a self that has somehow escaped the death of the cross, a self that is fallen and human, a self that must be brought to obedience – with God’s help, of course.
Always imagining that one must “die to self,” always rooting around in heart and soul and mind – the very dwelling place of Salvation, looking for sin and selfishness, is the exaltation of self. It is treating God like dirt.
Christ is my life; I have no other life. There is nothing of myself that is not Christ.
In that day you shall know that I am in the Father and you in Me and I in you. John 14:20
We know this reality in fullness BEFORE the grace that is to come.
And what is the grace that is to come? It is God proving His will in this earth through us. This grace is not our redemption, it is the vindication of God through Christ in us.
The Grace to Come
Rest your hope fully upon the grace that is to be brought to you at the revelation of Jesus Christ. 1 Peter 1:13
Grace is divine enablement. Grace and the anointing are similar. Both are God Himself inside of us doing His will. Grace is inward, anointing is outward. Grace enables us on the inside to know and walk with the One who is our life; the anointing enables us on the outside to minister His life and peace to others.
Grace is the normal state of being the image of God.
We are God’s superhero suit. We are the clothing, the skin of God that makes an invisible God visible. Without God, we are an empty suit, discarded and useless. Filled with God, all that God does He does in and through us. We make an invisible God known to His creation. That is our purpose. That is God’s intention before ever He created the ages.
Grace is the central dynamic of the revelation of God. Grace is the ability to be the dwelling place of Almighty God. Grace is the capacity to contain all the fullness of God; grace is the ability to release Him in a river of life that heals all things; grace is the power to bring all things into submission under His feet.
Grace has nothing to do with “going somewhere.”
Grace and the gospel have everything to do with the One who takes up His full and eternal residence in us – as individuals, yes, but equally in us as a many-membered body – His temple, members one of another.
Now, there is a fascinating dynamic in God. He is the God who is, who was, and who is to come. All three, all at the same time.
Peter speaks of a grace to come. Yet he also says that we now have all things pertaining to life and godliness. Paul says that we possess all things, yet he seems to contradict himself by saying that we groan for what we do not have.
God is a dynamic tension. For all eternity, He will be to us the God who IS, first, but then also the God who WAS, and the God who IS TO COME. Many don’t like such tension, such contradiction. We would rather sew it up into a single bag and say, “Aha, I’ve got it” – and then write our systematic theology.
Christ IS in me in all of His fullness AS I am right now in all of my weakness. Yet, without leaving my full knowledge of that reality behind for one second, I cry with all expectation of hope, “Even so, come, Lord Jesus.”
A million years from now, when my knowledge and revelation of God will be a million times more than it is today, yet still, He will be the God who Is, and who Was, and who Is To Come.
Most Christians know Him as the God who was and the God who is to come. They do not know Him as the God who IS. They know some things about what He did 2000 years ago, they pretend to look forward to going to heaven, though they don’t really want to leave this life.
There is no faith in knowing anything about the God who was and the God who is to come. Faith and grace and all joy are found only in the God who IS – in us, in our weakness, in all fullness, right now. One with Him and He with us.
Yet, the funny thing is that in knowing Him as the God who IS, suddenly, we look back and, for the first time, we truly know the God who WAS upon the cross, and rising out of the grave, never to die again. At the same time, we know He who IS TO COME forever revealing Himself anew in us right now with all joy and expectation. And death itself is swallowed up in the life of the God who IS.
So the grace that is to come, that the Spirit of God through Peter commands us to fix our hope upon, this grace that comes with the revelation of Jesus Christ, a divine enablement to be the full revelation of God in the earth, this grace always is and always is coming.
It’s like waking up out of sleep into joy: and again, and again, and again.
A million years from now, I will come back and look at what I am writing today. I will read it again, and though I will know Him and His ways in me and through me far beyond what I could possibly know today, yet I will be astonished that everything I know of Him then is found fully in what I know of Him now.
And so this groaning, this longing, this desire for more of Him, this asking and keeping on asking, this seeking and keeping on seeking, this knocking and keeping on knocking is never separated from the God who IS in us, in our weakness, in all fullness, right now.
The Grace that is to come is to WAKE UP! It is to arise out of sleep. Yet grace is always grace, and we are always being filled full with God.
I learned a couple of weeks ago, at age 53, that I have lived inside the Autism Spectrum all of my life. I have had the neurological disorder called Asperger’s Syndrome. I have never looked a person in the eye. I have never known how to answer people. I learned by much pain to keep my mouth shut, for I would never know the right thing to say, but even silence is interpreted as “pride,” and so I learned to say, “Is that right?” People think me strange, but at least it is enough.
This diagnosis gives a full and complete answer to a lifetime of 10,000 unanswered questions that demanded an answer that never came. And so it brings with it much peace and settledness. To know that I have a neurological disorder that is named and shared by others who have faced the same unanswered questions is to know that there is not some terrible, nameless thing wrong with me.
Asperger’s Syndrome is part of the Autism Spectrum. Yet, this part of that spectrum allows you to function in society, to learn to cope, to be able to give with all your heart, though, at the same time, being unable to know the normal social cues that allow you to relate freely with those to whom you are giving. Most people know those social cues without thinking about it. Asperger’s don’t know them at all, and thus often find themselves in big trouble without knowing why.
Many of those who changed the world for better had Asperger’s, because we are able to focus our minds and to see patterns and connections that others miss. And this ability to see patterns that others may not see is the gift God has shared with me to give to you with the deepest joy and gratefulness.
Yet I continue in great weakness, physically as well as emotionally. Life has always presented to me so many minefields exploding in my face without warning and without reason. I cannot fix myself.
Why am I sharing all this? Because here is where grace is found.
Inside of a life-time of pain, there was always God, teaching me of Himself, His kindness, His mercy. In my weakness, I cast myself utterly upon His life in me.
It is in utter weakness and failure that we find GRACE.
And He said to me, “My grace is sufficient for you, for My strength is made perfect in weakness.” Therefore most gladly I will rather boast in my infirmities, that the power of Christ may rest upon me. Therefore I take pleasure in infirmities, in reproaches, in needs, in persecutions, in distresses, for Christ’s sake. For when I am weak, then I am strong. 2 Corinthians 12:9-10
A million years from now, filled with all the fullness of God, I will be just as weak as I am right now. Those who imagine they will “do what God says,” trying to put their flesh to death, living as a “self ” separate from God, bar themselves from knowing grace.
This grace Peter tells us to expect, with hearts filled with joy, is the sealing of our minds, it is the nature of God written upon our foreheads. Expect it with all expectation.
I expect that the Lord Jesus will appear to me visibly, any day now, and to many of you as well, just as He appeared here and there after His resurrection. He is alive, you know. The time of His appearing is now. Yet, though we may not now see Him visibly, we rejoice in full expectation in all that His appearing in us means.
The time is now. The GRACE that IS to come is now, unfolding, revealing, glorifying Christ in us.
God always leads us to celebrate with all joy, dancing, and celebration the victory of God in us, though we do not see it. Yet we will see it with our eyes. Victory over physical death, victory over sin, victory over the beast, in this world, in this life, in this age, in us now. We will see it with our own eyes.
Yet now, in our great weakness, in our utter failure, in our total inability to do anything for God, or even for ourselves in this world, we see Him victorious in us in all glory.
There is no more glorious experience in all creation, than that moment when we, standing here upon this earth, experience our dying, mortal body swallowed up in the life of His resurrected body. That is the moment of our fixed expectation. That is the experience Paul tells us we groan and long for with all fervency. All of humanity’s ages of desire will be fulfilled in us in that one experience.
Yet before that comes, we know a grace upon our minds, upon our bodies. It is a keeping grace, a sustaining grace, a grace that lifts us up above the wreckage of the world around us, a grace that enables us to give all that He is in us to those who belong to Him, who find themselves in desperate need.
Yet for some whom God has chosen, and He places everyone in His temple according to His sovereign choice, the grace that is to come is the GRACE of the vindication of God.
Now I saw heaven opened, and behold, a white horse. And He who sat on him was called Faithful and True, and in righteousness He judges and makes war. His eyes were like a flame of fire, and on His head were many crowns. He had a name written that no one knew except Himself. He was clothed with a robe dipped in blood, and His name is called The Word of God. And the armies in heaven, clothed in fine linen, white and clean, followed Him on white horses. Now out of His mouth goes a sharp sword, that with it He should strike the nations. And He Himself will rule them with a rod of iron. He Himself treads the winepress of the fierceness and wrath of Almighty God. Revelation 19: 11-15
This also is Christ IN US. We are not the horse He rides, we are not the armies that follow Him from heaven, we are He revealed in all of His fullness in us.
Do not ever limit God, nor remove from your hearts any word that He speaks, for His word is Christ. Christ is Redemption. But the path of the redemption of all things lies through the judgment and vindication of God.
We set our face to the wind; and all the wildness of an uncontrollable God, a God we cannot understand, blows over us and in us and through us.
This is the GRACE upon which we set our expectation with all joy.