The Holy Spirit — The Inheritance of the Exiled
“All praise to God, the Father of our Lord Jesus Christ. It is by His great mercy that we have been born again, because God raised Jesus Christ from the dead. Now we live with great expectation, & we have a priceless inheritance — an inheritance that is kept in Heaven for you — pure & undefiled, beyond the reach of change & decay. & through your faith, God is protecting you by His power until you receive this (final) salvation, which is ready to be revealed on the last day for all to see.” ~ 1 Peter 1:3–5 (New Living Translation)
“& you also were included in Christ when you heard the message of truth, the gospel of your salvation. When you believed, you were marked in Him with a seal, the promised Holy Spirit, who is a deposit guaranteeing our inheritance until the redemption of those who are God’s possession, to the praise of His glory.” ~ Ephesians 1:13–14 (New International Version)
The New Year is a time of reflection & planning for all of us. We are looking back at the victories & defeats of the past while simultaneously strategizing for the time ahead. I’d be lying if I told you that I’m not dreaming up financial, professional, & fitness goals as a wife & individual. My husband & I are both your typical “type A personality” individuals, which generates constant goal-setting of some sort around here. A more serious goal — or resolution — of mine is to be a good steward of God’s hope to those around me (& if I authentically generate this in my heart, it will be a character trait that carries beyond the year 2021!).
2020 was a season where all of us lost hope in some way. Lost hope in politics. Lost hope in health & well-being. Lost hope in the systems of support that are supposed to keep us safe — you yourself know what areas of life have made your heart weary over the past 12 months. & when the clock strike’s midnight on Thursday night/Friday morning, this season of disarray may still very well be present. In a way, it’s as if we’ve been transplanted to a place of physical & emotional unrest — exiled.
Peter understood our predicament of being exiled before we ever found ourselves here. Peter pushed against the idea of Jesus going to the cross (see Matthew 16:22–23), & later even denied knowing Jesus as He prepared to bear the cross (see Matthew 26:69–75). Hope appeared to be exiled as Jesus wore the weight of Peter’s sin — & my sin & your sin — & took a final breath upon the cross. I’d imagine Peter’s emotional health was at an all-time low, & a sense of hopelessness probably felt unshakeable. & a sense of hopelessness is indeed unshakeable, if we’re defining hope in worldly ways instead of the biblical way.
Hope (Biblically speaking): a confident expectation, not wishful thinking, because we are sure of God’s Word & of who He is.
You see, hope did not die at the cross — it was the cross that brought about an unshakeable hope of who God is because He had been true to His Word. Hope resurrected when Jesus arose from the borrowed grave, because Jesus is Hope. Hope is alive because Jesus is alive, & because Jesus is alive, we are alive (read Ezekiel 37:1–14 for more about dry bones coming to life)! When Jesus ascended, He left us with the gift of His Hope — the Holy Spirit. Thus, although we are exiled by the trials (i.e., unprecedented global pandemic & all of its horrific effects on our world), we are accompanied by an ever-present, love-incarnate Spirit that is guaranteed to lead us to the Promise Land. Life in exile should remind us to journey into 2021 (& beyond) with peace & hopeful expectations. We are traveling from Eden to Eden. We are currently exiled between the two Edens. Exilers of Eden do not wait idly in dispair, however, because there is One (i.e., Holy Spirit) who holds them up until the final veil is torn. The Holy Spirit’s presence is like God’s down-payment to us — a means of hope now to sustain us until our inheritance (seeing Jesus face-to-face/dwelling with our God in Heaven) comes later.
Invite the Holy Spirit into your heart — into 2021 & all that this new year will bring. To invite Him in is to invite in Hope, & I think that’s a whole-lot of what we need right about now.
I’m intentionally asking myself, & I hope you’ll ask yourself, too: “How can you live a life that overflows with biblical hope today?” One question. One day at a time. One Name that makes a way for the exiled to be found.