Called to Salvation as Exiles

by Mike Ratliff

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. As obedient children, do not be conformed to the passions of your former ignorance, but as he who called you is holy, you also be holy in all your conduct, since it is written, “You shall be holy, for I am holy.” (1 Peter 1:13-16 ESV) 

I was inundated with bad news, it seemed, all day today. The financial news is enough to drive us despair. There are predictions of another Great Depression on the horizon that could last for years. However, unlike the one in the 1930’s, which was deflationary, this one will be hyper-inflationary much like the one that plagued Germany after World War I. There are predictions that the U.S. Dollar is going to fall and be replaced with another currency that will eventually be absorbed by a one-world currency. In light of the upcoming devaluing of the Dollar, I know some who are buying caches of food that can support them and their families for a year. Their faith in the Dollar and our consumer driven economy has failed.

My wife and I discussed this and we have agreed to seek the Lord’s will. Should we borrow from our retirement funds to buy a year’s worth of food for ourselves, our son-in-law and daughter, and my parents? If the Dollar becomes worthless and our economy crashes completely then what do we do? I found it interesting that my parents would have no problem knowing what to do since they went through the Great Depression. They are products of it and that experience has colored every financial decision they have ever made. However, we are products of a consumer driven economy and have no idea what we would do if our money becomes worthless. That brings back a memory of a passage found in the book of Revelation.

And it was allowed to give breath to the image of the beast, so that the image of the beast might even speak and might cause those who would not worship the image of the beast to be slain. Also it causes all, both small and great, both rich and poor, both free and slave, to be marked on the right hand or the forehead, so that no one can buy or sell unless he has the mark, that is, the name of the beast or the number of its name. (Revelation 13:15-17 ESV)

Any relationship with our current financial problems and this passage is only conjecture, however, it is easy to see how a small group of people could come to this level of power if the economy is in shambles and the only way people could buy food is to bow the knee to a false god.

Christians are commanded to be as wise as serpents yet as harmless as doves. We are to observe the environment in which God has placed us and should always be observant as to the circumstances that surround us. However, we are to be in the world, but not part of it. We must not become conformed to it because God has saved us out of it. Those who have trusted in Christ are to praise God for his promised salvation and live out that salvation in their daily lives. Our trust is in Christ not in a currency system, an economy, or a charismatic world leader. No, Christians are born again to a living hope.

Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ! According to his great mercy, he has caused us to be born again to a living hope through the resurrection of Jesus Christ from the dead, to an inheritance that is imperishable, undefiled, and unfading, kept in heaven for you, who by God’s power are being guarded through faith for a salvation ready to be revealed in the last time. In this you rejoice, though now for a little while, if necessary, you have been grieved by various trials, so that the tested genuineness of your faith–more precious than gold that perishes though it is tested by fire–may be found to result in praise and glory and honor at the revelation of Jesus Christ. Though you have not seen him, you love him. Though you do not now see him, you believe in him and rejoice with joy that is inexpressible and filled with glory, obtaining the outcome of your faith, the salvation of your souls. (1 Peter 1:3-9 ESV)

Never forget my brethren that our salvation is due to God’s mercy, grace, and sovereignty. He gave us new life even though we were sinners dead in our trespasses and sins. Our new birth was made possible because God thought of those who believe in Christ as being united to him in His resurrection (Romans 6:4; Ephesians 1:19-20; Ephesians 2:5-6; Colossians 3:1). This new birth is unto a living hope. This hope is for our future resurrection. We have an unshakable hope for this future because our Lord’s resurrection is a pledge of it.

This living hope is also unto an inheritance that is imperishable, undefiled, and unfading. This means that no circumstances or an act by our enemy or any other person can tarnish or extinguish it because it is kept in heaven for us. We are being guarded by God’s power through faith for salvation ready to be revealed in the last time. This salvation is referring to our eternal inheritance. The certainty of this salvation is protected through God’s power and sustained by this supernatural faith to the end.

In vv6-7, Peter mentions that even though the recipients of this epistle rejoiced in these truths and the certainty of their inheritance, grief was also present in them due to various trials. However, Peter tells them and us that these trials are for only a ‘little while.’ This is translated as ‘for a season’ in the KJV. It is the Greek word ὀλίγος or oligos. I like how the KJV renders this because ‘for a season’ carries with it the idea of a period of time marked by certain circumstances that is eventually going to end. Of course, this ‘little while’ is referring to the whole of ones earthly life before inheriting future salvation. The ‘if necessary’ phrase tells us that these sufferings ‘for a season’ are God’s will for them so that their faith might be purified and shown to be genuine.

Faith untried may be true faith, but it is sure to be little faith, and it is likely to remain dwarfish so long as it is without trials. Faith never prospers so well as when all things are against her: tempests are her trainers, and lightnings are her illuminators. When a calm reigns on the sea, spread the sails as you will, the ship moves not to its harbour; for on a slumbering ocean the keel sleeps too. Let the winds rush howling forth, and let the waters lift up themselves, then, though the vessel may rock, and her deck may be washed with waves, and her mast may creak under the pressure of the full and swelling sail, it is then that she makes headway towards her desired haven. No flowers wear so lovely a blue as those which grow at the foot of the frozen glacier; no stars gleam so brightly as those which glisten in the polar sky; no water tastes so sweet as that which springs amid the desert sand; and no faith is so precious as that which lives and triumphs in adversity. Tried faith brings experience. You could not have believed your own weakness had you not been compelled to pass through the rivers; and you would never have known God’s strength had you not been supported amid the water-floods. Faith increases in solidity, assurance, and intensity, the more it is exercised with tribulation. Faith is precious, and its trial is precious too.

Let not this, however, discourage those who are young in faith. You will have trials enough without seeking them: the full portion will be measured out to you in due season. Meanwhile, if you cannot yet claim the result of long experience, thank God for what grace you have; praise Him for that degree of holy confidence whereunto you have attained: walk according to that rule, and you shall yet have more and more of the blessing of God, till your faith shall remove mountains and conquer impossibilities. – C.H. Spurgeon

This testing of our faith may grieve us, however, it is God’ work in us to test our faith by fire. This testing is not only to reveal its genuiness, but also to bring it to completion. This faith has a great reward. When our Lord Jesus returns, and He is coming back soon, honor and praise will belong to these Christians and to Christ.

Concerning this salvation, the prophets who prophesied about the grace that was to be yours searched and inquired carefully, inquiring what person or time the Spirit of Christ in them was indicating when he predicted the sufferings of Christ and the subsequent glories. 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. (1 Peter 1:10-12 ESV)

The Old Testament prophets did not see clearly when their prophecies would be realized, however, they did prophecy that Jesus Christ would suffer and then be glorified. They prophesied these things through the inspiration of the Holy Spirit. Most Christians either do not understand or know the astounding blessings they have received and will receive. The Old Testament prophets were not serving themselves. Instead, they were serving all genuine New Testament believers. The angels long to understand the profound accomplishment of the atoning work of Christ on the Cross. This is, of course, the good news that all believers hear and surrender to as God effectually calls them unto Himself.

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. As obedient children, do not be conformed to the passions of your former ignorance, but as he who called you is holy, you also be holy in all your conduct, since it is written, “You shall be holy, for I am holy.” 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, knowing that you were ransomed from the futile ways inherited from your forefathers, not with perishable things such as silver or gold, but with the precious blood of Christ, like that of a lamb without blemish or spot. He was foreknown before the foundation of the world but was made manifest in the last times for the sake of you 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. (1 Peter 1:13-21 ESV)

Instead of worrying about the economy or even who is in power, Christians should be setting their hope fully on the grace that will be brought to them at the revelation of Jesus Christ. This, as we saw above, is at His return. It is then that the fullness of grace and its complete work will be fulfilled. We should long for this day. We do this by thinking rightly about reality and by living sober-minded and sensible lives in our ‘season.’ In this ‘season’, we are called to be obedient children. Yes, we still have to fight the desires of sin, however, to be obedient children we must be separated from evil in all that we do. This is our cooperating with our Lord and the Holy Spirit in mortifying the sin that so easily ensnares us. This is working out our salvation with fear and trembling. We are called to be holy as our Lord is holy. Therefore, let us conduct ourselves with fear throughout this season, our time of exile on this earth. We must never lose sight of the fact that our Lord ransomed us with the His own precious blood. This ransom purchased us from the futile ways of the flesh, which is the inheritance of all the unregenerate. All people are born into this futility. However, all Christians have been purchased from it unto eternal life. Those who belong to Christ have faith and hope in God instead of luck, fate, a secular leader, an economy, or a society.

Having purified your souls by your obedience to the truth for a sincere brotherly love, love one another earnestly from a pure heart, since you have been born again, not of perishable seed but of imperishable, through the living and abiding word of God; for “All flesh is like grass and all its glory like the flower of grass. The grass withers, and the flower falls, but the word of the Lord remains forever.” And this word is the good news that was preached to you. So put away all malice and all deceit and hypocrisy and envy and all slander. Like newborn infants, long for the pure spiritual milk, that by it you may grow up into salvation– if indeed you have tasted that the Lord is good. As you come to him, a living stone rejected by men but in the sight of God chosen and precious, you yourselves like living stones are being built up as a spiritual house, to be a holy priesthood, to offer spiritual sacrifices acceptable to God through Jesus Christ. For it stands in Scripture: “Behold, I am laying in Zion a stone, a cornerstone chosen and precious, and whoever believes in him will not be put to shame.” So the honor is for you who believe, but for those who do not believe, “The stone that the builders rejected has become the cornerstone,” and “A stone of stumbling, and a rock of offense.” They stumble because they disobey the word, as they were destined to do. But you are a chosen race, a royal priesthood, a holy nation, a people for his own possession, that you may proclaim the excellencies of him who called you out of darkness into his marvelous light. Once you were not a people, but now you are God’s people; once you had not received mercy, but now you have received mercy. (1 Peter 1:22-2:1-10 ESV)

Since Christians have been given new life by the Word of God, they are to love one another fervently. They are to long for God’s Word so that they will continue to grow in faith. They are like living stones that together build up a spiritual house, with Jesus as the cornerstone. Believers are chosen by God to be His people who have received mercy that the unregenerate do not understand or care about.

My brethren, in whom or what is your hope? The test that we are in right now and the one coming very soon upon the whole world and us are very real. I am convinced that we are in the last of the last days. This test will clarify the Church and test our faith in the fires of tribulation. Let us seek the Lord in prayer and devotion. We must confess and repent of all that He shows us. Ask for wisdom and discernment and to be kept from temptation and to be delivered from evil. Let us keep our hope on our Lord’s soon revelation when He will return in the fulfillment of His Kingdom.

Soli Deo Gloria!

25 thoughts on “Called to Salvation as Exiles

  1. Pingback: Called to Salvation as Exiles - Reformata

  2. Our Lord said not to worry about tomorrow. Each day has enough evil of its own.

    And that’s what I intend to do, regardless of what my fears tell me.

  3. We read and heard about the termoil also Mike. It can be nerve-racking. We pray that when the time comes for us to be testing, and I mean really tested, that our Lord will give us the supernatural strength of the Holy Spirit to stand and be firm. I think He will empower us to ‘take it’. Good post.

  4. Hi Mike
    I have posted a link to this posting on my blog as the essence of what you are sharing here is so encouraging – not only for the times we are living in, but truth for our walk with the Lord all round. The scriptures are soooo good! :-)

  5. Yes, I agree. Things seem to be lining up at an alarming rate.
    I just haven’t figured out who is going to persecute us unto death.
    Thank you for being here Mike and all of you. Your the only “awake” Christians I know and it’s so encouraging. The people I know prefer to be an ostrich. Thank you precious Lord for waking us up.

  6. Deb,

    Let us pray for God to awaken all Christians to become alert, watchful, and fully trusting of Him through this. We must not become reactionary or expedient in how we operate during this trying time. I am convinced that all those Dispensational and Pre-trib follks will have to face the truth very soon that they have been hoping in a lie. We are going to witness the whole thing. My wife comforted me this morning as I stressed a bit about what is going on by reading some scripture quoted from the Sermon on the Mount that we are not to worry about food, shelter and clothing. No, we are to trust that God will take care of us so that we can care for others.

    In Christ

    Mike Ratliff

  7. Your wife gave you good advice Mike, and it also helped us this morning. So tell her Thank You for us. :) You know, we all are going to die one day anyway, so why not have it be for the Best?!?!

  8. Thanks Mike, I forgot about that view. My parent’s hold that view also pretib. I pray for Christians daily and of course my non believing family and friends. I pray for myself as I am afraid . The Lord is with us even to the end. I know He is because last week He kept me from an accident on the highway. That was a two fold blessing. The first was avoiding the accident and the other was the comfort that He really is with us. Praise Him!

  9. Mike,
    I have been viewing your site for approx 2 weeks now. I must say, I have been fed. I have been a christian since I was 13 yrs old. I am now 36. I was raised in a southern baptist church with a great pastor who taught well. He did his homework. Later, a friend invited me to a charismatic church and I dove into it. I still had that voice inside me saying “This isn’t right,” but I figured it was just from being taught so much of the opposite. I changed churches because I was in rebellion (basically still a teenager) and I actually began reading the bible more than I had as a “Baptist.” I spent hours and hours reading Kennith Hagin, Copeland, etc… I wanted to believe it all because it sounded so promising. Well, 15 years later, here I am (after some traumatic occurrences in my life) wondering why I am still empty. I realize now that I was believing lies for too long. Now in a new town, and after attending a pentecostal church in which the majority blurts out in tongues, and was prayed for by a creepy lady who was so spiritually “drunk,” I am NOT ATTENDING CHURCH. AAAAHHHH. I read your Nov 11 msg, and realized omgoodness, I’m not the only one. I was feeling guilty for feeling, actually, depressed after attending church (and mind you I have been searching to no avail), but every service has been, at the most, milk. I’m glad I found your site, and enjoy reading others’ comments posted. I will continue daily to read… You’re a blessing

  10. Where do we draw the line Mike? I do believe that God will meet our needs, but I don’t believe in the pretrib idea that Christians are so secure that no disaster can ever come to us. The book of Job is a lesson to God’s people that hard times are never to reach God’s very own. I hate it when I hear a pretribber act like tomorrow will be the same as today. Birth pangs are wake up calls and not signs for the church to blow out the lamps and go to sleep or to get drunk.
    I too have wondered if I should prepare for some kind of troubles on the horizon. “Trust in God, but row away from the rocks,” is a phrase that speaks millions. The Bible has a parable about taking appropriate courses of action when things are uncertain. I don’t believe in going to extremes, but a little bit of preparation would not hurt. Here is a Proverb that says a lot.
    “A prudent man sees danger and takes refuge, but the simple keep going and suffer for it.” Proverb 22:3 (ESV)

    The Lord tells us that he will direct our steps and take care of our needs. If our ship is heading towards the rocks, he will give us the wisdom to pick up the oars and row away from them. Our permanent home is in heaven, but contrary to popular opinion, we are not exempt from uncertain events.

    Being sober means to use our heads and act upon the knowledge that God gives us. I am sorry to offend any pretribbers who may read this, but I would rather listen to a Proverb from the Bible and do what I should to minimize my suffering. I am not going to sit around, do nothing, and gamble on a pretribulation rapture to whisk me away from some hardship. That would contradict God’s Word.

  11. Mike,

    That first paragraph has a typing error. I was trying to say that the book of Job should show that God’s people are not exempt from troubles. I don’t know why I typed it that way.

  12. Becky,

    I rejoice that God has drawn you into the light. Most of what we see as the Church is what the Reformers referred to as the visible Church. Within it was the invisible or true Church. Those in the former but not the latter make up the bulk of what we see out there. Bizzare things like you described are rampant. Outright heretical things are taught as if they are scriptural. Or there is nothing but pablum being taught instead the meat of the Word of God. God’s people are starving for this meat. He will not tolerate this much longer for He loves us and cares for us. I pray that God will provide a local body of believers for that are truly seeking Him that you can join and fellowship with. In the meantime my sister you are welcome here to feed from God’s word and fellowship with us.

    In Christ

    Mike Ratliff

  13. Assuming that WorldNetDaily has reported accurately, the dollar is to be replaced by 2010. This whole mess is nothing more than a forced crisis to get us there. My further understanding is that Charles Schumer started the recent crisis by “letting it slip” that certain banks would be failing. This was to shift the focus to the economy and away from defense, which was McCain’s strong point thus helping Obama who was the preferred candidate.

    But in the final analysis, it doesn’t matter.

    I posted something for Ingrid Schleuter recently on facebook. She was down because of all the negative stuff going on.

    One thing I said to her was “A One WOrld Government? Sure, we need one. But it will be the one ruled by Jesus Christ”.

    The NWO being planned? A blip.

  14. Josh:

    As a pretribber I have often wondered where so many get this idea that although we believe that we will be taken from this earth prior to the tribulation, that means that we won’t have trials.

    If you go to China, Korea, the Sudan, etc., you already know that the Body of Christ is suffering. We just haven’t had to go through it here because we’ve had the freedom we have had and our churches are so full of tares.

    But anyone who says that pretribulationism means no trouble for the Church first of all has no ground for saying it and secondly doesn’t understand that most members of the Body of Christ (true believers) are undergoing horrible times even now.

    Such sloppy thinking.

  15. Josh just to be clear with you, I am agreeing with you. The Church is promised persecution, and never told it will escape it “All who seek to live godly in this present age will suffer persecution” (my paraphrase).

  16. It’s a good thing to see that you can understand it Tim. I have been exposed to a plethora of pretrib Christians who are quick to rant like Job’s friends. I found the same response about God’s will to heal, as if my disease was because of a lack of faith. That is why I am cautious about pretrib rapture doctrine.

    I do believe that there are brothers and sisters who believe different doctrines in regard to the tribulation, but I just don’t see any evidence in regard to the history and nature of Christian suffering which can convince me to believe in a pretribulation rapture. In fact, I see God being glorified when his people partake in the persecutions and afflictions which will lead others to Christ. How we respond to persecution is an example to the world. If we are not here, then who will the AC persecute and trouble?

  17. What an interesting blog. Speaking of history, I found a little summary on Google of how the pre-tribulation rapture was born and then developed later on. The title of it is “Pretrib Rapture Diehards” and it is packed full with mind-blowing information! Catherine

Comments are closed.