Today’s Scrip-Bit 13 June 2021 1 Peter 1:9.

1 Peter 1:9.    Receiving the end of your faith, even the salvation of your souls.

Come on friends and fellow believers, it’s time once again to celebrate the Lord’s Day! Boy, does it ever come around quickly! But we never regret it being Sunday, because there’s no better state to be in than praising and worshipping our great and wonderful God! And there’s no better way to begin than with a song of praise, which today is one of the best known African American spirituals in Christian History – ‘Swing Low Sweet Chariot.’ 

But before we get into it, let’s hear from the website . They say: ‘On any given day, reading any newspaper or watching any daily news show, it is not hard to become despondent about the state of the world. When our friends die of disease, or our children are bullied, we cry out with the psalmist, “How long, O Lord, how long?” And yet (for the believer, there is always a “yet”), we make this cry knowing that we have a God who hears us and responds. We are able to call out the evils of this world for what they are, because we know something better is coming. 

We have hope in our own salvation, and in the renewal of God’s creation. Thus, when we sing this great spiritual, it is important that we do so not in an escapist mentality. While we eagerly await the day we see God face to face, we must trust that until that day comes, God is fulfilling His purpose on the earth through us. We can’t sing this hymn in order to run away from the hardship and the pain. Rather, we sing this hymn as an assurance that hardship and pain is not the end. Amidst all of our trials, we know what is yet to come, both in heaven and in the fulfillment of the Kingdom of God, and we wait for that day expectantly.’ 

Great words of comfort and encouragement my faithful brethren!And after listening to several versions, I again considered that of Eric Clapton, a rousing reggae riddim recorded way back in 1975, to be the best one for us to sing, because it’s a song of hope and promise and thus needs to be sung as though one is happy for such hope and promise. (smile)So let’s get into some rocking reggae, with joyful hearts and voices, filled with much hope and strong faith, as well as strong background vocals and a tough bass line, with the chorus jumping us off us. 

‘(Refrain: Swing low, sweet chariot, coming for to carry me home; swing low, sweet chariot, coming for to carry me home.) I looked over Jordan, and what did I see, coming for to carry me home? A band of angels coming after me, coming for to carry me home. [Refrain] If you get there before I do, coming for to carry me home; tell all my friends I’m coming too, coming for to carry me home. [Refrain] I’m sometimes up, I’m sometimes down, coming for to carry me home; but still my soul feels heavenly bound, coming for to carry me home. [Refrain]’ 

Oh mih people, that was indeed a rocking version! And you could see that heaven enjoyed it too, because they were all up dancing and singing with us. The Father was tapping His toes and clapping along to the music, while Jesus stood to one side rocking quietly, still shy and not wanting to draw too much attention to Himself. (smile) 

Wow! There’s nothing that heaven likes better than praiseful worship, because music is the food of heaven! Remember all that the four beasts and twenty-four elders do all day and night is to sing the praises of God, (Rev. 4:8-11), so heaven is continually filled with music. And as it did for so many of our enslaved forefathers, ‘Swing Low Sweet Chariot should also be an emblem of hope for us. As one commentator says: ‘it welcomes death as the occasion “to carry me home to glory.” 

And we know that the imagery is associated with Elijah’s being taken up to heaven in a flaming chariot, over the river Jordan. The Good Book describes it thus: ‘And it came to pass as they (Elijah and Elisha) still went on, and talked, that behold, there appeared a chariot of fire, and horses of fire, and parted them both asunder (separated the two of them), and Elijah went up by a whirlwind into heaven.’ (2 Kin.2:11) And the scholars remind us that ‘Elijah followed Enoch in being taken into heaven without dying (cf. Gen. 5:24).’ 

Now, I believe this scripture from Peter’s first epistle is one that’s very appropriate for this song. Please read with me: ‘Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, which according to his abundant mercy hath begotten us again unto a lively (living) hope by the resurrection of Jesus Christ from the dead. To an inheritance incorruptible, and undefiled, and that fadeth not away, reserved in heaven for you. Who are kept by the power of God through faith unto salvation ready to be revealed in the last time. 

Wherein ye greatly rejoice, though now for a season, if need be, ye are in heaviness through manifold temptations. That the trial of your faith, being much more precious than of gold that perisheth, though it be tried by fire, might be found unto praise and honour and glory at the appearing of Jesus Christ: Whom having not seen, ye LOVE; in whom though now ye see him not, yet believing, ye rejoice with joy unspeakable and full of glory: Receiving the end of your faith, even the salvation of your souls.’ (1 Pet. 1:3-9) 

Oh my fellow believers, that’s a crucial explanation of our faith right there. We have a living hope in Christ, who rose from the dead and lives forever more! And I like how this commentary puts it: ‘In spite of the “ups” and “downs” of earthly life (vs. 3), it is comforting for Christians to know with certainty that their final destination is the glory of a new heaven and earth.’ 

Yeh friends, as Jesus said to Thomas: ‘ because thou hast seen me, thou hast believed: blessed are they that have not seen me, and yet have believed.’ (John 20:29) That’s us my people! We have believed, and thus like Zechariah says, we have become prisoners of hope. (Zech. 9:12) Yes, life on earth can be difficult with all its temptations and tribulations, but because we have Jesus, we have living hope, a certainty that things will turn out right in the end. 

So please praise His holy name and give Him much thanks, for without Him, we’d be nothing, but with Him, we are everything! Much LOVE!

…never forget or give up on the Big Three…Faith, Hope and LOVE…                                                                   

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