1 Peter 1:20-21, “20 He was foreknown before the foundation of the world but was made manifest in the last times for the sake of you 21 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.”
Modern evangelicals are often convinced that critical aspects of the history of redemption are over and so they shouldn’t worry about them. For example, those events, associated with the biblical heroes and the corresponding deeds are scarce, so it’s tempting to think the Lord is done acting in history. Even so, some people have also thought the Church is but a footnote in the redemptive plan of the Lord. Two thousand years after the coming of Christ, it’s easy to believe that the Church has no vital role in the progress of redemption.
While Jesus purchased redemption for His people two thousand years ago today it is no less important, nor is it a footnote to history. Our present day is central to the unfolding of the plan of redemption, for as 1 Peter 1:20-21 will help us to see, it is for our sake that Jesus was made manifest in these last times.
1 Peter 1:20 helps readers understand that all those who live after the first coming of the Lord Jesus Christ live in the tension of the already and not yet of the Kingdom of the Lord Jesus. It is in these last days the promise to bless all people through the righteous seed of Abraham (Genesis 12:3) is coming to pass. This present time in which we live in is central to the redemptive plan of the Lord. Through the missionary efforts of local churches, the Lord is through the finished and sufficient work of Jesus by the Holy Spirit bringing in the elect from every tribe, tongue, nation, and people group.
Christians today play an essential role in the Kingdom of the Lord Jesus. The time between the first and second coming of Christ is called the last days. This shows us how critical this period of redemptive history is, in fact, it is so essential that though Christ was foreknown before the foundation of the world, He is now fully known in this period between the already and not yet (1 Peter 1:20). During this time, Christians today play a vital role through the empowering work of the Holy Spirit. This part is shown in that Jesus was not “made manifest” until the beginning of the times in which we now live.
It is through Jesus that Christians believe in God (1 Peter 1:21). There is no real faith in God without corresponding faith in the Lord Jesus. Jesus is the central figure in our redemption, no matter the time period. Peter has already pointed this out in 1 Peter 1:19 when he explained that Jesus alone offered the perfect sacrifice to save the elect (1 Peter 1:19).
Today there are no first-hand witnesses of the many exciting and significant events in the history of redemption, such as the deliverance from Egypt or the earthly ministry of the Lord Jesus. That can make it hard to consider the present time in which we live to be critical to the plan of the Lord. Even so, the Lord is fulfilling His promise through His people and local churches in them to extend the knowledge of Himself through the whole earth. The local church is the hope of the world through the hope of the gospel. Today consider what you can do by the grace of God to be a part of the work of your local church through prayer, serving, and financial support of the church staff and missionaries and other organizations doing gospel work.