Pure gold put in the fire comes out of it proved pure; genuine faith put through this suffering comes out proved genuine. When Jesus wraps this all up, it's your faith, not your gold, that God will have on display as evidence of his victory.
You never saw him, yet you love him. You still don't see him, yet you trust him - with laughter and singing.
Because you kept on believing, you'll get what you're looking forward to: total salvation.
The prophets who told us this was coming asked a lot of questions about this gift of life God was preparing.
The Messiah's Spirit let them in on some of it - that the Messiah would experience suffering, followed by glory. They clamored to know who and when.
All they were told was that they were serving you, you who by orders from heaven have now heard for yourselves - through the Holy Spirit - the Message of those prophecies fulfilled. Do you realize how fortunate you are? Angels would have given anything to be in on this!
So roll up your sleeves, put your mind in gear, be totally ready to receive the gift that's coming when Jesus arrives.
Don't lazily slip back into those old grooves of evil, doing just what you feel like doing. You didn't know any better then; you do now.
As obedient children, let yourselves be pulled into a way of life shaped by God's life, a life energetic and blazing with holiness.
God said, "I am holy; you be holy."
You call out to God for help and he helps - he's a good Father that way. But don't forget, he's also a responsible Father, and won't let you get by with sloppy living.
Published by permission. Originally published by NavPress in English as THE MESSAGE: The Bible in Contemporary Language copyright 2002 by Eugene Peterson. All rights reserved. (The Message Bible Online)