Charles Dickens’ classic novel, Great Expectations, chronicles a tale of a young, poor boy, named Pip. The little guy is an apprentice blacksmith and has no hope of ever being rich on his own merit. He is fascinated by the genteel society and opulence of the upper crust. His fantasy is to one day be a gentleman himself. Then one fine day he is visited by an attorney who informs him that he has come into some serendipitous fortune of property and unimagined wealth.
Pip’s dream of being a gentleman is suddenly within reach. But he soon discovers that his great expectations of fitting into the haut monde of 19th century London will require more than just the position his money affords him.
His practice belies his origins. So, with the help of a friend, he is discipled in the arcane ways of etiquette and sophistication. He painstakingly observes and mimics the nuances of the behavior, fashion, and mannerisms of those he now considers his peers. He masters the accentuation of their speech and employs skilled tailors to create fashionable clothing that completes the metamorphosis from urchin to elite.
In the same way any of us may be suddenly declared holy and righteous by God in our position, but our speech, conduct, and attitudes will undergo incremental improvement before our practice matches our position. We call that metamorphosis sanctification.
Last week we saw the Apostle Peter laying a foundation of hope, building his argument on… four foundation stones of salvation.