A living hope
“Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ,
who according to His great mercy has caused us to be
born againto a living hope
through the resurrection of Jesus Christ from the dead” (1Pet. 1:3)
Friends of ours who serve as pastors in Guatemala, just recently announced that they are expecting a baby in December. What great news! The promise was given a long time ago; They tried to become pregnant, to no avail. Not long ago, they announced that they were expecting a baby, only to have a miscarriage a short time after. Now, just recently, they posted that they are expecting the birth of a child in December. It’s a miracle! A fulfillment of a promise, realized when they are now both in their 40’s. Can you imagine the excitement, the joy, the hopes and dreams and expectation of what lies ahead with a new member of the family – their first child! Now they wait in faith, for the arrival of their gift from God. “Now faith is the assurance of things hoped for, the conviction of things not seen” (Heb. 11:1). Faith is believing for what is promised or hoped for; it is the conviction that if God said it, it will come to pass, no matter what the circumstances may be. Hope is crucial to faith. A follower of Jesus who has been born again by the Spirit of God, has put his/her hope in the truth of the Gospel, believing that there is more than this temporal world we live in – a hope placed in an eternal inheritance, a future heavenly reward and reality, promised because Jesus rose from the dead.
Remember, Peter is writing to a persecuted church that has been forced to flee their homeland, because Nero was falsely accusing them of starting a fire – setting Rome on fire himself. When you are going through trials and tribulations; when times are tough, so hard that it totally upsets your whole world, what do you cling to? Peter encourages his disciples and readers to cling to the hope we find in Christ! Hope is trusting God – waiting for His promises to come to pass. In some passages the words are used interchangeably (hope, trust, wait) – like in Isaiah 40:31, “but those who hope in the LORD will renew their strength. They will soar on wings like eagles; they will run and not grow weary, they will walk and not be faint.” We hope for a future reality; we trust God will bring it to pass; and we wait for it to become realized.
Now, this “living hope” is sandwiched between two incredible events: being “born again” and “the resurrection of Jesus Christ from the dead”. Why can we continue to hope, trust and wait with expectation and confidence?
- Because we have been born again! We are the recipients of the new birth, born from above. Just like a baby born into the world has a whole life of discovering people, places and things, so we, who are born into the kingdom of God, have a lifetime, actually all eternity, to discover our kingdom, and most of all our King and heavenly Father. Although we don’t see Him now, we long in anticipation when our faith will be realized by sight. For now, we desire to seek after the kingdom of God, into which we have been born (Matt. 6:33). Hence, our prayer, “Thy Kingdom come on Earth as in Heaven” (Matt. 6:10). It’s our world to discover! How much time do we spend seeking it and living from that reality?
- Because it is a living hope! We who were once dead have been made alive…truly alive! Paul actually says that before Christ, we were dead, without hope and without God (read Ephesians 2:1-13). Now we have a living hope (Rom. 5:5; Titus 2:13; Heb. 6:11-19 – you should really read this last one ). We don’t even grieve like those who have no hope (1Thess. 4:13). Because of Christ, we have gone from hopeless despair to anticipating our eternal home with Jesus. Remember, eternal life is not something you wait for, it is something you live out the moment you are born again, which we will fully realize when we are ushered into the eternal kingdom in the presence of our King forever.
- Because Christ has been raised from the dead! The resurrection of Jesus Christ has guaranteed our resurrection from the dead. He was the “firstfruits” of the harvest; the promise that the remainder of the harvest will come in – that’s you and I! If you want to understand this better, read 1Corinthians 15. Paul is totally confident that the believers in Christ will be raised from the dead, because Jesus was the first – opening the door for the rest of the harvest to come in – that’s you and I (in case you didn’t get that the first time). Our Living hope is ultimately the living Christ! Why can we hope? Because we have a risen Savior who resides in us – Christ in us, the HOPE of Glory (Col. 1:27). We wait in hope for our resurrected body, confident because of what Jesus has done for us (Rom. 8:22-25).
Friends, Peter uses hope a lot in his letter (1Pet. 1:13; 1:21; 3:5; 3:15). Hope is absolutely necessary to endure the trials of life – hope in a glorious future with Jesus. We are to be people of hope, who are always ready to share the reason we have so much hope (1Pet. 3:15). Jesus is the object of our hope – when He appears, we shall be like Him!
Therefore, prepare your minds for action, keep sober in spirit, fix your hope completely on the grace to be brought to you at the revelation of Jesus Christ. (1Peter 1:13)
Have a hope-filled week!