“A Living Hope”
Bible Reading: 1 Peter 1:3-9
Sometimes hopes die. As in Peter’s case. Following Jesus’ arrest, and in spite of his earlier promise to stand by Jesus, Peter denied even knowing Jesus. The rooster crowed, Jesus turned and looked at Peter, and Peter “went out and wept bitterly” (Luke 22:60-62). Can you imagine what must have been going through Peter’s mind? He had hoped for things–that Jesus was soon to reign as King; that life and ministry with Jesus would continue on; that he’d have the personal resolve to stand by Jesus. He had devoted himself to a dream and a cause, only to have all his hopes suddenly swept away. I’ll bet you can relate to Peter. Who amongst us hasn’t hoped for something only to suffer bitter disappointment when it didn’t come to pass? It is a part of our human experience. And in that we go through a kind of a refining process. For there are, in this life, hopes that are mere expectations and hopes that are firmly assured to us in the working and promises of God. That’s our focus today.
Thirty years after his denials, Peter wrote this epistle. For three decades he had served the Risen Jesus, faithfully proclaiming the good news of salvation through faith in Christ. As “a dying man, speaking to dying man,” (as Richard Baxter once put it), he proclaimed God’s glorious gospel that folks might be born again to this living hope. Note how verse three literally bursts forth with lively themes–”born again;” a “living hope,” and “the resurrection of Jesus Christ from the dead!” The believer in Christ possesses such a hope!
There is such a thing as a living hope because of the resurrection (1 Peter 1:3; 1 Corinthians 15:19-20). There could be no living hope if there were no risen Christ. Jesus Christ died for sins and rose again from the dead (1 Corinthians 15:3-4). He is the resurrection and the life, and is able to impart life to sin-dead souls (John 11:25-26). “Whoever has the son has the life” and the hope that goes along with knowing Him (1 John 5: 11-12).
A living hope is not something anyone can self-generate or conjure up. You can’t bargain for it or purchase it. You can wish for such a thing, but you’ll not possess it unless you are born again to it through faith in Jesus Christ (John 1:12-13). But for the born again, the hope borne in them is as alive as Our Risen Lord Himself. In contrast to the perishable things we are prone to hope in and for (1 Peter 1:7, 18, 23), this living hope is unassailable. It equates to the hope of heaven, the confident expectation of being brought safely home to an “inheritance that is imperishable, undefiled, and unfading” (1 Peter 1:4). It is a guaranteed hope, “kept in heaven” for us and to which we are “being guarded by God” (1 Peter 1:4-5)!
Charles Spurgeon, “And, truly, this is a blessing, beyond all comparison or imagination, that we have been begotten again by (God) unto a “living” hope…Our first birth brought unto us sin and sorrow, but our second birth brings us into purity and joy. We were born to die; now are we born never to die, “begotten again” unto a life that shall remain in us forevermore, a life which shall even penetrate our mortal bodies, and make them immortal, “by the resurrection of Jesus Christ from the dead.”
Peter wrote his epistle to persecuted believers, many of whom were suffering the loss of friends or homes or even their very lives. But none of those losses could work to kill their living hope. Same with Peter. A few years after writing this epistle his living hope was fully realized when he was martyred into Jesus’ presence. There’s a lot of uncertainty in this world. And there is a lot of hopelessness out there too. But the “God of hope” has caused you to be born again through Jesus to a living hope. That hope is meant to be shared (1 Peter 3:15). Praise God for it! Rejoice in it! Trust God in it! Focus on it! Encourage others in it! Spread it around!
The Believer Has Been Born Again to A Living Hope Through the Risen Christ to a Lasting Inheritance
Heavenly Father. Praise be to You for Your saving work whereby You’ve caused us to be born again to a living hope! We were once without hope and without You, but now as Your children we possess both! You’ve warned us of the troubles and hardships that we’d face in this sin-cursed world, but there’s nothing that can work to steal away the living hope we possess in You. Thank You for the imperishable, undefiled, and unfading inheritance You’ve reserved in heaven for us! And thank You for guarding us by faith as we wait now for its unveiling! May the Spirit work even now is us that we might treasure the promised treasure of all You’ve prepared for us in glory! That we might be thankful even amidst our trials, for all You’ve done and are doing in our lives! Amen!