A Living Hope in a Living Savior: 1 Peter 1:3-5
We all put our hope in something. We hope in our savings accounts to bring security, we hope in our relationships to make us happy, we hope in our careers and hobbies to bring fulfillment, we hope in healthy living to bring us long life, we hope in obedient children to give us peace, we hope in entertainment to bring us comfort and joy – the list can go on and on. Even those that feel hopeless demonstrate that they put their hope in something and have simply come to realize that it has failed them.
You may recall from our last look at 1 Peter 1:1-2 that Peter calls us to embrace the identity of being elect exiles – to be chosen by God to be rejected by the world. Embracing this identity means giving up hoping in the things of this world. Yet, Peter does not leave us without hope. Instead, Peter begins his letter by holding before us the gospel – the good news. He presents us with a better hope.
Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ! According to his great mercy, he has caused us to be born again to a living hope through the resurrection of Jesus Christ from the dead, to an inheritance that is imperishable, undefiled, and unfading, kept in heaven for you, who by God’s power are being guarded through faith for a salvation ready to be revealed in the last time. – 1 Peter 1:3-5
A Burst of Praise to God
This good news is so amazing that Peter can’t even hold back his praise for God exclaiming, “Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ!” Peter worships the Father because he has caused us to be born again! Why? Because of his great mercy! It is not due to anything good in us. We are simply born. God is the active mover - according to his great mercy he causes us to be born again. To what end? To a living hope! Our hope is not a perishing or fading hope – it is living! How? Through the resurrection of Jesus Christ from the dead! We are born to new life through Jesus being raised to new life. We have a living hope because we worship a living Savior!
Here we see that our living hope isn’t some abstract eternity in heaven but is a person. Jesus is our living hope. Jesus’ resurrection from the dead secures our salvation to be with him forever and all of the many blessings that he brings to us. Peter defines this living hope as an inheritance that is imperishable, undefiled, and unfading. We may not have any inheritance on earth, but we come to realize that the inheritance we have as God’s chosen exiles is far better. The things of this world will all perish, are all defiled, and are all fading. Our inheritance is so much better that its reality almost surpasses our present comprehension because it is so different from the things we’ve come to experience in this world.
What is your hope in?
So, this begs the question – if this living hope is so much better, why do we put our hope in other things?
Well, I think if we are honest with ourselves at least one reason is because it is so much more difficult! It is unseen, in heaven, future. We hope in instant gratification rather than waiting for an inheritance. We hope in tangible experiences choosing the seen over the unseen. Our minds are so focused on earth and ourselves that we easily set our hope on the perishable, defiled, and fading. We are far too easily satisfied with a big bank account, romantic bliss, career achievements, obedient kids, or a nice Netflix binge. Yet, we also know these all fade and provide no lasting hope.
The Good News
The good news is that God not only establishes our living hope in Christ’s resurrection from the dead but he also maintains it through his ascension to the right hand of God the Father! Our inheritance is kept in heaven for us. It is more secure than anything we could hope for in this world. We, likewise, are being kept and guarded by God – guarded through faith in our living hope, Jesus Christ, for a salvation ready to be revealed in the last time. On the cross Jesus cried out, “It is finished!” He has paid the penalty for all of our sin, and he rose from the dead conquering sin, death, and evil. The same power of God that secures our inheritance through the resurrection of Jesus Christ from the dead also secures and guards us now! God has our salvation ready, but it is yet to be revealed and so we hold onto it by faith. Edmund Clowney commented on this living hope, “Complete as salvation is, ready as it is, even experienced as it is, it still has a glorious future. In the last time it will be revealed when Jesus Christ is revealed.” So, we wait with patient endurance by faith in our living hope.
God does not promise to guard our comfort, security, health, career, happiness, but he does promise to guard our salvation through faith. What are you doing to feed your hope instead of giving yourself over to lesser earthly hopes? The power of God to guard our salvation is found in the hope of the gospel of Jesus Christ at work through the power of the Holy Spirit. Jesus is our living hope. Come Lord Jesus!
“Hope is called the anchor of the soul because it gives stability to the Christian life. But hope is not simply a ‘wish’ I wish that such-and-such would take place rather, it is that which latches on to the certainty of the promises of the future that God has made.”
— R.C. Sproul
To dive deeper check out The God Who Guards and Keeps His People: 1 Peter 1:3-5 by Pastor Tim Cain