“Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, who according to His abundant mercy has begotten us again to a living hope through the resurrection of Jesus Christ from the dead, to an inheritance incorruptible and undefiled and that does not fade away, reserved in heaven for you, who are kept by the power of God through faith for salvation ready to be revealed in the last time” (1 Peter 1:3-5).
Can you imagine having to endure challenging times such as the death of a loved one, a serious illness, or a broken relationship without any hope for a better future? Hope is vital for us to have!
Remember the disciples’ reaction at the arrest of Jesus? They had all scattered and forsook Jesus (Matthew 26:56). Following the death of Christ, they did not believe the ladies who told them they had seen the resurrected Christ (Luke 24:11). They were acting as though they had no more hope. However, Peter ran to the tomb and saw that it was empty (Luke 24:12). Later, Jesus would appear to His disciples and their hope would be born again (John 20:19-20). They had a living hope!
As the opening verses above indicate, Peter was reminding the Christians to whom he was writing about the significance of the living hope we have. Peter knew the importance of hope because, following the death of Christ, he experienced times of no hope. He had left all to follow Christ (Mark 1:18); and, when Christ died, he thought his hopes for better times for Israel and for his future had died as well. The resurrection of Jesus from the dead had given him a living hope (1 Peter 1:3).
The hope we have as Christians is made possible because of the abundant mercy God has shown to us (1 Peter 1:3). Our hope is for an inheritance that is incorruptible, which can never be defiled, and is reserved in heaven for us (1 Peter 1:4). Our hope will be realized when Christ comes again to take us home, but till then we are kept by God’s power as we place our faith in Him (1 Peter 1:5).
Why is hope so important? Because this life is full of trials and sufferings we must endure. Without hope it is impossible to endure these. The Christians to whom Peter was writing were grieved by the various trials they faced (1 Peter 1:6). God was allowing them to experience these trials so that their faith could be shown to be genuine (1 Peter 1:7). Such faith is precious, even more precious than gold in the eyes of God. Likewise, as Christians, we should esteem the genuine faith of our fellow Christians as something which is very precious as well.
As they endured these trials Peter encourages them to cling to their living hope: “Therefore gird up the loins of your mind, be sober, and rest your hope fully upon the grace that is to be brought to you at the revelation of Jesus Christ” (1 Peter 1:13). Clinging to their living hope as they looked forward to the 2nd coming of Christ would enable them to persevere though the trials they were enduring.
Hope is vital for the Christian life. The Hebrew writer describes it as the “anchor of the soul” and, as Christians, we have laid hold of it (Hebrews 6:18-19). I acknowledge that in this life I will face many trials, heartaches, and challenges. However, I praise God that through the resurrection of His Son from the dead He has given me a living hope on which to cling. Today, I will rest myself fully upon this living hope!
“For You are my hope, O Lord God; You are my trust from my youth. By You I have been upheld from birth; You are He who took me out of my mother's womb. My praise shall be continually of You” (Psalm 71:5-6).