A Living Hope

Earthly hope is a tricky thing. It can cause people to believe in the impossible, but when hope is dashed, it can spiral people into a dark place. When we talk about earthly hope, we are really talking about nothing more than a possibility. The key word of earthly hope is the word “if.” If this happens, then… Or if this doesn’t happen, then….. Earthly hope can cause people to do or to attempt things that they wouldn’t normally do. But when earthly hope lets us down enough times, we become cynical and pessimistic. But earthly hope isn’t really hope. Again, it is nothing more than a mere possibility. But there is true hope. True hope is more than a possibility, it is a confident expectation. True hope, biblical hope isn’t a thing, it’s a Person. Peter writes in 1 Peter 1:3, “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.” True hope, biblical hope is Jesus.

Peter is writing to a group of dispersed Jews who have believed in Jesus as Savior and Lord. They are suffering. As Jews, they knew the promises that God had made to Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob in the Old Testament. Yet, their circumstances were far from those promises. It is possible that they felt lost, abandoned, and without hope. They probably, like many people today, thought life would be different. We are living in a tricky time right now, because we live in a time best described as, already but not yet. Our citizenship as Christians is already in heaven. We have already passed from death into life. Therefore, we have no reason to fear sickness or death, because we know how the story will end. Yet, we are still living in a fallen, sinful world where suffering and sickness are the norm. We are stuck between knowing the goodness to come while having to deal with the sinfulness of now. This often leads to cynical Christians. Those who say they believe the Bible, yet struggle to see what God is doing in the here and now. They are so focused on what is to come in the kingdom of God, that they don’t see God’s purpose of leaving us here in this fallen, sinful kingdom.

It is with that backdrop, Peter writes that we have a “living hope.” Biblical hope is a confident expectation. What are we confident in and what is our expectation according to this verse? We are confident that God is merciful. Peter says that God is not only merciful, but He is abundantly merciful. Mercy is not receiving what we deserve. Peter is saying, listen as bad as things are just remember that we deserve so much worse. We are sinners by birth and by choice. Because God is holy, we deserve nothing short of Divine wrath. Yet, God has shown mercy and continues to show mercy to us. We are confident that this world is not our home nor is it the final chapter of our life. We have this confidence because of the resurrection of Jesus Christ. Because He lives, those who surrender to Him in faith will live now and for eternity in His presence. This doesn’t mean that this life will be easy or that we won’t have trials and difficulties. Jesus promised that we would have those things. Yet, it means that we can face whatever comes in life with confidence, not in ourselves, but rather in Him. Just as Jesus has overcome the world, those who have trusted in Him have overcome the world through Him. While we walk through this sin-sickened, fallen world full of stresses and struggles, we can patiently wait knowing that there is a better day coming. Not only is there a better day coming, but we also have the presence and person of God with us until that moment. Because Jesus is alive, He is with His children. He has not left us alone nor are we like orphans. So, while we wait on the day in which we are in His presence, we rest and wait in Him. We trust Him in the good times and the bad times, knowing that everything happens for a purpose. While we wait, we worship and praise Him for His abundant mercy and looking forward to the day in which our faith becomes sight.

By His grace and for His glory,

Pastor Justin

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