The coronavirus pandemic has brought a great hardship to many people around the world. It has caused a great problem for the church because most have not been able to assemble as a congregation. If I tell you all today to look with me in God’s word, the Bible, some might respond, “I don’t even know if there is a God. Where is He? What is He doing? Why doesn’t He take this all away? And, what does a book written thousand of years ago have to do with us today?” My answer is, “Yes, there is a God, He will take this all away and everything else in this world; and the Bible has everything to do with us.” All of this is not much different from the persecution endured by the church in Jerusalem when they were scattered from their homes, their jobs and separated from family and friends (Acts 8:1-4). It is to these Christians and others like them that Peter writes his first epistle. He gives them a message of hope that is just as relevant and powerful as it was when it was first written.
Peter begins not by blaming God but by blessing God for giving us a living hope (1 Peter 1:3-5). Notice:
It is a result of God’s mercy. Peter praises God for His abundant mercy. Without it we are all miserably lost in our sins and headed to eternal ruin but He was merciful to save us through Jesus Christ (Ephesians 2:1-10) when were born again in the waters of baptism by the Holy Spirit (John 3:3-7; Titus 3:3-5). Baptism saves us by the resurrection of Jesus Christ (1 Peter 3:21). The same power that raised Jesus from the dead raises us up from the waters of baptism with new life (Romans 6:3-4; Colossians 2:12).
It is rooted in the resurrection of Christ. It is not just wishful thinking but based in historical reality. Jesus fulfilled the prophecies concerning His death, burial and resurrection which was witnessed by many (1 Corinthians 15:1-8). Many set their hope on the things of the world, but this is a dying hope. Christians have their hope in Jesus, “knowing that He who raised up the Lord Jesus will also raise us up with Jesus” (2 Corinthians 4:14). Jesus is not a dead hero but a living Lord. We have a living hope.
It is reserved for us in heaven. It can never be ruined, polluted or destroyed but is reserved for us in heaven. As long as we keep our faith, God will keep us so that we cannot lose it (1 John 5:13; Revelation 2:10).
It is ready to be revealed in the last time. Jesus promised the apostles that He would go and prepare a place for them in His Father’s house and that He would come back to bring them home with Him (John 14:1-3). Christians may be comforted with that same promise (1 Thessalonians 4:13-17). One day we will see the Lord and be with Him in that heavenly place.
Peter does not stop here but goes on to help us to better understand the hope we have in Jesus so that we might continue in faith (1 Peter 1:6-9).
It is a cause for great rejoicing that sustains us in our trials. Now, for a little while we are grieved with various trials. These trials are necessary to test and to prove the genuineness of our faith. Our faith is refined like one might refine gold in the fire. Our trials produce perseverance, character and hope that does not disappoint (Romans 5:1-11). This process results in praise, honor and glory at the revelation of Jesus Christ (1 John 3:1-3).
Now, we don’t see Jesus, but we love Him. We don’t see Him, but we believe in Him. We rejoice because we are receiving our reward and whatever we must suffer in this life cannot compare to what awaits us in eternity (Romans 8:18). It is this hope that saves us while we wait eagerly with perseverance (vv. 24-25). Our focus is not on the afflictions of the moment but on the reward that is to come (2 Corinthians 4:16-5:1).
It is this perspective of faith that gives us a joy so full that we cannot even describe it. I can only give you an illustration that falls far short of it. Imagine working at an impossibly difficult, dirty job with long hours and horrible conditions to receive a measly $10 check at the end of the week. Anyone would give up before the week was over. But imagine doing that same job knowing that at the end of the week you would receive a promotion to a well desired position paying a million dollars/week for the rest of your life. You would be smiling every day on the job because you had hope of such a great reward to come.
Finally, Peter seeks to strengthen our hope in Jesus by reminding us of our privileged position as Christians (1 Peter 1:10-12).
It was prophesied beforehand by the prophets, then reported through those who preached the gospel by the Holy Spirit. This had all been revealed to the prophets of the Old Testament. They were very curious of how and when these things would be fulfilled. The inspired apostles and prophets of the New Testament reported the fulfillment of these things while the angels also looked on with great interest. How privileged we are today to have the saving gospel not just in promise as those of old but now in its fulfillment by Jesus Christ. This should only further confirm our faith in the resurrected Lord and strengthen our hope in Him.
Jesus Christ Is Our Hope!
“the Lord Jesus Christ, our hope” (1 Timothy 1:1)
It is now our mission to bring this message of hope, the good news of salvation through Jesus Christ, to all people (Mark 16:15-16). If you are putting your hope in anyone or anything else, it is a dying hope that will only lead to eternal death separated from God forever. Only in Jesus do we have a living hope that will lead us to eternal life in heaven with God forever. Will you put your hope in Him, today?
Robert Dodson is the Preaching Minister for the Northwest Church of Christ.
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