When people are at their lowest, we often say they have “lost hope,” as though the individual was losing their ability to hope. However, such statements say more about the source of their hope than the strength of their hope.
Health, finances, influence, friendships, security, and other things may provide a ray of hope, but such hope is like the flame of a candle which flickers in the wind, and eventual goes out.
Such hope is vastly different than the Christian’s hope which, as Hebrews 6:19 tells us, is “a sure and steadfast anchor of the soul.”
So how can a person exchange a fragile hope for the unshakeable hope that Scripture speaks of? How can the believer maintain their heavenly hope in hard times?
We find the answer to these questions in the book of 1 Peter. This epistle was written to believers facing insults, slander, beatings, sporadic violence, and societal pressure for their faith.
In the midst of this suffering, Peter wanted them to know that Jesus Christ provides hope even in the midst of difficult circumstances.
1 Peter 1:3-5 shows us:
- The Gift of our Hope.
- The Ground of our Hope.
- The Goal of our Hope.
- The Gift of our 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…”
Hope is a gift made available by God’s great mercy. Charles Spurgeon commented on this passage that “No other attribute could have helped us if mercy had refused…it is from the mercy of God that all our hopes begin.”
This gift of living hope actually comes as the result of our receiving something else from God. “According to His great mercy He has caused us to be born again to a living hope.”
No doubt, Peter was recalling Jesus’ teaching recorded in John 3: “You must be born again.” Jesus was talking about a spiritual rebirth, going from one who is spiritually dead to being spiritually alive.
Those who would obtain living hope do so by way of being born again.
To be perfectly plain: Apart from Jesus, there is no anchor which will hold in the violent storms of life. There is no enduring, steadfast, living hope.
Why is this the case? Because the strength of our hope is determined by the ground of our hope.
- THE GROUND OF OUR HOPE
Look at verse three in its entirety:
“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.”
Isn’t it interesting that Peter does not say “through the atoning death of Jesus Christ on the cross” or something like that? Why does he speak of our new birth and living hope as being through the Resurrection?
Keep in mind that Peter is addressing believers who (like you and me) had never seen Jesus with their own eyes (1 Peter 1:8). So when circumstances became increasingly difficult, and doubts crept in, where were they to look for a reminder of why they still had reason to hope? The Resurrection!
The Resurrection is the linchpin of our faith; it holds together all of the claims and promises of Scripture. As the apostle Paul says in 1 Corinthians 15:17-19:
And if Christ has not been raised, your faith is futile and you are still in your sins. Then those also who have fallen asleep in Christ have perished. If in Christ we have hope in this life only, we are of all people most to be pitied.
But thanks be to God; we do not have hope in this life only. The Resurrection proves that Christ’s atoning sacrifice on our behalf was accepted. It proves to us that Jesus Christ is who He says He is!
Jesus is our hope. If our source of hope was in our finances, or in our health, or in our relationships, any number of things could enter our lives and take away our hope. Not so for the Christian!
In Jesus Christ, we have an unshakeable and living hope even in the midst of difficult circumstances.
But our hope is not merely based on Christ’s work in the past. It is a strong and confident expectation for what is yet to come.
- THE GOAL OF OUR HOPE
To spur his readers to reflect on their hope in Christ, Peter reveals what it is that we can set our sights on when we are enduring difficult circumstances:
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.
As children of God and joint heirs with Christ, we have a spiritual inheritance that is still awaiting us. This inheritance is nothing less than the fullness of our salvation in Christ when we will be made perfect in holiness and blessed with the full enjoyment of God for all eternity. Our inheritance is the completion of our salvation.
Philippians 1:6 says that “he who began a good work in you will bring it to completion at the day of Jesus Christ.”
All that hinders us from full enjoyment of God will be removed. We will be free from sickness. Free from brokenness, depression, anxiety, and doubt. Free from loss, free from failure, free from uncertainty. Free from hurting those we love and being hurt by them.
This is the goal of our living hope! This is why we can remain hopeful during times of difficulty! Our inheritance is so great that the circumstances of this life grow dim in comparison to the joy of the next!
The apostle Paul, who was well acquainted with hardship, says in Romans 8:18:
I consider that the sufferings of this present time are not worth comparing with the glory that is to be revealed to us.
And so we hope with an eager, strong, and confident expectation as we await that day when we are free from sin’s influence and are with our Lord and Savior forever.
This wonderful inheritance—this completion of salvation which awaits us—is what enables us to endure any circumstance without losing hope.
Not only is this inheritance wonderful, but it is also guaranteed to the believer.
Our inheritance is imperishable: The storehouse of our heavenly treasures can never be exhausted. It is an eternal, never-ending inheritance.
Our inheritance is undefiled: Even the greatest of treasures in this life are marred by sin and fallenness. Not so in the next. Nothing of sin or corruption shall affect our eternal inheritance.
Our inheritance is unfading: You will not get bored with your inheritance. When you are in a perfect relationship with your Savior your enjoyment of being in His presence will only increase.
This is not all. This inheritance is “kept in heaven for you.” Kept here is a military term, meaning that it is being guarded for us. This inheritance is not simply set aside with your name on it, like a package at the post office. It is secured and kept specifically for you, like a deposit in a high-security bank vault.
What a strong and confident hope we have! But what good is a great inheritance if you are somehow prevented from receiving it? If you have baseball tickets set aside for you at will call, but circumstances prevent you from making it to the stadium, what good did the tickets do?
Thankfully, our inheritance is not the only thing kept secure. Look again at verse 4 and 5:
….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.
Note that verse five speaks not of our inheritance but of us as children of God. We are being guarded by God’s own power through faith, for a salvation ready to be revealed in the last time.
What hope this must have given to those on the brink of violent persecution! What hope this should be to each of us in our difficulties!
Our complete salvation is guaranteed not by our power—as though salvation was obtained by grace but held on to by works. No! Jesus said, “I give them eternal life, and they will never perish, and no one will snatch them out of my hand” (John 10:28).
We will persevere in the faith by God’s power! No matter the trial, no matter the struggle, no matter the tragedy which may befall us, our eternal inheritance is secure, and so our hope remains. Our inheritance is being guarded for us, and we are being guarded for our inheritance.
What hope and comfort that is in our weakness! The security and certainty of our salvation is our living hope in any circumstance.
Living hope is God’s gift to those who are born again in Christ. This hope is grounded in the Resurrection of our Lord, and it points us to the day when we shall be with Him, both body and soul, forever.
This eternal inheritance that awaits us is imperishable, undefiled, and unfading. It is kept safely in heaven for you, and you are being safely guarded for your inheritance.
This is why we, as Christians, need not lose hope – no matter what storms assail us.
The strength of our hope is determined by the source of our hope. In Jesus Christ, we have a living hope even in the midst of difficult circumstances.