A Living Hope

I’ve been reading the book of 1 Peter lately. What a great book! (Spoiler alert! I plan to preach a series out of 1 Peter after the holidays) I want to focus on 1 Peter 1:3-9 in this article. As I was reading this passage, I began to see several highlights that I want to share with you today. Before you read this, I would encourage you to read this passage yourself and let God speak to you…. Okay, ready? Here goes!
I titled this article “A Living Hope” because the very first thing Peter tells us is that God has made it possible for all people to be born again to a living hope. Now please don’t overlook this phrase. Why does Peter call it a “living” hope? Well, I’m glad you asked. You see, many people have hopes and dreams throughout their lives but for the most part, they turn out to be just that, dreams and hopes that never materialize. That’s because life happens. And usually when life happens we end up being swamped with the cares of this life and the burdens that it brings and we fail to see those hopes and dreams realized. But Peter reminds us that the hope that Jesus gives us is living. It is real and alive and can be found by anyone who puts their faith and trust in Jesus Christ to save them!
 
But notice something really important in what Peter says. He tells us that this living hope of eternal life is only made possible by God’s great mercy. What that means is, you and I don’t deserve any hope, in this life or the next. We all fall short of God’s glory and his standard. We have no way of entering heaven in our own strength or goodness. It is only by God’s great mercy that we can have a living hope of eternal life! And his mercy is only made possible by Jesus’ death on the cross for our sins AND his resurrection from the grave. He conquered sin and death in order for all of us to have the chance to experience this living hope. God’s mercy can rest on us because his wrath rested on his Son, Jesus! How about that for Good News!
 
Then Peter gives us the wonderful qualities of this living hope. In fact, he gives us 5 qualities that I’ve listed here. 1. It is imperishable – That means it’s not subject to decay. 2. Undefiled – This means it is unable to be made corrupt or to be desecrated or spoiled. 3. Unfading – The obvious meaning here is it will never go away. 4. Kept – God has reserved your living hope and nothing or no one can take it from you. 5. Guarded – God has literally placed an angelic army to guard your eternal life. There is no power strong enough to take it from you. See, I told you this passage was rich!
 
Lastly, we come to the part of the passage that is often ignored or overlooked for obvious reasons. Peter reminds his readers that in this world, “for a little while” we will be “grieved” by various trials. Even Jesus told us the same thing, as did several other New Testament writers such as Paul and James. But if you read on, these trials are actually for our benefit. They serve to strengthen our faith and the result will be to bring praise and glory to God! 
 
As we enter this season of Advent and Christmas, I encourage you to put your faith in Jesus. If you haven’t already, discover for yourself this living hope that is kept in heaven for you, if you will only trust in Jesus. It will make Christmas come alive for you in ways you never imagined before!
 
Blessings this Christmas
Pastor Jim