Thursday, July 27, 2017

I Peter 1:3-5, our hope

Peter wrote such awesome letters! So full of things that help us each and every day. We talked yesterday about how this world is not our home. Today we'll see that Peter tells us of the hope that should encourage us to keep going:
Praise be to the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ! In his great mercy he has given us new birth into a living hope through the resurrection of Jesus Christ from the dead, and into an inheritance that can never perish, spoil or fade. This inheritance is kept in heaven for you, who through faith are shielded by God’s power until the coming of the salvation that is ready to be revealed in the last time.  (I Peter 1:3-5)
Christians going through trials need hope. Our hope is not like worldly hope, though. Let me explain.... Worldly hope is uncertain. People hope the stock market investments they make will prosper. They hope that they will make it to the next gas station before they run out; they hope their favorite team will win. There's not much certainty there. (There's a lot of anxiety, though!) Biblical hope is certain, because it's backed up by our God, the Holy One Who cannot lie. We can be certain about the final outcome in our lives. We may not know exactly how all of the events in our lives will unfold -- we may not know about (and probably don't want to know ahead of time) all the twists and turns that life will take -- but we know for certain that good will win over evil. We know for sure that glory waits for us in heaven. That is biblical hope!

Why do we have this hope, living in this evil world?
Peter tells us, if we go back to the first two verses!

Peter, an apostle of Jesus Christ,To God’s elect, exiles scattered throughout the provinces of Pontus, Galatia, Cappadocia, Asia and Bithynia, who have been chosen according to the foreknowledge of God the Father, through the sanctifying work of the Spirit, to be obedient to Jesus Christ and sprinkled with his blood:
Grace and peace be yours in abundance. (I Peter 1:1-2)
First, we have hope because we've been chosen by God. I think that Peter must have put this reason first, because he wanted to reassure us.
It does not, therefore, depend on human desire or effort, but on God’s mercy. (Romans 9:16)
Our relationship with God doesn't depend on our weak, mortal hands hanging on to our Lord. It depends on His sure grip on us! We did nothing to merit our salvation; it is God's doing. And since God is all powerful, and also a sovereign God, we can submit to Him in times of trouble, and we can have confidence in Him.

We also have hope because we have been saved by the triune God. God in three Persons....we sing about it, but who can really explain it? Peter assumed that his readers accepted the concept of the Trinity, and I think that's a pretty good way to be. He didn't try to explain it, or to defend it; Peter simply stated that we were chosen according to the foreknowledge of God the Father -- chosen also by the sanctifying work of the Holy Spirit -- so that we can obey Jesus Christ. Each Person has a role in our salvation, and we can have hope because of this.

Lastly, Peter says we can have hope because we enjoy God's grace and peace. We would have to think that for Peter, God's grace was such a motivating factor; he must have wanted to share this every day! He actually uses the word in every chapter of this book, which he wrote as a letter. That brash, impulsive Simon, that we met recently in our studies, had failed miserably on several occasions (and this gives me hope, for I fail so often!). Most terrible was the time that he denied the Lord. But he became Peter, who was wonderfully used by God! Peace is just the inner result of experiencing God's grace.

God gives His grace freely to us, too. He forgives our sins and then showers us with blessings that we don't deserve! And He promises that we will be with Him forever, in heaven. What a wonderful hope we have!


Katie Isabella said...

I loved it. This has been just excellent. A rewarding studying hope to hold on to, understand what hope is ours as a certainty. Biblical.

Cathy said...

That is such a fabulous hope. That even when we are faithless in our failures and our sins, our God is forever faithful. Praise His Name!

Austin Towers said...

It IS indeed a "hope that is steadfast and certain" as the hymn says! It is wonderful to know this and to dwell on its import. xx