If hope were a rain cloud sometimes it feels like we live in the desert.
When life feels like this we look up to the sky for any sign up hope.
Our Scripture for tonight gives us reason to praise God even in the midst of life in the desert.
Peter writes this letter to Christians living in a whole new world where persecution ran rampant. Similarly, it sure feels like we are living in a whole new world – a world of social distancing, a world where businesses have had to close, a world where churches are met online only instead of in person, and a world where our normal routines have been turned upside down.
Peter tells the Christians that they will experience trials. But trials are an opportunity to live out their faith. Peter also provides a reminder of the living hope that we have.
We need hope in our current Corona Virus crisis. I know I’ve needed hope. Many, including myself, have felt high anxiety, fear, and uncertainty. Many of us, myself included, have needed hope.
Also keep in mind, while the current Corona Virus crisis will pass, we are guaranteed to experience persecution due to our faith in Christ in the future. There will be future trials. Therefore, I believe we have a chance to not only live out our faith in the current situation but also to learn ways to live in hope to prepare ourselves for future trials.
Here are two ways from 1 Peter 1:3 that we can have hope now and in future trials:
- Jesus gives New Life (1 Peter 1:3)
God’s great mercies cause us to be born again. Therefore we bless God. This is how this section of Scripture begins. This is how the letter that Peter writes begins. Peter begins by blessing God.
New Life is given through Jesus Christ. How do we know this? Of course there are other Scriptures that tell us this, but this verse tells us as well. Because of new life we bless the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ. Why would Peter describe God this way, the Father of our Lord Jesus Christ? It makes me think of 2 Corinthians 1, another passage on the topic of hope and comfort in the midst of suffering. In that passage, Paul speaks of God with the same title.
John 5:18 where we are told that the Jews were seeking to kill Jesus because He claimed to be equal with God and claimed that God was His Father.
So, we bless God, the Father of our Lord Jesus Christ. Being a Christian is synonymous with blessing God the Father of our Lord Jesus Christ. Designating God as Father of Jesus makes you a believer because you are declaring a belief in the truth that Jesus is God. And because Jesus is God He is able to give us new life!
You see, 1 Peter 1:23-25 tells us that, we are born again through the living and abiding Word of God! This Word of God is the Good News, it is the Gospel. Hope doesn’t spring up out of nowhere. Hope comes from the everlasting Word of God. It comes from the Word of God which is itself alive! To find true hope we must look to the Word of God.
It is in the midst of dark times that the Good News of the Gospel shines brightly to give us a living hope!
People hear the gospel preached on the radio, through the internet, through online worship services like Facebook Live or a church’s app or website, or through someone speaking the gospel to them in a conversation between friends or family between co-workers or acquaintances.
However people hear the gospel, when they respond with belief, God’s great mercies cause us to be born again!
The result, is praise God. This is why Peter begins this letter with soaring praises to God. We will soar with praise to God when we see that we cannot accomplish, that we could not accomplish, our salvation and we are born again because of God’s great mercy!
- Jesus gives us Living Hope (1 Peter 1:3)
What is the difference between someone who is born again and someone who is not born again? Faith and Hope. Living Hope. Faith is the substance of things hoped for. So, our living hope produces faith.
Why would Peter specifically say that we have a living hope. Think about it…he just got done speaking about being born again. When a baby is born, he or she is alive. We ourselves, because of the mercy of God move from death to life. Therefore our hope is alive! It is a living hope!
This is not a hope grounded in successful careers, people, money, financial security, stock portfolios, retirement accounts, good health, physical security, a spouse, children or grandchildren, vacations, or anything else.
It is a living hope grounded in the Word of God made possible by the living God.
Again think about new birth. A baby doesn’t stay a baby, but he or she grows up. Because our hope is living it grows and grows and becomes greater and greater.
Most hopes are destroyed by time. The longer we wait for most things the dimmer our hope becomes. But we have a living hope that becomes brighter.
It is possible, through Christ, to simultaneously experience suffering and hope. And as our hope grows brighter and brighter in the midst of suffering the world will truly see the light of Christ that cannot be blown out. The world will see the church (God’s People) as a city set on a hill.