Hope can be a very dangerous thing. Your greatest wounds may be tied to unrealized dreams or unexpected disappointments. Unfortunately, the daily and worldly hopes we know in this life create some category confusion when it comes to our hope in Christ.
Peter’s first letter is written to Christians in conflict. Since following Jesus, they have not found the peace or safety or prosperity or relief that they might have expected. This world and their lives continue to be marred by inconvenience, disease, disappointment, persecution and even death.
They’re experiencing trials of every kind (1 Peter 1:6). Some are enduring sorrow, while suffering unjustly ([2:19]). They are receiving evil, being reviled (3:9) and slandered ([3:16]). They were maligned (4:4) and insulted ([4:14]). And these sufferings were common “throughout the world” (5:9). There’s suffering on every page of the book, and that is the scary, uncertain, painful context into which Peter speaks hope.
Hope for the Heartbreaks
As a follower of Christ, this life will not be easy or comfortable, but it will be real and full and lasting. Jesus says follow me and you will find inexpressible and glorious joy despiteand even in really hard, bitter, heart-breaking, even excruciating moments and realities in your life.
The letter begins, “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, who by God’s power are being guarded through faith for a salvation ready to be revealed in the last time” (1 Peter 1:3–5).
The first note Peter strikes is one of praise. Blessed be the life-giving, death-defying, overpowering God of absolutely miraculous mercy. If you believe and follow Jesus, you will face really difficult — maybe even moredifficult — things in this life, but the God who raises the dead is your God and he’s with you. God has given you a new, true, full life through his Son, Jesus. And the life he gives is filled with an unconquerable, unquenchable hope.
A Hope That Always Comes True
God has caused us to be born again to a living hope, a hope which Peter makes deliberately distinct from a lot of the other hopes we’ve known. We hope all the time, and we’re often disappointed.I hope I get an A on that test. I hope they hire me. I hope she says yes. I hope we can get a new car. I hope he remembers our anniversary. Our hopes don’t always come true.
Written by Marshall Segal
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