Summary: The command to love one another is sandwiched between two reasons to love that are both descriptions of the birth of hope. Love is encased in hope.
“What oxygen is to the lungs, such is hope to the meaning of life” (Emil Brunner) There are a lot of reasons for us not to be hopeful. I listed some just this week as I thought about this message:
Special Needs Children
Death of Your Children
Peter writes to tell us that our hope rests in God and not in man. Peter is challenging us to place our confidence in God alone. Hope rests in Him. A recent article in The Futurist magazine catalogues some of the worst predictions of all time: “Inventions have long since reached their limit, and I see no hope for further developments.” — Roman engineer Julius Sextus Frontinus, A.D. 100 “Law will be simplified [over the next century]. Lawyers will have diminished, and their fees will have been vastly curtailed.” — journalist Junius Henri Browne, 1893 “It would appear we have reached the limits of what it is possible to achieve with computer technology.” —computer scientist John von Neumann, 1949 “The Japanese don’t make anything the people in the U.S. would want.” — Secretary of State John Foster Dulles, 1954“Nuclear powered vacuum cleaners will probably be a reality within ten years.” — President of the Lewyt Vacuum Cleaner Company, quoted in The New York Times, June 10, 1955 “Before man reaches the moon, your mail will be delivered within hours from New York to Australia by guided missiles. We stand on the threshold of rocket mail.” —Arthur Summerfield, U.S. Postmaster General under Eisenhower, 1959
“Having purified your souls by your obedience to the truth for a sincere brotherly love, love one another earnestly from a pure heart, 23 since you have been born again, not of perishable seed but of imperishable, through the living and abiding word of God; 24 for “All flesh is like grass and all its glory like the flower of grass. The grass withers, and the flower falls,?25 but the word of the Lord remains forever.” And this word is the good news that was preached to you” (1Peter 1:22-25).
To really feel the force of this truth about hope and love, we need to step back and get the big picture of chapter 1.
Chapter 1 is overwhelmingly about hope. Have Hope Because….
1) You’re Worst Enemy Is Destroyed
“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” (1 Peter 1:3).
Death is now no terror. The worst enemy of our future is destroyed.
2) You Have A Reservation in Heaven
“to an inheritance that is imperishable, undefiled, and unfading, kept in heaven for you” (1 Peter 1:4)
In verse four, Peter underlines the certainty and greatness of our future by telling us that as God’s newborn children we have an inheritance with four hope-filled characteristics: 1) it is “imperishable;” 2)“undefiled;” 3) “unfading;” and 4) “reserved” in heaven. Your inheritance in heaven is being guarded for you until you arrive
3) You Are being Guarded on Earth until You Reach Heaven
“who by God's power are being guarded through faith for a salvation ready to be revealed in the last time” (1 Peter 1:5).
You are being guarded until you gain your inheritance. Verse five strengthens our hope by telling us that not only is our inheritance kept for us, but we are kept for our inheritance.
4) Your Faith Will be Tried by Fire, but it Will Last until Heaven
“so that the tested genuineness of your faith—more precious than gold that perishes though it is tested by fire—may be found to result in praise and glory and honor at the revelation of Jesus Christ” (1 Peter 1:7).
If gold is refined by fire even though it’s perishable, how much more will something as valuable as your faith be refined by suffering—but it is not perishable. Your faith will be tried, but don’t worry, it will last. It will not perish. Your Hope is equal to your confidence in God. Peter makes a transition around verse 13 as he begins to tell us how to live. He says in effect, “Now that you have seen all these reasons for hope…” Peter then goes on to give us four commands:
1. Set your Hope on Christ (verse 13);
2. Be Holy (verse 15); Holiness is loving what God loves.
3. Live Your Life in Fear (verse 18-19);
“And if you call on him as Father who judges impartially according to each one's deeds, conduct yourselves with fear throughout the time of your exile, knowing that you were ransomed from the futile ways inherited from your forefathers, not with perishable things such as silver or gold, but with the precious blood of Christ, like that of a lamb without blemish or spot” (1 Peter 1:17-19). And then his fourth command is to tell us to love one another.: “love one another earnestly from a pure heart,” (1 Peter 1:22)