Summary: Deals with the believer’s living hope in Christ.
Our Living Hope
I. The Description of Our Hope
A. Hope defined
B. Living hope
II. The Source of Our Hope: The God and Father of Our Lord Jesus Christ (v. 3)
A. By the mercy of God (v. 3a)
B. By the new birth (v. 3b)
C. By the resurrection of Christ (v. 3c)
III. The Inheritance of Our Hope (v. 4)
A. Incorruptible in substance (v. 4a)
B. Undefiled in purity (v. 4b)
C. Unfading in beauty (v. 4c)
D. Reserved in heaven (v. 4d)
IV. The Assurance of Our Hope (v. 5)
A. Kept by God’s power (v. 5a)
B. Guarded through faith (v. 5b)
C. A salvation ready to be revealed (v. 5c)
The eighteenth century German philosopher, Immanuel Kant, tells us that there are three questions which mankind has always been asking: “What can I know?” “What shall I do?” and “For what may I hope?” (15K-WS).
One of the issues that God has been speaking to me about for some time is the obvious “hope deficit” that exists within our culture. You don’t have to look very far to find people who are ready to quit because they find themselves in seemingly hopeless situations. This has only been compounded by the atrocities that occurred in our nation on September 11th and the continuing fallout as a result of those events: the instability of Wall Street, the massive layoffs in the workplace, the ongoing war in Afghanistan, the growing unrest in the Middle East, and the list goes on.
Yet the saddest thing to me is that this is no longer just an adult phenomenon. A pervading sense of hopelessness is profoundly affecting our teens, and even young children drudge through life merely eking out a tolerable existence.
It used to be that we had to “pull the reins” on our youth to hold them back because they were so filled with excitement about the future. They used to serve as the counter-balance to adult stagnation and comfortableness with the status quo. Today, however, it is becoming increasingly common that our children are in need of a “jump start” to get them to attempt new things, to believe in the possibility of a better tomorrow, and to dream dreams again. Like never before, the truth of Solomon’s words ring so clearly, “Hope deferred makes the heart sick” (Proverbs 13:12).
There are a host of reasons as to why we find ourselves in this condition. Although the cause of our culture of hopelessness is an important and emotive topic to consider, it is not my purpose today to delineate a list of reasons. Instead, I would like to look at what the Bible has to say about the believer’s hope. I want to emphasize at the beginning that what we are exploring today refers only to the hope that is the right and privilege of those who have placed their confidence in God through Jesus Christ by the power of the Holy Spirit.
In 1 Peter 1:3-5, we discover the description of our hope, the source of our hope, the inheritance of our hope, and the assurance of our hope. It’s a rich and exciting passage of scripture that will raise us to a higher level of experience in the Christ-life when we choose to embrace its truth on a daily basis. Please join me in reading 1 Peter 1:3-5.
The Description of Our Hope
Before we look at Peter’s specific description of our hope, we need to take a moment to define hope. What is the biblical definition of the word hope? The NT word translated as “hope” in our Bibles means a “favorable and confident expectation [of good]. It has to do with the unseen and the future” (W. E. Vine, NT Words, p. 311). The “original word [specifically] denotes a joyful and contented expectation of eternal salvation” (NUBD-WS). In other words, our hope is a confident expectation of the full realization of all the promises of God for our lives—this is what we confidently look forward to.
Peter describes our hope as being a living hope. “The word ‘living’ denotes that which is dynamic, vital, [and] alive. The hope is like living waters flowing from a perennial spring which never runs dry.” (Paul Cedar, MTNT, vol. 11, p. 114).
I want you to note that a living hope “means that it is not a dead, lifeless hope. It is not the kind of hope that we use to stir positive thinking for the moment but does nothing for us beyond the grave; not the kind of hope that gives us meaning and motivation for life but is dead and lifeless beyond this life” (POSB-WS).
I also want you to recognize that a living hope “means that it is not a probable hope; it is not the kind of hope that may or may not come to pass” (POSB-WS).