Summary: With the greatest gift ever given, the gift of God’s Son, we have received the gift of hope.
When Christ came to this earth as a baby born in Bethlehem, He came to a world that was without hope. But He brought hope.
Hope is a precious commodity in human life. What a contrast of emotions there is between the words, “hopeless” and “hopeful.” The Bible uses both ideas. “Hopeless” describes the terminal condition of the sinner as Paul expresses it in Ephesians 2:12 (NIV) - “having no hope, and without God in the world.” If a person persists in rejecting Christ as his Savior, then he is left to experience this hopelessness through-out all eternity.
“Hopeful,” on the other hand, depicts the repentant sinner who experiences the reality of “Christ in you, the hope of glory” - Colossians 1:27 (NIV). “The hope of the Gospel” - Colossians 1:23 (NIV) assures him of forgiveness and everlasting life. This hope we have in Christ is a confidence concerning God’s presence in our life today and of our being in God’s presence through-out eternity.
Therefore, while the unbeliever will be condemned to spend eternity knowing hopelessness apart from the presence of God, the believer will be blessed to spend eternity knowing a fulfilled hope as they are forever in the wonderful presence of the Lord.
In his first epistle, Peter says a lot about the gift of hope that can be ours because of the gift of God’s Son. He describes hope in four ways:
1. It is a living hope - 1 Peter 1:3
Peter opens his letter by establishing that the Christian’s hope is based on “the resurrection of Jesus Christ from the dead.” Because He lives, our future is guaranteed. We have a living Savior, who can be trusted to see us through the difficulties of this life by means of His presence with us and safely, one day, into His presence in glory.
Because we have a living Savior, we have a living hope that sustains us and strengthens us as we pass through life in this world.
“So then, since we have a great High Priest who has entered heaven, Jesus the Son of God, let us hold firmly to what we believe. This High Priest of ours understands our weaknesses, for he faced all of the same testings we do, yet he did not sin. So let us come boldly to the throne of our gracious God. There we will receive his mercy, and we will find grace to help us when we need it most.” - Hebrews 4:14-16 (NLT)
It is interesting to note that the word worry comes from the Greek word merimnao, which is a combination of the two words merizo, meaning “to divide,” and nous, meaning “mind.” Hence, worry means “to divide the mind,” or to be double-minded.
This world is a “double-minded” world. James tells us in James 1:8, that “a double-minded man is unstable in all he does.” The Christian, by contrast, can be free from worry and know stability
in this life because of the fact that our Savior is a living Savior that can be trusted with the concerns of this life.
Satan, if he can, will so preoccupy us with worry about the past or the future that he will make us ineffective in the present. But because we have a living Savior, who has provided for forgiveness from sin and victory over sin, and who has promised that by His presence He will see us through whatever life might bring our way so we can avoid being “double-minded” and live life with a sense of stability.
I heard about a man who worried all the time. But then, he came up with a solution. One of his friends noticed a difference in his demeanor and asked him why he wasn’t as worried as he used to be. He explained that he had put an ad in the paper and offered $10,000 a week to anyone who might do his worrying for him. His friend asked, “And how do you think you’ll pay him?” He replied, “I don’t know, that’s his worry!”
Jesus has paid the price at the cross and was raised victoriously from the dead so that you might be for you a living Savior so that you can turn to at any time about anything and be enabled to live worry-free! And we certainly need not worry about the future:
“For I know the plans that I have for you,’ declares the LORD, ‘plans for welfare and not for calamity to give you a future and a hope.” - Jeremiah 11:29 (NASB)
This living hope that both strengthens and sustains us is based on the wonderful fact that Jesus has won the complete victory for us by His resurrection from the dead.
“If you are hopeless, there may be many contributors, but two are certain: 1. You have placed your hope in something other than God . . . and it has let you down. 2. You may understand that Jesus conquered death, but you live as though He is still in the grave. All hopelessness is ultimately a denial of the resurrection.” - Ed Welch