The Hope of our Faith – 1 Peter 1:3-5

“Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, which according to his abundant mercy hath begotten us again unto a lively hope by the resurrection of Jesus Christ from the dead, To an inheritance incorruptible, and undefiled, and that fadeth not away, reserved in heaven for you, Who are kept by the power of God through faith unto salvation ready to be revealed in the last time.” (1 Peter 1:3-5)

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The foundation of our faith gives us the confidence we need to face persecution and trials. The hope of our faith gives us the endurance that we need to face persecution and trials. As we think about the hope of our faith, there are four things that we should consider.

The definition of hope. I love the word hope in the Bible. The meaning of the word is rich with encouraging truth. The Greek word for hope is elpis. It literally means a confident expectation. It is not a doubting expectation. It is confident expectation. It gives the sense of knowing beyond doubt that something is going to happen. It is having such a hope that we are able to carry on in the midst of troubled times. This hope is described as a lively hope. Most modern translations use the phrase living hope. It gives the idea of something that is alive and real. Using the King James rendering (lively), we have the idea of something that is more than just life or existence. It is exciting. It is vibrant. It is abundant. The hope that believers have is an exciting, living, and confident expectation. Imagine a young family who are on their way to Disney World. They have saved up for years for this moment when they can have the vacation they have always dreamed of. The closer they get to their destination the more the excitement builds. Their minivan is filled with life and anticipation of where they know they will soon be. This is the kind of hope we have as believers in Christ. Our excitement and expectation builds the closer we get to the return of Christ. We are encouraged by the promises of God and we wait expectantly for all those promises to be fulfilled.

The source of hope. Our text mentions that this lively hope comes to us by the resurrection of Jesus Christ. The source of our hope is found in the resurrected Christ. Everything hinges on the resurrection of Jesus. Apart from the resurrection, there is no hope. If Jesus was still in the grave then death would not have been defeated. We would have nothing to live for, nothing to look forward to if Jesus was still in the grave. Yet, Jesus did rise again. He is alive! Since He is alive then we do have something to live for. We do have a hope. As believers in Christ we can confidently expect that just as Jesus was resurrected so we will be resurrected. “Their hope, in other words, is the hope of resurrection, triumph over death; hence, whatever happens to them in this world is trivial compared to the blessing of the future resurrection.”[1] In Romans 8:1-18 we find encouragement in the fact that the sufferings of this world are nothing. We have a glorious future. All of which is made possible by the resurrection of Jesus Christ.

                The substance of hope. The substance of our hope is the inheritance that we receive as children of God. We can face whatever may come to us in this life because we have an inheritance to look forward to. This inheritance is no ordinary inheritance. It is the inheritance of a first born son. It is the same inheritance given to Jesus. Notice what Romans 8:17 says, “And if children, then heirs; heirs of God, and joint-heirs with Christ; if so be that we suffer with him, that we may be also glorified together.” As an heir of God the Father and a join-heir with Jesus Christ we receive all the privilege bestowed upon the Son. In other words, when the Father sees us, He sees Jesus! Since we are one with Christ, we are an elder brother. Therefore, we have an inheritance. Think about it. Everything that belongs to Jesus belongs to me. What exactly belongs to Jesus? Everything! He owns it all. As believers we may not have a lot of earthly possessions or wealth. However, we don’t need it because we own everything. All of creation belongs to me as a joint-heir with Jesus. Heaven also belongs to me. There is coming a day when I will possess that inheritance and I will live forever in the glory and beauty of Heaven. Therefore, why should I worry about the trials and sufferings of this life? Why should I fear persecution? There is no need to fear, because I have an inheritance. This inheritance is described several ways. (1) The inheritance is incorruptible. To be incorruptible is to be immortal. It cannot decay. It never grows old. Praise God! There is coming a day when this corruptible body that is prone to sickness and disease and death, will be transformed into a new body that is free from all sickness and disease and death. Everything concerning our inheritance is new. It never grows old. It will always be fresh and new. Jesus came in order to make all things new. As a believer in Christ I live in the newness of life with the hope of an incorruptible inheritance. (2) The inheritance is undefiled. In other words, it is not tainted by the world. The stain of sin will be removed. The stench of the world will vanish. I believe that the most wonderful thing about Heaven, the most wonderful thing about our inheritance; is not the streets of gold or the mansions or the crystal sea. The most wonderful thing about Heaven is that it is a place where the very presence of sin is gone. Think about it. Imagine what it will be like to live in a place where sin and the curse of sin does not even exist. Our inheritance is perfect. It is pure. It is purer than anything we could ever imagine. (3) The inheritance fadeth not away. This wonderful and glorious inheritance made possible by our union with Christ is one that is eternal. It will never end. Eternity is something that is very difficult for us to wrap our minds around. However, it is true. It is real. As believers, we have a glorious eternal inheritance. (4) The inheritance is reserved in Heaven for you. If you are a born-again child of God, this inheritance is a guarantee. It is a sure thing. You have a reservation. The substance of our hope is more than we can ever comprehend. Yet, mark it down, it is real!

The sustaining of our hope. In verse five we see that we are kept by the power of God. The hope that we have in Christ is a secure hope. As believers in Christ we are kept safe in the palm of God’s hand. He will never let us go. He will keep us. He will sustain us. If and when the day comes and I am staring in the face of persecution I can rest assured that I am safe in the hands of God. I may be tortured. I may become a martyr. But, I will never lose the hope that I have in Christ. I can confidently expect that when the sufferings of this life is over, I will be with Jesus.

The hope of our faith is made possible by the mercy and grace of God. We do not deserve such a hope. Yet, because of God’s great love toward us, He gives this hope to all who believe on the Lord Jesus and come to Him by faith. Do you have this hope? Do you know beyond any doubt that you are a child of God?

[1] Schreiner, T. R. (2003). 1, 2 Peter, Jude (Vol. 37, p. 62). Nashville: Broadman & Holman Publishers.

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