January 23 – A Living Hope

Wednesday, January 23, 2013

January 23 – A Living Hope

1 Peter 1:3-9

Praise be to the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ! In his great mercy he has given us new birth into a living hope through the resurrection of Jesus Christ from the dead, and into an inheritance that can never perish, spoil or fade—kept in heaven for you, who through faith are shielded by God’s power until the coming of the salvation that is ready to be revealed in the last time. In this you greatly rejoice, though now for a little while you may have had to suffer grief in all kinds of trials. These have come so that your faith—of greater worth than gold, which perishes even though refined by fire—may be proved genuine and may result in praise, glory and honor when Jesus Christ is revealed. Though you have not seen him, you love him; and even though you do not see him now, you believe in him and are filled with an inexpressible and glorious joy, for you are receiving the goal of your faith, the salvation of your souls.

The beginning of this blessing was also of a type used by Paul, but throughout the Old and New Testament, this type of language was used to describe God saying, ‘the God of Abraham,’ ‘the God of Shadrach, Mesach, Abednego’ (Daniel 3:95) or even the ‘Lord God of Israel’ found throughout the histories and the Psalms.

For the first time, rather than using a historical hero, the definition of God is in relation to someone who is still in the living memory of many people who will read this letter.  Think about that for a moment.  Peter was writing to people who met Jesus Christ and through Him discovered they had met God face to face.  That’s just an incredible thought.

Peter spends the rest of these verses talking about the new life that can be found in Jesus Christ.

We have an inheritance in Christ. It might not look like what we think it should look like.  It isn't gold or silver, wealth or power.  It is a gift of life beyond death, an opportunity to know that long after our time on earth is over, we will spend eternity in the presence of God.  This inheritance will never perish, spoil or fade.

Peter knows that life on earth isn't easy and says that we might have to suffer through trials, but that our faith will be proved out as we make it through these trials.  Then, he specifically says that faith is worth more than gold.

This is the same Peter, who in Acts 3, when a beggar reached out for a gift, said, “Silver or gold I do not have, but what I have I give you. In the name of Jesus Christ of Nazareth, walk!” (Acts 3:6, New International Version).  Gold and silver may be what we covet and crave, but Peter knew the worth of those things was far less than anything we could receive from Jesus Christ.

There were some in the congregations who received this letter who had never seen Jesus, but believed in him. There were some who no longer saw him physically, but still believed and loved him.  This faith brings inexpressible joy, even through trials, because of the knowledge that there is something much greater beyond our lives today and the salvation of our souls brings us that much closer to the moment we spend eternity with Christ.