Born Again to a Living Hope

Pulpit

1 Peter 1:3-9

1:3 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, 4 to an inheritance that is imperishable, undefiled, and unfading, kept in heaven for you, 5 who by God’s power are being guarded thorough faith for a salvation ready to be revealed in the last time. 6 In this you rejoice, though now for a little while, if necessary, you have been grieved by various trials, 7 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. 8 Though you have not seen Him, you love Him. Though you do not now see Him, you believe in Him and rejoice with joy that is inexpressible and filled with Glory, 9 obtaining the outcome of your faith, the salvation of your souls.

John Calvin, the theologian and protestant reformer, wrote “We should ask God to increase our hope when it is small, awaken it when it is dormant, confirm it when it is wavering, strengthen it when it is weak, and raise it up when it is overthrown.”

Does this resonate with you? Do you know this kind of hope? I realize, of course, where we are today. For many of you, it can be very difficult to find hope if you’re lonely, or if your health is failing. It can be very difficult to find hope, when you watch all the things that happen on the news. Hope, in our day, can be very hard to find.

But there is something in this quote that, for me, at least, is comforting and helpful. This is true for two reasons. First, it’s comforting that we have something to hope for at all, and second it’s comforting that when our hope is weak, we can ask God to increase it, to strengthen it, and He is inclined to do it.

Peter has quite a bit to teach us about hope in our passage today. We can see why we have hope, and we can see why He’s inclined to strengthen our hope when we ask Him.

1. The Source of Our Hope

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

If I were to walk into a Sunday school class and ask what it was that Jesus did for us, I imagine the most common answer would be something like “Jesus died for us on the cross.” That is very true. He did take the penalty for our sin on the cross. But our passage today calls attention to what happened three days after that. Jesus was raised from the dead! Peter writes that the Father caused us to be born again to a living hope, how? Through the resurrection of Jesus Christ from the dead.

Because Jesus was raised, we can have hope. The resurrection of Jesus is a fact. It is a matter of public record. We see in 1 Corinthians 15 that Jesus after His resurrection appeared to the apostles as well as to five hundred disciples—eye witnesses that Paul mentions were still alive at the time of His writing. There were eye witnesses to the resurrection that could and did confirm the truth of the resurrection of Christ. The fact of the resurrection confirms for us that what Jesus said and what He promised was true.

Not only does the resurrection confirm the truth of the Gospel, it also foreshadows a gift to all Christians. In Romans 6, Paul says, “if we have been united with Him in a death like His, we shall certainly be united with Him in a resurrection like His.” In Romans 6, Paul is teaching that if we have faith in Christ, we are united to Christ, symbolized in Baptism. When the father gives us faith, when He causes us to be born again, He unites us to Christ, and just as surely as Christ was raised, we shall be raised as well.

The resurrection of Jesus Christ is the ground of our hope. We may be born again to a living hope through the resurrection of Jesus Christ from the dead.

So the question for you is are you in Christ? See Christ has promised you salvation if you will repent of your sins and trust in Him as savior. If you trust in Christ to forgive your sins, He will—He proves it by rising from the dead.

2. The Substance of Our Hope

Those who are born again are born “to an inheritance that is imperishable, undefiled, and unfading, kept in heaven for you, who by God’s power are being guarded thorough faith for a salvation ready to be revealed in the last time.”

The substance of our hope is what Peter calls here an inheritance that is imperishable and unfading. Do you remember what God promised to Abraham? The Psalmist in Psalm 105:11 says God promised the land of Canaan as an inheritance. But in the New Testament, we see that the Land of Canaan pointed ahead to a true and better inheritance. In Matthew 5, Jesus says, “Blessed are the meek, for they shall inherit the earth.” He then said “Blessed are you when others revile you…for your reward is great in heaven.”

Through the resurrection of Christ we receive an inheritance—the ultimate inheritance—eternal life with Christ in heaven.

Do you have the promise of this inheritance? How do you know if you do? Well, you have the inheritance by faith in Christ—you have the inheritance of the people of God if you are a part of the people of God. So what does that mean? It means that you repent of your sins and put your faith and trust in Christ alone to save you. Christians are people who are moved by the gospel to repent of their sins. Repentance is the mark of a faithful Christian.

Friends, as the Heidelberg catechism says, our only comfort in life and in death is that we are not our own, but belong body and soul, in life and in death, to our faithful Savior Jesus Christ. Trust Him today, and this is your hope too.

3. The Security of Our Hope

Those who are found in Christ, “by God’s power are being guarded thorough faith for a salvation ready to be revealed in the last time.”

This hope is guaranteed. We see here that by God’s power—the same power that raised Jesus from the dead—Christians are being guarded through faith, for a salvation ready to be revealed in the last time. We often talk about salvation in the present tense. Are you saved now? And that’s true—you’re either saved or not—born again or not. Either Christ is your savior or He isn’t. But we have hope—and it’s a sure source of hope—that if you are regenerated now, you are being guarded by God. He’s keeping you through faith, so that you will be ultimately and finally saved on the last day.

On the last day, Christians will be glorified. They will receive their inheritance. All remaining sin will be purged.

4. The Setting of Our Hope

We’ve been talking about the Resurrection of Jesus today. More specifically, we’ve been talking about the hope that we have because of the resurrection of Jesus. But the fact that we speak of it as a hope means that there is something yet to come—something that’s not here yet. Our hope is sure—as sure as Jesus is alive, as sure as Christ is risen. But the context of our hope—where we are right now—is in the midst of various trials.

In this you rejoice, though now for a little while, if necessary, you have been grieved by various trials, 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.

I don’t know specifically what your trials are at the moment. I can venture a guess. Some of you are very lonely. Some of you are afraid of declining health. There are Christians here in the US and around the world who are being actively persecuted for their faith. The people to whom Peter was writing were indeed going through various trials. This text is encouraging you to persevere so that the tested genuineness of your faith may be found to result in praise and glory and honor at the revelation of Jesus Christ, that is, His return.

Though you have not seen Him, you love Him. Though you do not now see Him, you believe in Him and rejoice with joy that is inexpressible and filled with Glory, obtaining the outcome of your faith, the salvation of your souls.

This is how the passage ends. This is the character of persevering faith. You have not seen Him and you love Him. You don't see Him now, but you believe in Him, with joy.

Friends, you can have hope despite your various trials. Death and loss are frightening. But if you are found in Christ, you need not fear death because Jesus defeated death. “O death, where is thy sting? O grave, where is thy victory?” Your body may die, but if you are in Christ, your soul will not die and your body will be raised, as Christ’s was. If you are in Christ, you will not suffer loss because He is the heir of all things.

This is the hope that we have in Christ: joy inexpressible. The outcome of our faith is the salvation of our souls. If you are not in Christ—that is if you continue to turn toward your sin and away from Christ—then none of this hope belongs to you. You have no promise of another moment in the world.

But there is yet hope in Christ. Turn to Him now—confess your sin to Him, accept his forgiveness, and purpose to love His word and begin to practice it. If you are in Christ, you have a living hope.

Christian friends, If you’re worried or anxious about anything at all, you can remember this hope you have in Christ. Take a moment to repent of your worry, even. You have a better inheritance.

Calvin says, “We should ask God to increase our hope when it is small, awaken it when it is dormant, confirm it when it is wavering, strengthen it when it is weak, and raise it up when it is overthrown.”

Let’s pray.

Father, Your word teaches us that we have a great hope in Christ, but our ability to see it is often shaky and weak. For those of us with small hope, I pray that you would increase it. For those with a dormant hope, I pray that you would awaken it. For those with wavering hope, I pray that you would confirm it. And for those with overthrown hope, I pray that you would raise it up again. Father, for some here, I pray that you would grant faith that some would be converted. For the, I pray that you would strengthen and encourage us, that we may obtain the outcome of our faith, the salvation of our souls. Amen.


Date: 9 July 2011
Text: 1 Peter 1:3-9
Title: Born Again to a Living Hope
Location: Springhurst Health and Rehab
Event: Nursing Home Service

No comments:

Print Friendly and PDF