Thursday, January 29, 2015

Enduring Hope

Peter, an apostle of Jesus Christ, To God's elect, exiles scattered throughout the provinces of Pontus, Galatia, Cappadocia, Asia and Bithynia, who have been chosen according to the foreknowledge of God the Father, through the sanctifying work of the Spirit, to be obedient to Jesus Christ and sprinkled with his blood: 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 spoil, perish or fade. This inheritance is 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 all 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 the proven genuineness of your 
faith--of greater worth than gold, which perishes even though refined by fire--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 end result of your faith, the salvation of your souls. (1 Peter 1:1-9, NIV)

Peter, the apostle who at one point denied knowing Jesus, ended up dying for his faith in Christ. History tells us that Peter was crucified upside down. In this passage, Peter encourages the dispersed Christians of his time to seek hope in Christ.

Because of Christ's death and resurrection, we too have hope--a living hope. Because Jesus lives, we are alive. His mercy and power are active in the here-and-now. We don't need to earn this hope; it was acquired for us by our Savior whose sacrifice gives us hope for every day.

What kind of hope is this that Peter is speaking of? gives  one definition for the verb, to hope: to look forward to with desire and reasonable confidence. I hope that my children become successful and are happy.  I look forward to having grandchildren and spending time with them.  I look forward to traveling overseas, for example. This is a desire or longing that I have. I desire to have good relationships with my family, friends and coworkers. I desire to have a good job and perform well in my professional duties. These sorts of hope, however, are fleeting desires, and they aren't always satisfied. C.S. Lewis wrote: "If I find in myself desires which nothing in this world can satisfy, the only logical explanation is that I was made for another world" (Mere Christianity).

Our hope in Christ is a hope that will endure.  It will be fulfilled in "another world." "For me to live is Christ and to die is gain," wrote Paul (Philippians 1:21). The hope we have in Christ is a hope that makes us new and alive in faith. This hope won't perish, spoil or fade. It is a living hope. By Christ's grace, not by anything you or I have done, we are saved, born again, made new and receive forgiveness, a right relationship with God and a future with Him in eternity. Praise be to God!

Dear God, I seek fulfillment in temporary pleasures that often lead to disappointment. You, on the other hand, offer me a hope that will last. I thank you that, through Christ, I have hope that will endure. You have made me new, forgiven me and given me faith by the power of Your Spirit. Thank you for Your grace, mercy and love. In Jesus' Name. Amen.

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