Tuesday, November 8, 2016

Our Living Hope (1 Peter 1:3)

“Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, who according to His great mercy has caused us to be born again to a living hope through the resurrection of Jesus Christ from the dead,” (1 Peter 1:3, NASB95)

Today is election day in our country, and it is likely one of the most pivotal ones in our history. The results of it will likely determine the direction of our courts and impact heavily our religious freedoms. There is much reason for concern, but as I sit here writing I know that there is nothing I can do about the outcome. Regardless of who wins, things will be changing and likely changing dramatically over the next few years. This election cycle and the events leading up to it have seen a dramatic rise in civil unrest and aggressive protest. There even seems to be a panic among a great number of our population, including those who claim to trust in God as their hope.

Peter was writing to a people who were dispersed over a large area, and many of them either had been or were soon to be subject to persecution for their faith. The political environment was not favorable to those following Christ, and one of the themes Peter would develop would be that of living rightly with hope so that when suffering comes they might have no cause for being justly persecuted. Things then were going to get nasty, and they were going to be instructed in not living nasty in response.

Verse 3 begins this letter of encouragement and instruction with the strong reminder of who it is that gives us hope—our great God. ““Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ….” Peter said “blessed be.” The Greek word (eulogetos, Strong #2128) used here has the meaning of speaking well of or praising. It is different from another common word used which is also frequently translated into English “blessed” as well (makiros, Strong #3107), which has more to do with happiness. While I would no way want to separate joy from praise, but by looking first to the One in praise who gives us reason for joy we set our perspective for the hope that we have. Certainly the lack of joy or happiness can give us reason to step back and wonder as to the cause. But, remembering that we are deeply loved and strongly held onto by God who is our Father because of our union through His Son, our Lord Jesus Christ, we are drawn again to the sing His praise for His incredible mercy shown to us.

We are to bless Him, to voice our praises to Him, and to speak well of Him because of who He is and what He has done. We have countless reasons because our God is infinitely good, loving, powerful, and merciful. We are to bless His name because He has shown His incredible blessing to us. Knowing the depth of our sin and our inability to do anything about it, He mercifully sent His Son to pay the price for our sin and to redeem us as His people. He took that which was lost and left on the back shelf of a pawn shop as undesirable and desired to have a relationship with us. He paid our ransom. He restored us to Himself. We couldn’t do it, but He did it for us, and He has given us incredible hope.

We will never be cast aside again as unwanted or unworthy. We have been made worthy in Christ, and we have a certain future in His presence for all of eternity. Regardless of what may go on around us, regardless of how dark the world may seem, regardless of how desperate people might become, we have no reason to worry. We have no reason to lose hope or to feel that all has been lost. We are children of the living God, and He has promised to be our constant help. The world could not keep His Son in the grave, and the world cannot separate us from the life which we have from Him.

Sure, things may not be easy. We may not be happy about the direction or even the outcomes, but we have a joy that surpasses all that the world can ever pretend to offer. Our joy is found in knowing that we are His and that He will do in us exactly as He plans—as He has good and perfectly planned. Regardless of who wins the presidential election, our God is King and He will reign forever and ever.

“The LORD is King forever and ever; nations have perished from His land. O LORD, You have heard the desire of the humble; You will strengthen their heart, You will incline Your ear to vindicate the orphan and the oppressed, so that man who is of the earth will no longer cause terror.” (Psalm 10:16–18, NASB95)

““Yours, O Lord, is the greatness and the power and the glory and the victory and the majesty, indeed everything that is in the heavens and the earth; Yours is the dominion, O Lord, and You exalt Yourself as head over all.” (1 Chronicles 29:11, NASB95)

“Now to the King eternal, immortal, invisible, the only God, be honor and glory forever and ever. Amen.” (1 Timothy 1:17, NASB95) 

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