The Apostle of 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.”

- 1 Peter 1:3

Simon Peter is well known for his prominence among the Apostles and for being the first of the original disciples of Jesus to recognize that He is the Messiah (Matt. 16:13–20). There is one title, however, that Peter has enjoyed in church history but which many people today might not know. Many Christians over the centuries have regarded Peter as the “Apostle of Hope.”

Today’s passage helps explain why Peter has been given this title. In the opening of his first epistle, Peter emphasizes the great mercy of God in causing us “to be born again to a living hope through the resurrection of Jesus Christ from the dead” (1 Peter 1:3). In this verse, Peter refers to several important biblical concepts, including the sovereign regenerating power of God and the resurrection of our Savior. But it is this concept of “living hope” that occupies our attention in this study.

First, we must recognize that Scripture often uses the word “hope” differently from the way we use it in our era. Typically, we use the word “hope” when we are referring to uncertainties. We might say that we “hope” our favorite sports team wins a game in order to express our desire while also conveying that we know a win is not certain. However, when the Apostles speak of our “hope” in Christ, they do not mean that our hope is uncertain. In Scripture, “hope” has reference to the confidence God’s people have in the fulfillment of His promises. Biblical hope refers to certainties, for the Lord is incapable of breaking His pledges to us (Heb. 6:18). So, when the Apostles speak of the “hope of salvation” promised to us (1 Thess. 5:8), they speak of a surety. No “hope” that we may have is more secure than the hope of salvation promised to everyone who trusts in Christ alone.

Moreover, Peter tells us that our hope is a “living hope” (1 Peter 1:3). This is another way of communicating its certainty to us. The hope of salvation is not dead and inert but alive and active. It has a sustaining power that manifests itself in faith, since “faith is the assurance of things hoped for, the conviction of things not seen” (Heb. 11:1). There are many evidences that the objects of our faith are true, and our act of trusting in Christ is one of them. Our faith is the manifestation in the present of what we will enjoy in our glorified state. The reality of our future hope serves to generate and sustain faith in our hearts. We believe because what God has revealed is true.

Coram Deo

Our Bible translations enable us to read God’s Word in our own languages so that we might grow in faith. Yet in reading these translations, we must take care that we understand what the biblical authors meant and that we don’t read into their words connotations from our own language that do not match their meaning. To do this, we must study God’s Word carefully, taking time to meditate on and understand the context of each passage.

Passages for Further Study

Psalm 62:5
Jeremiah 17:13
Galatians 5:5
Titus 2:11–14

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