Even though tragedy may tempt human beings to succumb to belief in utter futility, both believers and non-believers know that life has an ultimate purpose. For this reason, all of humanity clings tenaciously to a hope of one kind or another. To lose one’s hope is perhaps the most tragic thing that can ever happen in life.
To say that all human beings cling to a hope, however, is not to say that all human beings have a true, living hope. Many non-believers place their hope in things that are only fleeting — money, fame, power, and so on. Yet to hope in such things is really to be hopeless. Because such things will one day come to an end, to have hope in them is to have only a dead hope.
The Christian, however, does not have a dead hope. As Peter tells us in today’s passage, we have a living hope (1 Peter 1:3). This living hope will never end and sustains us as we endure suffering.
Ours is a living hope only because its foundation is the resurrection of Jesus from the dead (v. 3). The fact that Jesus was raised to life two thousand years ago gives us an unshakable conviction that our hope is not in vain. His resurrection vindicates Him as the Lord of creation who is even now making all things new (Rev. 21:5).
This living hope is our hope of salvation that includes an imperishable inheritance (1 Peter 1:4). The new life that we have in Christ is something that can never be taken away. In fact, it will be even more glorious once we reach the eternal state.
This inheritance, which we will fully experience when we see God face to face in the “last time,” can never be lost because God is keeping it for us and guarding us through faith (v. 5). In the final analysis, God not only initiates our salvation by initially causing us to be born again (v. 3), He also keeps His people secure in their salvation “through faith” (v. 5). That is to say, it is God who grants us the ability to have faith, and once we exercise that faith, He sustains and increases it so that all those who have truly trusted in Christ alone will never abandon the Savior. He gives the elect the will to cling to Jesus, and His elect always confess Him until the end of their lives.
John Calvin tells us that 1 Peter begins with a description of our indestructible hope so that we may “enjoy the invaluable treasure of a future life; and also that we may not be broken down by present troubles, but patiently endure them, being satisfied with eternal happiness.” Our living hope makes us able to stand firm in the midst of trouble, knowing that our ultimate reward is not found in this fallen world. Take some time to thank God for granting to us this hope.