Yesterday, the first Sunday of Advent, I wrote a very brief introduction to the season of Advent and the journey that I am on. The passage of Scripture I focused on in that post, 1 Peter 1:3-5, is below. I simply highlighted and talked about the two words, Living Hope.
Today, I’d like to take a closer look at the first part of this passage that is bold and italicized below to see what we can discover about the importance of this living hope and how it can help us to focus on and anticipate Jesus’ second advent.
“Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ! By his great mercy he gave us new birth into a living hope through the resurrection of Jesus Christ from the dead, that is, into an inheritance imperishable, undefiled, and unfading. It is reserved in heaven for you, who by God’s power are protected through faith for a salvation ready to be revealed in the last time.” – 1 Peter 1:3-5
The Apostle Peter, who was an eyewitness of Jesus’ ministry, death, resurrection and ascension, begins by making a simple statement of praise and blessing to God. As simple as this may be, it’s a great reminder to us today that from Peter’s perspective the one true God was both God and Father of Jesus.
Peter goes on to talk about God’s great mercy, his kindness, love, and father’s heart all wrapped together, leading God to give us something that no one else could ever give…new birth into a living hope. At first glance this sounds a bit like something that is too good to be true, even if a complete understanding of its meaning is just out of our reach. It certainly doesn’t sound like anything that I can do on my own, or that I can earn or deserve in any way. And so, in many ways, that’s why it’s such an incredible gift from God.
What helps me to understand this idea of being given new birth into a living hope is understanding that God did this through the resurrection of Jesus Christ from the dead. This phrase reminds me of the title of a Fee song called, It’s All Because of Jesus I’m Alive. That song title speaks such truth, especially in light of this verse. Jesus’ death was the pinnacle of his faithfulness to God. Therefore, God required nothing more from him and so he was given all authority and is now king, the head of the new humanity, and those who walk in faithfulness to him get to be a part of this new humanity.
The Apostle Paul writes about this incredible faithfulness of Jesus in Ephesians 3:12 (NET)…we have boldness and confident access to God because of Christ’s faithfulness. Our hope is that a faithful Creator will bring us back to life, just like Jesus. Consider these few verses below:
20b But if you do good and suffer and so endure, this finds favor with God. 21 For to this you were called, since Christ also suffered for you, leaving an example for you to follow in his steps. 22 He committed no sin nor was deceit found in his mouth. 23 When he was maligned, he did not answer back; when he suffered, he threatened no retaliation, but committed himself to God who judges justly. – 1 Peter 2:20b-23 (NET)
So then let those who suffer according to the will of God entrust their souls to a faithful Creator as they do good. – 1 Peter 4:19 (NET)
So here’s to entrusting our souls, our very lives, to a faithful Creator who offers us not only new birth into a living hope that has implications right now, but, as we will see in the next day or so, is directly related to the promise of immortality and a place in the Kingdom of God when Jesus returns.