Steve’s Devotional – Born to Hope
OCTOBER 15, 2018
The Christian faith is certainly built on hope, but is it really a pie-in-the-sky kind of hope? Does it have any basis in reality? And if so, can it help us make it through life in the here and now?
I believe with my whole being that our Christian hope is as solid as the rock on which it’s grounded—the resurrected Lord of all, Jesus Christ. He is our hope, our treasure. And it’s not foolishness for a man to dig for buried treasure, is it? If a man digs and finds, then he is above all men wise and prudent. Our hope in Jesus is like that. He is our treasure, our great reward. And as we search for him, as we stay heavenly minded, he will make us of earthly good. He will make our present—not just our future—meaningful and purposeful.
In 1 Peter 1:3-9, the Apostle Peter gives us ground upon which to stand. As Christians, we’re born to a living hope. Peter says, in essence, “Look, your hope is alive because Jesus is alive. He rose from the dead. I was there. I saw the empty tomb, the risen Lord. I know. I touched him, I ate with him, and I walked with him at that breakfast by the Sea of Galilee.” It’s true. The soft sound of sandaled feet is as real today as it was in the first century. You and I were born to a living hope.
What does hope mean? The outcome of our hope is this—safety, soundness, for the rest of our lives. Peter gives us five promises of hope. Let’s check them out.
Promise 1: Our hope is imperishable.
“An inheritance that can never perish, spoil or fade—kept in heaven for you” (1 Peter 1:4). That is some kind of guarantee! But not everyone has it.
I have a dentist friend who, during WWII when meat was scarce, was able to get a great amount of frozen meat. My friend commuted between cities, so he bought a suitcase and put all of this frozen meat in it and headed for home on the train. When he deboarded, he forgot his meat-filled suitcase. By the time he checked with the authorities and they found the suitcase, seven long days had passed. My friend said, “By then I didn’t even want the suitcase, and the authorities didn’t want it either.”
A lot of people are selling their souls for that kind of price, the kind that will perish like forgotten meat. Scripture teaches, “Do not store up for yourselves treasures on earth, where moth and rust destroy, and where thieves break in and steal. But store up for yourselves treasures in heaven, where moth and rust do not destroy, and where thieves do not break in and steal. For where your treasure is, there your heart will be also” (Matthew 6:19-21). Our heavenly hope is imperishable.
Promise 2: Our hope and our lives are guarded by God Almighty.
“…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” (1 Peter 1:5).
Our eternal security depends on the size of our guard. And when that guard is the Lord of the universe, who needs to worry? That’s why I believe in the doctrine of the perseverance of the saints, the once-saved-always-saved idea. First Peter 1:5 tells me that the assurance of my destiny doesn’t depend on me. My guard is God. He holds me in the palm of his hand. He protects me against those who would want to steal me away. And what thief could ever prevail against the all-powerful God?
Promise 3: The hope we have by faith leads to joy.
“In this you greatly rejoice” (1 Peter 1:6). Jesus provides the commentary: “I have told you this so that my joy may be in you and that your joy may be complete” (John 15:11). And in talking about his crucifixion, he said, “I tell you the truth, you will weep and mourn while the world rejoices. You will grieve, but your grief will turn to joy…Now is your time of grief, but I will see you again and you will rejoice, and no one will take away your joy” (John 16:20-22).
Promise 4: Our hope will be tested and proved sound.
“In 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 your faith—of greater worth than gold, which perishes even though refined by fire—may be proved genuine and may result in praise, glory and honor when Jesus Christ is revealed” (1 Peter 1:6-7). That’s a whole new slant on temptation.
I’m sometimes appalled by the view we have of God. I remember the days when I used to say to God, “Now Lord, don’t make me suffer. Don’t give me tests, because you already know what’s in my heart. You already know where I stand, and I don’t like this game. Let’s play another.” I rebelled at the idea that God would test me to find out where I stood. Peter tells us the truth. God tests us not for his benefit but for ours. God doesn’t test you to find out how you’re doing; he already knows that. He tests you so you might know. And once tested, assuming your faith is authentic, your faith will prove sound.
Promise 5: God has and will give us belief.
So that the belief itself will become a token of our genuine faith. Check out 1 Peter 1:8: “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.”
If you believe, you believe against the odds. When you hold on to hope, you’re hoping when most people don’t see any reason for hope. The very fact you believe the unbelievable and hope in the unhopeable means it’s real. It’s fact. But we have firm reason to hope: We have a risen Lord who proved himself to be alive over and over and over again. The One who conquered death is our great hope, and he has secured for us a great future. What other reasons do we need? If you’re a Christian, you’re blessed beyond your greatest dreams. Your hope will be realized. And so will mine. Praise God!
Time to Draw Away
Psalm 42 & Romans 8:18-39
Do you have hope? In what/whom is it placed? The hope of our faith is grounded in fact—the fact of Jesus’ resurrection—and its focus is set on God. Look to him. The idea is to become more heavenly minded so you will become of more earthly good. It’s solid, grace-infused hope both now and in the future.