A Living Hope From Our Living Savior!
Topic: Easter Passage: 1 Peter 1:3–1:5, 1 John 3:2
Grace Community Church
April 4, 2021
A Living Hope From Our Living Savior!
He is risen! If you have your Bibles turn with me to 1 Peter 1. It’ll be up on the screen as well.
3 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, 4 to an inheritance that is imperishable, undefiled, and unfading, kept in heaven for you, 5 who by God's power are being guarded through faith for a salvation ready to be revealed in the last time. 1 Peter 1:3-5 (ESV)
Peter writes that the resurrection of Jesus Christ has caused us to be born again to a living hope. That’s good, cause our first birth caused us to be born to a dying hope. We start life brimming with hope but little by little sin, corruption, and death permeates our life and the first casualty – and the worst casualty – is hope.
We were, as Paul says, without hope and without God in the world. (Eph. 2:12) Paul is speaking of something much, much deeper than living without a feeling of hope. He’s speaking of the reality- felt or not – of living without hope and without God.
But this Easter morning we can join Peter in praising God for this unshakable, unbreakable, indestructible 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…(vs. 3)
I think it’s our tendency to think of the resurrection as providing hope after death – and it does that indeed! But our lives aren’t just comprised of the future. Our lives are comprised of our past, our present, as well as our future. A living hope, if it’s truly going to be a living hope, must permeate every direction of our lives, past, present, and future.
And the resurrection of Jesus Christ does just that! It awakens us to a living hope that goes in every direction of our lives. Let’s begin by consider a living hope as regards our past.
- Through the resurrection of Christ, we have the hope of a past redeemed by God’s grace
One of the ways dying hope affects our past is regret. We all have regrets in our past, but they seem beyond the reach of hope. After all, the past is the past. We can have hope our present can change, we can have hope our future will be changed, but we cannot hope to change our past. It’s done, no changing it. How can hope reach backward and wash over our past?
If I had to define regret, I’d say it’s the strong desire to change the past and realizing there’s no way we can. Some of us live consumed with regret about how our lives have turned out. Some of us live with regret over something we did or didn’t do. Maybe we grew up with a physical infirmity or a perceived deficiency that always had us comparing ourselves unfavorably with others.
Regret looks different when it comes to sin and failure that was done to us, rather than done by us. Perhaps we had an abusive father. Or an absent mother. Maybe we lost a parent or a sibling at a young
All these things can affect us in many ways: sadness, shame, anger, blame, resentment, bitterness, despair. But dying hope infiltrates all of these with regret: I wish my past was different. I wish my family had stayed together. I wish my father had told me he loved me. I wish I hadn’t hurt so many people with my selfishness and pride. Regret, regret, regret.
How can a living hope extend backwards and change what can’t be changed? How can a living hope remove the things in our past that we regret? The answer is, it can’t. Our living hope can’t change our past. Living hope can’t remove the thing we regret. What it can do is redeem our past. It can transform regret into redemption.
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…vs 3
Those three words are vital: from the dead. They speak of the past, historical event of Jesus’ crucifixion, what we reflected on at our Good Friday service.
When Peter speaks of the resurrection, he has a perspective on it that we don’t have. He was there. He saw Jesus arrested. He watched Jesus die on the cross. His heart pounded with the ache of sadness and loss as Jesus’ blood poured down the cross and as Jesus breathed his last. He felt the hopeless of those three days when Jesus lay in the tomb. In all this, he felt his own failure over denying Jesus three times. These things happened.
And then he felt his heart pierced with hope when the women said, “he’s not in the tomb! He has risen!”
The resurrection is the exclamation point on Jesus’ finished work on the cross where Jesus paid for our sins, our debt, our brokenness and all our mess ups and regrets. So we don’t limit our view of the past to our past, we look beyond it to what Jesus did two thousand years ago on that cross, for us. He died – actual historical event in the past! – for our sin and brokenness and mess-ups and the ways we’ve been sinned against and all the regret we feel in order to redeem all that for his glory and our good!
We can’t change our past, but we can bring our past with all it’s sin and regrets to the foot of the cross and experience the blood of Christ wash over them and redeem them for the glory of God. The sins aren’t redeemed, but our past is. Our story is. Our sins no longer speak condemnation over us, for the blood of Christ has spoken a better word over us: forgiveness. Our brokenness no longer defines who we are for Christ has healed us. Our regrets no longer consume us for our hearts have been consumed by the love of Christ.
In one sense, we can’t change our past. But in a much deeper sense, the resurrection washes over our past, covering it with mercy, forgiveness, and grace, and our past becomes an integral part of our redemption story and our testimony of God’s grace.
- Through the resurrection of Christ we have the future hope of an eternal inheritance
…to an inheritance that is imperishable, undefiled, and unfading, kept in heaven for you…vs. 4
A future without hope fills us with dark dread. A future without hope is the definition of hopelessness. That’s what we were born into: without hope and without God in the world.
Hope must always be anchored in the future or it’s not much of a hope. Our lives are comprised of past, present, and future, but our lives are always flowing forward into the future.
People say things like “live in the moment” or “stay in the present”, and I get what they mean and there’s good truth in those statements. It’s good to treasure each moment as we live it.
But what is “the moment”? We always think of the moment in a future-bending way. We have to because our present right now…our moment right now…is now our past. That moment is over and we’re now in this moment, which is not that moment and we’re now in this moment. Mind-bending, isn’t it? Time moves relentlessly but only ever in one direction: forward. That’s why the resurrection speaks such a living and brilliant hope to our hearts. Through faith in Christ, we have a living hope that there is an inheritance that can’t rot, can’t decay, and won’t ever lose its punch, and it’s waiting for us in heaven.
No, it’s not waiting for us in heaven. It’s being kept for us in heaven! Jesus himself is keeping it safe and ready for us. He is preparing for us a home in his kingdom and he will come back to take us there.
Inheritance speaks of family. In Christ we are children of God, the family of God, and all that belongs to Christ belongs to us, we are fellow heirs with Christ. The riches that await us are much, much more than things. I mean, heaven is going to blow us away with its beauty and glory and abundance, but the riches Christ has for us is so much more than stuff. Even heavenly stuff.
Our inheritance will be the warm welcome we receive into our eternal dwellings. When we leave this world, the only home we have ever known, we will hear Jesus speak the words, “welcome home!” and we will finally be home. The home our heart has longed for all our lives here. The home we sometimes catch a glimpse of in the best of moments, but then it’s gone and always seems to elude our grasp.
Our inheritance is imperishable, undefiled, and unfading. And that tells us something else awesome about what awaits us. Because there’d be a real problem if our inheritance was imperishable, undefiled and unfading but we were still perishable, defiled, and fading. But our living hope promises we won’t be; our inheritance includes a new and glorified body, like Christ’s resurrected body. No weakness, no sin, no weariness, no frustrating limitations.
Resurrection bodies. What will they be like? Actually, we don’t know yet. We won’t be returned to the state of Adam and Eve pre-fall, we know that. The Bible never says we will be like Adam and Eve, the Bible says we will be like Jesus and there’s some awesome mystery in that. Listen carefully to what John writes in 1 John 3:2
Dear friends, now we are children of God, and what we will be has not yet been made known. But we
know that when Christ appears, we shall be like him, for we shall see him as he is. 1 John 3:2
What we will be has not yet been revealed, but what we will be will be what Jesus is and forever will be. Not that we will be deity, but Jesus, the Son of God will always and forever be a man, albeit glorified, and that same body is what God has in store for us. What a living hope!
And nothing and no one can take that hope away from us. It’s being kept in heaven, by God, for us!
- We have a living and confident hope that we are being guarded by God
…who by God’s power are being guarded through faith for a salvation ready to be revealed in the last time. Vs 5
Our inheritance is being kept by God and we are being guarded by God. Do you get the feeling God wants to make sure nothing keeps us from receiving our eternal inheritance?
The readers of Peter’s letter were suffering greatly. I’m sure they struggled with discouragement and doubt – is there really an inheritance? Am I really gonna make it? Peter assures them and us, yes, God has it and God has you.
John Piper in his book God is the Gospel shares the story of a Nazi concentration camp where the prisoners were horribly mistreated. One day, somehow, one of the prisoners is able to smuggle a short wave radio into the camp.
Weeks later, the Nazi guards see an unexpected sight. Nothing’s changed, but somehow everything’s changed. The prisoners are smiling, laughing, some even whoop and throw their tin plates in the air. Their situation is the same, but they have news. Allied forces have broken the line and just a few miles away. That news, without changing anything, changes everything! Hope can do that!
Life gets messy. The journey isn’t an easy one. We fail, fall, and sin. Husbands and wives argue. Moms feel frazzled by demanding kids. We lose jobs, get sick, feel discouraged, lose loved ones. In all of this our hope can end up getting dented and banged up some.
But Peter smuggles a shortwave radio into this fallen world, and it lights up our lives with hope. We have been born again to a living hope through the resurrection of Jesus Christ! And part of that hope is that God is with us, keeping us, guarding us as we travel from here to there.
Living hope redeeming our past, assuring our eternal future, and guarding us in the here and now. All through the resurrection of Jesus Christ. What a day! What a hope! What a Savior!
If you don’t know Jesus as your Savior, today is an outstanding day to ask him into your life to be your God and your Savior. The moment you do, you will be born again to a living hope.
Let’s go to God in prayer.