Hope that lives - 11 August 2020
By Xanthe Hancox
- 1 Peter 1:3-4
3Let us give thanks to the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ! Because of his great mercy he gave us new life by raising Jesus Christ from death. This fills us with a living hope, 4and so we look forward to possessing the rich blessings that God keeps for his people. He keeps them for you in heaven, where they cannot decay or spoil or fade away.
What is hope? Before the Rugby World Cup final last year, I hoped the Springboks would win. And if you ask my husband, he’d probably tell you he was certain they would. But of course, for all of our big talk, we didn’t know for sure and we sat through 80 minutes desperately waiting for the outcome we wished for.
Hope, as we typically think about it, is a desire for some future thing which we are uncertain of attaining.
But that is not the way Peter thinks about hope. It’s not wishful thinking when he talks about an inheritance that will never perish, spoil, or fade. The coming of Christ is a matter of certainty. Christian hope is the full assurance that God will deliver on his promises.
There is something even more peculiar about Christian hope: Peter calls it “living hope.” What does that mean? The opposite of a living hope would be a dead hope, and that calls to mind a similar phrase in James 2, namely, “dead faith.” “Faith without works is dead” (James 2:26), James says. That is, faith is barren, fruitless, unproductive (James 2:20). So “living faith” and, by analogy, “living hope” would be fertile, fruitful, productive hope. Living hope is hope that has power and produces changes in life.
Hope is not an add-on to Christian experience. It’s one of the essential things. It is a vital component of saving faith, because part of what we believe relates to our future. It is impossible to be a Christian and keep on believing that your eternity will be bleak.
This month the Bible Society of South Africa celebrates 200 years of bringing hope through the Word of God. Join me throughout August as we learn more about our living hope in Christ.
Prayer: Thank you, Lord, for giving us new life and a living hope. Whether we have lived as Christians for many years or we are just beginning our life in you, help us grow closer to you each day. Amen