Defending the Faith, Part 2

“Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, who according to His abundant mercy has begotten us again to a living hope through the resurrection of Jesus Christ from the dead, to an inheritance incorruptible and undefiled and that does not fade away, reserved in heaven for you, who are kept by the power of God through faith for salvation ready to be revealed in the last time.” ­– 1 Peter 1:3-5

We considered the essential need for readiness in order to be able to defend our faith in Part 1 of this devotion series. That readiness is built upon our honoring God and fearing Him, instead of man, and the fruit of that being evident in how we talk and walk. The Apostle Peter helpfully teaches and guides us in having knowledge that bears such fruit in 1 Peter 3:15-16. Remember that as Peter spoke of readiness in that passage, he did so pointing out why the defense, or why the ready answer, is necessary. We need to be ready to respond when others ask and desire to know the reason for the hope that is within us.

Therefore, what did Peter assume in that? His assumption was that Christians, though persecuted and often weighed down with various struggles and trials, would be living with the hope of the Gospel. His assumption was that the brothers and sisters he wrote to were living with hope in such a way that it showed. They were a hopeful people in Christ. 

Peter lays this hope out beautifully from the beginning of this epistle. Notice Peter’s doxological praise to God the Father in v. 3 above. Peter emphasizes that God’s extension of mercy to His people is a matter for great praise. He is to receive all blessing, honor, and praise for the living hope that He has begotten us again out of His abundant mercy! We bless, honor, and praise Him as He did this for us through the resurrection of Jesus Christ. So great was their sin against the holy God, so great is ours as well. Yet, how much greater is His mercy! We deserve death, but God hasn’t given us what we deserve. Our salvation, our being born again, is completely based on God’s loving initiative! God’s mercy shows us the fountain from where regeneration and all spiritual blessings flow.

Because of Jesus and His work, this is a grand, divinely-granted hope. It’s a hope that brings with it confidence in the promise of a great inheritance. This is a living hope that blows dead, worldly minds. What does Peter mean that our hope in Christ is a living hope? By way of contrast, it isn’t the vain, dead, and perishing hope that those of the world have. It is a lively, strong, and quickening hope that is grounded in the strong foundation of Christ’s resurrection. Therefore, as God’s people walk with such hope, by God’s grace those without it around us ask how and why we do so.

Beloved, this hope is central to what it means to live as a Christian. Hope in hardship and the same hope in ease. Living hope in hardship has an important message for your troubled heart today. Your condition is never so bad that you still don’t have great reason to bless your Lord. Your difficulties are never so many, or so strong, that would diminish one bit your need and cause to rejoice in Christ and His promises. Hope in ease has an important message as well. It should never be forgotten, but should be rejoiced in, and, God be praised, just as much when you’re in a calm and peaceful place.

May these truths, may this lively hope strengthen and encourage you and your family with patience and perseverance this day. May it give you zeal and a joyful spring in your step as you fellowship with and build up each another within the flock, as well as support you to give ready answers for those without whom the Lord brings across your path.