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“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” (1 Peter 1:3).

WITH HOPE, ALMOST NO OBSTACLE IS INSURMOUNTABLE, BUT WITHOUT HOPE, IT DOESN’T TAKE MUCH TO DESTROY US. That being true, it should stir us deeply to hear Peter tell us in this text about what has been made possible in Jesus Christ: a living hope.

It is only by God’s “great mercy” that the hope Peter speaks of has become a possibility for sinful people like us. Having rebelled even once against God’s will by doing that which we knew to be wrong, we have forfeited the privilege of fellowship with God. Alienated from Him, not all the righteousness we could exhibit would be enough to reestablish a state of perfect holiness on our part. So when God opened up the door of reconciliation, He did something we did not deserve to have done for us. And mark it well: it was “through the resurrection of Jesus Christ from the dead” that this happened. Everything about the gospel of Christ depends on the fact that His resurrection really did take place historically.

In v.4, Peter continued by saying that the object of our hope is “an inheritance that is imperishable, undefiled, and unfading, kept in heaven for you.” If this is true — and as an eyewitness of Jesus after His resurrection, Peter was in a position to know the facts of the case — it means the Christian’s hope is in an absolutely unique category. There is nothing in this world that won’t have to be given up when we die, and even before we die, there is nothing we can have or do that isn’t perishable, tentative, and subject to disappointment. But unlike all these treasures, our hope in Christ is “pure and undefiled, beyond the reach of change and decay” (NLT).

Finally, Peter says in v.5 that we “by God’s power are being guarded through faith for a salvation ready to be revealed in the last time.” Christ’s resurrection is proof that God can be counted on to help us. His power, through our faith, will guard and keep us until our hope is finally realized. So when discouragement hits us (as it surely will), one thing is to be recalled: the resurrection of Christ.

“If Jesus rose from the dead, then you have to accept all that he said; if he didn’t rise from the dead, then why worry about any of what he said? The issue on which everything hangs is not whether or not you like his teaching but whether or not he rose from the dead” (Timothy Keller).

Gary Henry — +

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