The Power of Living Hope
This Sunday, we saw Peter’s first command given to suffering and scattered first-century Christians: the call to “set [their] hope fully on the grace to be given” when Jesus returns (1 Peter 1:13). With that, he answered the question, “How should Christians conduct themselves when they walk through trials in this world?” For Peter, of first importance is maintaining steadfast hope in the future appearing of Jesus. Why? Because he knows that the living hope we have in the resurrected Christ (1 Peter 1:3), which assures us of a heavenly inheritance (1 Peter 1:4), empowers and equips us to holy conduct while we suffer in this fallen world (1 Peter 1:14-15).
This is all to say the result of setting our hope fully on our future dwelling with Jesus is nothing less than holiness. Or to put it another way, the means to holy conduct in the midst of trials is hope—specifically, the hope of one day dwelling with Jesus in heaven, where there will be “no more death or mourning or crying or pain” (Revelation 21:4). Peter knows that the assurance of our future salvation directly impacts how we live and how we walk as we experience the testing of our faith (James 1:2-3). Will we persevere in faithfulness to the Lord, saying “No” to ungodliness (Titus 2:11-13), or will we fall back to “the evil desires [we] had” (1 Peter 1:14) before following Jesus?
It’s a question that reminds us of the Parable of the Sower, where Jesus mentions the seeds that fall on rocky soil. When the sun rises, the plants that had sprung up are scorched, and they wither and die because they did not have enough soil for their roots to grow. Jesus then likens the withered plants to individuals who quickly fall away from faith because of the heat of “trouble or persecution” (Matthew 13:21)—they lacked the roots they needed to persevere in faithfulness.
Almost as if he had this parable in the back of his mind, Peter graciously tells us, with the heart of a loving pastor, “Don’t lose sight of your future hope.” It’s the great truth that serves as our root to continue living in all faithfulness and godliness to the Lord, so that we won’t wither under the heat of our trials and drift—or worse, fall away—from Christ. “We have assured to us the hope of our Savior coming back to take us home,” Peter comforts us (1 Peter 1:3, 21), “so set your hope fully on this truth” (1 Peter 1:13).
My dear friend, have you been walking through a fiery trial? Be encouraged today to set your hope fully on the future salvation that is graciously yours in Christ. Then, watch the Holy Spirit use that blessed hope in your heart to enable you unto Christ-glorifying conduct.
Do you see the beauty in this? God, in his great grace, gives you a living hope that enables you to live in all godliness, even in the face of great suffering. In turn, the Lord uses your godly conduct to glorify Christ, and to point others around you to the same resurrected Jesus who has given you such a glorious hope. Imagine the impact of your testimony on others’ hearts as you walk in all faithfulness to the Lord, blessing his holy name (1 Peter 1:3), all because the Lord himself has given you such a great hope.
Don’t lose sight of that hope. Set your hope fully on your assured future-dwelling with Jesus.