1 Peter 1:3. 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.
If there’s one thing Christians are not allowed to be it’s hopeless. Hope is at the center of the entire Christian life. When Peter sits down to write a letter to Christians who feel the weight of persecution and suffering, he begins by reminding them of their hope. Their living hope.
There’s a big push these days to “live in the moment,” or to “be present.” Make the most of today. Live one moment at a time. Psychologists call this “mindfulness.” Even as Christians we can tend to live in a sort of “present only” faith. Where is God in my present pain and suffering? How can I experience God in this moment?
None of this is bad, but it’s not enough. It’s not sustaining. We were never meant to live onlyin the present. Our God is a God of the past, the present, and the future. Our faith is not only in the past work of Christ, or even the present reality of the indwelling Christ, but also in the future hope of life with him forever.
Trusting in this future hope is vital to your present living. Why? Because what you believe about your future actually changes your present. It changes how we live today. Is there any real comfort in knowing that you were forgiven in the past, if you are not also moving toward the hope of a future transformation into Christ? Is there any real motivation to pursue holiness without this living hope of sharing Christ’s holiness one day? A forgiven past without a changed future still leaves us with an unchanging present.
And what about our suffering? Would it really comfort us to know that God is with us in our suffering but that things will never get better? That our suffering will know no end? That our trials will never lead to transforming glory in eternity? That there is no growth in perseverance, character, or love as we travel along this life with Christ? Of course not. Bright hope for tomorrow is what produces strength for today.
We all live today from our hope for the future. Which is precisely why we all need a living hope. Not a dead or dying hope.
As we approach the Christmas season, words like “hope, peace, and joy” are thrown around as the “reason for the season.” But so often the hope that is set before us at Christmastime is devoid of any meaning. But because we are so desperate for hope we will settle for all kinds of lesser hopes, especially at Christmas. Hope in gifts (giving and getting). Hope in family gatherings. Hope in the season itself. Hope in traditions. Hope in feeling that “Christmas spirit.” Hope that next year will be better than the last.
But all of these hopes are dying or already dead.
Christ alone offers us a living hope. God alone never dies. God alone is good. And now in Christ, all who receive him receive his goodness and his immortality. Now in Christ (and only in Christ), we too are the good thing that never dies. In Christ, we have living hope and we ARE living, breathing, walking around, loving, caring, serving hope.
“To live is Christ” is our living hope. May all lesser hopes point our hearts to the ultimate hope of our future with Jesus, and with the Father. With the eternal love and glory of the Trinity. And may our living hope change how we live today. Free from manufacturing a dying hope from the present moment. And free to live our sorrowful today as if it is our glorious tomorrow.
What are you hoping for today?
You in Christ
Does knowing you’re in Christ bring you hope?
Christ in you
How might your today in Christ look more like your future with Christ?
Playlist: Living Hope.
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