When all hope evaporates, people give up. Darkness swallows them alive. 1 Peter provides hope when our faith is severely tested. Some first century Christians were beaten (Acts 16:16–40). Some were stoned to death (Acts 8:54–60). Some were jailed and executed (Acts 12:1–5). Many became lion chow. Despite their afflictions, living hope kept them from quitting or renouncing their faith. Like them, we will inevitably experience persecution if we seek to live godly in Christ Jesus (2 Timothy 3:12).
Our hope in times of testing springs from God’s choosing us according to His foreknowledge (verses 1–2). He chose us before we chose Him (Ephesians 1:4). I do not fully understand it. But for God to save us, He must choose us, and we must choose Him.
God chooses us to become like Jesus. Nothing can derail that purpose. As we surrender to it, we will be strangers in this world. We should be out of sync with the world. The lives of those who are not following Jesus run on a different track. Do not worry if the world does not consider you sophisticated and cool. Worry if it does.
We experience living hope when we respond in faith-obedience to God’s word about Jesus’ resurrection. That commitment gives us meaning and direction today and a reserved inheritance in heaven. Death, sin, and the passing of time cannot affect that inheritance at all. All the world’s financial wizards cannot add up its glories. It includes eternal life (Mark 10:12), glory with Christ (Romans 8:17), immortality (1 Corinthians 15:50), the Kingdom of Christ (Ephesians 5:5), and salvation (Hebrews 1:14). In short, we become like Jesus. God’s down payment of our inheritance is the Holy Spirit to make us more like Jesus in the here and now.
God keeps our salvation for us, and us for it. It begins when we receive Christ as our Forgiver and Leader. Fully experiencing it awaits the coming Judgment Day of Christ. Until we become like Jesus, God guards and protects our inheritance.
That is why we can smile though trials surround us like an army. Satan’s kingdom is like a volleyball. The harder we press it, the harder it presses back. Trials are inevitable for “pressing” believers. But they are not forever. God allows them to produce within us a persevering, hang on no matter what faith. Such trials separate genuine faith from mere profession. Our faith is like a tea bag. Hot water reveals its character. Trials are temporary, but our reward is eternal. God is keeping it for us and us for it. Nothing can separate us from it. That is what those with a living hope confidently expect.
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