Reading: 1 Peter 1: 3-9
Verses 4 and 5: In His great mercy, God has given us new birth into a living hope… and into an inheritance that can never perish, spoil, or fade.
This short passage has so much power. Peter opens by praising God and then jumps right in to explain why. In verses four and five Peter writes, “In His great mercy, God has given us new birth into a living hope through the resurrection of Jesus Christ from the dead, and into an inheritance that can never perish, spoil, or fade – kept in heaven for you”. Our hope is a hope not only for eternal life, but also for a living hope in our life here on earth. Yes, the gift of the resurrection is a wonderful promise. But our time with God in the eternal will be a time of no more tears, no more pain, … If there was ever a time when we needed hope, it is in the realities of this world.
After reassuring us of God’s power shielding us, Peter does acknowledge that this life will bring testing. He writes that we may have to “suffer griefs in all kinds of trials”. Yes, even though we have faith and even though God shields our gift of salvation, yes, this life will bring trials. Just as the rain falls on the just and the unjust, so too do trials and “life” come to all peoples. But there is a great difference in the affect of the trails. Those without faith get through; they endure until the trial passes and emotions dull. The believer, on the other hand, has a trusted and loving companion to walk beside us. God brings us peace and comfort and strength in the trial. God walks with us and in the end leads us to rejoice as our faith has grown, has been refined; this leads us to praise the God who is faithful and is a real presence in our time of need.
Our experience with God deepens our faith. As Peter writes, “though you have not seen Him, you love Him”. It is true that we do not physically see God, but we do tangibly experience God and His presence in Spirit. This is what fills us with an “inexpressible and glorious joy”. Peter returns to the eternal as this section draws to a close. He reminds us that we are receiving the salvation of our souls as well. For both of these gifts – presence now and hope in the life to come – we shout thanks be to God!! To Him be all the glory and power, both now and forevermore.