Our Living Hope

W. Terry Varner
September 21, 2014

Hope is a key word in 1 Peter. It is used four times (1:3, 13, 21; 3:15). A careful study of these texts reveals that Peter desires Christians to live in accordance with the hope they have received in Christ. Peter calls our hope “a living hope” (1 Peter 1:3). The Christian is to “hope fully upon the grace that is to be brought at” the second coming of Jesus (1 Peter 1:13). The Christian’s “faith and hope are in God” (1 Peter 1:21). As the Christian study and grows he becomes ever ready “to give a defense to eveiyone who asks you a reason for the hope that is in you, with meekness and fear” (1 Peter 3:21). Christian hope serves as a powerful influence for the whole life of the Christian.

A Living Hope. Peter describes the Christian as having a “living hope” (1 Peter 1:3). The Bible makes a contrast between the hope of the Christian and the hope of the non-Christian. One is a “living hope” the other is a hope that “perishes” or is in reality “no hope.” The non-Christian’s hope is described in bleak terms. “And the hope of the hypocrite shall perish” (Job 8:13). “The hope of the righteous shall be gladness, but the expectation [hope] of the wicked will perish” (Prov. 10:28). Those without a relationship with God are described as “having no hope” (Eph. 2:12).

By contrast the child of God has a “living hope.” “Behold, the eye of the Lord is on those who fear Him, on those who hope in His mercy” (Ps. 33:18). “My hope is in You” (Ps. 39:7). “Now hope does not disappoint, because the love of God has been poured out in our hearts by the Holy Spirit who was given to us” (Rom. 5:5). “This is the hope we have as an anchor of the soul, both sure and steadfast” (Heb. 6:19). It was this hope that prompted Paul to say, “For me to live is Christ, and to die is gain” (Philip. 1:21).

An Inheritance Incorruptible. The incorruptible inheritance is heaven. That is what all children of God look forward to and hope to enjoy in eternity. We are reminded of Paul’s writing to the Colossian Christians to focus on their inheritance. “Seek those things which are above, where Christ is, sitting at the right hand of God. Set your mind on things above, not on things of the earth. For you died, and your life is hidden with Christ in God” (Col. 3:1-3).

Using three descriptive terms, Peter defines our heavenly inheritance as “incorruptible and undefiled and that does not fade away, reserved in heaven for you” (1 Peter 1:4).

  • Incorruptible refers to what is not corruptible, not liable to death, nor subject to destruction. Earthly inheritances are exposed to corruption and destruction. Heaven does not contain the seeds of death and destruction.
  • Undefiled refers to heaven as being unstained or unpolluted. All around us we see that which is stained by sin. Things here are defiled; things in heaven are undefiled.
  • Does not fade away refers to heaven as never loosing its beauty or magnificence. It described a flower that did not wither or die. Heaven is non-decaying.

Security of Our Inheritance. The Christian’s hope is described as “reserved in heaven for you” (1 Peter 1:4). God’s omnipotence stands guard about us in time of danger as it did with Daniel in the lion’s den if only we will trust in God with the full assurance of faith. The purpose of God’s protection affords us our final salvation which we have in promise but will be fully revealed at the second coming of Jesus. Be ready!