‘Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, who according to His abundant mercy has begotten us again to a living hope through the resurrection of Jesus Christ from the dead, to an inheritance incorruptible and undefiled and that does not fade away, reserved in heaven for you, who are kept by the power of God through faith for salvation ready to be revealed at the last time (1 Peter 1:3).’
About a month ago a Thai youth football team were exploring caves when they became trapped by rising water. There was little hope of finding them, leave alone rescuing them, but they were found and they were rescued by a dedicated team of divers, one of whom lost his life while on the rescue mission.
Many people thought they would never come out alive, especially when they learned of the hazards, which involved taking the boys through exceedingly narrow passageways underwater. Some could not swim and none had any experience of using aqualungs. Hope of a successful outcome was low, but against the odds, all of them were brought out alive, and after recuperating in hospital they were reunited with their families.
These young people needed someone to rescue them and there was little hope they would live, but there were those who thought it would be possible and they pulled out the stops to get the job done. All the time, however, there was the threat of more rain from the monsoon. Doubts were running high. Nothing was certain. There was some hope, but there was no certainty of success.
This is the sort of hope most people have. They hope things will turn out for the best. They don’t know. The desire is there, and even the will and action for bringing about success, but there is still no certainty. Doubts persist, and they adopt the attitude, ‘We’ll wait and see.’ They might even pray to God, asking Him to intervene. With Him on their side, maybe they’ll be OK. They still have their reservations.
Now when Peter wrote 1 Peter 3:1 [see above] he clearly was using the word ‘hope’ in a different sense. He was saying that the Christians he was addressing had a certainty of resurrection, because God had begotten them in Christ who had risen from the dead. They were ‘kept by the power of God through faith for salvation.’ Nothing could be more certain because of Jesus’ resurrection. They too would rise and receive an incorruptible and undefiled inheritance, because of God’s mercy.
In a nutshell, we all start life in a dark cave with no hope of eternal life. We need rescuing by a Saviour who will bring us into His light of salvation (Psalm 21:1), and that Saviour is Jesus. He gave His life to rescue those whom He loves (John 3:16; 2 Corinthians 5:21; 1 Peter 3:18).
The promises of God are certain, and His Word contains many promises of His ‘sure’ hope for those who believe and trust His Son.
Here are a few of them:
‘Therefore, having been justified by faith, we have peace with God through our Lord Jesus Christ, through whom also we have access by faith into this grace in which we stand, and rejoice in hope of the glory of God (Romans 5:1, 2).’
‘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 (Romans 5:5).’
‘For the creation was subjected to futility, not willingly, but because of Him who subjected it in hope, because the creation itself also will be delivered from the bondage of the corruption into the glorious liberty of the children of God (Romans 8:20).’
‘Not only that, but we also who have the first fruits of the Spirit, even we ourselves groan within ourselves, eagerly waiting for the adoption, the redemption of our body. For we were saved in this hope, but hope that is seen is not hope; for why does one still hope for what he sees? But if we hope for what we do not see, we eagerly wait for it with perseverance (Romans 8:23-25).’
‘For whatever things were written before were written for our learning, that we through the patience and comfort of the Scriptures might have hope. Now may the God of patience and comfort grant you to be like-minded toward one another, according to Jesus Christ, that you may with one mind and one mouth glorify the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ. (Romans 15:4-6)’
Now may the God of hope fill you with all joy and peace in believing, that you may abound in hope by the power of the Holy Spirit. (Romans 15:13).’
‘For we through the Spirit eagerly wait for the hope of righteousness by faith (Galatians 5:5).’
‘the eyes of your understanding being enlightened; that you may know what is the hope of His calling, what are the riches of the glory of His inheritance in the saints, (Ephesians 1:18).’
‘because of the hope which is laid up for you in heaven, of which you heard before in the word of truth of the gospel, (Colossians 1:5).’
‘To them God willed to make known what are the riches of the glory of this mystery among the Gentiles: which is Christ in you, the hope of glory (Colossians 1:27).’