Explore the Bible

with Clay Anthony

Sunday,  June 4

The Basis of Our Hope

1 Peter 1:1-9

A paycheck. A doctor’s report. A retirement statement. A vaccine. We are fond of trusting many things. We work hard and hope for the best. Nothing better describes human nature. In our study of 1 Peter we quickly discover that the Apostle Peter had something grander in mind than human nature. He opens his letter in a manner that points his readers to placing their eternal hope where it will not disappoint.

The Setting: Peter’s audience is believers who are spread out in Asia Minor. These countries (v. 1) make up what we know as modern-day Turkey. By reading the names of the nations mentioned you will note that many are repeated from Acts 2:9-10. Jesus had told His early followers that they would take the Gospel far and wide. It seems Peter is proving that Jesus’ command was indeed happening.

We can gather that Peter’s words shared in Acts 2 were heeded and that many listened to him and took the Gospel back to their native lands. Peter was addressing believers for he says that they had experienced the sanctification of the Spirit (v. 2). Again, the commission given by Jesus in Acts 1:8 is occurring right here in Peter’s words. Now that the Gospel had taken root in their hearts, Peter desired to strengthen his readers’ faith to face trials that were no doubt going to happen in their lives (4:12).

The basis of their hope: Peter places the hope of believers squarely on God. Peter states that God is the originator of hope according to his mercy, having caused salvation in the first place. (v. 3) Believers do not have a dead hope that leads to nowhere and would be powerless. The hope of the believer is rooted in the actual resurrection of Jesus from the dead (v. 3b). Peter had something that his readers did not possess. He was an eyewitness to the resurrection of Jesus. He saw a dead man come back to life. Our faith is based on an event that changed Peter forever and can find no duplication in any other world religion.

A secure hope: Believers are to view their hope as an inheritance. It is a gift that cannot be earned. Inheritances are not given until specific times, and usually surround a loved one’s death. The Christian hope is an inheritance that will be revealed upon the return of the living Jesus. For Peter’s readers, present day included, that inheritance is something to look forward to; it cannot be spoiled, will not fade with time, and cannot be stolen. (v. 4) Do not read too quickly over a truth that Peter shares concerning believers themselves. It is not just their inheritance that is protected and watched over until the time is right, but the believers are safe as well. Verse five begins with the pronoun “who,” referring all the way back to verse one where Peter is addressing his audience. The believers’ hope is in the return of Jesus who is keeping the eternal life and blessing secure until the day of His return, but His followers are just as secure. To know that Jesus Himself is guarding you, indeed, brings great hope.

Hope displayed: Hard times are coming. This is a promise (v. 6b), yet those times reveal our faith to a watching world. Metallurgists say the only way to find purity in gold or silver is to hold the metal over a flame (v. 7). When all the dross is burned away, their own reflection is seen in that object. Christians are not given a pass from hard times. We are, however, given an opportunity to display the hope within us when we go through the “fire” and Christ is reflected in our lives.

Anthony is director of the Collaborative Missionary Network, Oxford/Holly Springs.