“Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, which according to his abundant mercy hath begotten us again unto a lively hope by the resurrection of Jesus Christ from the dead” (1 Pet. 1:3).
Hope fills a different place, in the heart of the Christian, than faith. Faith is the unquestioning belief in a matter. Hope is the evidence for that belief. Faith does not request a sign for its belief. Hope asks for a sign on which to build. Faith firmly believes in the eternal. Hope believes in the eternal because of the experience of the new birth. Faith and hope join hands to bring forth the fruit of eternal life.
A lively hope will bring forth action because a lively hope cannot be dormant. It goes about in different ways to express hope. There is a great deal of difference between a wish and a hope. Anyone can wish for something whether there is a base for the wish or not. Some people’s hoping is little more than wishing. But the hope of a born-again Christian is that he will receive an inheritance. The strength of his hope lies in the sure resurrection of the Lord. This hope is enlivened by his own experience of the new birth.
This hope claims the certainty of salvation, but it does not believe that salvation cannot be lost by careless living and by willful sinning. However, this hope does promise the possibility of being saved at all times. The honest believer need not fear that his salvation will be snatched away from him without his consent—that he will be saved one moment and lost the next moment. As it was a definite decision to accept the Lord to be saved, so also, it will be by a decision to turn away from the Lord and be lost.
The believer’s hope in the resurrected Lord is bolstered by his own spiritual resurrection from a death in sin. He is promised that he will be kept by the grace of God unto salvation through faith. Also his hope will be fed by his ready testimony for the Lord. His hope will also be fed by an awakened conscience. It will be kept alive by calling to remembrance the day of illumination (Heb. 10:32). That hope will be kept lively by a daily devotion in prayer and Bible reading, by regular church attendance, and participating in discussing the Word of God. Perhaps the greatest way to enliven the hope of salvation is obedience to the Holy Spirit. A lively hope is not a fearful hope but a joyous hope. This hope is based on the resurrection of Jesus and not on our own feeble accomplishments. We remember the words of the apostle Paul, “Nay, in all these things we are more than conquerors through him that loved us. For I am persuaded, that neither death, nor life, nor angels, nor principalities, nor powers, nor things present, nor things to come, Nor height, nor depth, nor any other creature, shall be able to separate us from the love of God, which is in Christ Jesus our Lord” (Rom. 8:37-39).
102 Devotional Sermonettes, Used by Permission