This year has and continues to be one of uncertainty. Will we find a vaccine? When will life be normal again? What is normal? Will we have football? Some of the questions that unsettle us are more weighty than others, but even the sheer number of questions magnifies the uncertainty. So with the unpredictability of 2020, many of us are desperately searching for something to cling to that will remain certain. This Sunday, Zechariah 6:1-8 will offer us hope in the search. Today, we’ll go to another passage in the New Testament which points to that same certainty of hope.
Wednesday, July 22nd
Larger Portion of Scripture - 1 Peter 1
Focused Passage for Reflection - 1 Peter 1:3-12
Reflecting on the Text:
Do you know the difference between “hope” and a “wish”? Biblical hope is certain. A man-centered wish is undetermined. For example, I wish we could find a vaccine for COVID 19 in this calendar year. On the other hand, I have hope that one day Jesus will rid this virus from creation. My wish is a possibility. My hope is a surety.
You may be thinking to yourself, “That sounds great but we need relief now!” While that may be true, we must go to the truth of Scripture to find guidance and comfort. Scripture provides that comfort by pointing us beyond the trials of the day to the surety of an eternal, glorious salvation made certain because it does not rest on you or I. It rests on the finished work of Jesus.
Peter, under the inspiration of the Holy Spirit, writes about the living hope believers enjoy in Christ, and he assures us that this hope is not at risk. He speaks of our inheritance as one by which all earthly sums pale in comparison. And this inheritance is kept in the only fail-safe location. All other inheritances are subject to market risk. Ours is kept in heaven where it will not perish, be defiled, or fade. (v. 4) In other words, our inheritance in Christ is certain.
But the text points to even more certainty in this hope. It is not just that the inheritance is being kept. YOU are being guarded. If you are in Christ, truly born again in the Spirit, you are being guarded by God’s power. (v. 5) In other words, in Christ YOU are certain.
Oh, there are days, and years, where this hope may seem to dim. Trials will come. But the text tells us those trials have a purpose. They are purifying us, just as gold is refined by fire. Those trials are meant to further prepare us for the eternal weight of glory that is our salvation…a salvation which in Christ is certain.
But is this hope only meant to be a future blessing? No. Indeed, the future glory is so far beyond comparison that this future reality is Peter’s main focus. But because that future is certain, we derive joy now. That joy is best experienced, not through earthly circumstances, but our rich and vibrant faith in Christ. Faith is how we enjoy a relationship with Jesus, and v. 9 tells us the outcome of our faith is an inexpressible joy filled with glory. This is how Peter describes the fulfillment of our salvation. And once again, in Christ that salvation is certain.
The prophets, like Zechariah, wrote of this salvation, searching and inquiring about its fulfillment. (v. 10) They couldn’t see it with clarity, but as they were carried along by the Spirit of Christ they prophesied of God’s victory. What the prophets saw dimly, the apostles were able to see clearly with their own eyes. Yet they too needed the Spirit of Christ to inspire their writing. And all of it, as Peter tells us, is for our benefit, so that we will know with certainty the hope of our salvation in Christ.
So does this hope answer all the near term questions we have given the uncertainty of 2020? No. But it gives them context. It points us forward and encourages us to rethink what we mean by “certainty.” It causes us to rethink how we define victory. It points us to Jesus.
Questions for personal reflection:
In a year of uncertainty, where have you been tempted to place your hope?
How does this passage reorient you in uncertain times?