A Living Hope

1 Peter 1:3-16

 SS Lesson for 05/05/2013

 

Devotional Scripture:  Rom 8:22-25

Introduction

Overview and Approach to Lesson

The lesson teaches about how Jesus is our Living Hope. The study's aim is to help us understand that our troubles in this world are nothing compared to the eternal life we have in Jesus. The study's application is to learn that in difficult times we should recall that Jesus is our eternal hope, who offers us something far better in the future.

 

Key Verse:  1 Peter 1:3

3 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,

 

Commentary from the Bible Expositor and Illuminator

Last week's text dealt with the promise of the Lord's imminent return. As believers, we are to persevere and live each day waiting for the shout, "The bridegroom cometh!" It is the doctrine of the blessed hope. For nearly two thousand years the church has taught the doctrine of His imminent return; but He has not yet done so. Great teachers of the Word have longed for the Lord's coming in their lifetime. They have preached His return and died without experiencing it. Is this a doctrine we should put aside quietly to avoid the criticism of those who mock it? The answer is "Definitely not!" The great truth that holds our hope together is the doctrine of the resurrection. The issue of whether our Lord returns for us or we go to Him in death will be of minor consequence when we stand in His presence. The Apostle Paul directed our focus correctly when he wrote, "For whether we live, we live unto the Lord; and whether we die, we die unto the Lord: whether we live therefore, or die, we are the Lord's" (Rom. 14:8). Our problem may be that we perceive of death as victory for the kingdom of darkness and a failure on God's part. Without the resurrection of Jesus Christ, that assumption would be true. Yet the Apostle Paul declared that the resurrection of Jesus made death a moot point for believers. Death is actually a victory for believers (I Cor. 15:54-57). That is why he could declare so positively in II Corinthians 5:8, "We are confident, I say, and willing rather to be absent from the body, and to be present with the Lord." Death does not dim the living hope of believers; but for those who have not trusted Christ, fear is proper. The author of Hebrews declared, "It is appointed unto men once to die, but after this the judgment" (9:27). Christians do not fear judgment—Jesus faced it for them and paid the price with His own blood. His resurrection was proof that the Father was satisfied with His sacrifice for sin (I Pet. 1:21; I John 2:1-2), and it gave us a glimpse of our own resurrection. His resurrection was real, it was a bodily resurrection, not just a renewal of some kind of cosmic consciousness. Moreover, His resurrected body was not bound by the limitations of a merely physical body. When we look at the way the years bring limits on our bodies and then consider the joy of having a resurrection body like that of the Lord, it gives us a true, living hope. Continue to live expecting the Lord's return, but understand that your eternal hope will not be cut short by death. Have you ever received directions to someone's home or business and been told, "You can't miss it"? That is the truth of the hope of the resurrection: You will not miss it. Whether you meet the Lord at death or the rapture, your resurrection is guaranteed (I Pet. 1:4-5). Let God arrange the final trip for you, and quit worrying about the details. Keep trusting and serving Him, and look forward to meeting Him face-to-face. Then it will not matter whether your resurrection comes by way of the "uppertaker" or the undertaker.

 

Commentary from Barnes Notes

[Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ]

The phrase "blessed be the God," is equivalent to "praised be God;" or is an expression of thanksgiving. It is the usual formula of praise (compare Eph 1:3); and shows his entire confidence in God, and his joy in him, and his gratitude for his mercies. It is one of innumerable instances which show that it is possible and proper to bless God in view of the trials with which he visits his people, and of the consolations which he causes to abound.

 

[Father of our Lord Jesus Christ] God is mentioned here in the relation of the "Father of the Lord Jesus," doubtless because it was through the Lord Jesus, and him alone, that He had imparted the consolation which he had experienced, 2 Cor 1:5. Paul knew no other God than the "Father of the Lord Jesus;" he knew no other source of consolation than the gospel; he knew of no way in which God imparted comfort except through his Son. That is genuine Christian consolation which acknowledges the Lord Jesus as the medium by whom it is imparted; that is proper thanksgiving to God which is offered through the Redeemer; that only is the proper acknowledgment of God which recognizes him as the "Father of the Lord Jesus."

 

[Which according to His abundant mercy] Margin, as in the Greek, "much." The idea is, that there was great mercy shown them in the fact that they were renewed. They had no claim to the favor, and the favor was great. People are not begotten to the hope of heaven because they have any claim on God, or because it would not be right for him to withhold the favor. See Eph 2:4.

 

[Hath begotten us again] The meaning is, that as God is the Author of our life in a natural sense, so he is the Author of our second life by regeneration. The Saviour said, (John 3:3) that "except a man be born again," or "begotten again, he cannot see the kingdom of God." Peter here affirms that that change had occurred in regard to himself and those whom he was addressing. The word used here does not elsewhere occur in the New Testament, though it corresponds entirely with the words used by the Saviour in John 3:3,5,7. Perhaps the phrase "begotten again" would be better in each instance where the word occurs, the sense being rather that of being begotten again, than of being born again.

 

[Unto a lively hope] The word lively we now use commonly in the sense of active, animated, quick; the word used here, however, means living, in contradistinction from that which is dead. The hope which they had, had living power. It was not cold, inoperative, dead. It was not a mere form-or a mere speculation-or a mere sentiment; it was that which was vital to their welfare, and which was active and powerful. On the nature of hope, see the notes at Rom 8:24. Compare Eph 2:12.

 

[By the resurrection of Jesus Christ from the dead] The resurrection of the Lord Jesus is the foundation of our hope. It was a confirmation of what he declared as truth when he lived; it was a proof of the doctrine of the immortality of the soul; it was a pledge that all who are united to him will be raised up. See 1 Cor 15:1-20 2 Tim 1:10 1 Thess 4:14. On this verse we may remark, that the fact that Christians are chosen to salvation should be a subject of gratitude and praise. Every man should rejoice that any of the race may be saved, and the world should be thankful for every new instance of divine favor in granting to anyone a hope of eternal life. Especially should this be a source of joy to true Christians. Well do they know that if God had not chosen them to salvation, they would have remained as thoughtless as others; if he had had no purpose of mercy toward them, they would never have been saved. Assuredly, if there is anything for which a man should be grateful, it is that God has so loved him as to give him the hope of eternal life; and if he has had an eternal purpose to do this, our gratitude should be proportionably increased.

 


Approach to the Major Outlines in Lesson

The concept of the major outlines came from reviewing the Scriptural Text.

 

Verse

Phrase

Major Outline

1

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

A Living Hope

7

The genuineness of your faith, being much more precious than gold that perishes, though it is tested by fire

A Refined Hope

12

To them it was revealed that, not to themselves, but to us they were ministering the things which now have been reported to you

A Fulfilled Hope

15

As He who called you is holy, you also be holy in all your conduct

A Holy Obedient Hope

 

Lesson Background

From the NIV Standard Lesson Commentary

“I hope that the weather improves tomorrow.” “I hope that the repairs on my car do not cost too much.” “I hope that the home team has a good season this year.” You probably have made statements like these at one time or another. What do we mean when we say hope in these kinds of statements? We mean that there is one outcome that we prefer over another. We are expressing a wish. Such wishes may not be expressed with much confidence. They are what we desire to occur but not necessarily what we expect. It is easy to confuse the common usage of the word hope with the way that word is used in the New Testament. Today’s study helps us avoid such confusion. Today’s text comes from the first of the New Testament letters of the apostle Peter. As we learn from the letter’s opening, Peter wrote to Christians in “Pontus, Galatia, Cappadocia, Asia and Bithynia” (1 Peter 1:1). These designations refer to an area that corresponds to modern Turkey. That region was controlled by Rome in Peter’s day. The Romans respected Judaism because of its antiquity. At first, the Romans viewed Christianity as merely an offshoot of Judaism, so the respect applied to Christians as well. But eventually the Romans came to see Christianity as a new religion in its own right. This created suspicion of Christians being “a class of men given to a new and mischievous superstition,” as one ancient Roman historian put it in describing a Roman attitude during Nero’s reign (AD 54-68). Although the believers remained law-abiding citizens, they fell under suspicion of disorderly or criminal behavior, even insurrection against the government. Consequently, Christians in this region came under persecution. They faced insults, exclusion, loss of livelihood, arrest, and even violence. The churches of western Asia Minor were persecuted, suffering churches. The letter of 1 Peter, written about AD 64, addressed those Christians with a powerful reminder of the reality that lay beyond their suffering.

 

Commentary from the Bible Expositor and Illuminator

For those familiar with the New Testament, Peter is a very prominent figure. Throughout the gospels he is clearly depicted as the leader of the Twelve, although his failures are well-known. In the first part of Acts he is also dominant, preaching on Pentecost, courageously facing the threats of the Sanhedrin, and sharing the gospel with the Gentiles. While he had a special ministry to Jews (Gal. 2:7-8), Peter apparently traveled widely (I Cor. 9:5). He finally arrived in Rome (I Pet. 5:13), where tradition says he was crucified by Emperor Nero (cf. John 21:18-19). Peter's two brief letters, along with other letters at the end of the New Testament, are often called General Epistles, mainly because they are not addressed to specific congregations. Writing to churches scattered over a large area in what is today modern Turkey, Peter's main focus was to strengthen them during persecution and help them grow in Christ.

 

Commentary from A Study By: Bob Deffinbaugh From the Series: The Glory of Suffering--Studies in 1 Peter

Perhaps you have seen “The Dead Poet’s Society,” a movie my wife and I saw some time ago. As I recall, a translated Latin phrase, “Seize the moment!” became the philosophy of a group of college students. “Seize the moment!” aptly characterizes the spirit of our age; it also betrays the absence of the most vital element of hope. Sadly, our “now generation” has become the “hopeless generation.” If ever there was an age without hope, it is our own—nuclear war, environmental pollution, racism, drugs, crime, corruption, AIDS. No wonder children live as though there were no tomorrow, and some even choose suicide to avoid facing today. If Hebrews is the book of faith, and 1 Corinthians or 1 John the books of love, 1 Peter is the book of hope. While suffering is the dominant theme of this epistle, hope is the prominent emphasis. Hope gives the Christian encouragement in the midst of the trials and tribulations of this life because it focuses our affection on the blessings which await us for all eternity. Like faith, hope is a response to the goodness and grace of God. But we shall see in our text that hope is also a responsibility we have toward God’s grace. For the first time in his epistle, Peter issues a command which we must carefully consider, so that, by God’s grace and for His glory, we might be obedient to it.

 

Major Theme Analysis

(Scriptural Text from the New King James Version; cross-references from the NIV)

A Living Hope (1 Peter 1:3-5)

 

3 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,

4 to an inheritance incorruptible and undefiled and that does not fade away, reserved in heaven for you,

5 who are kept by the power of God through faith for salvation ready to be revealed in the last time.

 

A living hope through Jesus' resurrection (3)

A living hope in the redemption of our body by Jesus causes hope (Rom 8:22-25)

22 We know that the whole creation has been groaning as in the pains of childbirth right up to the present time. 23 Not only so, but we ourselves, who have the firstfruits of the Spirit, groan inwardly as we wait eagerly for our adoption as sons, the redemption of our bodies. 24 For in this hope we were saved. But hope that is seen is no hope at all. Who hopes for what he already has? 25 But if we hope for what we do not yet have, we wait for it patiently.

A living hope that helps us wait for the appearing of Jesus (Titus 2:13)

13 while we wait for the blessed hope — the glorious appearing of our great God and Savior, Jesus Christ,

A living hope that purifies (1 John 3:2-3)

2 Dear friends, now we are children of God, and what we will be has not yet been made known. But we know that when he appears, we shall be like him, for we shall see him as he is. 3 Everyone who has this hope in him purifies himself, just as he is pure.

 

A living hope through the shielding by God's Power through our faith (5)

If we are obedient, God has promised to uphold us (Ps 37:23-24)

23 If the Lord delights in a man's way, he makes his steps firm;  24 though he stumble, he will not fall, for the Lord upholds him with his hand.

No weapon or no slander will stand based on our heritage from God (Isa 54:17)

17 no weapon forged against you will prevail, and you will refute every tongue that accuses you. This is the heritage of the servants of the Lord, and this is their vindication from me,"  declares the Lord.

If God if for us who or what can be defeat us (Rom 8:31)

31 What, then, shall we say in response to this? If God is for us, who can be against us?

By faith we can stand firm (2 Cor 1:24)

24 Not that we lord it over your faith, but we work with you for your joy, because it is by faith you stand firm.

 

A Refined Hope (1 Peter 1:6-9)

 

6 In this you greatly rejoice, though now for a little while, if need be, you have been grieved by various trials,

7 that the genuineness of your faith, being much more precious than gold that perishes, though it is tested by fire, may be found to praise, honor, and glory at the revelation of Jesus Christ,

8 whom having not seen you love. Though now you do not see Him, yet believing, you rejoice with joy inexpressible and full of glory,

9 receiving the end of your faith — the salvation of your souls.

 

A refined hope through trials (6)

Trials that God delivers us from (Ps 34:19)

19 A righteous man may have many troubles, but the Lord delivers him from them all;

Trials that Jesus brings peace because He overcame the world (John 16:33)

33 "I have told you these things, so that in me you may have peace. In this world you will have trouble. But take heart! I have overcome the world."

Trials that we should consider joy because God is teaching us something (James 1:2-4)

2 Consider it pure joy, my brothers, whenever you face trials of many kinds, 3 because you know that the testing of your faith develops perseverance. 4 Perseverance must finish its work so that you may be mature and complete, not lacking anything.

 

A refined hope through the proving of our faith (7)

Proved faith through God's judgment (1 Cor 3:13-15)

13 his work will be shown for what it is, because the Day will bring it to light. It will be revealed with fire, and the fire will test the quality of each man's work. 14 If what he has built survives, he will receive his reward. 15 If it is burned up, he will suffer loss; he himself will be saved, but only as one escaping through the flames.

Proved faith through expected trials (1 Peter 4:12-13)

12 Dear friends, do not be surprised at the painful trial you are suffering, as though something strange were happening to you. 13 But rejoice that you participate in the sufferings of Christ, so that you may be overjoyed when his glory is revealed.

 

A refined hope through belief without physical evidence (8)

Belief that is blessed (John 20:29)

29 Then Jesus told him, "Because you have seen me, you have believed; blessed are those who have not seen and yet have believed."

Belief that is unseen (2 Cor 4:18)

18 So we fix our eyes not on what is seen, but on what is unseen. For what is seen is temporary, but what is unseen is eternal.

 

A refined hope through salvation (9)

A salvation that God appointed through Jesus (1 Thess 5:9)

9 For God did not appoint us to suffer wrath but to receive salvation through our Lord Jesus Christ.

A salvation Jesus will bring with Him at His second coming (Heb 9:28)

28 so Christ was sacrificed once to take away the sins of many people; and he will appear a second time, not to bear sin, but to bring salvation to those who are waiting for him.

A salvation through justification by Jesus' blood (Rom 5:9)

9 Since we have now been justified by his blood, how much more shall we be saved from God's wrath through him!

A salvation that is gained through belief in Jesus (John 6:40)

40 For my Father's will is that everyone who looks to the Son and believes in him shall have eternal life, and I will raise him up at the last day."

A salvation that bring eternal life (John 11:25)

25 Jesus said to her, "I am the resurrection and the life. He who believes in me will live, even though he dies;

A salvation that is hidden in Jesus (Col 3:3-4)

3 For you died, and your life is now hidden with Christ in God. 4 When Christ, who is your life, appears, then you also will appear with him in glory.

 

A Fulfilled Hope (1 Peter 1:10-12)

 

10 Of this salvation the prophets have inquired and searched carefully, who prophesied of the grace that would come to you,

11 searching what, or what manner of time, the Spirit of Christ who was in them was indicating when He testified beforehand the sufferings of Christ and the glories that would follow.

12 To them it was revealed that, not to themselves, but to us they were ministering the things which now have been reported to you through those who have preached the gospel to you by the Holy Spirit sent from heaven — things which angels desire to look into.

 

Fulfilled through the gospel (10-12)

A gospel that provided understanding of these last days (Rom 16:25-26)

25 Now to him who is able to establish you by my gospel and the proclamation of Jesus Christ, according to the revelation of the mystery hidden for long ages past, 26 but now revealed and made known through the prophetic writings by the command of the eternal God, so that all nations might believe and obey him—

A gospel that teaches us about God's manifold wisdom (Eph 3:9-10)

9 and to make plain to everyone the administration of this mystery, which for ages past was kept hidden in God, who created all things. 10 His intent was that now, through the church, the manifold wisdom of God should be made known to the rulers and authorities in the heavenly realms,

A gospel that God planned (Heb 11:39-40)

39 These were all commended for their faith, yet none of them received what had been promised. 40 God had planned something better for us so that only together with us would they be made perfect.

 

A Holy Obedient Hope (1 Peter 1:13-16)

 

13 Therefore gird up the loins of your mind, be sober, and rest your hope fully upon the grace that is to be brought to you at the revelation of Jesus Christ;

14 as obedient children, not conforming yourselves to the former lusts, as in your ignorance;

15 but as He who called you is holy, you also be holy in all your conduct,

16 because it is written, "Be holy, for I am holy."

 

Obedience through a prepared mind (13-14)

Prepared through a self-controlled life (from the Bible Expositor and Illuminator)

By living prepared, self-controlled lives, we have the hope of eternal life that will be fully realized at the revelation of Jesus Christ. As already seen in verse 5, this is a reference to the coming of our Lord. The Greek word translated “revelation” is apokaiupsis and literally means an unveiling. Elsewhere, it is translated “coming” (1 Cor 1:7) and “appearing” (1 Pet. 1:7). To be prepared for the return of Christ, we must live as “obedient children” (1 Pet. 1:14). Most of Peter’s readers were converts from paganism.  He urged them not to live as they had formerly done. At one time, they had lived in ignorance concerning the true God and His righteous standards (Acts 17:30).

Be prepared by guarding our mind  (Prov 4:23-26)

23 Above all else, guard your heart, for it is the wellspring of life. 24 Put away perversity from your mouth; keep corrupt talk far from your lips. 25 Let your eyes look straight ahead, fix your gaze directly before you. 26 Make level paths for your feet and take only ways that are firm.

Prepared mind by being careful of all things that influence the mind (Matt 6:22-23)

22 "The eye is the lamp of the body. If your eyes are good, your whole body will be full of light. 23 But if your eyes are bad, your whole body will be full of darkness. If then the light within you is darkness, how great is that darkness!

Prepared mind by being filled with the Holy Spirit (Eph 5:18)

18 Do not get drunk on wine, which leads to debauchery. Instead, be filled with the Spirit.

Prepared mind by bringing every thought under the control of God (2 Cor 10:5)

5 We demolish arguments and every pretension that sets itself up against the knowledge of God, and we take captive every thought to make it obedient to Christ.

Prepared mind by trusting God to control the mind (Rom 7:21-25).

21 So I find this law at work: When I want to do good, evil is right there with me. 22 For in my inner being I delight in God's law; 23 but I see another law at work in the members of my body, waging war against the law of my mind and making me a prisoner of the law of sin at work within my members. 24 What a wretched man I am! Who will rescue me from this body of death? 25 Thanks be to God-through Jesus Christ our Lord!

 

Obedience through holy lives (15-16)

Applying the Right Principles (from the NIV Standard Lesson Commentary)

Rudolph Giuliani, former mayor of New York City, is most famous for his commanding and comforting presence at the horrendous scene of the terrorist attacks on the World Trade Center on September 11, 2001. However, he had become famous (or infamous, depending on one’s politics) for changes he brought about earlier in his tenure as mayor. Giuliani came to office at a time when the city was crime-ridden and the streets overrun by cast-off derelicts of society. A New York Times poll indicated that more than 50 percent of the adults in the city were planning to leave. A decade later, the murder rate was one-third of what it had been, the homeless had been moved into facilities where they could be helped, and street prostitution, drug-dealing, and graffiti had all declined due to aggressive law enforcement. The mayor’s promotion of “middle-class values” (in other words, the advocacy of principles of human decency) had made New York City livable again. Regardless of sociological and political fads that try to make humanity’s sinful condition excusable—or even laudable—the biblical values of sobriety, morality, and holiness that Peter advocates are the only principles that will make society work. With anything else, we are merely fooling ourselves.

Holy life that is as perfect as possible  (Matt 5:48)

48 Be perfect, therefore, as your heavenly Father is perfect.

Holy life that has been purified  (2 Cor 7:1)

1 Since we have these promises, dear friends, let us purify ourselves from everything that contaminates body and spirit, perfecting holiness out of reverence for God.

Holy life that is lived in a manner worthy of the Gospel  (Phil 1:27)

27 Whatever happens, conduct yourselves in a manner worthy of the gospel of Christ. Then, whether I come and see you or only hear about you in my absence, I will know that you stand firm in one spirit, contending as one man for the faith of the gospel

Holy life that has been sanctified by God  (1 Thess 4:3)

3 It is God's will that you should be sanctified: that you should avoid sexual immorality;

Holy life that is powered by the grace of God  (Titus 2:11-12)

11 For the grace of God that brings salvation has appeared to all men. 12 It teaches us to say "No" to ungodliness and worldly passions, and to live self-controlled, upright and godly lives in this present age

Holy life that lives in peace with all men  (Heb 12:14)

14 Make every effort to live in peace with all men and to be holy; without holiness no one will see the Lord.

 

Conclusion and Other Thoughts

Concluding Thoughts from the NIV Standard Lesson Commentary

Someone once said, “Christians are too heavenly minded to be any earthly good.” That may be the most inaccurate assessment of Christianity ever given! Genuine hope, founded on the gospel, gives Christians the power to overcome all kinds of obstacles in the present as we live out God’s plan and purpose in the world. A confident expectation of God’s salvation does not make us passive and useless. It empowers us to live in a way that testifies to the Christ whose return we assuredly await.

 

Concluding Thoughts from the Bible Expositor and Illuminator

Scripture is clear that one birth is insufficient to get anyone to glory. There must be a second birth, even as Jesus reminded Nicodemus in John 3. For those who have experienced that second birth, it is the cause of great praise to the One responsible. That God had mercy on us, sinners though we are, is reason enough to not only continually praise God but to live holy lives as well. When we think through what the Lord has done for His own—a new life, an inheritance that will neither deteriorate nor disappear and is waiting for us—how can anyone cease to be thankful and worshipful in daily living? We should always be mindful of where we would still be spiritually if not for the grace and mercy of God. Peter wrote these things to a people persecuted for their faith in Christ. He encouraged them not to forget who they were and whose they were and what they had in Christ. Christ was responsible for their hope because He had been raised from the dead and was very much alive. A Christian's life is to be characterized by the sure and living hope he has in Christ. Believers are kept by the power of God through faith. Just as God is responsible for the new birth, so He also knows that we need His keeping power if we are to live out our earthly lives and successfully attain the goal of our faith, the salvation of our souls. May it be true of each of us, regardless of our present and often trying circumstances, that our love remain steadfast and enduring. Let us be ever thankful to God for His keeping power on our behalf. Peter told his readers that what they had in Christ was something the Old Testament prophets prophesied but never fully understood. It was a matter that the Spirit of God revealed through them but not to them. They did realize it did not pertain to them fully at that time, but it would to others who would follow. They were thus curious about the grace of God they had written about; it became a matter of great interest for them, as well as for the angels. How much do we study what has happened to us? How well do we know and how well can we explain to others the new birth, the work of Christ, the future for believers, and the pattern for living that God wants to see in us? To be sure there will always be mysteries, for we live by faith. But a lack of perfect knowledge and understanding should not prevent us from continuing serious study. Christians are those who have been born anew from above to a living hope. Christ, who is our hope (cf. I Tim. 1:1), is alive, and because He lives, our lives can be energized by that same resurrection power. Let each of us depend on that power in the remaining days of our earthly lives.

 

Practical Points from the Bible Expositor and Illuminator

1.      The world's richest billionaire cannot come close to the inheritance we have in Christ (I Pet. 1:3-4)

2.      Any sufferings we might endure now are nothing compared to the joy in store for us (vs. 5-6)

3.      Trials are the fire that refines our faith into preciousness beyond compare (vs. 7)

4.      It is not nearly so important to see Jesus as it is to believe in Him with joy (vs. 8-9)

5.      In Christ we are privileged beyond even the prophets and the angels (vs. 10-12)