God the Father has given me a living hope through the resurrection of Jesus Christ. I need to ponder that for a moment. How many people think God is out to get us, to keep us under His thumb and make our lives miserable? But this verse says He gives me a living hope. A living hope as opposed to what, a dying hope? Yes, my hope is not just that I will eventually wind up in heaven where everything will be better, even though there is nothing wrong with that. That is certainly something I should keep at the forefronts of my mind.
I better digress and define hope. "A wish or desire accompanied by confident expectation of its fulfillment." This is not the “I hope it won’t rain today” type of wishful thinking. This is confidence that what I will get something that I have not yet received based on the authority and power of God who has promised it.
Romans 5:1-8 tells me what that hope is all about. I have peace with God. No, His goal isn’t to make me miserable. When I face bad things, instead of blaming God, I know that the troubles are there to produce perseverance, character, and hope. I am confident of this because my confidence is in God who has promised it. How can I be so confident? Verse 5 says that hope doesn’t disappoint me because God has poured out His love in my heart by the Holy Spirit, whom He has given me. It isn’t me and my ability, but it is the Holy Spirit who gives me that confidence.
Romans 5:1-8 ties back to 1 Peter 1:3 as it explains that at just the right time, when I couldn’t do anything to help myself, Jesus died for me – the ungodly person that I was. God demonstrates His love for me that while I was still his enemy and totally opposed to everything He is, while I was doing everything in my power to insult and hurt Him (even though I thought I was being a very nice guy,) Jesus died for me.
Now with a God like that, how could I not have hope that helps me live each day.
Rom 8:23-25 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. For in this hope we were saved. But hope that is seen is no hope at all. Who hopes for what he already has? But if we hope for what we do not yet have, we wait for it patiently. (NIV)
Ok, some of that hope is also knowing that this isn’t all there is. This life will someday be over and when it is I will be with Jesus. Again, there is confident expectation that it will occur. My body will be redeemed and I will no longer have to put up with the physical or spiritual weaknesses I now have. I have to wait patiently for that day to come. One thing about growing older is that I know that day is closer than it was yesterday.
1 John 3:2-3 Beloved, we are God's children now; it does not yet appear what we shall be, but we know that when he appears we shall be like him, for we shall see him as he is. And every one who thus hopes in him purifies himself as he is pure. (RSV)
So, because of this hope that I have, I don’t sit around and do whatever I want. Instead, because I will someday be like Jesus I need to purify myself now. If I’m not trying to become pure then I’m simply proving that Jesus isn’t my Lord and that I really don’t care what He wants.
Jesus had to die to give me this hope. His resurrection proves that His death wasn’t meaningless but that He can give me the power by His Holy Spirit to live a godly life and purify myself.