Where There's Christ, There's Hope

The days of living in our world and escaping any form of persecution seem to be quickly coming to an end. We are witnesses of a society that has allowed the influence of humanism and pluralism to lead it into the pathways of unrighteousness. A society that desires only to serve itself, while trying to eradicate God from every facet of public and private life. While we may reminiscence about the better days of old, we are faced with many new challenges that can only be confronted with the guiding light of God’s Word.

Today when a person opens his Bible to the book of first Peter, he does not find a society all to foreign from his own. Peter confronted a similar society that had adopted a hatred for Christians and their righteous living. It was in the midst of this “fiery ordeal” that Peter was given the opportunity to fulfill his commission given by Jesus, “Tend, my sheep” (John 21:17). Peter wrote to Christians who were experiencing tremendous trials and encouraged them to stay the course. He told them to remember their blameless Savior and His willingness to suffer on their account. Thereby, Jesus left us an example on how to live and how to suffer while never losing our trust in God (1 Peter 2:21). These principles found in his epistle will help us live in an ever growing secular and agnostic society.

Peter’s message to the Christians, who were suffering for their righteous living, was one of hope. The hope described in Peter’s epistle is not built upon wishful thinking but is rather grounded in the promises of God, who cannot lie (Hebrews 6:18). It was God who promised to His faithful that He would never leave them, or forsake them (Hebrews 13:5). It was God who promised salvation to those who faithfully obey, and His protection from the evil one and his temptations (1 Peter 1:3-5; 5:8-9). It is upon this foundation that our hope is built and is made steadfast and sure, because it is anchored within the veil by Jesus (Hebrews 6:18-20). No statement could be more true, “Where there’s Christ, there’s hope.”

Peter spoke to his audience as “strangers and pilgrims.” These Christians were not permanent citizens in this fallen creation but rather were being renewed through their faith in Christ to a citizenship in heaven (Philippians 3:20; 1 Peter 1:19, 23). Their characterization as strangers carries both the idea of a wanderer, and one who lives differently than the majority. Peter told his readers the world would react in certain ways because “they are surprised that you do not run with them into the same excesses of dissipation” (1 Peter 4:4). It is easier for this society to malign your actions as narrow-minded, bigoted, sexist, etc., than to understand the reason why you live in faithfulness to God. It is easier for this society to live in its excesses, than to learn selflessness by repenting of their sins and being transformed into the image of their Savior. Therefore, Peter’s encouragement to those who were “strangers and pilgrims” was to have a defense for the “hope” that is within them (1 Peter 3:15). Peter also encouraged his readers to understand the result of their suffering was “in praise and glory and honor at the revelation of Jesus Christ” (1 Peter 1:7)

Many songs have been written to create within its singer’s heart the idea of better days. Better days in the sense of no more sorrows or heartaches. Better days when our eyes will cease to cry. Better days when we will finally see our Savior and reign eternally in heaven with Him. When our minds become muddled with the things of this life, may we be reminded of the Christian’s great hope found in the Bible. Our days on earth may continue to be tried by various trials and temptations but if we remain faithful there is a promise for a better day. A day that will be unending, where the sun will no longer need to shine (Revelation 22:5). A day when all of God’s saved ones will be called to their eternal home to give Him praises forevermore. May our hearts never fail because of the trials in this life, but rather strengthened by our hope resting with God.