Mars Hill Staff Devotional
from Fred Carpenter
Part 2 of a 3-part series on Hope
Yesterday morning I watched a video, taken on a mobile phone, of a young pastor in a country dominated by militant Muslims. He was being martyred for sharing his faith. The frenzied screaming of masked men holding a knife to his neck, yelling at him to recant, was more than I could bear. Knowing what was about to take place, I was grateful that the man showing the video turned it off just before they took the pastor’s life. I was, and still am, deeply affected by what I viewed. It is sobering to know that this kind of thing is taking place in many parts of the world today. (And the pastor’s example was a sharp contrast to the touchy, feely, whiny cultural Christianity that pervades America.)
It is no mistake that the subject of today’s devotional (Part 2 of a 3 part series on “hope”) was planned last week. Our focal verse is 1 Peter 1:3, “Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, who according to His great mercy has caused us to be born again to a living hope through the resurrection of Jesus Christ from the dead . . .” That young pastor stood firm for Christ, his “living hope” was stronger and more real than anything possessed by (or that possessed) his captors.
In context of this verse and those that follow, it is clear that our living hope is based on the resurrection of Jesus Christ; not only on the fact that it actually happened, but also on what He accomplished in our behalf as a result. Because of the resurrection we have an inheritance which is imperishable, undefiled, and will not fade away, reserved in heaven for us (v.4)!
Consider the following. Each thought lays a foundation for the next.
- Our hope is alive because He is alive. Because of the resurrection, we know that our God is all-powerful.
- And because He is all powerful, we know that nothing will prevent Him from fulfilling every promise He has made to us.
- And because He has promised us that nothing, “neither death, nor life, nor angels, nor principalities, nor things present, nor things to come, nor powers, nor height, nor depth, nor any other created thing, will be able to separate us from the love of God” (Rom.8:38-39), and that “His grace is sufficient” (2 Cor.12:9), then we can face anything!
Hope, by its very nature, deals with the future. For some, hope deals only with a distant future. But “hope deferred makes the heart sick” – Prov. 13:12. A living hope comes to us now, every moment of every day, whenever we need it. A living hope is not only a future hope. It is a present hope. It is a confident expectation that God will deliver on His promises as I step forward in this present trial, and as I step into the next one, and the next, and so on. . . right up to the moment I fall into His arms.
Jesus’ death is not significant because He was a good man who died, but because He was a perfect man who died and rose again. The resurrection of our savior is the foundation of our living hope! If your hope is not alive, then it may be resting on a different foundation.
My hope is built on nothing less
Than Jesus’ blood and righteousness.
I dare not trust the sweetest frame,
But wholly trust in Jesus’ Name.
On Christ the solid Rock I stand,
All other ground is sinking sand;
All other ground is sinking sand.
– Edward Mote, 1797-1874
Do you have real, living hope? This week we’ve seen that living hope is a gift that we are born to (or should I say reborn to) as a result of the resurrection. Last week we saw that, through perseverance and knowing the word of God, we can grow our hope. Next week we’ll look at what the Bible calls our “blessed hope.“ And the following week, we’ll launch into a weekly devotional using our study guide for The HOPE. Please join us, and please invite others to do the same.