Dear brothers and sisters,
This is the third week of our Easter series, where we are looking at the connection between faith and hope. Faith is belief that God is good and true, and that he is faithful to his promises. Hope is faith directed toward the future, and is connected to our desire for happiness. Hope rooted in faith tells us that goodness is coming our way. I asked last week, “What are you hoping for?” This is a tricky question in the midst of the COVID-19 crisis, but for the believer, our hopes ought to be for a transformation of character, that will be fully capable of receiving God’s blessings. What do we think will bring us happiness? Today we pick up from where we left off in the First Letter of Peter: Therefore, gird up the loins of your mind, live soberly, and set your hopes completely on the grace to be brought to you at the revelation of Jesus Christ (1 Peter 1:13). Peter is saying to think fully of the grace coming to you in Jesus’ revelation, and to set your hope fully and completely on this grace. Don’t set it on anything else. Like obedient children, do not act in compliance with the desires of your former ignorance but, as he who called you is holy, be holy yourselves in every aspect of your conduct, for it is written, “Be holy because I am holy” (1 Peter 1:14-16). We may not want to think of ourselves as “obedient children,” but what Peter is saying is that we have a choice – we are either going to comply with God’s holiness, or with the “desires of our former ignorance.” If we hope for finding happiness in power, in money, in pleasure, in popularity, then we will seek these things with all our efforts. Peter is reminding us that we already know as believers that these pursuits will not satisfy us. Peter exhorts us further: Conduct yourselves with reverence during the time of your sojourning (1 Peter 1:17). We are sojourners on a journey. We have an ultimate destination, the Kingdom of God, but we are not there yet. He was known before the foundation of the world but revealed in the final time for you, who through him believe in God who raised him from the dead and gave him glory, so that your faith and hope are in God (1 Peter 20-21). Our faith and hope is not in the things of this world, where we tend to put our hopes. Our ultimate happiness and fulfillment is found in God and in his coming Kingdom. In this difficult time, let’s “gird up our loins” in our thinking about this reality. Questions for Small Groups:
Read aloud 1 Peter 1:13 a couple of times. What words or phrases stick out to you?
What are you tempted to place your hopes upon that is apart from God?
How has placing your hopes on the things of this world let you down before?
How does remembering that we are on a spiritual journey help us to deal with the disappointments of life?
On a scale of 1-5, how much would you say that your faith and hope are in God?