“Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, which according to his abundant mercy hath begotten us again unto a lively hope by the resurrection of Jesus Christ from the dead” (1 Peter 1:3–6, AV)
We live in a world that has lost hope. Hopelessness is a sad and debilitating state. During the COVID pandemic, many countries around the world literally shut down. We had no clue how to deal with the disease. The government and media threw the nation into a state of panic. We were put into a phase of social distancing, which in fact became social isolation. The isolation of people had an unseen effect on their psyche. Without social interaction people became depressed and lethargic. However, the greatest problem was the feeling of hopelessness during this time. At the onset, no one knew if they could avoid this disease and many were convinced that if they got it, they would die. People arrive at hopelessness when they determine that there is no possibility to escape a dire situation and there is no future. Hopelessness in itself is an emotional killer.
However, we as believers in Jesus Christ have a different perspective. Believers fare much better during times of uncertainty. The reason is that there is certainty for our future. In this verse, Peter stated, “Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ.” The word “blessed,” eulogetos, is an adjective meaning praised or blessed. The word is from the verb eulogeo to speak good, to celebrate with praises. We are to praise God because of His abundant mercy by which He has caused us to be born again into a living hope.
We do not have an “I hope so” type of hope. This is the hope of the world. The world hoped the pandemic would be over. However, there was no guarantee. In fact, new variants constantly developed over the past several years. If you ask an unbeliever, “Do you think you will go to heaven when you die,” they often will say, “I hope so.” There is always a degree of uncertainty in the unbeliever’s heart. On the other hand, a believer’s hope is not an “I hope so” hope. Ours is an “I know so” hope. Ours is the joyful and confident expectation of the future.
The basis of the believer’s confident hope is the resurrection of Jesus Christ from the grave. We have been born again into a living “hope by the resurrection of Jesus Christ from the dead.” The resurrection of Jesus is the basis of our hope for several reasons. First, we understand that while Jesus died and paid the complete penalty of our sins, the resurrection proves that our sin debt was paid in full. Paul indicated this when writing to the Romans, “Who was delivered for our offences, and was raised again for our justification” (Romans 4:25, AV). He further wrote of this to the Corinthians, “And if Christ be not raised, your faith is vain; ye are yet in your sins” (1 Corinthians 15:17, AV).
Second, the resurrection validates our future resurrection. Paul continued in his letter to the Corinthians, “But now is Christ risen from the dead, and become the firstfruits of them that slept” (1 Corinthians 15:20, AV). Because Christ was the first-fruits of the resurrection, we know that there will be a harvest of the resurrection to come, and this means us.
Christ’s resurrection means that He is alive and this is the guarantee for all of us who have believed. We have a living hope. Bill Gaither wrote these lyrics which summarizes it perfectly, “Because He lives, I can face tomorrow.”