A Study of the Epistle of 1 Peter
We're living in a time when terrible terror attacks are becoming more and more commonplace. Christians are being persecuted in unprecedented numbers globally; especially in Islamic regions. In our nation Christians are being criticized, marginalized, and targeted as intolerant for speaking truth (even when truth is spoken in love) to those indulging immoral and harmful lifestyles. We have seen society welcome and honor same-sex marriage. These are confusing times. Did you know there is a relatively new practice called spectrophilia which finvolves people who have sexual relations with spirits and ghosts?  The world is becoming more and more confused, corrupt, and unconscious of God. To disagree with any of the immoral trends of our day is to be berated and called a "hater," or "bigot." Add to these issues wars and rumors of wars, economic uncertainty, a rise in civil unrest and violence, the fracturing of views of traditional family, and even the most positive oriented person is severely tempted to depression and discouragement.
It's all so frightening and discouraging. What we need is hope. Hope is faith with a future perspective. Hope is faith for now that is anchored in the future promises of God. This is where the first epistle of Peter comes in. If Paul is the apostle of grace and faith, and John is the apostle of love, then Peter is the apostle of hope. Perhaps the life circumstances of Peter made him best suited to being a messenger of hope for God. This is seen in Peter’s first epistle (or letter) as he refers to the “living hope” that God gives the believer.
A study of First Peter as a whole will give us the most detailed and helpful understanding of living hope. But by way of introduction let me share some preliminary aspects of what living hope is.
First, living hope is alive as opposed to dead. The hope we will be talking about has a supernatural element to it. This hope won't ever let you down. You can count on it. It won't lead to a dead end of despair. That's because living hope begins with our second birth, our spiritual birth; being born again (John 3). This hope begins when we accept Jesus as our personal Savior and Lord. It begins with being forgiven all our sins, past present and future, through faith in Christ. This is a gracious gift of God. Living hope begins with the realization that we have a promise from God of eternal life in Christ.
Any hope without this spiritual element is limited and flawed and ultimately unreliable. Any hope without this eternal element leads to eternal death and is therefore a dead end.
Second, living hope is an action. Living hope is a way of living. We live hope. We live out our hope in Jesus. It is living hopefully with the belief and trust that we can do all things through Christ who strengthens us (Philippians 4:13). Living hope equips and empowers us to live through problems, pains, and persecutions.
Third, living hope is an assurance. Living hope steadies and stabilizes us. It is the bedrock of believing Jesus and God's word. Living hope is a prospect that helps us persevere through this life. We can endure this life because of our hope of eternal life. Living hope is an assurance that God works good in and through all things, even things the adversary and others mean for evil (e.g. Genesis 50:20; Romans 8:28). Living hope is trusting in God's promises. It is believing God (and His people) win in the end. We can endure temporary hardship in this life when we have living hope of eternal life for our future.
Fourth, living hope is an anticipation of future good. This anticipation enables us to endure hardship now until we reach life's finish line. Living hope gets us to the end of this life and helps us transition into the next. Just as Jesus rose from the dead and defeated death, so will we through faith in Him.