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Eternal hope is found in Jesus Christ

July 28, 2008

by Rev. Michael Nirva, St. James Lutheran Church, Howard Lake

The Word of the Lord: 1 Peter 1:34: “In His great mercy He has given us new birth into a living hope through the resurrection of Jesus Christ from the dead, and into an inheritance that can never perish, spoil or fade – kept in heaven for you.”

In 1 Peter 3-4, the Apostle Peter writes about a living hope that can never perish. It is the hope, indeed the certainty, that we will never perish.

Our hope is built on the sacrificial death of Jesus Christ on the cross. It is our trust in Jesus, who has defeated the power of the grave through His death and resurrection, that provides us with an everlasting hope.

Christian hope looks back to the rising of the Son of God. That resurrection on the third day is the verification that all our hope, faith, and trust in Jesus is valid, sound, and justified. Jesus does for us what we are totally incapable of doing; He lives the perfect life in our stead.

Jesus suffers death to atone for our sin; and His resurrection from death that first Easter put the seal on all He had done. His rising declares His triumph over sin and death and Satan. Thus, each day, as it dawns, reminds us of the constancy and trustworthiness of all that Jesus Christ has done for us. There is no doubt – it is certain, as sure as the sunrise.

As Martin Luther noted when lecturing on Galatians, God placed on His own Son the iniquities of the entire world. He dealt with all human sin on His Son’s cross.

Jesus is no mere role model. He exchanged places with us and took the consequences of our sin. We are now counted to be the best because Christ’s righteousness clothes us now.

God sees His Son when He looks at us – the Father was pleased with His Son. Jesus Christ removed our sin by dying on the cross. “God made Him who had no sin to be sin for us, so that in Him we might become the righteousness of God.” (11 Corinthians 5:21) We are saved by faith alone in what Jesus Christ has done for us.

Christian hope is not a vague desire for things to turn out well, or an earnest expectation that the promises of God are, after all, authentic. There is a dependability about it which we call faith. “Faith is being sure of what we hope for.” (Hebrews 11:1) Each new day is a glorious testimony declaring how regular and reliable is the redemption, which has snatched us out of Satan’s grasp and set us down before the throne of God.

A believer’s hope is not to be equated with unfounded optimism. It is the blessed assurance of a future destiny based on God’s love in Christ, who persevered and suffered for us that we would receive forgiveness for all of our sins.

God did not give up hope on you. When your future looked bleak and futile, while you were still in your sins, He invested the most He could – He gave His own Son to reach you with His kindness. He offered His Son on Calvary’s cross for our sins. Since He refused to regard us as hopeless, we can be filled with hope and give our lives in exceptional service.

Do not let shortsightedness rob you of the opportunities God has planned for your day. Keep looking to find the blessings God has placed there. “We have this hope as an anchor for the soul.” (Hebrews 6:19)

“Remember that the hand that holds the future is intent on working all things together for your good.” (Romans 8:28) The one who on the cross won the victory over sin and death by His sacrifice will always provide what is good for us.

Our Christian hope makes it possible for us to look forward. God enables us to take our focus off the petty and mundane and concentrate on what truly matters, namely, our future with the Lord. His mercy, coupled with His promises helps us to see past our problems of health and beyond perplexities of poverty to the “glory that will be revealed in us.” (Romans 8:18)

Whatever our circumstances, Jesus helps us focus on the end. His crown of righteousness awaits all of us who place our trust in Him as Savior and Lord.

We look ahead with confidence and hope, knowing that Jesus Christ has prepared the way for us. We look ahead also with eager anticipation, knowing our Savior waits for us.