On Wednesday we took a look back at all God did in your life throughout 2016. Today we will take a look ahead at all you hope God will do throughout 2017.
Praise be to the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ! In his great mercy he has given us new birth into a living hope through the resurrection of Jesus Christ from the dead. (1 Peter 1:3)
Now, if that doesn’t light the fire of your faith as you prepare to head into the new year, your wood is wet! We could spend all of 2017 unpacking this verse and never plumb the depths of its gloriously empowering truth. Since my purpose is to encourage you to look ahead with positive anticipation to all God will do both in you and through you during 2017, let’s meditate on and marinate in the words, “a living hope.”
Throughout the entire epistle of 1 Peter, hope is the foundation upon which Peter builds to encourage and exhort persecuted and bewildered Christians to stand fast in their faith. And how did He do this? By encouraging Christians to look beyond their circumstances in life and to focus on Christ and all the spiritual blessings promised in Him. Let’s take a brief look.
As you begin this New Year, launch out with the understanding that your right standing with God is rooted in God’s grace, not your good works . . . God’s great mercy, not your meager merit. God is the One who saves. He begins the process; He advances the process; and He completes the process through His mercy and grace. Great mercy should give you great motivation to advance confidently in the direction God is calling you to go this New Year.
Building on God’s great mercy, Peter reminded his readers that we must be born again into a new relationship with God. Think about it this way: we played no role in our natural birth and we play no role in our supernatural birth. It is all a gift of God. And remember that before our new birth we were on the road to hell, with absolutely nothing to look forward to. But our new birth changes all of this by giving us our next category . . .
A Living Hope
The Bible makes it clear that the hope God gives is not some kind of wishful thinking; it is certain. It is guaranteed! It is rooted in our relationship with our Lord Jesus Christ. Peter could have just used the word hope and we could have gleaned all that was needed to understand God’s great work in our lives. But he adds the word living to hope, which raises the bar. Why? Because our living hope is rooted in the resurrection of our Lord Jesus Christ from the dead. The grave could not hold Jesus. Death could not keep Him. Jesus overcame the grave and became the Death of death.
As you get ready to embark on a new year, remember that all of your God-honoring dreams and God-glorifying desires are rooted in a living hope, because they are rooted in the living Christ. Because He lives you live, and that makes your hope alive and well in the Almighty.
This is the Gospel. This is grace for your race. NEVER FORGET THAT . . . AMEN!