“Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, who according to His abundant mercy has begotten us again to a living hope through the resurrection of Jesus Christ from the dead.”
a living hope
Not only do we have hope; we have a “living” hope. The New Testament uses the word “living” for life in the absolute sense – life as God as it (John 5:26; 1 John 1:2).
Man became alienated from this life as a result of the fall of Adam (Ephesians 4:18). We become partakers of God’s life through faith in Christ (John 3:15) His life becomes our life (Colossians 3:4). We possess present eternal life (John 5:24; 1 John 3:14). This life will one day extend to the domain of our physical body 2 Corinthians 5:4; 2 Timothy 1:10).
In the New Testament, death is not natural. It is due to sin. Death came through sin (Romans 5:12) which is rebellion against God. Sin thus involved the forfeiting of life.
Peter uses the word “living” six times (1 Peter 1:3, 23; 2:4-5; 4:5-6). Living means that our hope is real. It is not an empty hope.
True life, God’s life, is not destructible. The life that is subject to death is only provisional (1 Corinthians 15:19). Those bound to it are “dead.” True life is future (1 Timothy 4:8) and indestructible. It is eternal (Mark 10:17; Romans 2:7; Galatians 6:8), and linked with salvation. As natural life is given by creation, God’s life is given by resurrection.
The giving of life to the one who violates God must be by the death of Christ’s life – “It is the blood that makes atonement by reason of the life.” Sin separates us from God. Separation from God forfeits spiritual life. God removes spiritual death by a sacrifice in which the victim and the offerer become identified. God identified us with the substitutionary death of Christ giving us eternal life.
Since Christ had no sins of his own for which to die, his death was voluntary and vicarious (John 10:15; Isaiah 53:5, 10, 12; 2 Corinthians 5:21). In Jesus’ sacrifice, he suffered God’s judgment due to our sin. By this means, we become identified with Jesus in his deathless life, through his resurrection, and we enjoy conscious and eternal fellowship with God. He took our hell that we might have his heaven.
God has given us life as he has it – eternal life.
No other group of people on earth has a hope beyond the grave except Christians. All of the founders of religion are dead except the Lord Jesus. He is the only one alive today. We cannot say that about Mohamed or Buddha or any other religious leader of history. They are dead and gone! Not the Christ of God. That is what makes Christianity unique. We have a living hope.
The Christian is not temporally optimistic or hopeful. He has confidence that he will one day live eternally with the Lord Jesus.
We have a hope that is actively alive. The Christian presently looks to eternity with expectancy. Why should we look on the dark side of things? The Christian’s future is immortal – not subject to death. Therefore, nothing can extinguish the Christian’s hope. Probably one of the worst “pests” around is the pessimist! Why should a Christian be pessimistic about life?