13 Therefore, prepare your minds for action, keep sober in spirit, fix your hope completely on the grace to be brought to you at the revelation of Jesus Christ. 14 As obedient children, do not be conformed to the former lusts which were yours in your ignorance, 15 but alike the Holy One who called you, be holy yourselves also in all your behavior; 16 because it is written, “You shall be holy, for I am holy.” 17 If you address as Father the One who impartially judges according to each one’s work, conduct yourselves in fear during the time of your stay on earth; 18 knowing that you were not redeemed with perishable things like silver or gold from your futile way of life inherited from your forefathers, 19 but with precious blood, as of a lamb unblemished and spotless, the blood of Christ. 20 For He was foreknown before the foundation of the world, but has appeared in these last times for the sake of you 21 who through Him are believers in God, who raised Him from the dead and gave Him glory, so that your faith and hope are in God. 1 Peter 1:13-21
Designed To Hope
Pause for a moment in your ever busy lives, your ever busy minds, and think about just how much of your life you operate out of hope, or the lack of it. Human beings are hopers. We are created and designed to hope. Ask yourself this question and just think about it…
Did you wake up this morning hoping?
Did you wake up hoping for that time of coffee with Jesus, and His Word?
Did you wake up hoping that the Kansas City Chiefs will actually win?
Did you wake up hoping your kids were not sick and you could make it to Church?
What about every other day of the week? Maybe you wake up hoping you do amazing at work, and your hard work will pay off. Maybe you wake up hoping that today you will live more for Jesus than yesterday. Maybe you wake up hoping that marriage gets better. Maybe you woke up hoping that your past mistakes will not haunt you today.
Where Is Your Hope Placed
You see, the question is not whether or not we hope, but what we hope in. Where then is your hope being placed, in what and in whom?
With Peter’s encouragement to “fix your hope completely on the grace to be brought to you at the revelation of Jesus Christ.” Our horizontal hopes, at best, merely provide a fleeting pleasure, and at worst lead to addiction and destruction. We must search alone for our hope vertically, in the person and work of Jesus Christ, and His promises, His truths, His provisions, and all of that is found in the Word of God.
The key to our hope being rightly directed and focused on Christ is faith and obedience toward our precious Lord.
“The golden rule for spiritual understanding is not intellect, but obedience. If a man wants scientific knowledge, intellectual curiosity is his guide; but if he wants insight into what Jesus Christ teaches, he can only get it by obedience.”
My goodness, “obey” could possibly be one of the most offensive words in the English language. What a wild bunch of nonconformists we have become. The rise of skepticism of every person we meet is quickly becoming detrimental to all that we are and do. No leader is safe, no leader is right, no motive left unquestioned. To be certain, not many even trust pastors anymore, let alone obeying the truths to which they preach and proclaim from the Word of God. Sadly, it must be said that our distrust and skepticism has seeped into our relationship with God; yet, Peter commands us to be obedient children of God.
Don’t Operate Under False Hope
On a side note, we must not operate out of the false hope and ideology of:
You’re not good. You should be good. Therefore, be or do better.
What a terrible tendency we have to simply attempt to be moral monsters. Our broken understanding of the Gospel generally falls into two camps here.
1. You hear and learn the Biblical commands of the Word of God, and you work diligently to uphold those commands, and you praise yourself for being able to do them well. You must avoid this. You are fostering a false sense of self-righteousness.
The second camp…
2. For others, you hear and learn the Biblical commands of the Word of God, and instead of becoming self-righteous, your quick realization that you cannot uphold them leads you to despair, disenchantment, and defeat.
Both camps are tragically anti-Gospel. You cannot obey the commands of God apart from the Gospel. Also, you can obey the commands of God because of the Gospel. Pastor and theologian Bryan Chapell put it this way,
“Faith that we are new creatures in Christ Jesus provides us with the confidence that we can do what God requires, and thus we employ the power his Spirit has already instilled within us.”
This is what the Apostle Paul says in 2 Corinthians 5:17, “Therefore if anyone is in Christ, he is a new creature; the old things passed away; behold, new things have come.” Through the saving, redeeming, and FORGIVING power of the Gospel of Jesus Christ, being empowered by the Holy Spirit, we can obey, resulting in our proper hope in God.