A Living Hope
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“Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, who according to His great mercy has caused us to be born again to a living hope through the resurrection of Jesus Christ from the dead.” (NASB95)
I remember attending the funeral of one of my atheist friends while studying at Oxford, and it was a depressing affair. A few poems were read, a few words spoken, but the tone was one of outrage and despair. There were no answers offered; life had simply ceased.
On the other hand, the Christian funerals I’ve attended, though sorrowful, have been celebratory. Death is not final for followers of Christ; it’s a doorway to eternal life with Him.
This destiny gives us hope beyond the grave—a transformed perspective based on the eternal truth of our position in Christ that changes the way we live during this temporal sojourn.
Position in Christ
Our position in Christ is an unchanging foundation of hope, one that gives us comfort as we age and as we watch other believers go on to the next life. With the mystery of our new birth in Christ, His death becomes our death; His burial our burial; His resurrection our resurrection; His ascension our ascension. And now we are seated with God in the heavenly places in Christ Jesus ( ).
These are deep mysteries! We often do not feel as though they are true, but our position in Christ is a transcendent, eternal basis of being, not a human emotion.
Here are a few of the truths about our identity in Christ—if we have believed in Him—that give us a firm hope no matter our circumstances:1
- We have been brought near to God by the blood of Christ ( )
- We will not be condemned by God ( )
- We are children of the Most High God ( )
- As children of God, we are fellow heirs with Christ ( 7)
- We have boldness and confident access to God through faith in Christ ( )
- Christ is our life, and we will be revealed with Him in glory ( )
Recognizing the truths of our identity in Christ—whether for the first time as a new believer or for the hundredth time as a seasoned believer—reminds us that hope is more than a temporal feeling. It is a way of life rooted in eternal realities.
Perspective of Hope
God does not give us a new identity just to make us more comfortable in this life. Instead, His aim is to conform us to the image of His Son and ultimately to bring glory to Himself.
Part of how He does so is by working through our suffering and teaching us to praise Him in the midst of pain. Notice that, which reminds us of our “living hope” in Christ, begins with a doxology: “Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ.” Despite the trials Peter and his fellow believers were experiencing when he wrote this epistle, he chose to praise God. He knew that doxology—the praise of God—contextualizes our circumstances and reorients us to live out our identity in Christ.
Praising God even when our hearts are weighed down by discouragement provides a witness to unbelievers around us. They do not have an adequate answer for suffering or death; we, however, have an eternal hope that transforms our perspective on both.
This hope-filled perspective teaches us to be at peace in a world full of uncertainty and cultural upheaval. Choosing to praise God—even when we do not feel like doing so—reminds us of Christ’s victory over death and suffering. This world is not the end; it will pass and make way for eternal glory.
1For more identity affirmations, read Ken Boa’s article, “Who Does God Say I Am?”
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