Introduction, you may have read some of the earlier articles here, finding a 'sameness' about them. That is deliberate as the aim and objective of their writer is to urge you to read the bible for yourself and find, indeed meet, its author, the Lord Jesus Christ. For the bible's one clear message is that we sinners need to 'repent and believe in Jesus Christ for salvation.
So, the thoughts for this article are based on what St. Peter says on the subject of Hope in the first chapter of the letter he wrote to Christians in the first century AD. Many believers in Jesus had been scattered to other countries due to severe persecution and needed encouragement.
“Oh! I hope so”, how often have you used these familiar words? We all know what it is to long for something, for ourselves or others. Writers and poets give us a variety of thoughts on the subject. “Hope springs eternal in the human breast,” Alexander Pope. Emily Dickinson calls hope “the thing with feathers.” It is said to be a flickering, faint, fragile thing - 'a phantom'. Though we hope, we often experience nagging uncertainty and too often shattering disappointment. Whether in career, relationships, sport or any aspect of life, folk who set out with such hope and start so well too often have found hope shattered. You will call to mind many examples, no doubt.
Here, however, I introduce you to a very different Hope, a 'Special Hope', the hope Peter speaks of in his letter to which I referred earlier. This is different from what the world at large knows of hope. It is extraordinary indeed, for here is no phantom, no fragile thing, no uncertainty, no disappointment; here is a certainty. Here is a hope you can count on, rely on and be sure of. Don't you want to know more? Please read this Special Hope and how to obtain it.
St. Peter calls this hope a 'lively' or living hope in his letter; see verse 3, then read on into verses 4 and 5, and you will find he explains it is this Hope by which believers in Jesus Christ are “kept unto salvation.” Some will say, “ Oh! Here we go again, talking of being 'Saved'.” Yes, indeed, if you found something of great worth and value, would you not want to tell others so they could share the joy and benefits you enjoy? So I long for you, dear reader, that you may find and know this Hope to which I would introduce you. Those to whom St. Peter is writing did not always have this hope; in verse 14, he refers to their former ways (how they once lived), but they had put their faith and trust in Jesus and were now 'see verse 9' “receiving the end of your faith the Salvation of your souls”.
Yes this special hope is very much a saving hope as those early Christians knew. Before, like the rest of us, they had their hopes no doubt and lived or walked, as St. Paul expresses it so well, “according to the course of this world, being the children of disobedience”. Hope was then just no more than wishful thinking, but now they had a Hope which sustained them in their troubles and persecution. This hope stabilises and supports every eventuality encountered in life. Reader, do you have this Hope? You can.
Sure, and Steadfast Hope
You may have witnessed, if not you will have seen, funeral services on the television screen how the 'Cleric', when committing the coffin into the ground, uses these words “In sure and certain hope of the resurrection to eternal life”. You will find those words in the Anglican prayer book in it's burial service. The writer of the book of Hebrews in ch.6 at v18/19 speaks of “the Hope set before us” as “sure and steadfast”. So Christians sing, “we have an anchor that keeps the soul, 'steadfast and sure' as the billows roll”. The 'billows' of this life do most certainly roll. Uncertainty, sickness, changes, problems and that constant question,' what lies ahead when I draw my last breath? These buffet every human being.
I wonder as you read this, whether young, old or in the prime of life, you may have already reached your 'three score years and ten', just what you hope for when that sure resurrection comes? Are you just 'hoping'? Or have you the Hope I write of? You can have it and learn to sing that line above. The Bible says clearly, “the soul that sinneth it shall die.” The good news is that Jesus said, “whosoever liveth and believeth in me shall never die.” St. John Ch. 11 v 26. Do you trust and believe Him? If so, you can rejoice with all who have this 'Special, Saving, Sure and Steadfast Hope’ and share it with others. If not, I would remind you that having read this, you can never say,“I was not warned.” Turn from your sin, repent, and believe in Jesus Christ.