1 Peter 1:1–12 (NKJV)
Peter, the Apostle, and the head of the early church by some estimations (claimed by the Roman Catholic Church to be its founder and first leader) writes two letters included in the New Testament. In this letter, Peter speaks of the hope of the church. In this particular passage, he speaks of the “living hope” found through the resurrection of Jesus Christ.
1 Peter, an apostle of Jesus Christ,
To the pilgrims of the Dispersion in Pontus, Galatia, Cappadocia, Asia, and Bithynia, 2 elect according to the foreknowledge of God the Father, in sanctification of the Spirit, for obedience and sprinkling of the blood of Jesus Christ:
Grace to you and peace be multiplied.1 Peter 1:1-2
Peter begins the letter with a greeting to the pilgrims of the Dispersion. While James wrote to the twelve tribes dispersed abroad, Peter uses a more general term, “pilgrims,” to describe his audience. James was the leader of the Christian church in Jerusalem, while Peter was more aligned with the church in the Northern regions. Supposedly, Peter wrote this letter from modern Turkey. He had a home in Galilee (Capernaum), and was in Antioch often as well. Therefore, he was writing to a more general audience, specifically in Asia Minor, and wrote the greeting to the churches in various cities, in the order in which the messenger would have delivered the letter. He was typically the apostle to the Jews who would accept Christ as Savior, and Paul was the apostle to the Gentiles. However, in this passage, he writes not exclusively to the Jewish Christians, but still uses normal Jewish phrasing and descriptors for all the people to which he writes. He calls them the “elect,” a Jewish designation, but makes it clear that this also includes anyone who, by the foreknowledge of God, was sanctified and washed in the blood of Jesus, which designates a much wider audience. He offers a typical blessing of grace and peace, and then dives into the next discussion.
3 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, 4 to an inheritance incorruptible and undefiled and that does not fade away, reserved in heaven for you, 5 who are kept by the power of God through faith for salvation ready to be revealed in the last time.1 Peter 1:3-12
Peter moves into the next section of teaching by offering a blessing to God who gives Christians a “living hope” (“lively hope” in the KJV), through the resurrection of Christ. This hope is for an inheritance that will not deteriorate nor become defiled, nor waste away. This hope is reserved in heaven, an eternal and pure place of rest for the redeemed soul. It is reserved for those who are kept by the power of God as a result of their faith for salvation. This salvation will be revealed at the appropriate time in the last days, and those who believe in this hope will be saved.
6 In this you greatly rejoice, though now for a little while, if need be, you have been grieved by various trials, 7 that the genuineness of your faith, being much more precious than gold that perishes, though it is tested by fire, may be found to praise, honor, and glory at the revelation of Jesus Christ, 8 whom having not seen you love. Though now you do not see Him, yet believing, you rejoice with joy inexpressible and full of glory, 9 receiving the end of your faith—the salvation of your souls.1 Peter 1:6-9
This living hope is a source of joy and rejoicing for the believer, even in the face of trials. Those trials serve to demonstrate the genuineness of the faith of those who believe in the living hope. Faith is precious, a shield against those trials that may come, a protection from the fiery darts of the evil one, and is more to be desired than gold. Faith, when tested, proves itself worthy of praise at the revelation of Jesus Christ. Although you may not have seen Christ in the flesh, you believe in Him and serve Him. That blind faith allows the believer to love Him that he or she has not seen. Faith empowers the believer to rejoice with “joy inexpressible and full of glory” without having to see, touch, hear, taste, or feel Jesus. The end result of this strong faith in Christ is the salvation of one’s soul.
10 Of this salvation the prophets have inquired and searched carefully, who prophesied of the grace that would come to you, 11 searching what, or what manner of time, the Spirit of Christ who was in them was indicating when He testified beforehand the sufferings of Christ and the glories that would follow. 12 To them it was revealed that, not to themselves, but to us they were ministering the things which now have been reported to you through those who have preached the gospel to you by the Holy Spirit sent from heaven—things which angels desire to look into.1 Peter 1:10-12
This great salvation has been prophesied of, inquired about, and searched for carefully. The prophets prophesied of this great hope of grace that would come to the believer. While they may not have been able to pinpoint the exact time of the death and resurrection of Christ, they spoke of it with certainty, and encouraged hope and faith in the Messiah who would save men and women from their sins. They prophesied that these great blessings would come to us, not them, and would be reported by the preaching of the gospel by those who would respond to the calling of God. They would be anointed by the Holy Spirit to deliver the precious gospel of Jesus Christ. This precious message is spoken of and searched for by the angelic hosts, and is offered freely to those who will believe. Do not ignore or reject this living hope. It is the power to be saved, it is the message of the cross, it is the hope of the gospel, and it is available to you. Believe and be saved!