“Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ! According to his great mercy, he has caused us to be born again to a living hope through the resurrection of Jesus Christ from the dead, to an inheritance that is imperishable, undefiled, and unfading, kept in heaven for you, who by God’s power are being guarded through faith for a salvation ready to be revealed in the last time. In this you rejoice, though now for a little while, if necessary, you have been grieved by various trials, so that the tested genuineness of your faith—more precious than gold that perishes though it is tested by fire—may be found to result in praise and glory and honor at the revelation of Jesus Christ. Though you have not seen him, you love him. Though you do not now see him, you believe in him and rejoice with joy that is inexpressible and filled with glory, obtaining the outcome of your faith, the salvation of your souls.” (ESV – Read the chapter)
This is a whole lot bigger a chunk of text than I usually include in these notes, but I couldn’t take this one in piecemeal fashion without spending several days on the whole thing—something I will come back and do at some point in the future. I defy you to find a better, richer, fuller expression of the incredible hope and joy we have in our faith and the salvation that comes from it than what Peter writes here. These words are worth reading several times with some meditative prayer along the way.
In Christ we have a living hope. It is a living hope because we are hoping—transformationally believing in a future that will be better than the present—in someone who is alive. We are hoping in a future in which we will be alive. There is nothing else in this world that gives us such a thing. The hope we have in Christ is a hope that cannot be killed by anything that threatens us in this life. No amount of evil intent or action can take it from us. And, as Peter says, this hope is utterly incorruptible. It’s substance will not ever change or fade. It lasts.
In this life as we pursue this hope, there is a very great likelihood that we will face trials and tribulations of various kinds. The purpose and hopeful result of these is the testing and proving of the faith we have in Christ that gives rise to our hope. Sometimes we wonder if our faith really means anything. Is it strong enough to matter. Facing hardships and coming away with our faith in tact is proof that it is real.
The result of proving the genuineness of our faith is joy. We can’t see Him and in fact have never seen Him, but we believe in Him and experience the wonders of His love. The outcome of this is joy—a rich experience of the eternal happiness of God. How would you like to live your life with an unshakable sense of delighted contentedness that does not fade no matter the shape or nature of your circumstances? There is nothing like the testing of your faith by trials which gives you greater confidence in Jesus to give you this joy.
The outcome of all of this is salvation. We are constantly on the lookout for what can save us. This tested and proved faith can do it. More specifically the Jesus in whom we place this faith and who is the substance of our hope can do it. Let us most of all, though, know that the outcome of all of this is nothing less than salvation. This we have in Christ and nothing less. That’s worth whatever we can give to get it.