He has given us new birth into a living hope through the resurrection of Jesus Christ from the dead. 1 Peter 1:3
In the early 1960s, the US was filled with anticipation of a bright future. Youthful President John F. Kennedy had introduced the New Frontier, the Peace Corps, and the task of reaching the moon. A thriving economy caused many people to expect the future to simply “let the good times roll.” Then the war in Vietnam escalated, national unrest unfolded, Kennedy was assassinated, and the accepted norms of that previously optimistic society were dismantled. Optimism simply wasn’t enough, and in its wake, disillusionment prevailed.
Then, in 1967, theologian Jürgen Moltmann’s A Theology of Hope pointed to a clearer vision. This path wasn’t the way of optimism but the way of hope. The two aren’t the same thing. Moltmann affirmed that optimism is based on the circumstances of the moment, but hope is rooted in God’s faithfulness—regardless of our situation.
What’s the source of this hope? Peter wrote, “Praise be to the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ! In his great mercy he has given us new birth into a living hope through the resurrection of Jesus Christ from the dead” (1 Peter 1:3). Our faithful God has conquered death through His Son, Jesus! The reality of this greatest of all victories lifts us beyond mere optimism to a strong, robust hope—every day and in every circumstance.
Whether you’re an optimist or a pessimist, what situations cause concern in you? Why is hope better than either optimism or pessimism?
God, this world is distressing and confusing, and many voices want to drive me to a perspective that feels void of hope. Help me to root my heart in the promise and power of the resurrection of Jesus, who holds the future.
In the original Greek, 1 Peter 1:3–12 is a single, run-on sentence. Bible scholar Scot McKnight notes in The NIV Application Commentary:1 Peter that despite the sentence’s length, “Peter’s grammar is wonderfully elegant” and his expression of the beauty of our salvation is profound. He goes on to explain that each of the elements in Peter’s singular declaration of praise builds from the previous thought: The expression of praise (vv. 3–5) leads into a declaration of joy despite suffering (vv. 6–7). That joy is focused on an anticipation of our final salvation (vv. 8–9), which is what the prophets all spoke of and looked forward to (vv. 10–12).
Peter’s blessing of God at the opening of this letter draws a circle around all of life. From beginning to end, everything points toward our salvation and the ultimate realization of God’s kingdom.