“…set your hope fully on the grace that will be brought to you at the revelation of Jesus”
1 Peter 1:13
There is nothing like a proper Kenyan boarding school to teach you about hope. After one or two months of picking out weevils from the daily diet of githeri (do note that the word “evil” can be derived from “we-evils”) your hope is naturally set on one thing and one thing alone, the next visiting day. But life is not a Kenyan boarding school, it’s far harder and the temptations to put our hope in this world are strong and numerous. That said, neither is glory visiting day, it is far more satisfying and meaningful and the fullness that it will bring for us is powerful enough to fend off temptation and provide strength in the midst of trial. Peter wants the hearts and eyes of his audience resolutely fixed on the appearance of Christ. He wants them to stake their lives on the return of Jesus. At the most essential level that is the mindset that Peter wants them stepping into each day. If Jesus does not return, my actions today will be pointless, my suffering will be meaningless, my holiness nonsense but thanks be to God, as sure as Jesus did raise from the grave, he shall return and I shall enter into his glory.
Let us take apart Peter’s exhortation piece by piece for our own instruction. First, he says, “Set your hope…” This phrase suggests three important things. One, we have an active role to play, we are to set our hope in that grace that is to come. The responsibility belongs to us. We will not accidentally attain this, this is an invitation to obedient deliberateness. Remember that the subordinate instructions, “preparing our minds for action” and “sober-mindedness” are aimed at “setting our hope” in the grace here spoken of. Christianity is not a mindless faith. Thinking does not expose less reasons to trust, it reveals more reasons to obediently trust.
Peter adds the adjective “fully” or in other translations, “completely”, modifying how it is we are to set our hope in the grace that is to be brought to us. Peter is warning against the danger of hedging, placing some of our eggs in a separate basket, just in case plan A falls through. Entrust it all to God, let him have sway on all that concerns you. Choose to make eternal grace your treasure, your boast, your reward, your security, your life. Choose to say with the Psalmist, “Lord, You are my portion and my cup of blessing; You hold my future. Whom have I in heaven but you? And there is nothing on earth that I desire besides you. 26 My flesh and my heart may fail, but God is the strength of my heart and my portion forever. Psalm 73:25–26 (ESV)
It greatly encourages me that the future glory is here called “the grace that will be brought to you”. Our failures here on earth can cause us to doubt that we have reason to hope let alone deliberately set our hope on the glory that is to come. But here we are encouraged that the rest that God is bringing to us, is ours on the basis of grace. If we were to earn it, we would only with great uncertainty, if at all, set our hope on glory but because it is all of grace, weak sinners can confidently set all their hope in it.
Lastly, see here that everything shall come to fruition on the day that Jesus returns. The posture of all saints is a posture of waiting. That Day is the believer’s hope; Colossians 3:4 (HCSB): “When the Messiah, who is your life, is revealed, then you also will be revealed with Him in glory.”, Philippians 3:20 (HCSB): “…but our citizenship is in heaven, from which we also eagerly wait for a Savior, the Lord Jesus Christ.”. Later in this letter, Peter will wrap up with the words, 1 Peter 5:10–11 (HCSB): ‘Now the God of all grace, who called you to His eternal glory in Christ Jesus, will personally restore, establish, strengthen, and support you after you have suffered a little. The dominion belongs to Him forever. Amen.’
- Look into the next 25 years of your life and state the things you hope you will have accomplished or experienced? What actions and emotions are connected to these desires? How do they compare with your deliberate actions and emotions related to future glory?
- How has the time and effort you have put into research / growth in knowledge about your dreams and plans affected your emotions and your determination to attain your dreams? How does this compare with the time and effort invested in studying the gospel ?
- What earthly things (including good things) are keeping you from fully setting your hope in the glory to come?