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The King Is Here and Everything Has Changed

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The Hope Within

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The Hope Within

But in your hearts honor Christ the Lord as holy, always being prepared to make a defense to anyone who asks you for a reason for the hope that is in you; yet do it with gentleness and respect.
1 Peter 3:15 (ESV)
We are different from the world’s kind of people. Those who have not yet been immersed into the community of “in Christ” people are still striving to prove their point by showing how inconsistent the Christians are. It is true that when we react to attacks like they do, we are revealing that we aren’t much different except on Sundays when we go to church and they don’t. But there is a major difference in our ground of hope, even though we are still learning how to unpack and defend it.
 
Some have used this verse as a foundation to build a career of tit-for-tat arguing with those who deny the validity of the gospel narrative. There is of course room for discussion and even debate, but it is our response to the bumps in life that causes the onlookers to ask about our hope. It is unfortunate that many of us have adopted a truncated approach to our hope. We have emphasized the darkness of the deceiver and the trouble in earthly life to the extent that our primary hope is to escape either by death or rapture. We have longed to leave this planet and go somewhere else where we no longer have the trials of this life.
 
The life that Peter has been describing in his letter does not focus on that kind of hope. Rather he is pointing out the radical transformation that began with Jesus’ resurrection and continues in his people through the Holy Spirit. In the verses following our central text, he tells about Jesus going to proclaim his victory to certain spirits now in prison. They were active during Noah’s day and instigated the great rebellion related to the flood and Noah’s rescue. The implication is that these “powers” were behind the great rebellion then and now have been defeated by the death of Messiah. This is relevant to Peter’s readers because they are being tormented by such powers working through manipulating social and religious authorities of their own time. Their hope lies in the one who not only has given himself to free us from sin, but has defeated every principality that tries to bully God’s people. And he is actively expressing his victory through believers who are led by the Spirit.
 
Like the waters of the flood separated Noah’s family from the destruction of the earth, the waters of baptism have marked the identity of God’s people now, in that our testimony is that Jesus’ resurrection has forever changed the nature of life on earth. He now sits at the right hand of the Father with angels, authorities, and powers having been subjected to him. (vs.22) We are his people and his present is our future. What a hope!

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