1 Peter 1:13-16
Why gird up the loins of your mind, be sober…
Hope is mentioned in the text and in other parts of Scripture as a distinct grace or virtue, which the Christian should cultivate.
I. I SHALL POINT OUT THE DISTINCTIONS BETWEEN HOPE AND FAITH.
1. Faith and hope differ as to their extent. Faith relates to all things which Almighty God has revealed in Scripture, bad as well as good; whereas hope has only to do with the good things of our Heavenly Father.
2. Again, hope may be described as ever looking forward, and advancing from one blessed prospect to another, with its eyes bent upon God and the promises. But faith has to do with the present and past, as well as with the future. With past facts.
3. Once more, there is this great difference between hope and faith; that faith has to do with certainty, hope with uncertainty. You believe with full assurance, and it is a matter of faith that the righteous go to heaven. But that you individually are righteous, and shall finally go to heaven, is the subject of hope. Now the absolute necessity of this grace in your hearts will be at once evident, if you consider that it would interest you but little to be told of the felicities of heaven, had you no hope of ever attaining them. When you read of kings of the earth, of their royal appearance and great wealth, you at once feel that these things interest you but slightly, because they are so utterly beyond your reach.
II. Now, let us ILLUSTRATE THE FORCE AND POWER OF HOPE. Stories are told us of travellers journeying in other climes, who having wandered from their course, have by degrees found themselves involved in the intricacies of the wilderness without any probable chance of rescue. What so overwhelming as the feeling of utter loneliness which must press on the heart in the midst of unlimited sand? At such a time surely, a man may well give himself up as lost, and submissively lie down to perish. But there is a God beyond that sky and sun, Who has preserved men from worse dangers, and a hope springs up within his bosom, in the protection of that God. Hope cheers his soul, braces him to exertion, overcomes fatigue, and rescues from peril. He had no certainty of deliverance, but his hope was of sufficient power to make him persevere until he found the path, or was discovered by others and rescued. When the wife of the mariner sits at home solitary, what sustains her soul but the hope that all will be well? There can be no certain safety for him who is on the water; nothing, as we know, is so variable and treacherous as the waves and wind. When the prodigal child of God, like him in the parable, comes to himself and remembers his transgressions, what is to bring him to the feet of Almighty God but the hope of pardon? When the Christian soldier has taken his oath of service to Jesus Christ, and calmly considers the duties which are necessary to his reward, when he thinks of the enemies who encompass him, and of his own frailness and alienated affections, what can lead him to the contest and keep him undismayed? What but a sure and certain hope of Christ's continued assistance? Lastly: There is a moment, if possible more trying than all, when hope is the stay and anchor of the tossed soul. It is in that hour when even the most saintly may look forward with something of dread to the departure from earth. "In hope of eternal life, which God Who cannot lie promised before the world began"; my flesh, he thinks within himself, "shall rest in hope"; "Thou wilt not leave my soul in hell; Thou wilt show me the path of life: in Thy presence is fulness of joy, and at Thy right hand are pleasures for evermore."
(J. M. Chaunter, M. A.)
Parallel VersesKJV: Wherefore gird up the loins of your mind, be sober, and hope to the end for the grace that is to be brought unto you at the revelation of Jesus Christ;