Great Mercy, Living Hope (1 Peter 1:3-5)
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, 4 to an inheritance that is imperishable, undefiled, and unfading, kept in heaven for you, 5 who by God’s power are being guarded through faith for a salvation ready to be revealed in the last time. —1 Peter 1:3-5
First Peter was written to believers scattered throughout Asia Minor (Turkey), a region of the Roman Empire during the time of Emperor Nero’s severe persecution of Christians. The Apostle Peter encourages his readers from the very beginning of his letter by reminding them they have been chosen “according to the foreknowledge of God the Father, in the sanctification of the Spirit, for obedience to Jesus Christ and for sprinkling with his blood” (vv. 1-2). And in this encouragement, we have strong assurance in the Trinity—our God who works His salvation purposes and will, even in the suffering of His chosen ones.
Peter moves now to the praises that can be in the heart and on the tongue of everyone who suffers and is persecuted for the sake of Christ:
Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ! (v. 3a)
How do you “bless” God? By celebrating and declaring who He is, His wonders, and the deeds He has done. God is the Father of our Lord Jesus Christ—bless His holy name forever! Jesus made clear from the beginning of His earthly ministry that God is His Father. He always did the will of His Father, loved His Father, prayed to His Father, obeyed His Father. This is the relationship we enjoy as believers in Jesus Christ. God is now our Father, too.
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, (v. 3b).
He has shown His wonders in the pouring out of His great mercy on us who are great sinners, causing us to be born again to a living hope. We have not been born again to some temporal experience or earthly wisdom, vain imagination or wishful thinking—but to a living hope through the resurrection of Jesus Christ from the dead (v. 3). The resurrected life of Christ within is always actively energizing the believer in their life on earth with the joyful expectancy of being in heaven with Him. This hope is sure and full of God’s love and protection. And there is more.
...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 to be revealed in the last time (vv. 4-5).
When God raised Jesus from the dead, and when we were born again in Him to a living hope, we also were granted an inheritance. What kind of inheritance could this be? First, it is imperishable, meaning it will never cease to exist or be taken away. Secondly, it is undefiled, meaning it is holy, beautiful, pure, and does not bear the imperfections of sin and darkness. Thirdly, it is unfading, meaning it will never decay, be exhausted, or used up. This inheritance is eternal, holy, and remains, kept in heaven for you. God’s matchless, sovereign power is guarding you and your inheritance through faith in Jesus Christ—the faith that God has given as a gift, that will keep you steadfast in Christ, and perseveres in joy, awaiting the fullness of a salvation ready to be revealed in the last time.
What would your praises be to God as you bless Him? How does knowing you have a perfect heavenly Father affect the relationship you have with your biological father?
In what ways do earthly inheritances help us understand eternal inheritances? How do they differ? (Reference Hebrews 9:15-17.)
Reference Matthew 5:10-11. In this passage, Jesus addresses principles of persecution and suffering. What are the godly responses to persecution encouraged in the 1 Peter 1 and the Matthew 5 passages? Why can we rejoice even when suffering persecution for Christ?