The Good and Powerful “Out of Our Hands” (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)
The circumstances were volatile when the early community of believers in Asia Minor received this letter from the Apostle Peter. They were grieved, acquainted with trials, holding on to a Savior they had never seen (1 Peter 1:6, 8). Peter doesn’t shy away from the reality of their situation. This strikes me. I love that about the biblical authors.
Their circumstances were out of their hands. They didn’t choose to be persecuted. They didn’t labor for their despised status in the thick of Greco-Roman culture. Now, Peter is going to encourage them, but not by telling them about what they can control. In fact, he tells them about something else that’s out of their hands. This is his comforting word. The only way that “something out of our hands” can be comforting is if it’s good for us, and more powerful than all the other “out of our hands” stuff in life.
Peter tells them about their salvation—we are born again to a living hope through the resurrection of Jesus Christ. Here are three ways it’s out of our hands—the basis, the action, and the result.
“According to his great mercy” —Our new life in Christ is not based upon our works done in righteousness (Titus 3:5). It is not by our works of the law or code of morality (Galatians 2:16; Ephesians 2:8-9). It completely and absolutely based upon the mercy of God. It’s out of our hands, all because of his mercy.
“he has caused us to be born again” —On the basis of his mercy, he is also the Actor. We do not stand on the shoulders of his mercy and then take the steering wheel ourselves. He is the one who has caused us to be born again. We are the passive recipients of this miraculous work. It’s out of our hands, only because he caused it.
“to an inheritance that is imperishable, undefiled, and unfading…” —On the basis of his mercy, he himself causing us to be born again, God gives us an inheritance that is imperishable and our faith is guarded by his power. From start to finish, this is the work of God, of God! It’s out of our hands, solely because he keeps us.
Rejoice in the salvation that is ours in Jesus Christ. On the basis of God’s mercy he caused us to be born again to an unshakable inheritance and through his power he guards our faith until the end.