Saturday, 21 September 2019
Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, who according to His abundant mercy has begotten us again to a living hope through the resurrection of Jesus Christ from the dead, 1 Peter 1:3
Peter, having completed his introductory greetings, now begins the main section of his epistle. The first word he uses, translated as “blessed,” is eulogétos. In the New Testament, it is a word reserved only for exalting God. Its most basic meaning would be “worthy of praise.” Using this word of praiseworthy acknowledgment, he then describes the “who” and “why” he chose this word by stating, “Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ.”
The true God is always worthy of praise, but Peter ties the basis for his praise directly into the fact that God is the Father of Jesus the Messiah. The sons of Korah said –
“Great is the Lord, and greatly to be praised
In the city of our God,
In His holy mountain.” Psalm 48:1
The sons of Korah praised God, who is the Lord (meaning Jehovah). Peter’s praise of God is directed to Him based on His position as God who is the Father of Jesus. In other words, there is a special praising of God for this particular aspect of Him. At times, God is praised for what He has created. At times, God is praised for His deliverance. And, at times, God is praised for His loving care of His people. Peter’s praise of God at this time is because of the relationship of God the Father to His Son, Jesus.
The importance of this is seen in comparing Peter’s words to those of, for example, David. In 1 Chronicles 29, he writes –
“Blessed are You, Lord God of Israel, our Father, forever and ever.” 1 Chronicles 29:10
Instead of noting Him as the Father of the children of Israel, Peter shows that Christ is the fulfillment of what Israel was intended to bring forth – the Messiah. In the coming of Jesus, the truest sense of the Father/Son relationship is seen.
Peter next says, “who according to His abundant mercy.” There is an expectation of mercy from God (according to) which Israel depended upon. They were a wayward people, stiff-necked and deserving of His wrath. This is made painfully clear in Scripture, but they understood that God had and would preserve them because of this attribute of His. The abundant mercy of God is exactly spoken of in Numbers 14:18, and it is referred to in the psalms, such as in Psalm 86 –
“For You, Lord, are good, and ready to forgive,
And abundant in mercy to all those who call upon You.” Psalm 86:5
Understanding this attribute of God, Peter says that through it God “has begotten us again.” The word is an aorist participle and should be translated as “begat.” It is an event which occurred at one point for all time.
Further, the word here is unique to Peter, and was probably coined by him. It is only seen here and in verse 1:23. Peter is saying that through the abundant mercy of God, which is found in Jesus Christ, God has given His people a new birth. It is what Jesus referred to in John 3 when He spoke to Nicodemus about being born again. That conversion which Jesus spoke of is possible because of what God has done in Christ.
It is the same concept as that spoken of by Paul several times where he says that those in Christ are new creatures (for example 2 Corinthians 5:7) who are regenerated through what God has done in Him. Peter says that this act of being born again brings those so begotten “to a living hope.”
The idea is that of expectancy. Man is destined to die, but in Christ, there is the expectation of life. Even if the body dies, because of what God has done in Christ, there is the surety that something beyond this existence which is active, vibrant, and alive will come about for God’s people. It is reminiscent of the very hope Job spoke of –
“For I know that my Redeemer lives,
And He shall stand at last on the earth;
26 And after my skin is destroyed, this I know,
That in my flesh I shall see God,
27 Whom I shall see for myself,
And my eyes shall behold, and not another.
How my heart yearns within me!” Job 19:25-27
This hope that Job was sure to come about is the hope which Peter claims has come because of Jesus. It is “a living hope through the resurrection of Jesus Christ from the dead.” God the Father sent His Son into the world to live the life which Adam failed to live. Death entered through Adam because sin came through Adam. And as all are in Adam, all sinned. But because Jesus did not sin, he offers the hope of life.
Having died without sin, His death was not for Himself, but for His people. Thus, death could not hold Him (Acts 2:24), and the resurrection from the dead was the only possible outcome for Him. However, as He died for those who had sinned, their sins which were paid for through His death, are atoned for. This is how man is begotten of God. In Christ, new life in Christ is realized. The sin and death of Adam is removed, once and forever.
This is the hope of the resurrection. It is God’s way of reconciling the world to Himself. As it deals with sin in man, and as sin in man is what separates man from God, then it becomes apparent that only those who are in Christ will be saved. It is a theological calculation. Just as 1 + 1 will always equal 2, man in Christ will always equal salvation. However, just as 1 + 0 always equals 1, unregenerate man without Christ will always remain unregenerate.
Life application: Paul wrote out words which give a sentiment similar to what Peter says in this verse. In 1 Corinthians 15:19, he says –
“If in this life only we have hope in Christ, we are of all men the most pitiable.”
What Peter speaks of here, and what Paul speaks of there, isn’t some ethereal or intangible thought about what may be coming after death. Nor is it a hope lacking certainty for which we must be pitied. Instead, it is a sure promise from God who cannot lie. Our hope is a living hope.
Think on the utter futility of life if Jesus never came? People would be hoping for an eternity of peace that would be completely out of reach. In our natural selves, we are sold out to sin which separates us from any chance of seeing the face of God. However, because of Jesus who came, we have an undeserved chance at restoration and eternal joy.
Today as you head out, look around you and determine that you won’t keep this living hope a secret. Step up and take the opportunity to tell others about Jesus. The world is in desperate need of hearing about the surety of God’s promise. If God was able to change you and call you from darkness, don’t you think He is also able to use you to be an instrument of getting His word out to others? To do anything less than spread the good news is to hide the very words which will either save them or condemn them. Spread the word today – we have a living hope.
Yes God! You chose us for salvation, and this means You chose us to be instruments of Your word. Let us not only enjoy the benefit of eternal life, but also give us the opportunity and ability to tell others about it as well. This we pray that You will be glorified in them on the great Day when You come for Your people. Amen.