April 6, 2016
I Peter 1:3-5
(All scripture is from the New King James Version unless otherwise indicated.)
This is a two-part series from I Peter 1:3 through 9. But the Scripture is a bit too long to reproduce in this Gems for Living, so I am splitting it in two blogs with two titles: A Living Hope – I Peter 1:3-5; and Inexpressible Joy – I Peter 1:6-9.
Here is I Peter 1:3-5:
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, to an inheritance incor-
ruptible and undefiled, and that does not fade away, reserved in heaven
for you, who are kept by the power of God through faith for salvation
ready to be revealed in the last time.
I have a living hope, and so do you if you have opened your heart to receive the Lord Jesus Christ! What makes it a living hope? It is because of the resurrection of Jesus Christ from the dead ! You see, Jesus made some outrageous claims! He told His followers multiple times that He was going to rise from the dead three days after being crucified! (See Matthew 16:21; 17:23; 20; 19; Mark 8:31; 9:31; 10:34; Luke 9:22; 18:33; 24:7). Why three days? According to Jewish tradition in the Talmud (from Jews for Judaism website):
…the soul…lingers near the body for three days, hoping that it will return to
life (Tanhuma, Miqetz 4; Pequdei 3). After three days, the soul returns to God
to await the time of resurrection (Babylonian Talmud Sanhedrin 90b-91a).
In other words, in first century Jewish thinking, Jesus was really dead when He arose from the grave! The Bible tells us that Jesus gave His life as a sacrifice for the sins of mankind! (See Isaiah 53:5, 6; I Corinthians 15:3; Galatians 4:4; Hebrews 9:28; I Peter 2:24; I John 2:2). The proof of Christ’s sacrifice being sufficient and acceptable in the sight of the absolutely holy God is that the Savior rose again from the grave! Paul tells us how important the resurrection is in I Corinthians 15:12 through 19. Here is just a portion of this Scripture:
…how do some among you say that there is no resurrection of the dead?
…For if the dead do not rise, then Christ is not risen. And if Christ is not
risen, your faith is futile; you are still in your sins! Then also those who
have fallen asleep in Christ have perished. If in this life only we have
hope in Christ, we are of all men the most pitiable.
“But now Christ is risen from the dead…,” Paul exclaims next in verse 20. So what does the resurrection mean for us?
• I Corinthians 15:20 – “…and has become the firstfruits of those who have fallen asleep.” The firstfruits – first ripened produce – in Bible times were given as an offering in the expectation that there would be a lot more coming in the general harvest. If Jesus is the firstfruits of the resurrection, then all believers through the ages will be the harvest!
• I Peter 1:3 – God “…has begotten us again….” This is the same thing that the Lord told Nicodemus in John 3:7, “You must be born again.” (See also I Peter 1:23). According to Ephesians 2:1, we “…were dead in trespasses and sins….” We were separated from God (see Colossians 1:21), which separation is spiritual death. And if we are not regenerated, we will suffer eternal death and separation from God in hell!
• I Peter 1:3 – “…to a living hope through the resurrection of Jesus Christ from the dead….” Spiritually, we live because He lives! We have a living Savior (see Romans 6:9; Hebrews 7:25; Revelation 1:18) and are reconciled to God through Him! (See Romans 5:10; II Corinthians 5:18; Colossians 1:21).
• I Peter 1:4 – “…to an inheritance incorruptible and undefiled, and that does not fade away, reserved in heaven for you….” John speaks in Revelation 21:27 of the permanent dwelling place of God and redeemed people: “And there shall by no means enter it any thing that defiles, or causes an abomination or a lie, but only those who are written in the Lamb’s book of life.” Heaven is perfect because God is perfect!
• I Peter 1:5 – “…who are kept by the power of God through faith for salvation ready to be revealed in the last time.” Our salvation in Jesus Christ is so great, it is beyond description! (See I Corinthians 13:9, 12; II Corinthians 9:15; Ephesians 3:18, 19). In the meantime, as Paul tells us in Romans 1:17 and II Corinthians 5:7, “The just shall live by faith….we walk by faith…” while we wait for the fulness of salvation to be revealed. And as we live and walk by faith, we are secure, because we are kept by the power of God. This is how the apostle puts it in Philippians 1:6: “…being confident of this very thing, that He who has begun a good work in you will complete it until the day of Jesus Christ….”
• I Peter 1:3 – “Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, who according to His abundant mercy….” I put this portion from verse three last because all the benefits of our salvation are because of God’s abundant mercy toward us! We do not deserve anything but His wrath! Yet He gives us His love! Truly, God is to be blessed !
Christian, what a living hope we have! Embrace it! Live it out! For someday we will receive it in its fulness – a gift from our blessed God !