Have you ever been in the position of not being able to praise God? Life’s troubles, our own mistakes, the effects of sin, discouragement – the work of the Enemy can rob us of the joy and energy we have for God.
The first readers of Peter’s letter were experiencing perseuction, homeless, jobless, uncertainty. Maybe they had questions about God taking care of them, loving them … they were undergoing such heartbreak. We can understand that.
Praise be to the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ! In his great mercy he has given us new birth into a living hope through the resurrection of Jesus Christ from the dead, and into an inheritance that can never perish, spoil or fade—kept in heaven for you, who through faith are shielded by God’s power until the coming of the salvation that is ready to be revealed in the last time. ~ 1 Peter 1:3-5
Peter begins his message with praise and reminds them of God’s mercy. Mercy is punishment withheld. We might forget how much we need God’s mercy.
- He sees our sin better than anyone.
- He knows our eternal state unless he intervenes.
- He wants to help us change our lives and our destination.
- God helps those who are beaten up by life, who have had it, who can’t go any further, who have done too much, and have done it too many times, who have gone too far.
So when life seems really hard, we turn our eyes to God who is with us every step of the way. In spite of what we deserve, God seeks to give us the gift of His mercy.
Peter tells us how God reaches out to give us the power to make it through.
New Birth 1 Peter 1:3-4 … In his great mercy he has given us new birth …
We all need a second chance, a new start, a way to begin again. New birth is one of the images the NT uses to describe the conversion experience. New birth is the moment when everything changes! Darkness is turned to light. Being lost becomes being found. Death is turned into life.
New birth is expression of God’s mercy because in it we avoid what we deserve. The consequences of sin are death and hell. By accepting God’s merciful gift, we avoid that which was awaiting us. God’s mercy results in the new birth in our lives.
“Therefore, if anyone is in Christ, he is a new creation; the old has gone, the new has come!” ~2 Corinthians 5:17
“He saved us, not because of righteous things we had done, but because of his mercy. He saved us through the washing of rebirth and renewal by the Holy Spirit” ~Titus 3:5
When we are baptized we are born again of water and spirit. Power to make it through is found in beginning again.
Living Hope 1 Peter 1:3-4 …new birth into a living hope through the resurrection of Jesus Christ from the dead…
Our salvation is at God’s initiative – his mercy. He sees our sin better than anyone. He knows our eternal state unless he intervenes. He wants to help us change our destination.
Hope is in short supply in our world today. God’s mercy has moved him to provide hope where there was no hope. Hope is a big theme in Peter’s writings.
“Therefore, preparing your minds for action, and being sober-minded, set your hope fully on the grace that will be brought to you at the revelation of Jesus Christ.” ~1 Peter 1:13
“But in your hearts set apart Christ as Lord. Always be prepared to give an answer to everyone who asks you to give the reason for the hope that you have. But do this with gentleness and respect…” 1 Peter 3:15
Life’s troubles often seem to rob us of hope. The guarantee of real hope is the resurrection. Jesus is alive! Peter’s concept of the Christian life revolves around the resurrection of Jesus Christ. The resurrection teaches us God is on a mission of mercy to save us!
“Baptism, which corresponds to this, now saves you, not as a removal of dirt from the body but as an appeal to God for a good conscience, through the resurrection of Jesus Christ…” ~1 Peter 3:21
God’s promise is that we are blessed with that same resurrection hope, and resurrection life. In his mercy God has given us a new birth, a living hope, and …
Indestructable Inheritance 1 Peter 1:3-4 … into an inheritance that can never perish, spoil or fade–kept in heaven for you…”
Most of us think that we would leave behind most of our troubles if we were rich and famous. But all the money, influence, and power in the world cannot keep us from difficult days and trials. But these do not reduce the value of our eternal inheritance.
Our inheritance is Indestructable, undefiled, unfading! In a world where nothing is permanent, there is a permanent hope, which is fueled by a permanent mercy.
“… love one another earnestly from a pure heart, since you have been born again, not of perishable seed but of imperishable, through the living and abiding word of God…” ~1 Peter 1:22-23
“And when the chief Shepherd appears, you will receive the unfading crown of glory.” ~1 Peter 5:4
This inheritance is kept in heaven – it is safe and dependable.
“Then the King will say to those on his right, Come, you who are blessed by my Father; take your inheritance, the kingdom prepared for you since the creation of the world.” ~Matthew 25:34
Power to make it through is found in beginning again, hope that is alive, an inheritance that can never diminish. All sealed up in the promise of the resurrection.
Would you believe that God has not ignored you at all, but has been working in your behalf for a very long time? Would you believe that He will empower you to overcome the weaknesses and sins in your life? Would you believe that He can take a life you thought was dead and resurrect it by infusing life? Would you believe that He could love you like you have never been loved before? Would you believe that He can take the dead-ends you are facing and turn them into opportunities?
Much of the world calls out with the lost, “He saved others, they said, but he can’t save himself! He’s the King of Israel! Let him come down now from the cross, and we will believe in him.”
Maybe that’s been your attitude toward Christ.
You have been wanting a connection with God.
Let me tell you, He not only came down from the cross, he arose from the grave! Now will you believe it?