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, to an inheritance that is imperishable, undefiled, and unfading, kept in heaven for you, 5who by God’s power are being guarded through faith for a salvation ready to be revealed in the last time.”
There is no hope apart from the resurrection. Only those who believe in Jesus Christ and the resurrection have hope. It is one of the fundamental beliefs that cannot be denied. In other words, you cannot be a Christian “if you do not believe in the physical death and physical, literal, bodily resurrection of Jesus Christ.” Without the resurrection, this life is hopeless!
We live is a hopeless world. Death is all around us. It’s always lurking in the shadows.
• 55.3 million people die each year
• 151,600 people die each day
• 6,316 people die each hour
• 105 people die each minute
• Nearly two people die each second
Why? Rom. 5:12 “Therefore, just as sin came into the world through one man [Adam], and death through sin, and so death spread to all men because all sinned”
We all have the same father—Adam. In him, we have inherited a sin nature that leads to death. But not just any death—eternal death. To remain in his family will result in condemnation forever.
But God did something stupendous. He did only what he could do. He loved the world in a particular way by sending his only Son that whosoever believes in him will have eternal life.
This letter from Peter begins with blessing and praise. In this Easter season, Peter is an excellent example for us to look at. After following Jesus for three years, he denied him three times. I’m sure he thought it was over. No doubt he thought his sin was too big and too much. His life seemed hopeless. He runs to the lake to go fishing. He goes back to the beginning. Back to where Jesus first called him.
If it were up to Peter, he would have died a Bass Pro contestant instead of a fisher of men. And so would we. You are not the hero of your story. Your failures do not define you. If you are in Jesus, your identity in him defines you. Jesus is the hero. That’s why we praise God because we have nothing to offer him but thanksgiving. He is enough. You need nothing else.
The obvious basis of blessing and praise to God is the reality that he did not give us what we deserve. His mercy is abundant.
Notice this in verse 3–Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ! According to his great mercy
So the reason for our praise is according to his great mercy!
What does this great mercy look like? What are the benefits of God’s mercy?
His mercy begins when, as it says, “he has caused us to be born again” 1 Pet. 1:3. It reminds me of the conversation Nicodemus had with Jesus in John 3:3 “Jesus answered him, “Truly, truly, I say to you, unless one is born again he cannot see the kingdom of God.”
Though Nicodemus seemed to be confused about what Jesus meant, later we understand he became a follower of Christ. He even helped bury the body of Jesus. He must have been born again to risk his life like that.
Peter goes on to tell us that the rebirth resulted in three amazing realities. Take note of these four.
- a living hope
- an inheritance
- and a salvation
The problem is how can the just and holy God have mercy on us? Well, he can’t have mercy on anyone unless sufficient payment has been made for our sins. That’s what the scales of justice demands! God would not be a just God if he overlooked our sin.
Imagine with me for a moment. I am 44 years old. Picture that I have only sinned once a day in my life which would mean that I have at least 15,000 sins of debt that I owe. Much of the world thinks a good deed counters a bad deed. And at the end of life if my good deeds outweigh my bad deeds then God will accept me. If that is true, how will I know where I stand? Who could keep an accurate tally? What if I am injured and cannot do any good deeds? What if I am only two short what happens?
That’s doesn’t sound like hope to me. That sounds hope-less.
But like the great hymn says, “my hope is built on nothing less than Jesus’ blood and righteousness, I dare not trust the sweet frame but wholly lean on Jesus’ name.”
The only just way God can have mercy on us is squarely placed in the perfect and sufficient sacrifice of Jesus Christ. “Jesus paid it all and to him I owe. Sin hath left a crimson stain but he washed it white as snow.”
That ransom payment Jesus made to God for our sins was accepted as paid in full. How do we know? Because the resurrection of Jesus from the dead was the signature that sealed the deal. No resurrection; no hope, no inheritance, and no salvation.
It’s not a hope so, maybe so, find out when I get there. It’s not a perishable hope. A defiled hope. Or a fading hope. It is a living hope. It is resurrection hope…because we have a living Savior!
“Without Jesus, we approach life with the expectation of death.”
“With Jesus, we approach death with the expectation of life.”
Life that has an inheritance that, like our hope, is imperishable, undefiled, and unfading. If you are in Christ then you have been adopted into God’s family. And all of God’s family are heirs according to the promises made in the gospel, all because of the resurrection of Christ who was crucified for us.
How do we not lose this glorious inheritance? Well we have a living hope through the resurrection and that inheritance is being kept and reserved in heaven (where no one can steal it), who by God’s power are continually…steadfastly guarding through faith.
Faith is the believing and receiving the gift of forgiveness of sins and the counting us righteous in Jesus. We have a right legal standing with God and that rebirth into new creations for a new Kingdom with God forever will come to fruition when he delivers us to a salvation ready to be made known in the last day.
The resurrection of Jesus Christ is the claim that death has been defeated because sin has been atoned. Jesus conquered the grave so that we could have eternal life with him.