Peter writes, 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 by the resurrection of Jesus Christ from the dead (1 Peter 1:3). The child of God, the one born into God s family, is described as having a living hope. While all men have some sort of hope, many have deceived themselves with a hope of their own making which is empty, false and dead. In stark contrast, the living hope of which Peter speaks rests upon the promises and power of God. It is more than just wishful thinking. It is a hope based upon external evidence the resurrection of Jesus Christ from the dead. The crowning point of Christ s redemptive work is His resurrection from the dead, for it showed that He is, indeed, the Son of God, and that the efficacy of His sacrificial death is sufficient propitiation for our sins. No one has spiritual life apart from justification. And no one is justified except by pardon from sin found only through faith in Jesus Christ who was delivered up because of our offenses, and was raised because of our justification (Rom. 4:25). In the next few weeks we will consider this living hope as set forth in 1 Peter 1:3-5 in an attempt to determine exactly what it is and how it is obtained. won’t you join us for this important study?
In spite of the fact that Jesus proclaimed, My kingdom is not of this world (John 18:36), Peter, along with all Christ s disciples, tenaciously held on to the notion that Jesus would be the one to release Israel from the oppression of Rome and restore the Jewish political state, ruling on the throne of David in Jerusalem. But when Jesus allowed Himself to fall into the hands of the Romans and be put to death, all hope was lost of such a kingdom. But after His resurrection, Peter and the apostles asked, Lord will you at this time restore the kingdom to Israel? (Acts 1:6). At this point they still did not understand that Jesus never came to establish an earthly kingdom. But by the time Peter writes his epistles he has come to realize that this previous hope of an earthly kingdom was empty, false and dead for he writes that God has begotten us again to a living hope by the resurrection of Jesus Christ from the dead, to an inheritance incorruptible and undefiled and that does not fade away, reserved in heaven for you (1 Peter 1:3, 4). This living hope is spiritual, not physical, for it is the hope of heaven. Incredibly many today hope for an earthly kingdom where Jesus reigns on the literal throne of David in Jerusalem for a thousand years. But this hope is just as dead today as it was in the days of Peter and the apostles.
Peter says that God has begotten us again to a living hope by the resurrection of Jesus Christ from the dead, (1 Peter 1:3). The imagery of a new birth is one introduced by Jesus as He spoke to Nicodemus telling him, Unless one is born again, he cannot see the kingdom of God (John 3:3). Nicodemus immediately assumes a physical birth and asks, How can a man be born when he is old? Can he enter a second time into his mother s womb and be born? (v. 4) Jesus quickly explains stating, I say to you, unless one is born of water and the Spirit, he cannot enter the kingdom of God. That which is born of the flesh is flesh, and that which is born of the Spirit is spirit. Do not marvel that I said to you You must be born again (vv. 5-7). Jesus makes it clear that one must be spiritually reborn to enter the kingdom of God. The Hebrews were born physically into the physical kingdom of Israel. But since the kingdom of God is now spiritual (John 18:36), a spiritual birth is required to enter. How is this spiritual rebirth accomplished? Peter says we are born again, not of corruptible seed but incorruptible, through the word of God which lives and abides forever (1 Peter 1:23). It is the incorruptible seed of God s word that produces one s spiritual rebirth into the spiritual kingdom of God. Find out next week how this occurs.
The Hebrew people were born physically into the physical kingdom of Israel, but one is born spiritually into the spiritual kingdom of God today. This is accomplished by being born again, not of corruptible seed but incorruptible, through the word of God (1 Peter 1:23). We become children of God in a figurative sense when the word of God is planted in our heart and we receive it. But how do we receive it? Peter says this occurs when one s soul is purified in obeying the truth (1 Peter 1:22). But what commandments must be obeyed to purify and save the soul? Jesus said, He who believes and is baptized will be saved (Mark 16:16). Since baptism is for the remission of sins (Acts 2:38) it becomes the point at which one s sins are forgiven and the soul is purified. Newness of life begins at the point of pardon. Paul shows that we are raised from the burial of baptism to walk in newness of life (Rom. 6:4), proving again that sins are remitted in baptism. Jesus calls this same process being born again stating, unless one is born of water and the Spirit, he cannot enter the kingdom of God (John 3:5). Paul calls it the washing of regeneration in Titus 3:5. Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ who ... has begotten us again to a living hope by the resurrection of Jesus Christ from the dead (1 Peter. 1:3)
Peter says that God has begotten us again to a living hope by the resurrection of Jesus Christ from the dead, to an inheritance incorruptible and undefiled and that does not fade away, reserved in heaven for you (1 Peter 1:3, 4). The imagery of being born into the family of God is one introduced by Christ to Nicodemus and runs throughout the New Testament. To be a child of God one must be born of water and the Spirit (John 3:5). This spiritual rebirth occurs when one receives the seed of God s word through his obedience to the truth (1 Peter 1:22, 23) and is baptized in the name of Jesus Christ for the remission of sins (Acts 2:38; cf. Titus 3:5). Having been born into God s family, we are children of God, and if children, then heirs heirs of God and joint heirs with Christ (Rom. 8:16, 17). Throughout the New Testament we see this figure of an inheritance to indicate future blessings (see Acts 20:32; Gal. 3:18; Eph. 1:14, 18; etc.). Notice the description of this inheritance is neither physical nor earthly. It is, rather, incorruptible or immortal and undefiled or pure and unfading or eternal in nature. It is, in fact, reserved in heaven for you. Clearly this eliminates any notion of inheriting a physical abode here upon the earth either in the form of a thousand year kingdom or an earthly paradise.
Having been begotten again to a living hope by the resurrection of Jesus Christ ... to an inheritance ... reserved in heaven (1 Peter 1:3, 4), the child of God lives his life here on earth looking forward to heaven. But is this eternal inheritance assured? Absolutely it is, for Peter says further that God s child is kept by the power of God through faith for salvation ready to be revealed in the last time (v. 5). The word rendered kept (NKJV) is a military term meaning to guard and metaphorically describes the power of God that protects us from an enemy that would rob us of our eternal inheritance. Paul uses similar imagery writing to the Colossians, Beware lest anyone take you captive through philosophy and empty deceit, according to the tradition of men, according to the basic principles of the world, and not according to Christ (Col. 2:8). The phrase take you captive (NKJV) is also a military term meaning to make spoil of you or to lead away as booty. The child of God is in a battle, the spoil of that war being his very soul. But we do not wrestle against flesh and blood, but against principalities, against powers, against the rulers of the darkness of this age, against spiritual wickedness in the heavenly places (Eph. 6:12). Therefore, we must be guarded by the power of God.
Peter says those born into God s family have the hope of an inheritance 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 (1 Peter 1:3-5). Many believe that once one is born again he can never lose this inheritance. In other words, once saved, always saved. While this verse certainly assures us that the Father protects His heirs, and even guards their inheritance, it also teaches the possibility of one losing that inheritance. We must understand that ultimately salvation is a process, not an event. When Jesus said, He who believes and is baptized will be saved (Mark 16:16), He was referring to an event that brings salvation from past sins. When one is baptized in the name of Jesus Christ it is for the remission of sins (Acts 2:38). This event of baptism brings the forgiveness of past sins and one is born again (John 3:5) with the living hope about which Peter speaks. But hope looks to the future (see Rom. 8:24, 25), and while hope implies expectation, it cannot assume certainty. Peter speaks of a salvation ready to be revealed in the last time, that is, going to heaven in the future. Those baptized on Pentecost were immediately saved from their past sins. As others obeyed, God added to them daily those who were being saved (Acts 2:47), that is, those in the process of going to heaven.
Peter speaks of the hope of an inheritance in heaven for the children of God, who are kept by the power of God through faith for salvation ready to be revealed in the last time (1 Peter 1:5). Notice those born again (v. 3) are kept by the power of God. The word kept is a military term meaning guarded, the present tense showing continuous and unfailing action as it exercises the power of God. But this guarding is not by an independent action of God s power apart from human participation for it is through faith. As Peter was painfully aware, it is possible for one s faith to fail. Jesus said to Peter, I have prayed for you, that your faith should not fail (Luke 22:32), but it did. For just as Christ had predicted, Peter denied the Lord three times on the night of His betrayal (Matt. 26:69-75). Peter was not teaching the impossibility of apostasy in this passage, but instead the definite possibility that the inheritance of heaven can be lost. Nevertheless, through faith this inheritance is guarded. Since man s faith comes from God s word (Rom. 10:17), the medium through which God s power operates is His word. Therefore as one maintains his faith through the study, understanding and application of God s word he is kept (guarded) by the power of God, the aim of this protection being salvation.