1 Peter 1:3-5
LBC ABF, 10/1/2016
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, who by God's power are being guarded through faith for a salvation ready to be revealed in the last time.
So, if you were here and/or remember last week, you will likely recall that we made it all the way through the first two verses of 1 Peter; along with dealing with some of the background issues. But in those first two verses, Peter jumps right into high theology. He gives his readers an explanation of who they truly are: God’s elect exiles, known by him from before the world, set apart and made holy by the Holy Spirit, and obedient to and sprinkled by the blood of Jesus Christ. That is to say, in calling his readers God’s elect exiles, he is saying that there home is not this world, but rather, their true home is with the Trinitarian God who loved them, made them, and saved them.
Peter will continue in a similar vein today.
Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ! (3a)
Peter begins this paragraph by exhorting his audience to bless God. I think that this is the main point of what we will discuss the next two weeks. Peter is saying Bless the Lord!, and he spend the next six and a half verses laying out reasons why this is exactly what we ought to be doing. See Psalm 103:1-2
Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ!
This is something of a side note similar to what we did last week, but I think it is important enough to bring to the forefront, because it has been so absolutely front-burner in my mind the last couple of months. If we are going to bless God, worship God, adore God, we must know who He is. How can we know God? We cannot know God truly apart from His self-revelation. Theologian Michael Horton, in his book Pilgrim Theology, says the following, “God makes himself known on his own terms, when, where, and how he chooses. God can be an object of our knowledge only if he has revealed himself to us. Consequently, theology can exist as a legitimate enterprise only when it begins with God's self-revelation.”
We find from the beginning of Scripture, or creation itself, that God is a speaking God, and thus a revealing God. Though He is transcendent over all creation, He mercifully condescends to speak to, to draw near to, His creatures. Why? That we might know Him. What is the chief example of this? Hebrews 1:1-3a, John 1:1, 14, 18
The Son, the 2nd Person of the Trinity, the eternal Word of God, came to make the Father known, to reveal to us His glory. And it is only by Him, through Him, that we may know and bless the Father (John 14:6). Commenting on our passage here in 1 Peter, John Calvin say the following,
“Understand the words thus, -- "Blessed be God who is the Father of Jesus Christ." For, as formerly, by calling himself the God of Abraham, he designed to mark the difference between him and all fictitious gods; so after he has manifested himself in his own Son, his will is, not to be known otherwise than in him [that is, His son]. Hence they who form their ideas of God in his naked majesty apart from Christ, have an idol instead of the true God, as the case is with the Jews and the Turks. Whosoever, then, seeks really to know the only true God, must regard him as the Father of Christ; for, whenever our mind seeks God, except Christ be thought of, it will wander and be confused, until it be wholly lost. Peter meant at the same time to intimate how God is so bountiful and kind towards us; for, except Christ stood as the middle person, his goodness could never be really known by us.”
We bless the Lord, first of all, for revealing Himself to us in His Son, Jesus Christ. Any concept of God which diminishes Christ or which tries to have an unmediated notion of the Father, one apart from the knowledge of Christ, blasphemes. We bless the Lord because we see Him as He has revealed Himself to us.
A quick note on how I broke this down: The next verse and a half are all one run-on sentence, so I don’t think we actually have 7 completely separate points here, but I seperated them out this way so that we could hopefully see how these things build within the sentence and understand the different parts, so that at the end we wouldn’t miss all of the enormous truth packed into this tiny space.
According to his great mercy, he has caused us to be born again
We discussed this some last week, so we won’t delay long here, but again we see the sovereign goodness of God in salvation. According to His great mercy He has caused us to be born again. There was nothing in us that would compel God to love us, and there was no outside force which constrained him to act a certain way toward us. It is His great mercy, His sovereign love, that is the root cause of our salvation. Have you been born again? It is not because of your genius or goodness, it is because of the mercy of God.
to a living hope
What have we been born again to? A living hope, Peter says. Our hope is not like the hope of pagans where it is wishful thinking, or “hoping against hope.” Our hope lives. I think Peter uses this phrase as at least a close parallel if not a straight up synonym with the words he uses later in the sentence, inheritance, and salvation. He’s talking about the same thing all the way through, but in explaining he uses diverse words to connect with us. Repetition is one of the keys to effective communication, but sometimes when you are seeking to convey a particular idea or thought rather than merely accomplish rote memory, you use multiple words to describe the same thing, or to detail different aspects of the same object, which allows you to be repetitive without it feeling redundant.
through the resurrection of Jesus Christ from the dead,
Why is our hope living? Because it is tied to a person who lives, namely, Jesus Christ.
to an inheritance that is imperishable, undefiled, and unfading,
kept in heaven
you, who by God's power are being guarded through faith
God uses means. We are guarded by God’s power through faith. We are not inactive in our perseverance. Without faith it is impossible to please God, and as we discussed last week, obedience to Christ in faith is what we have been called to. But while we are active in our perseverance, we are not effective. We are called to faith, we exercise faith, but as we are guarded through our faith what is seen as the reason for its effectiveness? The power of God. This calls our minds to places such as Philippians 2:12-13.
for a salvation ready to be revealed in the last time.
Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ. Why? Because He is merciful, He has planned and effected our salvation, He currently guards and keeps us, and wi one day bring us to His side, where He has stored up pleasures forevermore.