Verse: 1 Peter 1:3-5 (ESV)
3 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, 4 to an inheritance that is imperishable, undefiled, and unfading, kept in heaven for you, 5 who by God’s power are being guarded through faith for a salvation ready to be revealed in the last time.
Series: 1 Peter
In verse 1, Peter has addressed his letter to believers who are “exiles”. While this was a literal reference to several specific groups of people at the time, we can also understand it to refer to us in the sense that this world is not our home. As strangers, aliens, “exiles”, we can expect to be treated unkindly, to be uncomfortable in our surroundings, to suffer. But Peter reminds us in verse 3 of our reason to endure – we have been “born again to a living hope”! And how has that been brought about? According to the great mercy of God the Father, by way of his having raised Christ from the dead. Christ is our hope, and he is alive!
I think a lot of people tend to be confused by the terms ‘grace’ and ‘mercy’. Simply put, ‘grace’ is receiving a benefit you don’t deserve. ‘Mercy’ is failing to receive a consequence you do deserve. While this passage doesn’t use both words, it is a perfect image of both concepts. God’s mercy is what sent Christ to earth to die for us, taking on the punishment and consequence of our sin, so that we wouldn’t have to.
Then we see God’s grace depicted as the inheritance we will one day receive. Think about who receives an inheritance – sons and daughters. Through Christ’s death and resurrection, we are made “fellow heirs with Christ” (Romans 8:17). There can be no greater nor less-deserved gift than that! No wonder Peter begins verse 3 by praising God, as should we!
And what do we know about this inheritance? For starters it’s:
– imperishable – it can never be destroyed (or taken away)
– undefiled – it has not been and will not be damaged or corrupted
– unfading – it will never lose its value
– kept in heaven – it is secure, beyond the reach of the enemy
Finally, Peter continues to encourage the believers with the reminder that they are “being guarded through faith”. And what does this mean? The Greek word used here is of military origin, and can also be translated ‘shielded’. But a shield is only as effective as the strength of the one who is holding it, right? Well, our shield (faith) is being held by “God’s power”. Does this mean we will live a life free from injury, from disappointment, from suffering? Of course not. Quite to the contrary, the Bible makes it clear we should expect those things. So what does it mean to be guarded then? It means our access to that inheritance is protected! We know it’s being kept in heaven, and as soon as we become fellow heirs with Christ, we can also know with certainty that we will one day be there as well, ready to receive our full salvation.
Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ! Thank you, Lord, for your mercy in sending Jesus to die in our place. And thank you for your grace in offering us the salvation that comes through his resurrection, the promise of an eternity with you. We’re so undeserving, yet so grateful! Help us to live our lives displaying that gratitude to those around us. Amen.
Author: Dave MacDonald