1 Peter 1:3-5
Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ…
The "sojourners of the dispersion" were now entering on a season of severe trial; one purpose of the apostle, therefore, was to send them encouragement and support; and the purport of these chapters may be summed up in the word" hope." Paul was pre-eminently the apostle of faith; John, of love; Peter, of hope. This passage has additional interest as written by the Peter of the Gospels. He was one of those who had "thought the kingdom of God should immediately appear," and a party to the question, "Lord, wilt thou at this time restore the kingdom unto Israel?" ]n those early days they were captivated by the thought of an earthly heritage. How different now! Here his eye is fixed on the "inheritance reserved in heaven." We remember, too, that we here listen to him who, on that never-to-be-forgotten morning, whilst it was yet early, came breathless to the sepulcher, and looking in, saw the linen clothes, etc., and was assured that the place was empty, and how the sudden conviction of the Resurrection flashed on his mind with all the wonderful hope this would impart to the troubled heart of the Lord's denier. What he says here is what his whole consecrated, joyous life had been saying ever since that day and because of it: "Blessed be the God," etc.
I. THE CHRISTIAN'S HOPE. "The lively hope... of an inheritance."
1. It is that of the inheritance of sonship. "God hath begotten us" unto it; that is, God hath made us children a second time - by regeneration. "And if children, then heirs;" the inheritance is ours because we are God's sons. That brings its glory before us prominently. Fatherhood does its very best for the children ("Let thy work appear unto thy servants, and thy glory unto their children " - we'll do the work, if they see the glory). Apply that to the heavenly Father and the heritage he prepares for us. Prepares. "I go to prepare a place for you;" that will be God's best! What must that be which is proportionate to his resources and love?
2. This inheritance is permanent. "Incorruptible, undefiled, and that fadeth not away" (three almost synonymous words, characteristic of Peter's energy). They all include the idea of permanence, but they treat it in different aspects. "Incorruptible;" that is, spiritual, not material. The blessedness of that state will not depend on anything that can decay. The blessedness of heaven will be in the development of our spiritual nature. "Undefiled;" that is, untainted, unblemished. Here our spiritual blessings have some taint; there will be activity without weariness, love without coldness, hope without fear, purity without doubt, songs without sighs, light without shade. "That fadeth not away;" that is, all this to be everlasting; the beauties of that state will never diminish, its tasks never be monotonous, nor its tastes insipid, nor its fellowship ended.
"There the eye grows never dim,
Gazing on that mighty sun."
3. This inheritance is certain. "Reserved in heaven for you who are kept" for it. It is kept where waste or diminution cannot be known, and we are kept for its enjoyment. No earthly heritage is sure, but this is. "Reserved in heaven for you." Then that is safe. "You who are kept by the power of God for it." Then you are safe; the child of God is as sure of heaven as if he were there. We should be surprised if it were not so; for "as for God, his way is perfect." The word "kept" literally means "garrisoned." There is a picture in the word: "The angel of the Lord encampeth," etc. Garrisoned by the power of God, not by his weakness. Left to ourselves, we should lose it; but we cannot lose it thus.
4. This inheritance is the object of lively hope to God's children. Equivalent to "life-giving." This hope is life. What can animate us to fight like the assurance of victory, what make us steadfast in pilgrimage like the certainty of reaching the goal? what destroy the fascination of the present like the conscious possession of better things? what solace us in grief like the knowledge that we are on the way to the eternal home of tearless eyes? This hope brings with it a new being.
II. THIS HOPE IS JUSTIFIED BY THE RESURRECTION OF OUR LORD.
1. Christ's resurrection is the Proof of immortality. Man asks, "If a man die, shall he live again?" The natural heart thinks so, but cannot prove it. The Old Testament rather dimly hints it, Christ's resurrection is the assurance of it. He died - his enemies admitted that; he lay for three days in the grave; but then he rose, and that with undiminished powers and unchanged affection. The risen Savior was the proof that death was but like the plunging of the swimmer into the wave, from which he emerges on the other side essentially unchanged.
2. Christ's resurrection is, further, the assurance of the believer's justification. It settled the question with his foes as to who he was. He said he was the Son of God; they said he made himself equal with God, and they asked for some sign by which they could know it, and he replied that they should have the sign of the Prophet Jonas. He was declared to be the Son of God with power by the resurrection from the dead. The Resurrection was the Divine endorsement of the claims of Jesus, another voice from heaven: "This is my beloved Son; hear him!" Thus Christ's teaching was endorsed (John 3:16), and the sufficiency of his atoning work. "God raised him from the dead and gave him glory, that our faith and hope might be in him."
3. And Christ's resurrection is the pledge of the believer's preservation. For he has risen into the inheritance, and that as our Representative. Before he rose he said, "Because I live ye shall live also;" "Where I am there shall also," etc.; "Father, I will that they whom," etc. But not only so. What is he doing there? He is there still as Savior, to keep by his intercession those for whom by his cross he atoned. "Who is he that condemneth? It is," etc.; "Wherefore he is able to save to," etc. How surely, then, we are "begotten to lively hope by the resurrection," etc.!
III. THE CERTAINTY OF THIS HOPE CONSTRAINS THE CHRISTIAN TO BLESS GOD. AS the apostle thinks of all this, he exclaims with fervor, "Blessed be the God," etc.!
1. The mote of joy is here. Grasp the hope revealed in the resurrection of Christ, and life loses its gloom, and songs rise in the desert.
2. And this is also consecration. For to bless God is to glorify him. When we realize what thus he gives to us, we shall already begin the heavenly life where from love and gratitude they praise him night and day. - C.N.
Parallel VersesKJV: Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, which according to his abundant mercy hath begotten us again unto a lively hope by the resurrection of Jesus Christ from the dead,