1 Peter 1:3
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,
Realising afresh something of the magnificence of God’s abundant grace and mercy toward sinners, the apostle Peter rejoices in a burst of exuberant praise and thanksgiving to God. Though we were to offer our praises to God from now to all eternity, we could never begin to repay him or express to him all that is due for the salvation he has provided for us in and through his Son, Jesus Christ. Great indeed is the Lord—and most worthy of praise! (Cf. Ps. 145:3)
Out of his abundant and undeserved mercy toward us—even while yet in our sins—the Father has demonstrated his love toward us in granting us the new birth essential to salvation and fellowship with himself. Therefore, we observe that the new birth is not something that we receive in and of our own volition. Rather, it is something, which—out of his grace and mercy—God the Father gives to us of his own sovereign will and pleasure. (Rom. 5:8; Eph. 2:1,4-9) This is true whether we accept the translation, …has given us new birth (NIV) or, …hath begotten us again (KJV). Either way, God is the author or originator of our regeneration.
This initial work of grace is necessary in our lives in order that we may become able and willing to repent and believe on the Son of God. Until God’s Spirit regenerates us, our heart (or mind and will) remains opposed to the things of God and to the message of the Gospel. (John 1:12-13; Acts 13:48)
Granted, in bringing us to the new birth, the Spirit of God creates within us not only a new life but also the earnest desire to receive Christ freely and willingly. However, this desire to believe is itself a work of God’s grace. It is not attributable to the sinner apart from that work of grace.
This new birth is but the beginning of new and eternal life in Christ. This is our hope—our most certain assurance. Just as the Son was raised from the dead by the power of God’s Holy Spirit, so all his people will be raised from the dead (or translated while still alive) to be with the Lord for ever. (1 Cor. 15:51-54; 1 Thess. 4:13-18)
Therefore, the hope of the Christian is a living hope. It is not tinged with doubt and uncertainty. It is as certain to be realised in full, as God is true. For God has made the promise of abundant and eternal life to us in his Word, and God’s Word cannot be broken. (John 10:35) The guarantee of its fulfilment is the resurrection of Christ (the firstfruits of the final harvest of souls), and the presence of the indwelling Holy Spirit. The Holy Spirit is the one who regenerates, seals and sanctifies us in preparation for acceptance into the holy and blessed presence of God our heavenly Father. (1 Cor. 15:23; 2 Cor. 1:22)
[Excerpt from Expository Notes: 1 Peter (chapter 1 verse 3). To read or download the full version of these Notes, click on the NT Commentaries menu tab above.]Follow @gordon_lyons