“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 through the resurrection of Jesus Christ from the dead…” 1Pe.1:3
Our Living Hope
Here the apostle Peter calls on all believers to join in giving praise and glory to our heavenly Father. In order to follow the thread of thought here we can itemize a four-fold basis for constantly praising God.
First, because we have been “begotten again”, or born again, through faith in our Savior.
Second, this miracle of regeneration is made possible by His “abundant mercy”, literally the plentitude or multitude of His undeserved compassionate undertaking.
Third, God’s mercy doesn’t end with the gift of eternal life, but aims to bring us into “a living hope”, a lifetime of eager and confident expectation of the further unfolding of these mercies.
Finally, this “living hope” is grounded in the resurrection of Jesus Christ from the dead. The word “through” indicates the means by which this living hope is made possible.
This simple verse has great implications for you if you are a child of God. If you have trusted Jesus Christ as your Savior then you already have eternal life. You have “tasted” (see 1Pe 2:3) of the mercies of God. As God’s child you have received the gift of eternal life and are a possessor of His righteousness. Your security rests in the finished work of Christ on the cross (Joh 19:30). You are a new creation (2Co 5:17), designed for a heavenly kingdom (Phi 3:20). Yet Peter wants us to understand that with all of the privileges we enjoy we are far from exploiting the grace of God to its fullest extent. He exhorts us to look beyond the cross to the empty tomb.
The Power of His Resurrection
In the resurrection of our Lord we have so much more than a proof of His Deity, and victory over Satan and sin. In rising from the grave Jesus demonstrated the invincible nature of His life, the very life He has given to us. Not only does the resurrection proclaim physical death a vanquished foe, but also shouts the victory over death in all its forms. What does this mean in practical terms?
Peter is writing to suffering saints (1:6-9; 3:13-14; 4:12-14). His obvious concern is that, though they are already saved from death and hell, yet they (and we) might by default miss out on the daily deliverance available to them. The “salvation” of which Peter speaks in 1:5&9 is the daily appropriation of that “living hope” which is available to us. In many ways the greatest praise we can offer to God is to live daily by the power of the resurrection (Rom 6:4). In doing so we “follow in His steps” (2:21) and become living object lessons to the world of the power of His life.
The Christian life is to be a victory march “from faith to faith” (Rom 1:17). Every day, with its own sufficient evils (Mat 6:34), provides an arena in which the believer can demonstrate before the eyes of the world the resurrection power of Christ, not just as a fact of history, but as a living reality. This is why Peter, in this epistle, repeatedly emphasizes the value of victories that are visible (1Pe 1:12, 2:11-12, 15, 3:2,15-16, 4:12-14). These victories are not gained by constant success in your profession, nor by wealth, possessions, or physical health. Rather, it is the ability of the believer, whatever the circumstances, to demonstrate a supernatural “hope”, an assurance and confidence that Jesus Christ is enthroned in Heaven (Col.3:1-4) and that all things are working to the culmination of the Father’s eternal plan (Rom 8:28-39, Eph 1:7-12).
Our Victorious Proclamation
As God’s children our active participation in this “living hope” reveals us to be “more than conquerors" (Rom 8:37) over all forms of death. When the believer can face suffering, affliction, trials, persecutions, discouragements, personal failures, painful loss, betrayals, slander and malice, in short anything life can throw at us, and rise above it all with joyful abandon, he is able to proclaim that “the world is passing away, and the lust of it, but he who does the will of God abides forever.”(1Jo 2:17)
The reason Christians appear to be so anemic to the world is that we spend far too much time at the foot of the cross. We are like the women who arrived at the tomb on that first resurrection morning, expecting to find a beloved but dead Lord. To them the angel said, in gentle rebuke, “Why do you seek the living among the dead? He is not here, but is risen!” (Luk 24:5-6). To the extent that we as believers expect to find fulfillment in the things of this life, we too, are seeking life among the dead. It is time we begin, especially in these troubled times, to live in light of the resurrection. Not until those around us begin to see in us a “living hope” will they be moved to ask “a reason for the hope that is in” us (1Pe 3:15). And not until then will we fulfill our life-mission, to “proclaim the praises of Him who called (us) out of darkness into His marvelous light” (1Pe 2:9).