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1 Peter 1:3-9

Praise be to the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ! In his great mercy he has given us new birth into a living hope through the resurrection of Jesus Christ from the dead, and into an inheritance that can never perish, spoil or fade – kept in heaven for you, who through faith are shielded by God’s power until the coming of the salvation that is ready to be revealed in the last time. In this you greatly rejoice … (verses 3-6)


Imagine Peter and John running to the Lord’s tomb on that first Resurrection Sunday. John gets there first but lingers at the entrance. Peter, never one to hesitate, arrives (huffing and puffing?) and enters straight in. His eyes take a moment to adjust. Then the earth-shaking wonder hits him. Jesus’ body is nowhere to be seen!

Peter never recovered. The resurrection, together with the out-pouring of the Spirit, utterly transformed his life. The impact continues still. That early morning sighting spills over into these verses – indeed, the power of the resurrection itself envelopes each one who, like Peter, knows Jesus as Lord. From the Father’s hand – “through the resurrection of Jesus Christ from the dead”we have received new birth, living hope, an imperishable inheritance, and “shielding” by God’s power.

Let’s look at each element.

New birth. This is the very idea Jesus talked over with Nicodemus on that quiet night described in John 3. On that occasion, Jesus used two words that combined with a double meaning, translating either as “born again” or “born from above.” Likely both meanings were intended, indicating a new spiritual reality that is brought about only by the Spirit of God himself. Peter has the same in mind here. “New birth” (literally “born again”) indicates a fresh start – the old is gone, the new has come; a new beginning full of life and vitality. None of this is possible on our own steam. Nicodemus’ question still rings true: “How can a man be born when he is old?”(John 3:4). By necessity it is the Spirit of God who brings it about. Not only that, but he sustains it. As Peter later says in this same chapter, “You have been born again, not of perishable seed, but of imperishable” (verse 23). Who, but the Spirit, could do it?

Living hope. The word “hope” today so often reverberates with doubtful uncertainty (a quavering voice saying “I sure hope so”), but the New Testament will have none of it. Christian hope is solid and sure – a guaranteed future. When combined with “living,” it’s intensified to the extreme. The divine breath that brought Adam alive from the dust, and breathed life into a valley of dead bones, now energizes the certainty of our hope in Christ.

Inheritance. This is the content of our hope. In a word, we inherit the kingdom. “Blessed are the poor in spirit,” Jesus said, “for theirs is the kingdom of heaven” (Matthew 5:3). He told Nicodemus further, “No one can see the kingdom of God unless he is born again” (John 3:3). By implication, then, when we are born again we receive the promise of the kingdom, which is the rule and reign of God made perfect in our lives and in all creation. We’ll spend eternity discovering the full dimensions of its meaning. A living hope, indeed!

Shielded. By God’s power. What incredible security! To be safe-guarded by the Sovereign Lord himself until the end of all time is an amazing prospect – to be protected by him until that final day when our salvation is fully revealed, and we experience the kingdom in all its fullness. How amazing. How good. What hope.

So, “Praise be to the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ!” Amen. Through Christ’s resurrection from the dead we have new birth, living hope, imperishable inheritance, and shielding by God himself until that final day. Indeed – praise his name!


Father, praise you for your mercy, your goodness, your salvation, your hope, your inheritance, your safe-guarding. I have been eternally blessed through Christ’s resurrection from the dead. In all of this I greatly rejoice. Praise your name.


Reflect: Take one of these four elements – new birth, living hope, imperishable inheritance, shielding – and consider how it impacts your life and your eternity. Draw this theme to mind all day. Give thanks.


Photo by Zac Durant on Unsplash

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