29. 1 Peter 1:3

Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ. According to His great mercy, He has given us a new birth into a living hope through the resurrection of Jesus Christ from the dead. —1 Peter 1:3

If you were a sentence, what mark of punctuation would follow you?

Is your life a question mark because you’re without answers? A comma because you’re in transition? A period for everything’s at a standstill? Or a dash because you’re in a continual rush?

This verse can put an exclamation point to our lives. It’s a verse of praise; it begins with Blessed be…. It’s a verse of worship, centered around the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ. It’s a verse of joy, for He has given us new birth into a living hope. It’s a verse of victory based on the resurrection of Jesus Christ from the dead. It’s easy to memorize because it unfolds by itself and automatically divides into five great exclamations.

  1. Praise God! In the Greek, Peter began with “Blessed be” and didn’t come up for air until the end of verse 12. It’s one long sentence. English translations chop this passage into a dozen or so sentences; but in the original you get a sense of Peter’s nonstop exuberance.
  2. Great mercy! The reason for his excitement is God’s great mercy. Peter had a lot of “oops” in his past. He could have kept on beating himself up, but he knew all his sins had been washed away by a flood tide of mercy.
  3. New birth! That leads to the third exclamation: He has given us a new birth. Jesus Himself used this analogy when He spoke to a Jewish leader in John 3, telling him, “You must be born again.”
  4. Living hope! The new birth leads to living hope. Peter wasn’t just speaking of an uplifting intangible. In the next verse he describes “an inheritance that is imperishable, uncorrupted, and unfading, kept in heaven for you.” We have a yearning for eternal life in a real place with meaningful activity and worshipful living. Heaven! That’s what mercy provides.
  5. Risen Savior! It’s through the resurrection of Jesus Christ from the dead. When Jesus died, He assumed the guilt that belongs to us. When He rose, He defeated sin, death, hell, and the grave.

No wonder Peter began his book with the praise word, Blessed! He saw the risen Christ, and it instantly changed his gloom to joy. When he later wanted to write the letter of 1 Peter, he began with the excitement of Easter. Peter wrote this letter approximately three decades after Christ’s resurrection, yet his excitement was unabated. He still felt the exuberance he’d experienced years before as though it had happened yesterday. For Peter every day was Easter.

The resurrection is the pivot on which all of Christianity turns…. Without the resurrection, Christianity would be so much wishful thinking, taking its place alongside all other human philosophy and religious speculation. —John MacArthur
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