The Resurrection Life
1 Peter 1:3-5
Copyright © 2005 Jeremy Myers
I. The Resurrection Past (1:3)
II. The Resurrection Future (1:4-5)
Do you ever realize that God calls us to do the impossible? Jesus to the man with the withered hand: "Stretch our your hand." Jesus to the paralyzed man, "Stand up." To the lepers "Go, show yourself to the priest." It seems initially that Jesus is mocking them. He tells them to do what they cannot do. It's like saying to a blind man, "Look at that beautiful sunset." It's like telling a mute man to sing songs of joy. That's just cruel.
One verse that has always seemed cruel to me is 1 Peter 1:16. God tells us to be holy as He is holy. That Scripture used to sound like God mocking me. How can I be holy like God? I can't! It's impossible. Do you ever read Scripture and feel like Jesus is mocking you? Telling you do things you cannot possibly do, and when you try, you fall flat on your face? To you and to me, suffering from spiritual muscular sclerosis - "Run the race with perseverance."
I know that God does not mock, but I used to see these commands in Scripture as somewhat mocking, because I knew that I could not do it. But in recent years, I have come to realize that God gives us these commands, not because he wants us to obey them on our own, but because He wants us to recognize our inadequacies, and then look to him to do these things for us.
Peter is a great example of this. Peter loved Jesus so much, and prior to the resurrection, every time Peter tried to show his love to Jesus, Peter fell flat on his face. But after the resurrection, Peter discovered that as he praised Jesus and loved Jesus and was thankful to Jesus for all that Jesus had done, living the way he wanted became easy. It was because he wasn't doing things in his own strength any more, but was letting Christ live in and through him. Peter discovered this truth after Christ died on the cross and rose from the dead. This truth made all the difference in how Peter lived.
It is this truth Peter explains to us in 1 Peter 1:3-5. Before we look at these verses, let me just tell you a little bit about the author, Peter. Peter was a fisherman who had some very good things happen to him, and some very, very bad things happen to him. Of course, most of the bad things he brought upon himself. You see, Peter always acted and spoke before he thought. He never tested the waters, but always jumped into everything with both feet before thinking.
Part of this was because he was passionate about what he believed. But this is what often got him in trouble, for he was frequently wrong in what he believed. When you read the Gospels, it often seems that Peter is sometimes there for comic relief. He is forever saying and doing the wrong thing at the wrong time. Often, when Jesus says or does something strange, and you have a question for Jesus which may seem foolish, good old Peter will voice your question for you.
Peter is always heading off in the wrong direction, saying the wrong thing, doing the wrong thing. Peter reminds me of someone with multiple sclerosis. He had spiritual multiple sclerosis. In physical multiple sclerosis, there is a disconnect between what the brain says and what the body does. This is Peter. There is a disconnect between what he wants to do, and what actually happens. Peter loves Jesus so much he wants to show Jesus with words and actions how much he loves Him, but everything always comes out wrong. Yes, Peter had spiritual multiple sclerosis.
In a way, Peter reminds me a lot about me. I don't know about you, but it seems to me I have spiritual multiple sclerosis. I often find myself doing and saying things I am shocked at. Where did that come from? Why did I say that? Did that really just come out of my mouth? Oftentimes I find myself in the middle of some sin, and I look around in bewilderment and think, "How in the world did I get here?"
Has this ever happened to you? It happens to me at times. But you know, we're in good company. It happened to the apostle Paul also. If you read the last part of Romans 7, he says that the good he wants to do, he doesn't do, and the bad things he doesn't want to do, he does do. I think that any Christian who is honest with themselves recognizes this very real struggle against the power of sin in their lives. This is why Paul says in verse 24, "Oh wretched man that I am! Who will deliver me from this body of death?"
The answer to his question is found in verse 25 - "I thank God, through Jesus Christ our Lord!" Paul suffered from spiritual multiple sclerosis. He loved God, and loved God's Word, but often found himself going in the opposite direction he wanted to go, and doing things he didn't want to do. It was frustrating for him just like it's frustrating for us. But then Paul uncovered a truth which transformed the way he lived and granted victory in the struggles he faced. He realized how to live the resurrection life in Jesus Christ, which he explains in Romans 8.
And rather than try to explain the truths of Romans 8, I decided it would be better to go to a condensed answer in 1 Peter 1:3-5. You see, Peter in the Gospels, was a man suffering from spiritual multiple sclerosis. But when you read the book of Acts, you encounter a completely different Peter. He seems to be in complete control. He no longer says and does stupid things.
What happened? What changed? It was the resurrection. The resurrection changed Peter. And although today is the day we remember the resurrection of Jesus Christ from the dead, this was not the only resurrection that changed Peter. There were two resurrections that brought about his change, and he refers to both in 1 Peter 1:3-5. The first resurrection is the resurrection of Jesus Christ. But that first resurrection led him to an understanding of another resurrection - specifically, his own future resurrection.
The Resurrection Past of Jesus Christ and the Resurrection Future of all who are in Christ changed the way Peter lived. This is what he explains in 1 Peter 1:3-5. The Resurrection Past is explained in 1 Peter 1:3.
I. The Resurrection Past (1:3)
3Blessed 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,
The most striking thing about the way Peter begins the body of this letter is in His giving blessing to God. He says Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ. Why is this so striking? Because the people Peter was writing to were undergoing severe persecution. Life was not going well for them. They were in danger of losing their lives, their jobs, their families, and their possessions.
If these things happened to you, how would you respond? Most of us, in such situations, would do a little complaining. We would call our friends and tell them how bad things are for us. We would explain to others about all the bad things that have happened to us. We would pray and ask others to pray that God would deliver us from our suffering and give us freedom from the pain and the persecution. But what does Peter do? He blesses God! In the face of intense persecution, he blesses God! And in so doing, he tells his readers to bless God in the trials they are undergoing.
If you are undergoing trials and temptations, tribulation and persecution, instead of complaining and praying for deliverance, try praising God instead. It's what Peter does, and what Peter recommends. But what should you praise Him for? What can you bless God for? There are numerous things in the Bible you can praise God for, but Peter mentions one of the greatest here in verse 3. He blesses God because according to His abundant mercy [He] has begotten us again to a living hope.
Peter says that it doesn't matter what you are going through now, you have a living hope for the future. You have a hope of heaven. You have a hope of eternal life. You have a hope of everlasting joy and peace in the presence of God in heaven. You have a hope of freedom from pain and suffering.
And it all comes through the resurrection of Jesus Christ from the dead. This is the past resurrection of Christ, the firstborn from among the dead. It is because Christ arose that we have hope for the future. Paul says in 1 Corinthians 15:17 that if Christ did not rise from the dead, our faith is in vain and we are yet in our sins.
But because Christ did rise from the dead, we know that His sacrifice on the cross was acceptable to God, and therefore all of our sins - past, present and future - were paid for by Christ on the cross. You benefit from Christ's sacrifice by receiving through faith what He has done for you. He promises eternal life to anyone who believes in Him for it.
You see, there are lots of people who have a hope of getting to heaven. I imagine that almost everyone who believes that there is a God also has hopes of getting to go to heaven to spend eternity with Him. But did you know that not everyone who hopes of getting to heaven will in fact get there? If you only hope you are going to heaven, but are not sure, it is critical for you to gain certainty. This is important because multitudes of people who hope they will make it to heaven will actually end up in hell. I can think of nothing more tragic that to desire and wish and hope for heaven, but when death comes, finding yourself in hell.
Don't let this happen to you. The Bible tells us over and over again that you can know with certainty where you will go when you die. You won't get to heaven simply by hoping to get there. You don't get to heaven by trying your hardest to be a good person. You can never be good enough.
A lot of people think they are going to heaven because they believe in God. But you won't get to heaven by believing in God. All cults and false religions believe in God, and they are not going to heaven. Nor will you get to heaven by believing that Jesus Christ came to earth and died on the cross. But this doesn't get you to heaven, for who doesn't believe this? Almost everyone believes that 2000 years ago there was a man named Jesus who died on a cross.
There is only one thing you must believe. You must believe in Jesus Christ for everlasting life. He promises to give everlasting life to anyone who simply and only believes in Him for it. If you have believed in Jesus Christ alone for eternal life, then, according to His promises in the Bible, you are going to heaven. You can look forward to heaven. The resurrection of Christ is proof that the penalty for sin has been paid.
And here is why it is so important to have this certainty. If you know with certainty that you are going to heaven, the struggles and trials of this life can be faced with joy and patience because you know that something better is coming, and that the momentary trials you are undergoing are nothing compared to the glory that will be revealed in you (Rom. 8:18; 1 Pet. 1:7; 4:13).
A famous evangelist told a story of a friend of his who lost his job, a sizable fortune, and his beautiful home. To add to his sorrow, his precious wife died; yet he tenaciously held to his faith -- the only thing he had left. One day when he was out walking in search of employment, he stopped to watch some men who were doing stonework on a large church. One of them was chiseling a triangular piece of rock. 'Where are you going to put that?' he asked.
The workman said, 'Do you see that little opening up there near the spire? Well, I'm shaping this stone down here so that it will fit in up there.'
As Christians, when we face suffering, it is because God is shaping us and forming us for the glory that will be revealed in us when we get to heaven. We suffer in this life, not because God hates us, but because He loves us and wants to make us more like Jesus Christ. And when He appears, we will be like Him, for we shall see Him as He is. Our sinful bodies will become like His glorious body. We will put of the perishable and put on the imperishable. We will be resurrected to freedom from all pain and sickness. And best of all, we will be raised to freedom from the presence of sin in our lives.
It is this future resurrection Peter goes on to explain in verses 4-5. Though Christ has been raised from the dead in the past, there is a future resurrection for all of us who are in Christ. This is a wonderful encouragement in times of trials.
II. The Resurrection Future (1:4-5)
4to an inheritance incorruptible and undefiled and that does not fade away, reserved in heaven for you, 5who are kept by the power of God through faith for salvation ready to be revealed in the last time.
Though Peter does not mention specifically the future resurrection in these two verses, it is there in the last part of verse 5. He refers to the salvation ready to be revealed in the last time. What is this salvation but our glorification in heaven? When Christ returns for his church, the dead in Christ will rise first and those of us who are alive will be caught up together to meet the Lord in the air. This is the future resurrection we are all looking forward to.
At this time, we will go to heaven to be with God for eternity. As verse 4 reveals, we will receive an inheritance incorruptible and undefiled that does not fade away reserved in heaven for you. These bodies we are in are decaying. They suffer from sickness and death and disease. They can be hurt and cut and broken. They age. They decay.
But part of the inheritance we receive in heaven will be brand new bodies, that do not age, that do not get sick, that cannot be harmed. They will be incorruptible. Furthermore, they will be undefiled. They will be free of all sin. You will not struggle with that certain temptation any more. And it will not fade away. It will be this way for ever and ever and ever. If the resurrection past is wonderful, we can all look forward to the resurrection future when we will receive new bodies just like Christ's body. We will be raised in the future because Christ was raised in the past.
And it is here that we come to the truth that Peter discovered which made the difference in his life. Whereas in the Gospels he was spiritually spastic, in Acts, he ran the race with perseverance. He thundered up and down mountains of opposition, he boldly proclaimed grace and love and the forgiveness of sins through faith in Jesus Christ. Sure, he still set his foot in the wrong place at times (cf. Gal. 2), but overall, Peter in the book of Acts is a different man than the Peter of the Gospels. What changed? Only one thing - his understanding of the resurrection.
When you believe in Jesus Christ for eternal life, the Bible teaches that at that moment, you are crucified, buried and raised with Christ. You are raised with Christ to a new life. The Bible calls this new life several different things. It calls this the "not I, but Christ" life. It calls it "walking in the Spirit" and "living by faith." It calls it the "resurrection life." What is this life? How is it accomplished? What brought about this change in Peter's life? How did he go from a bumbling blockhead to a medal winning marathon runner?
The answer is that he didn't. Peter was still the same Peter, but Peter discovered that by focusing on the past resurrection of Jesus Christ and his own future resurrection to a glorified body, and focusing on all the amazing gifts and blessings that came with these two resurrections by keeping his yes on Christ and his mind on heaven. Peter was able to stop trying to hard to please God, and could allow God to work in and through him by His Spirit.
As long as Peter was trying to run the race on his own strength, he got nowhere. But as soon as he stopped trying, Christ picked Peter up and ran the race for Peter while carrying Peter in his arms. The things that Peter did and said in Acts are the things Christ is doing in and through Peter by the power of the Holy Spirit.
Peter recognized that through faith in Christ, he was placed with Christ on the cross, he was buried with Christ, and He rose again from the dead with Christ to a new life. Peter recognized that he had been raised to a new life. The old habits no longer had power over him. He was dead to sin and alive in Christ. Therefore, what he did in Christ, he did because Christ was doing it in Him.
Team Hoyt Video: "My Redeemer Lives"
Rick was born in 1962 as a spastic quadriplegic, cerebral palsy, non-speaking person.
It would be cruel, wouldn't it, for the father to tell his son Rick to go compete in an Ironman triathlon? So the father says to his son, "Let's go run the race together." And that is what they do. The Ironman triathlon is a combination of 26.2 miles of running, 112 miles of bicycling, and 2.4 miles of swimming, all in less than 24 hours. Together, Rick and his father have climbed mountains, and once trekked 3,735 miles across America.
Peter was Rick. You and I are Rick. But because our Father loves us, and because our Redeemer lives for us, lives in us and lives through us, we can do the impossible.
Out of the Darkness
Out of the dark forbidding soil
The pure white lilies grow.
Out of the black and murky clouds,
Descends the stainless snow.
Out of the crawling earth-bound worm
A butterfly is born.
Out of the somber shrouded night,
Behold! A golden morn!
Out of the pain and stress of life,
The peace of God pours down.
Out of the nails -- the spear -- the cross,
Redemption -- and a crown!