Too often we focus on what we don’t have rather than on what we do have. We desire many things that are not bad in themselves, but are not necessary for our daily lives. We are truly blessed in our relationship with God for He grants us many gifts that we are unworthy of and undeserving to receive. In 1 Peter 3:3-5, Peter shares with his readers who God is, what He is like, and what He has done and is doing for those who have trusted in His Son.
3) Blessed (be) the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, who according to His great mercy has caused us to be born again to a living hope through the resurrection of Jesus Christ from the dead,
4) to (obtain) an inheritance (which is) imperishable and undefiled and will not fade away, reserved in heaven for you,
5) who are protected by the power of God through faith for a salvation ready to be revealed in the last time.
I. Peter affirms two appellations of the Person he is considering.
Peter begins by stating the names/titles of the subject about whom he is writing. God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ is the subject Peter desires his readers to consider.
God. Peter draws the attention of his readers to the Supreme Being of all that exists. He is the One who possesses the essence and attributes of Deity. He is the only and true God. He has revealed Himself in the Bible so that all humanity has the opportunity to learn about Him, come to know Him, worship Him, and serve Him.
Father of our Lord Jesus Christ. Peter then narrows his focus to one member of the Tri-unity: the Father of our Lord Jesus Christ. He is the eternal Father of His eternal and only Begotten Son, Jesus Christ. The Son possesses the nature and attributes of His Father. He is the Christian’s Lord, Savior-Jesus, Messiah-anointed Prophet, Priest, and King. He revealed God and His message, offered Himself up as the Lamb of God who takes away the sin of the world, intercedes for those who are His own, and ascended to sit at the right hand of the Father until He returns to establish His kingdom on earth.
II. Peter acknowledges three of God’s attributes.
There are three attributes of God that Peter points out in these verses: God is blessed, God is merciful and God is powerful.
God is blessed. Literally Peter writes “Blessed the Lord.” Blessed is a compound word consisting of two words: good and word (logos) with the meaning of well-spoken of or worthy of praise. God is inherently worthy of praise. It is our responsibility to praise Him concerning His person—who He is and His works—what He has done.
God is merciful. God’s actions are based “according to His great mercy.” In His mercy, He withholds the consequences and misery that sin rightly deserves. His mercy is described as great or much. His attributes are infinite, without limit or boundaries, in their expression. He may qualify the expression of His attributes, but He is not limited in His expression of them. His actions are according to, not out of, mercy—He is not stingy in bestowing mercy to those who have faith in His Son.
God is powerful. It is by His power that He is able to accomplish His actions. God is omnipotent: He is able to accomplish all things that are consistent with His nature; no one is stronger than He, so no one can thwart His plans or force Him to do anything; He does what He pleases.
III. Peter announces two of God’s actions.
Peter identifies two actions that God completes for those who have believed in His Son: He has regenerated believers in the past and He is now guarding them in the present.
God regenerated Christians. God caused “us” (those who have believed in His Son) to be begotten again or born again or regenerated. He made us alive together with His Son spiritually to be His children.
This was made possible because of His great mercy which He extended to us. This is a means to bring about this regeneration.
He caused us to be born again unto a living hope. Hope in the NT is not a wish that something might happen, but an expectation that something will happen. The question is not if something will happen but when it will happen. This hope is described as a living hope, a hope of life, not only spiritual life but also eternal life.
Another means to bring this regeneration about was Christ’s resurrection from the dead. Because Jesus Christ had victory over death, He made it possible for all believers to be raised from the dead. God the Father caused all believers to be born again to a living hope.
Not only did God cause believers to be born again or regenerated to a living hope, but also to an inheritance. An inheritance implies an heir. Believers are heirs and co-heirs with Christ. This inheritance is described as imperishable, undefiled, will not fade, and reserved in heaven for believers. The three adjectives describe what kind of inheritance it is; they are words with a negative alpha prefix (a), which negates the meaning of the word just like “un” in English changes the positive to a negative as in righteous to unrighteous, meaning the opposite.
Our inheritance is imperishable. The meaning of the main part of the word is corruptible, that is it can wear, deteriorate, or perish. With the alpha prefix the word means it cannot wear out, deteriorate, or perish. Therefore, our inheritance is an eternal inheritance lasting forever.
Our inheritance is undefiled. The meaning of the main part of the word means it is defiled, polluted, stained, or soiled. With the alpha prefix the word means that it is not defiled, polluted, stained, or soiled with sin. It is pure before God.
Our inheritance is unfading. Its appearance or luster does not fade like a flower, grass, or victor’s wreath given at athletic contests in Peter’s time.
Peter states that this inheritance has been kept, reserved, stored up in heaven for us. The perfect tense indicates that the inheritance has been kept or reserved for us in the past and is still being kept for us now. Because it is kept for us in heaven it is safe and can never be taken away from us.
God is protecting Christians. The second action God is completing for Christians is to protect them for a salvation ready to be revealed in the last time.
The word for protecting has a military background meaning to guard or post a sentinel. In the NT, this word has a meaning of watch, guard, or keep. God is guarding or keeping Christians for salvation, the final aspect of salvation which is to deliver them from the presence of sin. He is protecting us by His power and since He is omnipotent, no one is able to overpower Him and thwart His plan to save us. Not only is He protecting us by His power but also through our faith in Christ. Since we are in the last time, this salvation is ready to be revealed. We should be anticipating this revelation of salvation.
During difficult times such as we are facing now, we need to focus on what we have been given by God. He has caused us to be born again to a living hope and an eternal inheritance which cannot be taken away by government, society, illness, or death. We are truly blessed in Christ now and forever. We need to keep our focus on our living hope and eternal inheritance and not be distracted by events that are taking place.