Whenever I feel lost, I find myself going back to 1 Peter, chapter 1. I went there today and realized how jam-packed this ONE SENTENCE is. Peter writes with the best of them here. Let’s unpack it. I may get into no-brainer territory here, but I think it’s worth looking at.
According to his great mercy, he has caused us to be born again to a living hope through the resurrection of Jesus Christ from the dead, to an inheritance that is imperishable, undefiled, and unfading, kept in heaven for you, who by God’s power are being guarded through faith for a salvation ready to be revealed in the last time. (1 Peter 1:3-5 ESV)
According to his great mercy,
According to = per
His = God’s. The sentence before this one is Peter blessing God, blessing him for the role of being the Father of Jesus Christ.
Mercy = withholding judgment. Here, Peter refers to it as “great.” The KJV translation uses the word “abundant.” I like to think Peter meant for the readers to interpret “great” as potent, strong – as well as quantitatively encompassing. Like a force that cannot be overcome.
So, according to, or in business terms, per God’s withholding judgment (that is, the punishment we deserve for sinning),
He has caused us to be born again to a living hope
He has caused us = we had nothing to do with it. It was not of our design or implementation.
To be born again = new start, clean slate, rebirth, do over, refresh – spiritually. What would it feel like to restart your spirit?
To a living hope = “to a” it sounds to me that the living hope is already present once the rebirth has taken place. “Living” means active, alive, and the textbook definition of hope is “to cherish a desire with anticipation.”
So, by God’s own design, our spirits have a chance to start over, and once they have, there is already a permeating, active presence of anticipation for something better.
Through the resurrection of Jesus Christ from the dead
Through = by means of, because of
The resurrection = coming back to life, conquering of death
Of Jesus Christ = of the Son of God, the Messiah, who was also a man.
From the dead = He actually died.
So, Jesus, the Son of God, actually died, and then He came back to life 100%. And because of this fact, God is able to rock our world.
Let’s recap so far…
Per God withholding judgment for our sins, he made a way for us to start over spiritually, because Jesus died and somehow, supernaturally conquered death and came back to life. Let’s mix that up a bit: Because God loves us and didn’t want us to die justly for breaking the rules all the time, he gave Jesus the task, which he accepted, of dying for us, knowing that being the Son-of-God-and-somehow-also-God gave him the power to break the hold that death had over us humans. Because of all this, if we choose, we can start over – not physically of course – but spiritually, which, really, is kind of more important if you believe that your spirit goes somewhere after you die. And, along with the opportunity to start over spiritually, the new spiritual realm we will find ourselves in already has a new quality about it, a sense of anticipation, a dizzying yet subtle feeling that there’s something better to come.
***We’re just getting started! Hang on for the ride if you want more!***
To an inheritance that is imperishable
To an = this is another benefit of the being born again thing. First we were born to a living hope, and to continue, we are also born to an…
Inheritance = something that is given from one person to another because of the nature of their relationship. What is given has either been worked for and earned by, or was also given to, the giver. I’m pretty sure an inheritance from God has a few perks.
That is imperishable = cannot spoil, be destroyed – untouchable.
So, along with a living hope, we also are given God’s legacy, which, by the way, cannot be destroyed and won’t ever go bad. And God is giving us this because of the relationship He has with us, one that could not exist without Jesus.
Undefiled, unfading, kept in heaven for you
Still talking about the inheritance here.
Undefiled = has not been tampered with or tainted.
Unfading = it’s value will never diminish. It will never erode.
Kept in heaven for you = you don’t have to worry about its upkeep or protection. Also, you do not have permission to add or take away from it.
So, the amazing legacy God is leaving you, thanks to Jesus restoring the opportunity to have a relationship with God, not only is incapable of being destroyed, but is equally as incapable of being compromised in any way, AND its value will never diminish. Bonus? You don’t even have to worry about taking care of this vast treasure of amazing goodness, it’s just chilling in heaven.
So, before we move on to my favorite part let’s cover the whole inheritance thing one more time. First, we get new spirits because God loves us and Jesus saved us from certain death. Then, we also get this crazy good inheritance that we didn’t even earn, AND it’s got this spiritual force field around it – in heaven by the way – that is keeping it all pristine and perfect, until we get up there.
Who by God’s power are being guarded through faith
Who = you
by God’s power = I can’t even to begin to wrap my mind around what God’s power can do
are being guarded = This is the part where it really hits me. I think part of it is a woman thing – we like to be protected, secured, guarded. The fact that I am being guarded by God’s power…makes me fall in love with Him and smirk at the enemy at the same time.
through faith = by means of, because of, the fact that I believe in God and his power without seeing Him or it.
So, God’s power (crazypants) is guarding me through my own force field of faith. So, protection is granted not only to my inheritance in heaven, but also to me on earth.
For a salvation ready to be revealed in the last time.
For a salvation = this is what we are being guarded for. My faith is a shield, its purpose to guard me for salvation – all by GOD’S POWER. Salvation = God saving us from sin, once and for all.
Ready to be revealed = it’s ready, just needs the green light from God
In the last time = This can have 20948 different meanings. None of us will know when the “last time” is, but God needs to leave this mystery, so that there’s a point to having faith at all.
So, the reason God is protecting us through our faith with his power, is so that we will be ready for that final time God is going to save us. The amazing thing about God’s mercy and Jesus’ sacrifice is that it’s constantly renewable. It’s not a one time use thing. But, there will be a final time it’s offered, and then it’s time to jump around in our inheritance in heaven.
- God loves us
- But he’s just, so he has to punish us for messing up
- But he loves us
- So he gives his son, Jesus, the task of dying for us as a human
- Which Jesus does, amazingly
- And like a badass, he conquers death and comes back to life, because he’s God
- Which, remember, has all been done so that we can talk to God and get to know him and follow him and love him and stuff.
- The way we do this is to start over spiritually – to say, for real, that Jesus did all this, actually believe it, realize God is in control, and give up our own control.
- Once this happens, we get four things:
- First, we are constantly aware of this electric positive energy called hope, which kind of alters the way we think about things.
- Second, we get this better-than-you-can-ever-imagine inheritance, completely undeserved – just because God loves us!
- Third, we are outfitted with this force field of God’s own power, something we call faith, that guards us from things that are pretty evil
- And fourth, this faith is going to get us to that day where 1) we roll into heaven and 2) tap into that ridiculous inheritance.
- AND THE ONLY THING WE HAD TO DO TO RECEIVE ALL THIS WAS BE CREATED BY GOD.
- Because he created you so he could love you.
- Full stop.