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. (1 Pet 1:3-4)
A big problem calls for a big solution.
The GFC required billions of dollars of government intervention; a big half-time deficit calls for a massive second half if victory is to be secured; and, a failed exam calls for a tremendous amount of effort in the holidays.
It is no wonder the Apostle Peter’s words literally burst off the page: Praise be to the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ! God the Father is praised for his great solution to our great problem—our sinfulness that has ruined every part of life and existence. You only need to go to one family court proceeding, one hospital, one funeral or read one newspaper to see the truth of our ruination.
And try as we might, humanity has no solution to the heart problem we each have. We know the good that we should do, but we fail to do it. The Bible makes no apology that this failure stems from our hearts that rebel against our creator God’s good word and rule. We are sinners by nature and sinners by choice, and no amount of human endeavour can dig us out of this hole. It is the big problem.
Peter praises God for his big solution that flows out of God’s great mercy – the resurrection of Jesus Christ from the dead. It is through the resurrection of Jesus that we have new birth into a living hope – and notice that Paul can’t speak of Jesus’ resurrection without speaking of his crucifixion that dealt with our sins (v.2). In Jesus, Christians are liberated from the shackles of the record of our past – we have a new life into a hope that is alive. The 1,400 SRE teachers who gathered in February at Youthworks SRE Conference were reminded of this hope that is grounded in the gospel promises of God, promises that we claim as our own through faith.
But Peter doesn’t stop there. He explains that the resurrection of Jesus means our hope includes “an inheritance that can never perish, spoil or fade.” What great news. You don’t need an insurance policy, a padlock or a password to guard this inheritance, God has it “kept in heaven for you.” For you. You are known by God, loved by God, recipients of his great mercy and heirs of the most valuable inheritance possible.
Peter will go on in the rest of chapter one to show how these great gospel truths allow us to rejoice – even in the face of suffering (v.6), to grow in our love for God (v.8) and to resolve to live lives that reflect the character of the one who has saved us (v.14-15).
The resurrection of Jesus gives us solid reasons to be people whose lives are marked by joy. Not by happiness that ebbs and flows with happenings, but by joy that is anchored in the past and raises our sights to a glorious future.
The resurrection of Jesus gives us reasons to fall deeply in love with him. He proved his love for us at the cross, and demonstrated his power by so atoning for our sins and by rising again in fulfilment of all Scripture. When you are loved with a powerful love, you can’t help but speak about your lover. Easter gives us opportunities to talk about the powerful love of God for us all that we see in Jesus crucified and risen.
As you speak about your powerful lover, the one whose love for you is even more powerful than the grave, you are to live differently. Your life is to reflect the character of your Saviour. Peter quotes God’s words to Israel: ‘Be holy, for I am holy.’
The resurrection of Jesus changes everything, so praise be to the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ!