The greeting of verses 1-2 is over and Peter has encouraged his recipients with the great reality of God lovingly choosing them and then sprinkling them with the blood of Jesus Christ and the guarantee that they would be sanctified by the Holy Spirit. Peter now opens the body of his letter with the exclamation: “Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ…” What we see Peter doing here should also be our goal—to see God’s great reality with our minds, and to feel God’s beauty and majesty with our hearts, speaking and singing God’s praises with our mouths and lives.
Peter expresses worship to God the Father, first, because of His mercy. Great sin and great miseries—both of which are ours in abundance in a world of sin—need great mercy. Mercy is how God describes Himself in Exodus 34:6 and it is the foundation for the Christian’s existence. The reality is, if you are not in hell right now, you are experiencing the mercy of God. Your condition, your situation, your circumstances are all mercies from God.
To be born again is to undergo an instantaneous, supernatural, radical (i.e., root level) change affecting the whole person. God is the One who “caused” us to be born again. John 1:12-13 makes clear that this new birth is not the result of DNA (i.e., “not of blood”), or determination (i.e. “the will of the flesh”), or decision (i.e., “the will of man”); but rather, “of God.” God is the determining cause of regeneration, or rebirth (c.f., Romans 9:16; James 1:18; Ephesians 2:4-5). The Holy Spirit is the procuring cause, or the acting agent, in regeneration (c.f., Titus 3:5; John 3:3-5). The Word of God is the instrumental cause, or the means, used by the Spirit (c.f., Ezekiel 37:1-10). Some of the evidence that someone has experienced this new birth is a restored relationship with God, death of self-love, a clean conscience, obedience to God, a rest in God’s sovereign purposes, intimacy with the Redeemer, and power over sin. Any view of regeneration other than the sovereign work of God by His Spirit through His word wrongly elevates man, lowers God, lessens sin, lacks permanency, and puts great stock in human agency.
Biblical hope is not baseless superstition, but sure and steadfast assurance. Hope is ever-living and everlasting because Christ is the ground of our hope. For those with Christian hope, even death is a mere messenger to bring you to your inheritance (c.f., 1 Corinthians 3:21). This living hope has a profound impact on the life of the Christian.
The Old Covenant has been transformed into the New by the death and resurrection of Jesus Christ. The cause of our new life is Christ’s life raised from the dead (c.f., Revelation 1:5). Our hope is held up by the living Christ who will never die (c.f., Romans 6:8-9). The resurrection carried Christ out of the grave and all the way to the Father’s throne, and it will do the same for us!
- In the first verses of this letter, including verse 3, Peter is not telling us what to do, but what to enjoy. He is not exhorting us to do anything, but simply exulting in God and His remarkable gospel. Have you spent time today simply enjoying God’s kindness to you? Have you joined Peter in exulting in the gospel of God, His great mercy, the rebirth, and our living hope through Christ’s resurrection?