Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ! 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.
1 Peter 1:3-5
“Blessed” comes from the Greek term eulogetos, from which we get our terms “eulogy” and “eulogize.” It has a different meaning from the Greek term translated “blessed” in the beatitudes (Matt. 5:3-11). That term, makarios, means to be happy, whereas eulogetos, used here by Peter, basically means “to praise.” Peter therefore is praising “the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ” (1:3a).
He has good reason to do so. As Peter brings out, God the Father “has caused us to be born again” (1:3b; cf. 1:23). Jesus spoke of being born again to Nicodemus, explaining that this rebirth was being “born of water and the Spirit” and necessary to “enter the kingdom of God” (John 3:3-5). This is a clear reference to being baptized into Christ, which culminates in our salvation and forgiveness of sins (Gal. 3:26-27; Mk. 16:16; Acts 2:38; 22:16). This salvation is the “living hope” to which the Father “has caused us to be born again” (1:3c). The reason why this “hope” is “living” is because this entire process – “being born again to a living hope” – is “through the resurrection of Jesus Christ from the dead” (1:3d). This is why Peter will correlate the salvation that baptism brings us to Christ’s resurrection later in this letter (1 Pet. 3:21). Just as Christ died, was buried, and was raised from the dead to a new life, so we died to our old way of life (our sins), were buried with Him in baptism, and were raised to a new life, a new self that is made in Christ’s image and no longer walks in sin (Rom. 6:1-14; cf. Col. 3:5-17). Those who do not see the necessity for baptism in order to be saved and forgiven fail to see its place in God’s plan for our regeneration as outlined in the Scriptures.
This is all done “according to his great mercy” (1:3a). We are saved by the grace and mercy of God (Tit. 2:11; 3:5; Eph. 2:5, 8-9). Yes, faith proven by works of obedience on our part is also necessary for our salvation (Eph. 2:8; James 2:14-26; Heb. 5:9; Matt. 7:21-27). Yet let us never forget that our faith and obedience, no matter what progress we make along these lines, still fall short of sinless perfection (Rom. 3:23), which is why we will always need the grace and mercy of God. Let our gratitude for these blessings never, ever diminish!
Peter now gives another reason to praise God the Father. All of these blessings he’s named point to one end, the best end any of us could ever hope for: “an inheritance that is imperishable, undefiled, and unfading, kept in heaven for you” (1:4). Christians, we have an inheritance from our Father in heaven because we are His adopted children and thus His heirs (Rom. 8:14-17; cf. Gal. 3:26-27). This inheritance is “imperishable” (aphthartos), incapable of decaying, incorruptible. It is “undefiled” (amaiantos), unsoiled by sin, perfect in every way. It is “unfading” (amarantos), permanent, enduring forever, eternal. It is “kept” (tereo, reserved, watched over, guarded over, set aside) in heaven itself, the location of God’s throne (Ps. 11:4; cf. Ps. 2:4; Is. 66:4). Jesus promised to take us to where He went when He left this earth (John 14:2-3). When He left, He ascended into heaven and sat down at the right hand of God’s throne (Mk. 16:19; Acts 7:55-56). He is still there (Rom. 8:34; Col. 3:1; Heb. 8:1; 12:2). When He comes again, we will “meet (Him) in the air, and so we will always be with (Him)” (1 Thess. 4:17). We will be in the place He went to when He left, the place He promised to take us when He returned. We will be in heaven, in the presence of God, where we will receive glory, honor, and eternal life (Matt. 25:46; Rom. 2:7, 10).
What a wonderful day that will be!