Summary: Peter emphasizes salvation is spiritual birth. No earthly inheritance can compare with it. And, then he comes to the central truth of our justification. Not only do we have an inheritance that is reserved in heaven, we ourselves are put under special guard.
Rising, He Justified Freely Forever 1 Peter 1:1-5
Sermon by Don Emmitte, Grace Restoration Ministries
Today we come to the fourth in our series titled Oh, Glorious Day! Each of these messages is built around the theology expressed in the chorus of the song sung by Casting Crowns:
Living He loved me,
Dying He saved me,
And buried He carried my sins far away,
Rising He justified freely forever,
One day He's coming, oh, glorious day, oh, glorious day!
Last week we looked at “Buried, He Carried My Sins Far Away.” Today we see “Rising, He Justified Freely Forever.”
TAKE YOUR BIBLES, PLEASE…
Peter, an apostle of Jesus Christ, to those who are elect exiles of the dispersion in Pontus, Galatia, Cappadocia, Asia, and Bithynia, according to the foreknowledge of God the Father, in the sanctification of the Spirit, for obedience to Jesus Christ and for sprinkling with his blood: May grace and peace be multiplied to you. 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, who by God’s power are being guarded through faith for a salvation ready to be revealed in the last time. (1 Peter 1:1-5 ESV).
Today is one of my favorite topics. Anytime I can preach about the wonderful benefit of the resurrection in the life of the believer, I can get VERY excited! The Apostle Peter must have been like that. As he write his first letter to the Jewish Christians who had been driven out of Judea to Pontus, Galatia, Cappadocia, Asia, and Bithynia (the area now known as Turkey). It is generally thought to be a hymn of doxology. It centers on the wonderful work of grace accomplished for the redeemed.
There are several things Peter says as he breaks into this hymn of praise at the outset of his epistle. He emphasizes salvation is a spiritual birth. It is being re-born. Further he writes that the result of this new birth is a wonderful heritage. No earthly inheritance can compare with it. And, then he comes to the central truth of our justification. THOSE WHO RECEIVE THIS SALVATION, WHO ARE BORN AGAIN TO A LIVING HOPE, ARE ALSO KEPT. Not only do we have an inheritance that is reserved in heaven, we ourselves are put under special guard.
AN IMPORTANT NOTE: The word translated “kept” is the Greek word tēreō. This word is used only six times in the New Testament, four of those appearing in the letters of Peter. It is a military word meaning to put a garrison of soldiers around someone or something for the purpose of protection. It is a present tense verb which means we are constantly “kept.” Further, Peter modifies this verb with three prepositions. We are kept by the power of God; through faith; and unto salvation. Those three declarations form the basis for our understanding of justification. All of these were accomplished by the resurrection of Jesus from the dead!
Before I unpack these three prepositions and what they mean in our lives. I want us to fully understand the term of Justification. Easton’s bible Dictionary says:
Justification is a forensic term, opposed to condemnation. In its nature it is the judicial act of God, by which he pardons all the sins of those who believe in Christ, and accounts, accepts, and treats them as righteous in the eye of the law as conformed to all its demands. In addition to the pardon of sin, justification declares that all the claims of the law are satisfied in respect of the justified. It is the act of a judge and not of a sovereign. The law is not relaxed or set aside, but is declared to be fulfilled in the strictest sense; and so the person justified is declared to be entitled to all the advantages and rewards arising from perfect obedience to the law (cf. Romans 5:1-10). It proceeds on the imputing or crediting to the believer by God himself of the perfect righteousness, active and passive, of his Representative and Surety, Jesus Christ (cf. Romans 10:3-9). Justification is not the forgiveness of a man without righteousness, but a declaration that he possesses a righteousness which perfectly and forever satisfies the law, namely, Christ's righteousness (cf. 2 Corinthians 5:21; Romans 4:6-8). The sole condition on which this righteousness is imputed or credited to the believer is faith in or on the Lord Jesus Christ. Faith is called a "condition," not because it possesses any merit, but only because it is the instrument, the only instrument by which the soul appropriates or apprehends Christ and his righteousness (cf. Romans 1:17; 3:25-26; 4:20, 22).