Summary: Exposition of 1 Peter 1:3-5
Praise God for Our Great Salvation
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, who through faith are shielded by God’s power until the coming of the salvation that is ready to be revealed in the last time.
Why have so many of us lost the joy of our salvation? Why have so many of us lost our praise and, instead, walk around sad, depressed, angry, and complaining about the events in our life? How can we again have our joy?
It is wonderful to see a newborn Christian who wants to share his faith with everybody because he is so excited about what God has done in his life. Sadly, as many Christians “mature,” this joy tends to fade away. David said this, “Restore to me the joy of my salvation” (Ps 51:12). Many of us have lost this joy as well.
Peter is writing to Christians that are being persecuted for their faith and have been scattered from their original homes in different parts of the Roman Empire. It would seem like this is not the response you would give to someone who has lost a family member to persecution or lost their friend or home. However, Peter starts off this letter glorifying God. He says, “Praise be to the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ” (1 Pet 1:3)!
Peter can do this because he realizes that whatever they had lost on this earth was miniscule to what God had done in their salvation. This is why he calls them to praise God. Similarly, look at what Paul says about our afflictions on the earth:
Therefore we do not lose heart. Though outwardly we are wasting away, yet inwardly we are being renewed day by day. For our light and momentary troubles are achieving for us an eternal glory that far outweighs them all. So we fix our eyes not on what is seen, but on what is unseen. For what is seen is temporary, but what is unseen is eternal (emphasis mine).
In this text, Peter is calling these Christians, and us through them, to not lose heart but, in fact, to glory as we look at our great salvation. The hope for this lesson is that we will again look at our salvation and have our “joy” restored even in the midst of various trials.
Big Question: What is so great about our salvation according to 1 Peter 1:3–5 that it should cause us to worship God and have joy?”
Believers Praise God Because of God’s Mercy in Our Great Salvation
Praise be to the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ! In his great mercy he has given us new birth (emphasis mine).
Here Peter begins to worship God specifically because of God’s great mercy. Mercy focuses on how deplorable the believer’s state was before Christ. This is one of the reasons we often don’t worship God. We have forgotten how bad our situation really was before Christ.
Interpretation Question: What are some Scripture texts that remind us of how far away from God we were and how much mercy God had to give us in salvation?
Listen to what Paul said about us:
Therefore, remember that formerly you who are Gentiles by birth and called “uncircumcised” by those who call themselves “the circumcision” (that done in the body by the hands of men)—remember that at that time you were separate from Christ, excluded from citizenship in Israel and foreigners to the covenants of the promise, without hope and without God in the world (emphasis mine).
Paul says remember we were separated from Christ, excluded from the promises made to Abraham and Israel, without hope or God in this world. We were in bad shape. Listen to Ephesians 2:1-3:
As for you, you were dead in your transgressions and sins, in which you used to live when you followed the ways of this world and of the ruler of the kingdom of the air, the spirit who is now at work in those who are disobedient. All of us also lived among them at one time, gratifying the cravings of our sinful nature and following its desires and thoughts. Like the rest, we were by nature objects of wrath.
Paul says we were dead in our transgressions. We were not physically dead but spiritually dead. This means we couldn’t commune with God. We would try to read our Bible or worship, and it would mean nothing to us. We were far from God. He says not only were we dead in our transgressions, but we were following this world and even the devil, who is the ruler of this world. We lived to gratify the cravings of our sinful nature and were objects of God’s wrath.