Summary: The first letter of Peter takes your breath away as he relates to the wonderful gift God has given us in His Son that we are children of God and inheritors of the kingdom of heaven. Andersen relates how God in Christ gives us a totally new view on life.
St Peter and Hans Christian Andersen
There are few passages in the NT where more of the great fundamental Christian ideas come together than in this passage of St Peter.
It begins with a doxology to God--but a doxology with a difference. For a Jew the commonest of all beginnings to prayer was, "Blessed art thou, O God."
The Christian takes over that prayer--but with a difference.
This prayer begins, "Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ."
We are not praying to a distant, unknown God; we are praying to the God who is like Jesus and to whom, through Jesus Christ, we may come with childlike confidence.
This passage begins with the idea of rebirth; the Christian is someone who has been reborn; begotten again by God to a new kind of life.
Whatever else this means, it means that, when we become a Christian, there comes into life a change so radical that the only thing that can be said is that life has begun all over again.
This idea of rebirth runs all through the NT and with rebirth comes inheritance, as children of God – inheritors of the Kingdom of Heaven.
Peter gives us 3 great pictures to describe this inheritance- It is imperishable.
A word that means a special kind of peace and joy, which no one can ravage and destroy.
It is undeniable, the Christian has a purity which the sin of the world cannot infect.
It is unfading, the Christian is lifted into a world where there is no change and decay and where peace and joy are untouched by the chances and the changes of this life.
What, then, is this wonderful inheritance which the reborn Christian possesses?
There may be many secondary answers to that question but there is only one primary answer--the inheritance of the Christian is God himself.
It is because the Christian possesses God and is possessed by God that makes the inheritance imperishable, undefilable and which can never fade away.
The inheritance of the Christian, is the full joy of God, waiting for them in heaven; and of that Peter has this to say.
That on our journey through this world to eternity we are protected by the power of God through faith.
The word which Peter uses for protect is a military word which implies that our life is garrisoned by God and that he stands sentinel over us all our days.
We who have faith never doubt, even when we cannot see him, God is standing within the shadows keeping watch upon his own.
It is not that God saves us from the troubles and the sorrows and the problems of life; but he enables us to conquer them and march on.
Hans Christian Anderson puts it like this:
Satan always takes great delight in creating confusion. To help him do this better, he once had a special kind of mirror made.
This mirror shrank the reflections of all the good and beautiful things in the world, and it enlarged all the bad and ugly things.
Satan took great pleasure in going round the earth, holding the mirror in front this of people's eyes, until there was not a single land, or a single person, who had not seen this distorted view of the world.
One day, Satan was laughing so much over the trouble this mirror had already caused that it slipped out of his hand and shattered into thousands and millions of tiny fragments.
And a great storm blew up and carried these fragments to every corner of the world
Some of the fragments were as small as grains of sand. They lodged in people's eyes, and from then on, these poor people could only see the bad things in the world.
The good things shrank until they were almost invisible. Other fragments were gathered up over the years, and made into glasses, and when people wore these glasses, they could never see anything in its proper perspective again
God was very sad when he saw how damaged people's vision had become, and how so many of them could only see the bad things around them, and had lost sight of all that was good and beautiful.
He had an idea for putting everything right again, “I know what I will do," he thought to himself "My son is the image of me, he is my true reflection.
I will send him into the world. He will reflect my goodness and my justice, and show the world how I long for it to be."
So Jesus became a mirror for God's people. He reflected God's goodness out into the world, even to thieves and frauds, and to those whom the world despised.
He reflected courage and confidence into the hearts of the sick and despairing, He reflected comfort to those in grief, and trust to those whose hearts were crippled by fear.