Introduction: The text for the title of this message is from the end of verse 2. It is part of the greeting that Peter gave to the “strangers” that had been disbursed throughout Asia Minor, but it leads into the next point that he makes, and that is truths about our salvation (what makes us part of the “elect”).
The points he makes are very important ones, and they are ones that are found throughout the text of Scripture. Although these truths may seem simple and obvious, consider the ones to whom this letter was written. The ones Peter addressed were in the midst of severe persecution. Things were not going good for them, and they didn’t have much hope they would get any better in their lifetime. We think we have things bad today (and, at times, we do) – what they faced we will probably never face. It is this persecution and great trials of their faith that prompted the writing of these first few verses. The Holy Spirit gives Peter this text first in order for them to have hope – to know that they have something far better to look forward to and that how they respond to these trials will impact many others for a long time to come.
These truths are simple, yet profound:
I. Saved – vs. 3
A. Our salvation is from God the Father, through the Lord Jesus Christ
B. It is “according to his abundant mercy” – there’s more than enough for all
C. That mercy “hath begotten us again” – we are born again
Joh 3:1-7 There was a man of the Pharisees, named Nicodemus, a ruler of the Jews: 2 The same came to Jesus by night, and said unto him, Rabbi, we know that thou art a teacher come from God: for no man can do these miracles that thou doest, except God be with him. 3 Jesus answered and said unto him, Verily, verily, I say unto thee, Except a man be born again, he cannot see the kingdom of God. 4 Nicodemus saith unto him, How can a man be born when he is old? can he enter the second time into his mother's womb, and be born? 5 Jesus answered, Verily, verily, I say unto thee, Except a man be born of water and of the Spirit, he cannot enter into the kingdom of God. 6 That which is born of the flesh is flesh; and that which is born of the Spirit is spirit. 7 Marvel not that I said unto thee, Ye must be born again.
D. “Unto a lively hope” – it is this truth that was so important to the particular people Peter wrote to, and it is this hope that will keep us going through the trials we face in life as well
The word “lively” means simply “to live”
It’s derivative is where our word “biography” comes from – a narrative of one’s life
In relation to our salvation, it is saying that the hope we have in Christ is one that is always alive – it’s what gives us eternal life
E. “By the resurrection of Jesus Christ from the dead” – our salvation is based on this
Rom 4:25 Who was delivered for our offences, and was raised again for our justification.
II. Settled – vs. 4
Our salvation is settled in heaven, and our inheritance is settled because of what Jesus did, not because of what we did
The “inheritance” is seen as already settled, already there waiting for us – again, this was given to give hope to those going through so much here on this earth
1. “Incorruptible” – imperishable, will not deteriorate
Mat 6:19-21 Lay not up for yourselves treasures upon earth, where moth and rust doth corrupt, and where thieves break through and steal: 20 But lay up for yourselves treasures in heaven, where neither moth nor rust doth corrupt, and where thieves do not break through nor steal: 21 For where your treasure is, there will your heart be also.
2. “Undefiled” – without defect or flaw
Rev 21:27 And there shall in no wise enter into it any thing that defileth, neither whatsoever worketh abomination, or maketh a lie: but they which are written in the Lamb's book of life.
3. “Fadeth not away” – to dry up or wither, as a flower does when it dies
Isa 40:7-8 The grass withereth, the flower fadeth: because the spirit of the LORD bloweth upon it: surely the people is grass. 8 The grass withereth, the flower fadeth: but the word of our God shall stand for ever.
4. “Reserved in heaven for you” – he says “you” here and not “us,” I believe, because he was more concerned about the spiritual and mental well-being of those he wrote to than he was about himself
III. Secured – vs. 5
A. Our salvation was not based on anything we’ve done, or could do, and our eternal security is not based on anything we’ve done or could do
B. It says we are “kept by the power of God” – not by good works
The word “kept” means to guard, as a prisoner in a prison
The word “power” is where our word dynamite comes from and is described as power residing in itself – the ability to keep us saved and secure is based upon the power residing in God, which is given to us in the person of the Holy Spirit, as a testimony of the security the believer has in Christ
Joh 5:24 Verily, verily, I say unto you, He that heareth my word, and believeth on him that sent me, hath everlasting life, and shall not come into condemnation; but is passed from death unto life. Joh 10:28-30 And I give unto them eternal life; and they shall never perish, neither shall any man pluck them out of my hand. 29 My Father, which gave them me, is greater than all; and no man is able to pluck them out of my Father's hand. 30 I and my Father are one.
C. The power of God mentioned is attained by us “through faith”
Eph 2:8-9 For by grace are ye saved through faith; and that not of yourselves: it is the gift of God: 9 Not of works, lest any man should boast.
D. And it is there until that “salvation” is “ready to be revealed in the last time” – if our salvation is based upon the work of Christ then it will remain there until the Lord calls us home
Eph 1:13-14 In whom ye also trusted, after that ye heard the word of truth, the gospel of your salvation: in whom also after that ye believed, ye were sealed with that holy Spirit of promise, 14 Which is the earnest of our inheritance until the redemption of the purchased possession, unto the praise of his glory.
Conclusion: These verses ought to be of great encouragement to us – especially if we are facing trials. The people to whom this was written were facing persecution and even death, yet Peter wrote, by inspiration of the Holy Spirit, that they would receive something far greater than anything on this earth when their life was over. What a tremendous blessing this should be.
Life is filled with questions. Life is filled with problems. Sometimes people say simplistically "Christ is the answer." But Christ is not the answer to all our questions. Sometimes he is the strength that helps us to live with unanswered questions. He is not the solution to all our problems. Sometimes he is the strength that enables us to live with insoluble problems. -- Robert C. Shannon