1 Peter 1:3-5

1 Peter 1:3

“Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, who according to His abundant mercy has begotten us again to a living hope through the resurrection of Jesus Christ from the dead.” 

Verse three begins the body of I Peter.

Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ

The word “blessed” means praised and applies only to God in the New Testament (Mark 14:61; Luke 1:68; Romans 1:25; 9:5; 2 Corinthians 1:3; 11:31; Ephesians 1:3; 1 Peter 1:3). “Blessed” indicates that God is worthy of praise or commendation. Peter breaks out in a doxology of praise at the beginning of his book.

“Blessed” here is not the same word we meet in the beatitudes (Matthew 5; Luke 6). This is the word from which we get our English word “eulogy.” We give a human eulogy when a person dies. We speak in their praise. In this verse we eulogize God who is alive eternally. Do you have something good to say about God? Do you exalt and extol him? Both Ephesians 1:3 and II Corinthians 1:3 begin with an affirmation of God.

Peter advances this exaltation of praise in the recognition of God’s mercy.

Principle

God wants us to celebrate God’s resources.

Application

It is wonderful for a parent to hear children speak well of them. We often hear of parents praising their children but we do not often hear a child praising his parents. God deserves our praise.

God wants us to be more than a sponge that simply absorbs the benefits of Christianity. He wants to hear of our appreciation for his provisions. We speak well of God when we proclaim his attributes and works. There is too little praise of God today and too little speaking well of him to others.

How easy is it for you to break forth in praise to God? If we understood what he has done for us, our lives would explode with glory to God.

who according to His abundant mercy

“According to” means according to the standard. Commensurate with God’s mercy, he has given us a living hope.

“Mercy” is the outward manifestation of pity. It assumes a need on the part of the person who receives mercy. It also assumes that the person who gives mercy has the resources to adequately meet the need.

Mercy is God’s action toward us while we are in a hopeless condition. It is grace in action. Grace depends on the character of God. Peter himself received the grace of God. He vacillated hot one day and cold another. His spiritual roof fell on him a number of times yet God demonstrated grace to him over and over.

The New Testament uses the mercy of God in the sense that He is rich in it (Ephesians 2:4) and has provided salvation for all men (Titus 3:5; for Jews- Luke 1:72, and Gentiles–Romans 15:9).

He is merciful to all who fear Him (Luke 1:50). We find mercy when we pray (Hebrews 4:16). When Christ comes back, Christians will receive mercy at that time (II Timothy 1:16; Jude 21).

There is a distinction between grace and mercy. Grace describes God’s attitude toward the law– breaker; mercy is His attitude toward those in distress.

Principle

Mercy is God’s grace in action toward us.

Application

Do you view yourself as unworthy of God’s mercy? Worth has nothing to do with receiving God’s mercy. We receive God’s mercy by his grace. Grace is what we receive without merit.

Maybe the reason it is so hard for you to accept

God’s mercy is that it is hard for you to accept God’s grace. We have nothing to offer God. He has everything to offer us.

who according to His abundant mercy

“Abundant” means that God’s mercy increases geometrically with our need.

II Samuel 24:14, “And David said to Gad, “I am in great distress. Please let us fall into the hand of the Lord, for His mercies are great; but do not let me fall into the hand of man.” 

Micah 7:18, “Who is a God like You, Pardoning iniquity And passing over the transgression of the remnant of His heritage? He does not retain His anger forever, Because He delights in mercy.

Ephesians 2:4, “But God, who is rich in mercy, because of His great love with which He loved us.” 

Lamentations 3:22-23, “Through the Lord’s mercies we are not consumed, Because His compassions fail not. 23 They are new every morning; Great is Your faithfulness.”

Romans 12:1, “I beseech you therefore, brethren, by the mercies of God, that you present your bodies a living sacrifice, holy, acceptable to God, which is your reasonable service.” 

Titus 3:5, “Not by works of righteousness which we have done, but according to His mercy He saved us, through the washing of regeneration and renewing of the Holy Spirit.” 

I Timothy 1:13, “Although I was formerly a blasphemer, a persecutor, and an insolent man; but I obtained mercy because I did it ignorantly in unbelief.” 

I Timothy 1:16, “However, for this reason I obtained mercy, that in me first Jesus Christ might show all longsuffering, as a pattern to those who are going to believe on Him for everlasting life.” 

Jude 21, “Keep yourselves in the love of God, looking for the mercy of our Lord Jesus Christ unto eternal life.” 

God is rich in mercy. The multiplied mercy of God is great toward us. God’s mercy is “abundant.” His mercy has inexhaustible resources to extend to the needy.

The Father has the capital to invest in our lives. It takes money to make money. God is in the business of investing his capital daily into our lives. God’s plan for us demands that he relinquish his capital. Some of his people are risky ventures yet he gives his resources without any strings attached. He must risk his capital to gain profit in the lives of believers. Grace is his capital. Grace in action is his “abundant mercy.” He bestows mercy constantly to the Christian. He also bestows mercy to the non Christian in offering his Son as a substitute in exchange for sin.

No matter how far off the tack we get, God has the resources of mercy to bring us back. His operating capital of mercy is infinite. No matter what sin we commit or how many times we do it, he has mercy for us.

It is amazing how many Christians do not realize how much capital God has in his company. That capital is available with no strings attached. All we need to do is draw on the unlimited resources of the bank of heaven.

God gives his mercy not according to our merit, ability, morality, talent or human experience. His mercy does not depend on us. It depends on his character.

Principle

God’s mercy is great enough to meet us no matter how guilty we may be.

Application

Mercy implies guilt. Abundant mercy implies abundant guilt. God shows his abundant mercy in the death of Christ for our sins.

Any blessing we have from God is due to his mercy, not our merit. As sinful people we have reason to mourn. We also have reason to rejoice because of God’s mercy toward us in Christ. We owe every blessing to the mercy of God.

Begotten us again” means born again. The word means literally “beget again” or “cause to be born again.” The only other time the New Testament uses this term is in verse 23 — “Having been born again, not of corruptible seed but incorruptible, through the word of God which lives and abides forever.”

Peter may recall here Jesus’ story of Nicodemus (John 3:1-21). Jesus said that we “must” be born again.

Peter is blessing God because we are born again. We may be blind, but we are born again. We may be poor, but we are born again. We have troubles, but we know Christ as our Savior. Just think of the future of those who do not know Christ. God calls upon us to bless God because we are born again.

“Begotten again” means regeneration. “Re” is new and “generation” is life. Regeneration is new life. Regeneration is an act of God. He effects it by Christ’s resurrection and the Word of God (1 Pet 1:23).

We are born again when we accept the death of Christ to forgive our sins. At that point we are born into the family of God. God changes our eternal future in one moment.

The born again experience results in a living hope.

The living hope is based on the resurrection of Christ (I Peter 1:21). The assurance of our salvation is as sure as the resurrection of Christ.

Principle

Our salvation is a reason to extol God.

Application

We are to “bless” (extol) God because he caused us to become born again. This is reason enough to praise him for all eternity.

Jesus said to the disciples who were rejoicing in their new-found power. Jesus rebuked them by these words, “Nevertheless do not rejoice in this, that the spirits are subject to you, but rather rejoice because your names are written in heaven,” (Luke 10:20). That took the wind out of their sails.

It is one thing to rejoice in our Christian work, it is another to rejoice in our salvation. We are on our way to glory. The time will come when our service on earth will finish. We will still have eternity ahead. There will be a time when we can no longer preach, sing or serve. If service is the basis of our personhood, then our joy will flee. We will die a bitter old man or woman. We rejoice in our work rather than our future.

There never will be a time when we will not have Christ. There never will be a time when our names are not written in the Lamb’s book of life.

We become so accustomed to our new birth that we take it for granted. Some of us have been born again so long that we have forgotten what it was like before we became a Christian. We assume that everyone is a Christian. When we get into this condition we are in bad shape spiritually. If a husband takes his wife for granted the relationship will begin to break down. All of us are guilty of this at varying degrees. If we take God for granted it is a reflection of our spiritual condition.

Job asked the question, “If a man die, shall he live again?” (Job 14:14). The subject of eternity holds universal interest to every human being.

Sophocles wrote, “Not to be born at all – that is by far the best fortune; the second best is as soon as one is born, with all speed to return thither whence one has come.” There is not much hope in that statement! Christianity offers hope, hope that goes beyond temporal optimism.

to a living hope

Hope in the Bible means confident expectation. It means to be confident about the future (Romans 8:24-25). It means to anticipate the good (Titus 1:2; I Peter 1:21).

The New Testament uses hope with the concept of resurrection:

Acts 23:6, “the hope and resurrection of the dead.” The two ideas are regarded as one. The resurrection defines our hope. 

Hope is also used with the idea of promise:

Acts 26:6-7, “the hope of the promise.” This means we expect God to fulfill his promises. 

Galatians 5:5, uses hope with righteousness: “the hope of righteousness.” 

This hope (confidence) is our assurance that we will stand in the righteousness of Christ at his coming. We will stand in complete conformity to God’s will at that time because of Christ.

Colossians 1:23, “the hope of the Gospel” 

This is the hope of the fulfillment of all the promises presented in the Gospel.

Romans 5:2, “(the) hope of the glory of God” 

This is the confidence that we will be in the presence of God.

Titus 2:13, “the blessed hope and appearing of the glory of our great God and Savior Jesus Christ” (Colossians 1:27).  I Thessalonians 5:8, “the hope of salvation” 

This is the hope of the rapture of believers when Christ comes back to earth.

Ephesians 1:18, “the hope of His (God’s) calling” 

This is the prospect of those who respond to His call in the Gospel

Ephesians 4:4, “the hope of your calling” 

Our hope here is regarded from the point of view of the called

Titus 1:2; 3:7, “the hope of eternal life” 

This is the full manifestation and realization of that life that is already the believer’s possession.

Acts 28:20, “the hope of Israel” 

This is the expectation of the coming of the Messiah.

Romans 15:13, “the God of hope” 

God is the Author, not the subject, of hope.

Principle

The Christian has a hope beyond the grave.

Application

Do you have confidence in your eternal future? If you are a Christian you should anticipate eternity with confidence.

a living hope

Not only do we have hope; we have a “living” hope. The New Testament uses the word “living” for life in the absolute sense – life as God as it (John 5:26; I John 1:2).

Man became alienated from this life as a result of the fall of Adam (Ephesians 4:18). We become partakers of God’s life through faith in Christ (John 3:15) His life becomes our life (Colossians 3:4). we possess present eternal life (John 5:24; I John 3:14). This life will one day extend to the domain of our physical body (II Corinthians 5:4; II Timothy 1:10).

In the New Testament, death is not natural. It is due to sin. Death came through sin (Romans 5:12) which is rebellion against God. Sin thus involved the forfeiting of the life.

Peter uses the word “living” six times (1Pet 1:3, 23; 2:45; 4:5-6). Living means that our hope is real. It is not an empty hope.

True life, God’s life, is not destructible. The life that is subject to death is only provisional (I Corinthians 15:19). Those bound to it are “dead.” True life is future (I Timothy 4:8) and indestructible. It is eternal (Mark 10:17; Romans 2:7; Galatians 6:8), and linked with salvation. As natural life is given by creation, God’s life is given by resurrection.

The giving of life to the one who violates God must be by death of Christ’s life – “It is the blood that makes atonement by reason of the life.” Sin separates us from God. Separation from God forfeits spiritual life. God removes spiritual death by a sacrifice in which the victim and the offerer become identified. God identified us with the substitutionary death of Christ giving us eternal life.

Since Christ had no sins of his own for which to die, his death was voluntary and vicarious (John 10:15; Isaiah 53:5, 10, 12; 2 Corinthians 5:21). In Jesus’ sacrifice he suffered God’s judgment due to our sin. By this means we become identified with Jesus in his deathless life, through his resurrection, and we enjoy conscious and eternal fellowship with God. He took our hell that we might have his heaven.

Principle

God has given us life as he has it – eternal life.

Application

No other group of people on earth have a hope beyond the grave except Christians. All of the founders of religion are dead except the Lord Jesus. He is the only one alive today. We cannot say that about Mohammed or Buddha or any other religious leader of history. They are dead and gone! Not the Christ of God. That is what makes Christianity unique. We have a living hope.

The Christian is not temporally optimistic or hopeful. He has confidence that he will one day live eternally with the Lord Jesus.

We have a hope that is actively alive. The Christian presently looks to eternity with expectancy. Why should we look on the dark side of things? The Christian’s future is immortal – not subject to death. Therefore, nothing can extinguish the Christian’s hope. Probably one of the worst “pests” around is the pessimist! Why should a Christian be pessimistic about life?

through the resurrection of Jesus Christ from the dead

The resurrection of Christ from the dead is the foundation for the Christian’s hope. It is the assurance of our own resurrection. Jesus resurrection and our resurrection are inseparably connected (Colossians 3:1).

“From the dead” means “out from” the dead. Jesus was the first to come out from among the dead. Those who believe in him will come later. Daniel 12 and John 5 speak of resurrection of believers from the dead. At that point God inducts the Christian into the eternal state.

The resurrection of Jesus Christ from the dead sets apart Christianity from all the religions of the earth. The sequel to the death of Christ is his resurrection. He died but rose again. He would be better than no other religious leader had he come and gone. Acts 1: 3, “To whom He also presented Himself alive after His suffering by many infallible proofs, being seen by them during forty days and speaking of the things pertaining to the kingdom of God.”

Jesus predicted that he would rise again (John 2:9, 21; 10:17-18). The New Testament emphasizes the resurrection as the sequel to his death (Acts 2:23, 24; 3:15; 4:10; 5:30; 17:30, 31; 26:22, 23; Romans 6:4; 7:4; 8:11,34; 10:9; 14:9; I Corinthians 6:14; 15:20; 15:3-5). This is what gives us hope.

The grave is not the bleak, barren terminus of all human existence for the Christian. Death is not a leap into the dark. For the Christian, death is a servant that leads us into the presence of the Lord of Glory. People may place our bodies into caskets and graves. We are in neither (II Corinthians 5:8). Our soul goes instantaneously, automatically, as soon as death strikes our body, into the presence of the Lord. That is why we do not sorrow as those who are not Christians (I Thessalonians 4:13).

God grounds our future life with him in the resurrection of Christ (Luke 24:9; Romans 6:10; 14:9; II Corinthians 13:4). Jesus brought life and immortality to light (II Timothy 1:10). He is the author of life Acts 3:15. We are saved by his life (Romans 5:10). He is the resurrection and the life (John 11:25). He is the way, the truth and the life (John 14:6). He is the true and eternal life (I John 5:20).

God’s gift of eternal life is by an act of grace (Romans 5:15). Our hope rests on this (Romans 1:17). When we believe in Jesus Christ we have eternal life (John 3:15-16). The gospel destroys death and gives immortality (II Timothy 1:10). The gospel is God’s power to salvation (Romans 1:16).

Our future life has already been effected by Christ’s substitution for our sin. Our resurrection from the dead is simply the consummation of that work. It is grounded in a completed act and therefore living and sure (I Peter 1:3).

Principle

We do not worship a dead man.

Application

Because Jesus rose from the dead, we will rise from the dead as well. Because Christ was raised from the dead, so will we. His resurrection guarantees our resurrection. The personal significance of the resurrection of Christ for us is that we have hope. He will usher us into his presence one day. This is the crown of the Christian experience

1 Peter 1:4

“to an inheritance incorruptible and undefiled and that does not fade away, reserved in heaven for you.” 

God gives generously from his grace in time. That, however, is nothing in comparison with eternity. There his generous giving will never stop. We will receive from his unlimited resources at that time.

to an inheritance

Peter describes our inheritance of heaven as future yet secure. Heirs to present estates have no assurance that they will receive their inheritance. They may die before they fall heir to their possessions. It is a different story for Christians.

Christ falls heir to all things (Hebrews 1:2). God has one Son. He is heir to God’s possessions. We are born into the family of God through Jesus Christ. God bases our heirship on sonship (Romans 8:16, 17). God wants us to have an appreciation in time for the provisions he gives us. He wants us to appreciate in time what will become his unlimited resources in eternity. This orients us to eternal values.

Heirship demands that we enjoy eternal life (Titus 3:7). If we fall heirs to the resources of the eternal God, we must have eternal life to enjoy it. God bases our heirship on election as well as sonship (Hebrews 9:15). In eternity we will have an unlimited charge account for the elect. As heirs we share the destiny of Christ (Ephesians 1:11).

God has already given us the down payment on our inheritance (Ephesians 1:14). The indwelling Holy Spirit is the earnest of our salvation.

The Word of Grace gives us an inheritance among those whom God sets apart. Acts 20:32, “So now, brethren, I commend you to God and to the word of His grace, which is able to build you up and give you an inheritance among all those who are sanctified.”

We receive an inheritance at the point of salvation. Acts 26:18, “To open their eyes, in order to turn them from darkness to light, and from the power of Satan to God, that they may receive forgiveness of sins and an inheritance among those who are sanctified by faith in Me.

Principle

Our inheritance is our title to future eternal fellowship with God.

Application

An inheritance is what gives title to spiritual possessions. It is that which we receive by virtue of birth – spiritual birth. It is the acquisition of property by succession. We pass earthly inheritances from family to family through birth. Spiritual inheritance is the same process. God places us into his family when we put our trust in the death of Christ to forgive our sins. A member of the family of God inherits heaven.

Have you placed your personal trust in the death of Christ for your sins? Why not enter into the family of God now?

to an inheritance

God gives the Christian a joint account in Christ’s inheritance (Romans 8:16-17). When people get married, they go to a bank and open a joint account. It is always a happy little excursion as they trot down to the bank with their money. They think that a joint account means, “Half is yours and half is mine.” A man is not married long when he finds out that it doesn’t mean that at all. A joint account means whoever gets there first gets the money and somehow she beats him there every time!! A joint-heir with Christ is not a 50/50 deal. It means everything he has belongs to me (Hebrews 1:1-2).

Principle

The Christian falls heir to all of Christ’s inheritance in heaven.

Application

The Christian possesses great privileges because of Christ. He holds these privileges solely because of his status with Christ.

The corollary truth is that everything we have belongs to him. We cannot hold to our possessions if we love him. He gave us health, physical strength, mental ability, position, power, money and fame. He gave them. He can take them away. He adds and he knows how to subtract. He is great at math. Our health belongs to him. Our children and grandchildren belong to him. There may be a time when he takes these away, then we will know he is God (Job 1:21; 9:12).

We need to learn with Job that everything we have belongs to God. Once we settle that with God conclusively, then our lives will get on track. “Lord, we had that out when I was 24 years of age. No problem, Lord. You do all things well. You are too good to do wrong, too wise to make a mistake. It is all right, Lord.”

This is the Lordship of Christ. He will not be satisfied until we come to the place of total capitulation. If God should be pleased to subtract from us, he is simply taking of his own. We gave it to him – remember? Did we mean it? This is not something we should debate. He is Lord. If we fudge on that, we trifle with the Lord.

Peter describes our eternal inheritance with three adjectives.

incorruptible

“Incorruptible” means not liable to corruption or subject to decay. The New Testament uses this term of God (Romans 1:23; 1 Timothy 1:17). He is not subject to decay. “Incorruptible” is used when speaking of the raised dead (I Corinthians 15:52), rewards given to the saints hereafter (“crown,” I Corinthians 9:25), the eternal inheritance of the saints (here), the Word of God, as incorruptible seed (I Peter 1:23), and a meek and quiet spirit (incorruptible apparel, I Peter 3:4).

Incorruptibleness is deathlessness. Death cannot destroy our inheritance. I Corinthians 15:53-54 renders this term “immortality.” The glorified body of the believer is immortal. The nature of God is immortal (I Timothy 6:16). Immortality is freedom from death. Our inheritance is not liable to corruption or decay.

Fruit rots, spoils and decays. No grave is ever dug on the estate of heaven. Our inheritance cannot be destroyed by death.

Secular Greek used the term “incorruptible” for a state unravaged by an invading army. Many times alien armies invaded Palestine. That land was fought over, blasted and destroyed. The Christian possesses an inheritance that no invading army can ravage or destroy. It is beyond the reach of eternal death.

and undefiled

“Undefiled” means free from contamination, pure. Whatever is “undefiled” is without flaw or defect.

Jesus Christ is undefiled (Hebrews 7:26). James 1:27 uses this term of the eternal inheritance of believers (here). Hebrews 13:4 uses “undefiled” of the marriage bed. We can defile the marriage bed by adultery.

Our inheritance is untainted by sin. We cannot pollute God’s inheritance. No sin can taint it. It is unstained by evil. We cannot destroy our inheritance by our sinful nature.  It is beyond the blight of change. It lasts forever.

and that does not fade away

“Fade away” means our inheritance is everlasting. It never becomes old. It never wears out. It is imperishable. Its beauty never fades. It never dries up. It is everlasting and forever undiminished. Our inheritance is perennially fresh. It never becomes old and worn. Time does not impair it.

Extra-biblical Greek uses this term for a flower that does not fade. Some flowers are beautiful, but then they wilt after a very short time. Eternal life will not lose its wonderful, pristine character. It does not fade or lose its brightness. Our inheritance retains its wonderful character.

Peter uses an associated term in I Peter 5:4 where he says “you will receive a glorious crown which will not lose its brightness.” It is unimpaired by time.

The Bible often describes heaven in negatives. Human language is not adequate to describe the reality of heaven. The book of Revelation describes heaven in term of negatives as well, Revelation 21:4, “And God will wipe away every tear from their eyes; there shall be no more death, nor sorrow, nor crying. There shall be no more pain, for the former things have passed away.” Because heaven transcends human language the Bible has to resort to what it is not rather than what it is. Therefore our place in heaven is untouched by death, unstained by evil and unimpaired by time.

Principle

Our inheritance is untouched by death, unstained by evil and unimpaired by time.

Application

Many earthly inheritances wither away before being received. Our inheritance maintains its fragrance forever. God keeps our garden forever. Why should we worry about our eternal future? The grave is not a blind alley but a thoroughfare, an expressway leading to a much richer life beyond.

Our inheritance is a perpetual, imperishable, preservation in eternity. Heaven is far more than a happy hunting ground. It is a place preserved by God for fellowship with him.

reserved in heaven for you

The New Testament uses “reserved” 60 times. It may mean to guard (Matthew 27:36; Acts 12:6), to keep (John 2:10; I Peter 1:4), to protect (I Corinthians 7:37).

God lays up and keeps our inheritance for us. The tense indicates that God reserved our inheritance in the past with the result continuing into the future. We can translate this phrase “which has been reserved” for us. God laid up our inheritance at the point of our salvation and personally keeps it for us into the future.

The word “reserved” means keeping as a result of guarding (John 17:11). The voice (passive) indicates that God put the inheritance in the reservation for us. The idea is he preserves it for us.

“Reserved” is a military term. It means to keep safe with a garrison. God is guarding our inheritance. His guard never changes. No one will ever take our inheritance away from God (John 17:11-12; John 5:24). This is God’s protection of the believer’s eternal destiny. He is on duty 24 hours a day. God places a perimeter around the Christian (John 10:27-29). No one or nothing will defeat or disrupt God in providing salvation for us. Our salvation centers on God’s purpose (Romans 8:28-30) not on human merit.

Principle

God promises to preserve our inheritance.

Application

Children are sometimes cut off from their inheritance. God guarantees in the Bible that none of his children will be cut off from inheriting eternity.

Legislation protects those who have died and want their inheritance to go in a given direction. Very few people succeed in contesting a will through litigation. The courts have a high regard for the wishes of those who have died. God is no less committed to his promises. No force is able to sever the believer from God’s love (Romans 8:35, 38-39). This is an indissoluble bond.

God promises to preserve our inheritance. Our inheritance is salvation. No matter what may come our way, God himself will preserve our salvation. This is the effect of the power of God.

Many people who expect to inherit something, die before they receive it. God keeps the believer for his or her inheritance! Many Christians fear that they will lose their salvation. It is a matter of God’s promise (II Timothy 1:12).

1 Peter 1:5

“Who are kept by the power of God through faith for salvation ready to be revealed in the last time.” 

Now we come to God’s lay-away plan. God lays our inheritance of heaven away with his guarantee that we will receive it. I Peter

1:5 is one of the greatest verses in the Bible on the full assurance of faith.

Who are kept

The word “guard” is a military term meaning to keep by guarding, to guard with a garrison.

Plutarch, in his Plutarch Lives, tells the story of an insurrection of gladiators. These gladiators devastated Italy in the war of Spartacus. Lentulus Batiatus had a school of gladiators at Capua (most were Gauls and Thracians). He kept them in confinement reserved for gladiatorial combat. Seventy-eight gladiators escaped. On the road they seized a wagon carrying gladiators’ weapons to another city. They elected three leaders one of whom was Spartacus.

At the beginning, the gladiators repelled the soldiers and took their weapons. Then the Roman government sent General Clodius against them with 3000 soldiers. He laid siege to them on a hill which had but one descent, and that a narrow and difficult one. Plutarch says Clodius closely “watched” the descent. This is our term in this verse. It means to throw a military garrison around. God throws the military garrison of his power around our salvation.

The tense indicates that God continuously guards the Christian’s salvation. We can never lose our salvation because God keeps it under guard. God throws the garrison of his person around the believer. God guards us throughout our earthly pilgrimage. There is never a moment when God does not guard our inheritance. God always keeps those he saves. We can never lose our salvation. If we are a Christian, we are eternally secure.

Principle

The onus for keeping our salvation is upon God.

Application

To many Christians, the Christian life has no solid foundation. It is like a man sitting at his desk on the 70th floor of a recently constructed building. After moving into the building a short time, a light falls upon his desk. He does not call the architect to examine the foundation of the building. He examines the fixture to find if there is a flaw. Unfortunately, many Christians do not examine the immediate cause when they sin. They examine the foundation of their faith. “Am I saved? Has God forsaken me?”

The issue is not the foundation (salvation) but the immediate cause (our sin). If we have violated God’s holiness, then God expects confession of that sin (I John 1:9).

What about the foundation? How can a person know he is eternally secure with God? The next studies on this verse will answer those questions.

by the power of God

God guards us by nothing less than his omnipotent power. It is God’s power that guards the believer’s eternal security. This is the power that raised Jesus from the dead (Romans 1:4; I Corinthians 1:18; 5:4; 6:14; 13:4; Philippians 3:10). This work is strictly God’s work.

Our salvation is not maintained by our personal power but by the power of God, “For I am not ashamed of the gospel of Christ, for it is the power of God to salvation for everyone who believes, for the Jew first and also for the Greek,” (Romans 1:16). The same power that delivered us from the penalty of sin delivers us from the power of sin and ultimately from the presence of sin.

Principle

God’s omnipotent power is operative in our salvation.

Application

Our eternal foe is bent on robbing us of our salvation. However, God throws the military garrison of his omnipotent power around our salvation. This is an impregnable ring of defense. God posts the sentinel of his all-powerful being around us. The enemy cannot possibly break through this kind of defense. God never changes his guard. He is on duty until we arrive in heaven.

There is an inconsistency in believing that God can save us originally but not keep us saved. It is an insidious form of unbelief on the part of a Christian.

through faith

The human qualification for our salvation is faith. Faith trusts the guarding garrison of God’s omnipotent power for our salvation. Omnipotence does not operate on our faith. Faith operates upon its object – God’s power in our salvation.

Faith is a non-meritorious system of perception. Faith is the one thing that every member of the human race possesses. We have different IQ’s but we all have faith. The idiot has faith; the genius has faith. There is no particular value in faith. It is the object of our faith–Jesus’ death on the cross-that saves us. Only He has the power to forgive our sin and give us eternal life.

Salvation is through faith, not feeling. It is through faith, not through fiction.

Ephesians 2:8-9 says God saves us through faith, “For by grace you have been saved through faith, and that not of yourselves; it is the gift of God.” 

Romans 5:1 God declares us righteous as he is righteous by faith, “Therefore, having been justified by faith, we have peace with God through our Lord Jesus Christ.” 

Galatians 2:16 argues that our status quo before God is by faith, “Knowing that a man is not justified by the works of the law but by faith in Jesus Christ, even we have believed in Christ Jesus, that we might be justified by faith in Christ and not by the works of the law; for by the works of the law no flesh shall be justified.” 

Galatians 3:26 declares that we enter the family of God through faith, “For you are all sons of God through faith in Christ Jesus.”

Principle

The means of our salvation is the faith that we place in the death of Christ to pay for our sins.

Application

When we are falling, we reach out to grasp the hand of someone who has their balance. It is not the faith in their hand that keeps up steady, it is their hand. It is God who saves and it is God who guards us.

Have you personally placed your faith in the death of Christ for your sins? Why not allow God to save you from eternal separation from him?

for salvation

Our salvation is the aim (“for”) of God’s omnipotent protection. We will certainly possess the inheritance of our salvation. Not only does God keep our inheritance for us, we are kept for it!

God guards our “salvation.” The word salvation conveys the double idea of being safe and being made sound. Before we became Christians we were sick unto death, eternal death. The poison of self-will ran hot through our veins. Now that we have come to Christ, God makes us whole before him.

Salvation means negatively, the deliverance from all evil, whether evils of sorrow or evils of sin. However, it means far more than that. God’s salvation is more than saving us from hell. Positively, it is deliverance from the power of sin in our lives.

There are three tenses in the word “salvation” in the Bible: past, present and future.

Past: Jesus, by his blood, paid for all the sins we ever committed and washed them away (Titus 3:5). Present: We are in the state of being saved from the control of sin in our daily life (I Corinthians 1:18). Future: We will one day be ultimately saved from all moral and physical evil (Romans 8:23-24).

Principle

God’s power saves us from the penalty, power and presence of sin.

Application

God’s power completely saves us.

If you are not a Christian, God will save you from the penalty of sin (eternal separation from God). If you trust in the death of Christ on the cross to forgive your sins, God will forgive you eternally from the penalty of your sin.

If you are a Christian dominated by sin, God will give you the grace to overcome that sin (Romans 6:14).

If you are a Christian, God will deliver you from the very presence of sin. He will eradicate your sin nature completely so that you will not be tempted with sin again.

ready to be revealed in the last time

God will protect or salvation until the Lord comes back. Then he will completely destroy the siege of Satan upon our lives. God will save our soul no matter what trial may come our way.

The word “ready” means prepared. Are you prepared to be revealed? Or, is your old nature showing? One way or another we are going to leave this world, either through the rapture or physical death. The Christian has nothing to fear in death. There will be no more tears, no more death in eternity (Revelation 21:4). Death to the believer is a very exciting experience.

“Revealed” means unveiled. Clothes cover a lot of defects. When we take them off, we reveal a lot of problems! At the coming of Christ, a lot of defects would be unveiled if it were not for Christ himself. At that time we will have a resurrected body minus the sin nature.

The wraps will be taken off at the rapture (I Thessalonians 3:13; Jude 14; Revelation 19:14). Jesus will say to the world, “May I present my bride – no flaws, no defects.”

Principle

It is God’s purpose to show off his bride (the church) who is pure because of Christ.

Application

It is God’s purpose to show off his bride. God cannot show off his bride now. Did you ever see a groom who did not want to show off his bride? Most grooms do. Jesus says, “I want you to meet my wife.” He is very happy to introduce us as his bride. One day we will go to the eternal party completely dressed for the occasion.

In heaven there will be no need for Aspirin, Anacin or Alka-Seltzer. We will no longer need dentures, toupees, glasses or artificial limbs. We will be free from pain in that day.

The point is that we cannot become lost between the first and the last coming of Christ. God will not lose us in the shuffle. He will not lose one of us. He does not fail. We are the ones who fail. God cannot change his character just because we blow it. People actually think that just because they blow it, God will fail us. We superimpose our distortions on God. God’s love remains the same.  God keeps us right to the end. He will not lose us.

Summary of the doctrine of eternal security (vv. 1 Pet 1:4-5):

Who is responsible for our salvation? It is the work of three persons:

  1. The Father: The Father is able to keep us. He is sovereign and supreme. No power can rise against him: Romans 8:31-34, 38-39 (God lists every spiritual and natural enemy here; no enemy has enough power to attack our salvation).
  2. Jesus Christ: John 10:27-28 (nothing [neuter] can pluck us out of his hand); Romans 4:25; 8:1; Ephesians 2:6; Hebrews 7:25; I John 2:1-2.
  3. The Holy Spirit: The Holy Spirit seals our salvation: I Corinthians 6:19; 12:13; Ephesians 1:13-14; 4:30. God seals us unto the day of redemption (Ephesians 4:30). No one can break that seal. The seal is a person – the Holy Spirit.

Note the declarations of Scripture about the guarantee of our salvation:

John 6:47, “Most assuredly, I say to you, he who believes in Me has everlasting life.” God gives eternal life, not spasmodic life or intermittent life. 

Philippians 1:6, “Being confident of this very thing, that He who has begun a good work in you will complete it until the day of Jesus Christ.” God keeps our salvation until he comes back again. 

II Timothy 4:18, “And the Lord will deliver me from every evil work and preserve me for His heavenly kingdom. To Him be glory forever and ever. Amen!” No question, no doubt, no equivocation but absolute assurance that God will preserve us for eternity. 

Hebrews 5:9, “And having been perfected, He became the author of eternal salvation to all who obey Him.” God gives eternal salvation, not temporal. 

Hebrews 7:25, “Therefore He is also able to save to the uttermost those who come to God through Him, since He always lives to make intercession for them.” The finished work of Christ saves us from the penalty of sin but the unfinished work of Christ at the right hand of God is saving us from the power of sin. 

Hebrews 12:2, “Looking unto Jesus, the author and finisher of our faith, who for the joy that was set before Him endured the cross, despising the shame, and has sat down at the right hand of the throne of God.” Jesus is the author and finisher of our faith. He will complete what he starts. 

Jude 1, “To those who are called, sanctified by God the Father, and preserved in Jesus Christ.” God preserves us because of our association with Christ. 

Jude 24-25, “Now to Him who is able to keep you from stumbling, And to present you faultless Before the presence of His glory with exceeding joy, To God our Savior, Who alone is wise, Be glory and majesty, Dominion and power, Both now and forever. Amen.” 

One day we will be faultless and sinless; now we are blameless (free from censure by God because of Christ’s death for our sin).

Principle

We can have the assurance of our salvation.

Application

Have you come to the place of full assurance of your salvation? You should be able to say, “For this reason I also suffer these things; nevertheless I am not ashamed, for I know whom I have believed and am persuaded that He is able to keep what I have committed to Him until that Day,” (II Timothy 1:12). That is assurance.

Do you have doubts about your eternal salvation that bedevil you? Do you wonder whether you are a Christian? You have slipped off the rails and you do not know whether you are on foot or horseback spiritually. You can gain assurance of your salvation by claiming God’s promises such as the verse we are studying.

Many people have never accepted Christ in the first place. This is another issue. Examine yourself as to whether you ever truly came to know Christ.

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