THE RESURRECTION ACCORDING TO PETER
In I Peter 1:3-5 the apostle Peter said, "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, to an inheritance incorruptible and undefiled and that does not pass away, who are kept by the power of God through faith for salvation ready to be revealed in the last time." Peter declares that there is an important connection between the rerurrecton of Christ and the Christian's hope. He assigns to the resurrection of Christ a very special significance. My subject in this study is, "The Resurrection of Christ, According to Peter." That is, according to what Peter says about it. Peter was just one of many who met Jesus after He arose from the dead, and it changed his life as it did all who saw Him alive. Paul was not the only great preacher among the apostles. Paul was in particular the apostle to the Gentiles, but the Jews were not neglected, for Peter was just as great a preacher to the Jews as Paul was to the Gentiles. What he wrote would apply equally to Gentiles Christians and Jewish Christians alike.He writes to Jewish Christians who were not living in Palestine, but in all the countries located on what we now call the continent of Asia. This is clear evidence that there were Jewish Christians in all parts of the then known world. He wrote to comfort them because they were suffering great persecution. . The Christians of Rome were accused of burning the city of Rome, and the persecution against them extended to all the Churches on the continent of Asia, to whom he wrote this letter. These Christians were in great need of comfort and encouragement, and Peter was just the man to do it. The words of Peter are a great comfort to Gentile Christians also. We are in the world, but not of the world. Peter used the resurrection of Christ to give them great comfort and courage, and it will also give us comfort. . Consider with me Peter's viewpoint on the resurrection of Christ and what it means to Christians. First, Peter declares that God the Father has begotten us again through the resurrection of Christ. Here is the statement, "Blessed be God and the Father of our Lord Jesus Christ who according to His mercy has begotten us again through the resurrection of Jesus Christ from the dead." The word blessed used in this passage does not have the same meaning as the word is used in other passages. From the Greek word rendered blessed in this passage is word from which we get the word eulogy. Peter said, " Let God be eulogized as the Father of Jesus Christ, that is let us speak well of Him. When Peter said that God has begotten us again, the meaning is He has begotten us another time or once more. When it is said that God has begotten us again, the language implies that He had begotten us before. And so He had, for He is the Father of us all by nature. Malachi the prophet asks, "Have we not all one Father? Has not one God created us?" And the apostle Paul declared that God "has made from one blood every nation of men to dwell on all the face of the earth." But while all men and women are the children of God by creation, they have by following their own ways, become disobedient to Him and rebellious. Hence, in order to have fellowship with God, it is essary for men and women in their natural condition to be born again, to let God create them anew. Jesus said, "Except a man be born of the water and of the Spirit, he cannot enter iinto the kingdom of God." All people should gladly avail themselves of the opportunity of experiencing the new birth with all its advantages and enjoyments. Becoming a Christian produces such a radical transformation of life and character that it can rightly be compared to our entering this world by a natural birth. It is our second birth from God.
Secondly, Peter informs us that our new birth bestows upon is a very special gift, a gift that we never possessed before and a gift that belongs to no one who has had only a natural birth. Here is Peter's statement, "Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, who according to His mercy has begotten us again to a living hope..." Unto what are Christians said to be begotten again? When God created us a second time He begot us to a living hope. When a person is born again or begotten again and has experienced the change which the idea of a new birth implies, and has passed from a state of spiritual darkness, spiritual ignorance and spiritual death to a state of marvelous light, wisdom and life, and from henceforth walks by faith and lives by faith, believing all that is contained in the scriptures, that person has a great future before him or her. It is called a living hope. It is this living hope that comforts Christians in all the earthly sorrows, troubles and persecutions. With this hope we can endure any blow that this world may give us. How different is a birth into the world according to nature, as to what the future may hold for the child, compared to the second or new birth, the birth by which we are begotten unto the lively hope of the Christian religion? When an infant is born it knows not what the future may hold: joy or sorrow, prosperity or adversity, health or sickness, good times or bad times, and with no hope of a future beyond the grave. But when a soul is begotten again and it takes its survey of the future, called a living hope, how glorious is the view. I like what Job said about our first or natural birth, "Man is born unto trouble, as the sparks fly upward"(Job. 5:7). But Peter declares that in our new birth, we are begotten unto a lively or living hope, and unto an inheritance incorruptible and undefiled and that does not fade away, reserved in heaven for you."
Furthermore, we are not only informed that we are begotten unto a living hope, but Peter also informs us what that hope consists of.. He tells us that it is an inheritance. When one becomes a Christian that one is line for an inheritance. There are few words sweeter in this lower region of sin and sorrow than the word inheritance. How sweet it is to be the children of a rich father and come into possession of a large sum of money with the passing of our parents. It's like a gift from heaven. You can't buy it with money or obtain it has a reward of labor. How sweet it is to know that we Christians are begotten unto an inheritance, born to an estate. We are born into an inheritance. , We have become heirs of God and joint heirs with Christ.. So the inheritance of the children of God is given to them as a legacy from their Divine Father.
There is another interesting thing suggested by this inheritance. It is said that this inheritance is reserved in heaven. It is well known that there is no right that is more difficult to break, than the right to an inheritance. Indeed it cannot be broken if it is legal. When Peter said that this inheritance is reserved in heaven for us, he is saying that this inheritance has been legally made by our Divine Father and it cannot be broken. This means that Christians are the richest people on the face of this earth. We are heirs of God and joint-heirs with Christ. In the description Peter gives of our inheitance, it is first declared to be incorruptible. This word means immortal, imperishable undying, enduring. The substance of everything earthly by degrees, decays and passes away. Empires have grown great but inward corruption within their constitution at length destroyed them and they passed away, but the new heavens and earth are eternal and shall never pass away. In addition the apostle says our inheritance is undefiled. The word means unstained, unsoiled therefore pure and chaste. In Rev. 21 John writes that heaven will be a holy place, in which nothing shall enter that is defiled or works abominations or makes a lie. It will be inhabited by holy beings who conduct themselves by holy principles. In the third place it is said of this inheritance that it will not fade away. Here on earth, the things that are most beautiful and give the most enjoyment in time lose their beauty. The inheritance which await the children of God will never lose its beauty and glory. It will not deteriorate, nor will the passing of ages render it less desirable or attractive.
Next, Peter in the text tells a most remarkable thing about the new birth and the Christian hope. We are distinctly told that God begot us again to a living hope, but how did He do it? He did it through or by means of the resurrection of Christ. Are you still with me?. Is that not what I Pet. 1:3 says? We don't normally speak of the part Christ's resurrection has on conversion. Why are Christians said to be begotten of God to a living hope by te resurrection of Christ? How does He use the resurrection of Jesus to give us a second birth? It has a most important part in our conversion because the resurrection of Christ proves a11 claims of Christ to be true; it proves all the claims of the Christian religion.. If He did not rise from the dead, there is no reason to believe any claim Jesus made. His resurrection is the greatest argument for the Divine mission of Christ, for His Deity, and for the divine character and authority of His teachings. Were it not for the resurrection there would be no reason to believe in Him or follow Him. That is a bold statement and you might say, "How can you make such a statement?" The conduct of the apostles themselves verifies the truth of what I just said. The resurrection proved every claim Christ made. His resurrection was the key factor in convincing the apostles that He was the Messiah and the Divine Son of God. Even though they had obeyed John's baptism, even though they left their life's work to follow Him, even though they had seen all of his miracles that He performed and closely walked with Him for over three years, yet when He allowed Himself to fall into the hands of the Romans and be put to death on the cross, the hope of the apostles was blasted and their faith failed. They lost all confidence in Him. Even when others said they had seen him alive, not a one of them believed it. They were all unbelievers; all fell away from their first faith and first love. The attitude of them all was well expressed in the words of the two sorrowful disciples whom Jesus appeared to on the road to Emmaus. They said to the risen Jesus, "Our rulers crucified Him, but we hoped that it was He who should redeem Israel"(Lk. 24:21) They no longer had that hope. Peter, his faith gone, returned to his fishing nets. His hope died with Christ on the cross.
What was it that turned them around and re-established their faith? It was only when Jesus appeared to them time and time again and proved beyond all reasonable doubt and all possible doubt that He had indeed risen from the dead. Had it not been for the resurrection of Christ, the apostles would never have believed that He was the Messiah, the Son of the living God. From the viewpoint of Peter, the resurrection of Christ is the supreme evidence for believing the claim of Christ that He is the Savior of mankind. When our text says "God has begotten us again through the resurrection of Christ, the meaning is that the resurrection of Christ is the crowning evidence that will convince any human being that Christ is Lord and that all must be born again. Unless one can believe in His resurrection, there is no reason in the world to become a Christian. If His resurrection was the only thing that convinced the apostles, how much more should it convince the entire human race? It was not His death that convinced them, but his resurrection. There is no way to fully measure the importance Christi's resurrection. I want to make one more point about the Lord's resurrection In John 10:17,18 Jesus said, "Therefore my Father loves Me, because I lay down my life that I may take it again. No one takes it from Me, but I lay it down of myself. I have power to lay it down, and I have power to take it again. This command I have received from My Father." It will be seen from His language that while He claimed the power to take up His life, He acted under the authority of His Father in doing so.. Thus, His resurrection is attributed to the power of God. When Peter was vindicating the cause of Christ, in reference to the healing of the lame man in the temple, he said, "Be it known unto you all, and to all the people of Israel, that by the name of Jesus Christ of Nazareth, whom you crucified, whom God raised from the dead, even by Him does this man stand before you whole". The fact that Christ had the power take up His life again shows that He was divine. A dead man has no power to raise himself from the dead. . And as He had this power after he was deceased it proved there was some other nature than that which had expired. None but God can raise the dead, and as Jesus had this power over his own body it proves that He was divine. If Jews and all unbelievers would fairly and honestly consider the evidence for the resurrection of Christ, their unbelief would fade away.
I close with the most immortant truth that the resurrection has for the human race. The resurrection of Christ is God's big stick. It proves what the Bible says about Christ; it proves what God said that He sent His only begotten that whovever believes in might not perish but have everlasting life. The resurrection of Chris is God's big stick because it proves all that God said about Chr rist; it proves the promise to be true that mankind will rise from the dead; and it proves that Jesus Christ is the Saviour of mankind. God says you are free to believe Christ or not to believe, but God will use His big stick against all unbelievers at the day of judgment. God in effect says, "I offer you eternal life, unending life in heaven with Me and the angels. Take it or leave. It's up to you. Believe and obey or perish. It is your choice. Peter said in our text that God gives to all who become Christians the hope of eternal life as an inheritance, and Peter distincly tell us that God gave us that hope through the resurrection of Christ. That is God's big stick, His most powrful weapon If the resurrection of Christ will not convince you, you are beyond hope. Amen.