Give thanks for the new birth we have received in Christ

Give thanks for the new birth we have received in Christ – a sermon on 1 Peter 1:3-5 by Rev. Colin Pretorius.

I don’t know if you’ve ever made an appointment for something but when you arrive there, they’ve got no record of you or your appointment. Or perhaps your doctor tells you she’s sent your referral to the specialist and they’ll call you with an appointment, but a week later you still haven’t heard from them and when you follow up, they know nothing about it at all. Or let me use an example of something that’s happened to a few of us lately. You’ve paid for your flight, you arrive at the airport with your boarding pass at the ready, you even know where you’ll be seated in the plane, but when you look up at the departures screen, you see your flight has been cancelled. The security or guarantee of that boarding pass doesn’t mean all that much anymore, does it! The promise inherent in your booking has gone the way of the dodo.

But this isn’t what the promise and security and guarantee that the apostle Peter is talking about is like at all. He’s talking about a guarantee that’s final and binding. He’s talking about the irrevocable guarantee of an inheritance that belongs to all those who have repented of sin and have accepted Jesus as Lord. The writer Chuck Swindoll puts it like this: [1]

[our] heavenly reservations [have been] bought by the blood of Christ and confirmed by His glorious resurrection.

Not only is the reservation on the plane to heaven confirmed and secure and fully paid for, but you will get on it, for God secures it. That’s the message that Peter wants to get across – the message about the imperishable, undefiled and unfading inheritance that God himself is guarding in heaven for believers. Our new life, with that magnificent inheritance, flow from the resurrection of Jesus. And looking at it from that point of view, we can describe verses 3-5 as thanksgiving for the new life which is given to Christians as a result of Christ being raised from death.[2]

Verses 3-5 tell us about the identity of the One who is being blessed, the reason for the blessing and the blessing that flows from what He’s done.

  • Who is this God being blessed (v3a)
  • Why is He being blessed? (v3b)
  • What are the results of what’s He’s done? (v4-5)

[1] Charles R. Swindoll, Insights on James and 1 & 2 Peter (SNTI; Grand Rapids, MI: Zondervan, 2010), 148–149.

[2] Daniel C. Arichea and Eugene Albert Nida, A Handbook on the First Letter from Peter (UBS Handbook Series; New York: United Bible Societies, 1980), 13.