Mercy Series: Abundant Mercy

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 fade away, reserved in heaven for you” (1 Peter 1:3-4).

“Blessed” (eulogetos) is not the same original word which appears in The Beatitudes.  The word here could be rendered “praised” (Vine’s).  Praise belongs to God.

Why is God to be praised?  The answer is that He had mercy on man.  The word mercy (eleos) refer to “outward manifestation of pity; it assumes need on the part of him who receives it, and resources adequate to meet the need on the part of him who shows it” (Vine’s); “Kindness or goodwill towards the miserable and afflicted, joined with a desire to relieve them” (Thayer).

How did God have mercy on man?  (1) He allowed man to be begotten again.  This spiritual rebirth is possible through the resurrection of Jesus Christ from the dead (1 Peter 1:3).  He was raised for “our justification” (Romans 4:25).  This spiritual rebirth is possible through the word of God (1 Peter 1:23).  It is up to man to meekly receive this word (James 1:21).  It is up to man to obey the truth (1 Peter 1:22-23). This spiritual rebirth is by water and the Spirit (John 3:3,5).  (2) He provided man with a living hope.  Biblical hope (elpis) refers to “favorable and confident expectation” (Vine’s).  There is one ultimate hope for the Christian (Ephesians 4:4), and this is eternal life and salvation in heaven (Titus 1:2; 1 Thessalonians 5:8).  It is up to Christians to “continue in the faith grounded and steadfast… not moved away from the hope of the gospel” (Colossians 1:23).  (3) He provided an inheritance in heaven.  This inheritance is incorruptible (imperishable NASB).  The treasures of heaven do not wear out or perish (cf. Matthew 6:19-20; 1 Corinthians 15:42, 50-53).  This inheritance is undefiled.  The treasures of heaven pure, free from contamination or impurity (cf. Revelation 21:27).  This inheritance fades not away.  Guy Woods comments, “The words, ‘that fadeth not away,’ are translated from the beautiful word amarantos, that which does not fade, or wither.  The amaranth was a fabled flower whose bloom was perpetual and whose loveliness never failed.  The inheritance which awaits the children of God will not deteriorate nor will passing ages render it less desirable or attractive” (Woods, Commentary on The New Testament Epistles of Peter, John, and Jude, p. 27).  All of these things are available to man, and only available to man, because of the mercy of God.  The Psalmist said, “He has not dealt with us according to our sins, nor punished up according to our iniquities.  For as the heavens are high above the earth so great is His mercy toward those who fear Him; As far as the east is from the west so far has He removed our transgressions from us.  As a father pities his children, so the Lord pities those who fear Him. For He knows our frame; He remembers that we are dust” (Psalm 103:10-14).

He “called you out of darkness into His marvelous light; who once were not a people but now are the people of God, who had not obtained mercy but now have obtained mercy” (1 Peter 2:9-10).

This is a reference to Hosea 2:23 which reads, “I will have mercy on her who has not obtained mercy; then I will say to those who were not My people, ‘You are My people!’  And they shall say, ‘You are my God!'”  This is inclusive of the Gentiles (cf. Romans 9:24-26).   Guy Woods comments, “The Gentiles,  before they obeyed the gospel, were ‘no people,’ being scattered though all the nations, with separate languages, governments, customs, etc; but through their obedience to the gospel were constituted into a holy nation with common interests, obligations, government and King” (Woods, p. 64).  James Burton Coffman comments, “The vast dimensions of the love of God and His overflowing mercy to all people… are as wide as heaven and earth.  The same outflowing love for the Gentile converts which marks much of the Pauline writing is also in evidence here.  The ‘no people’ are now the people of God; and the people without mercy have now received it through Christ.  How marvelous indeed is such wonderful love” (studylight.org).  God’s mercy is not just for Israelites.  It is available to all.

About Bryan Hodge

I am a minister and missionary to numerous countries around the world.
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