The key word in the book of 1 Peter is “suffering.” It appears in some form 16 times [suffer (2:20; 3:14; 3:17; 4:15; 4:16; 4:19); suffered (2:21; 2:23; 3:18; 4:1(x2); 5:10); suffering(s) (1:11; 2:19; 4:13; 5:1)]. It was not easy being a first century Christian.
The book provides encouragement and perspective to Christians in difficult circumstances and facing difficult circumstances. Let’s consider 5 Great Things set forth in this book.
1 Peter 1 speaks of The Great Salvation. Let us notice 1 Peter 1:3-4.
“Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ” (1 Peter 1:3a).
God is worthy of praise. The word “blessed” (eulogetos) is applied to God alone, in the New Testament (Vine’s). The word means “blessed, praised” (Vine’s).
Why is He to be praised? Let’s read farther.
“Who according to His abundant mercy has begotten us again to a living hope through the resurrection of Jesus Christ from the dead” (1 Peter 1:3b).
He has given us hope through the resurrection of Jesus. The ultimate hope is eternal life with God (Titus 1:2).
The resurrection of Jesus is what gives the Christian hope. Jesus was “declared to be the Son of God… by the resurrection from the dead” (Romans 1:4). The core of the gospel is the death, burial, and resurrection of Christ (1 Corinthians 15:1-3). Hope vanishes without the resurrection (1 Corinthians 15:14, 17-19).
Notice the word “again.” (a) Guy N. Woods thought that this had specific reference to the early disciples. He commented, “The emphasis in this verse is on the word again… The reference here is… to the re-establishment of the faith of the disciples by the resurrection of Jesus from the dead” (G.A. Commentary Series, Guy N. Woods, A Commentary on the New Testament Epistles of Peter, John, and Jude, p. 25). Others believe that the word “again refers to being born again in conversion (e.g., John 3:35; James 1:18; 1 Peter 1:22-23). (b) Wayne Jackson commented, “God… has been merciful to us in that he has granted us a ‘living hope,’ made certain by the resurrection of Christ from the dead and accessed by means of our being ‘begotten’ (i.e., the new birth process [John 3:3-5])” (Wayne Jackson, A New Testament Commentary, p. 532). This seems to fit (1 Peter 1:3 cf. 1:22-23). Either way, God is the one who gives hope.
“to an inheritance incorruptible and undefiled and that does not fade away, reserved in heaven for you” (1 Peter 1:4).
He has given us an inheritance in heaven. This inheritance is: (1) “incorruptible” (aphthartos). The word means “imperishable, incorruptible, immortal” (BDAG). The things which await are enduring, unlike the things of this earth. Jesus said, “Do not lay up for yourselves treasures on earth, where moth and rust destroy and where thieves break in and steal; but lay up for yourselves treasures in heaven, where neither moth nor rust destroy and where thieves do not break in and steal” (Matthew 6:19-20). We will have an incorruptible, immortal body (1 Corinthians 15:50-54). (2) “undefiled” (amiantos). The word means “undefiled… pure” (BDAG); “not defiled, unsoiled; free from that by which the nature of a thing is deformed and debased or its force and vigor impaired” (Thayer). In other words, heaven will be perfect and without flaws. Nothing will enter into heaven to defile it (Revelation 21:27). (3) “does not fade away” (amarantos). The word means “unfading… lit. unfading flowers… fig. of eternal bliss” (BDAG). Guy N. Woods commented, “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 (Guy N. Woods, p. 27).
The message is encouraging. Yes, there are trials in life. However, remember “The Great Salvation.” How great it is. It is reserved in heaven for you.