Bible Study Commentary
Lesson 2: Thanksgiving for Salvation
1 Peter 1:3-5
3 Praise be to the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ! In his great mercy he has given us new birth into a living hope through the resurrection of Jesus Christ from the dead, 4 and into an inheritance that can never perish, spoil or fadeókept in heaven for you, 5 who through faith are shielded by Godís power until the coming of the salvation that is ready to be revealed in the last time.
What part of an ancient letter does this passage (1:3-12) belong to?
answer: The passage before the main body of the letter is called "prayer/thanksgiving" See 1 Corinthian 1:4-9 and Philippians 1:3-11 for some examples of "prayer/thanksgiving" in other New Testament Epistles.
The passage is originally written in one long continuous sentence, and in the form of a Jewish prayer. The author starts by praising God and then continues with the theme of the salutation, which is salvation. We will divide this passage for the sake of our Lesson. The first part will be the doxology and the focus on God's gift of salvation which is verses 3-5. The second part will be from verse 6-12 where Peter expounds on the aspects of the believer's salvation.
"Praise be to the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ!"
What is the implication of this phrase with our relationship with God?
answer: The keyword here is "Father" and "our". First, by using the personal pronoun "our", Peter implies a personal relationship between us and the Father and the Son. Second, he makes us understand that our personal relationship with God is through our Lord Jesus Christ. God is our Father not only because He has given us new birth but because He is the Father of our Lord Jesus Christ. We should not see this statement as an indication of the inferiority of the Son. At this early stage of Christianity, the doctrine of Trinity is not well articulated or developed. Also, the title Lord is used in the Old Testament as the title for God.
"In his great mercy he has given us new birth into a living hope through the resurrection of Jesus Christ from the dead,"
What is this 'new birth'?
answer: This new birth is what we call being "born again" (see v.23). The theological term for this experience is "regeneration." Although there are no changes that could be seen in the physical body, real changes happens within. Chapter 4 speaks of the noticeable effects of such changes that can be seen in their current lifestyles.
What is this 'living hope'?
answer: This living hope was the product of their new birth. This hope is not the same hope when they say 'I hope to have a big house in the future.' It is not wishing something that they want but has no guarantee for them to have. It doesn't have the sense of uncertainty or doubt. This hope is looking forward to the future for something that is already guaranteed to be theirs-just like an inheritance. The word "living" seems to suggest that their hope is always active never fading in them until they receive the completion or fullness of their salvation (verse 9). This living hope stimulates endurance and patience to reach their goal in the end.
How did we receive such new birth?
answer: It is given to them because of God's mercy and through the resurrection of Jesus Christ from the dead. Though we are sinful and deserving death, the mercy of God is the one that qualifies us to receive such great salvation (new birth). Without further explanation, Peter makes it clear that our salvation and everything that God has given us is only possible because Jesus Christ rose from the dead.
Can you rephrase the message of verse 3?
answer: Thank God for his mercy that gave us a new birth that produces living hope. All of these has been accomplished because of Jesus Christ's resurrection from the dead..
"and into an inheritance that can never perish, spoil or fadeókept in heaven for you,"
What is the objective of their living hope?
answer: To obtain the inheritance that is kept in heaven for them. This is the promise that keeps their hope alive through every situation.
What is their inheritance?
answer: The salvation that is ready to be revealed in the last time (v.5).
"who through faith are shielded by Godís power until the coming of the salvation that is ready to be revealed in the last time."
there is a "coming salvation to be revealed," what kind of salvation
does the believer have at the present?
answer: It is easy to think that the phrase seems to suggest that they are not saved until they have fully received salvation at the end of time. But for the church that is going through trials and hardship in this world, Peter is trying to make them understand two important things about the salvation that they have receive from God. First, they already have that salvation since they have experienced new birth and have a personal relationship with God. Second, their trials and suffering in this life is a reminder that everything that salvation has to offer is not fully realized yet. They have obtained that personal salvation, but the full consummation of salvation including that of all creation is still to come at the end of time. The day will come when God will take away all the pain, sorrow, and suffering of this present life. God will make everything new (Revelation 21:3-5).
What is their assurance that they will obtain their inheritance at the end?
answer: First, their inheritance is being kept in heaven for them where it will not perish, spoil or fade. Second, God's power is shielding or guarding them so they can make it through the end. God is protecting both the inheritance and the heirs.
What is their part in making sure that they will receive the inheritance?
answer: Just to keep their faith in God, or trust God in all of His words and promises. Going back to verse 2, to trust God is to always obey Him.
What is the significance of knowing God as our Father?
answer: This truth raises Christianity above all other religions. Unlike other beliefs or religions where god is viewed as inanimate forces or influences, or higher being(s) who are powerful but detached from human experiences and feelings. Peter's message reminds us that our God is a supreme being who has an intimate relationship with his followers. This relationship is even closer than with other people. Peter's use of a "parent-child relationship" to express our relationship with God reveals the degree of intimacy that is possible between us and our God.
What have we learned about the assurance of our salvation?
answer: We live with daily struggles to do the will of God, and often times we fail to live in complete obedience to Him. God did not only save us from sin by giving us new birth, but the Holy Spirit continuously works in us to make us holy (sanctify-v.2). God is protecting both us and our inheritance according to verses 4-5. What God requires of us to is live by faith in Him daily. It it encouraging to know that we are not trying to do God's will on our own but with God's perfect provision.
Is there anything else that you learn in Lesson 2? How would apply it in your life today?
answer: [Write in you own answer]
Summary Lesson 2: Peter continues with the theme of salvation in the prayer/thanksgiving portion of the Epistle. Peter makes the Christians realize how great the salvation that God has given them. But Peter continues a little further by telling them that their salvation has much more to offer. Like an inheritance to a rightful heir it is guaranteed to be theirs, only if they will hold on unto the end. To avoid anxiety or fear of not making it, Peter tells the believers that God is making sure that their inheritance is safe in heaven. That's this inheritance is waiting for them, and that God's power is guarding them to make it through this life until the end. Such teachings will encourage to hold on and not give up both us and the early Christians who are thinking of giving up the faith. This is exactly what Peter will do as he continue to talk about the theme of salvation. Let's go to Lesson 3.
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