Born Again to a Living Hope
3 Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ! According to his great mercy, he has caused us to be born again to a living hope through the resurrection of Jesus Christ from the dead, 4 to an inheritance that is imperishable, undefiled, and unfading, kept in heaven for you, 5 who by God's power are being guarded through faith for a salvation ready to be revealed in the last time.
A few things to note here:
1. "Blessed be" is more of an observation than a command. It's the essence, really, of our worship of God. We don't add anything to God by worshipping Him. This doesn't mean we don't do it, just that we're doing is expressing realities, not inventing them. This is why you can worship God with new songs or old ones: as long as they are connected with the truth of who God is, and He doesn't change, they're valid. It depends, of course, on where your heart is. But you're not adding to God by worship. You're recognizing the reality that is already there. Peter is observing that God is blessed, not blessing God.
2. "our Lord Jesus Christ" is an essential here. Peter is an eyewitness of the Resurrection. He's been with Jesus face-to-face, was called by name, and even had his name changed, by Christ. He's the first one to really confess "You are the Christ!" about Jesus. Yet he doesn't identify "my Lord Jesus Christ, and yours too" or any other differential. He equates himself among his fellow believers. Did he have some authority as a preacher and teacher? Certainly! He taught the Word, and rightfully received respect and honor from doing so. Moreover, when he presented truth and instruction, he most likely had a reasonable expectation that people would follow those instructions.
However, he's still one of all who follow "our Lord Jesus Christ." We fall into several errors these days. One is that our leaders are always right when our leaders aren't always right. Another is that we need no leaders at all, since we're all part of the priesthood of believers. Find the balance. Respect, listen, compare to Scripture, but realize that God might just have placed that leader in your life to guide you.
3. "According to his great mercy" is where we'll stop: never forget that what God did for us through Christ at Calvary was to be merciful to us. He has never owed us a favor, and nothing we do puts God in our debt. It is according to His mercy, His great mercy, that we continue on. We live our lives in response to this mercy. We sometimes act like our actions make God obligated to us. If we go to church, He's obligated to give us a great week. If we tithe, He's obligated to balance out our finances. Actually, we're obligated to His mercy to count 100% of our money and 7 days of our week as His.
There's obviously more here. Hopefully next week will bring the opportunity to address it!