Praise for the New Birth (To the Text)
“Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, who has caused us to born from above to a living hope through the resurrection of Jesus Christ from the dead,” (1 Peter 1:3; from the Greek).
Having examined Peter’s opening salutation, we now arrive at the body of his letter. Fittingly, he begins by offering a eulogy of God the Father. Whatever it is that he is about to write, he wants his audience to know that it should all contribute to our great praise and adoration of the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ. That is precisely what is meant by the opening term: “Blessed be…” It’s the word εὐλογητός (transliterated eulogy), which means to offer a good word. Appearing in the adjectival form, it is properly rendered praise be or blessed be and suggests a proper heart response to the truths that will follow.
What follows is one of the most encouraging descriptions of Christian conversion ever recorded. In this letter, Peter is writing to the scattered and persecuted church in 1st century Rome. Not only are they undergoing persecution at this time, but it will only get worse in the decades to come. Christians of all stripes throughout the Roman empire will need a firm foundation on which to stand, and an immovable inheritance in which to place their hope. Here, Peter points them to just such sure footing and steadfast hope. First, though, he wants us to be ever mindful who is the proper recipient of all praise for this glorious truth he is about to divulge: God the Father!
We have already hit on one of the major themes of the book of 1 Peter in previous weeks: our status as dispersed pilgrims in the strange land. Here we come to yet another major theme that traces its way through the whole of the book of 1 Peter: the new birth. There is nothing that enables a young child to feel more secure than to have a stable and capable father in the home. To what then do we look when all around our soul gives way?
It is not enough that we merely look to the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ. That relationship may have helped Christ, in His humiliation, to endure all that was necessary for our salvation, even death on a Roman cross. How, though, does it help us who are suffering now? It only helps us when we understand that He is not merely the God and Father of Christ, but of us as well, and such is certainly the case.
Peter tells us that He has caused us to be born again (or born from above). That is to say that He is no longer merely the Father of Christ, but is now in a very real sense our Father. For this reason, Christ taught His disciples, “When you pray, say: ‘Father,’” (Luke 11:2; NASB). We pray to Him as Father, because He has begotten us to new life.
How, though, has this occurred? How has He brought about this new birth in us? It is the witness of all of the authors of the New Testament that this new birth comes to us by way of Christ’s death, burial, and resurrection. Peter says as much here, but so does Paul. “Even so consider yourselves to be dead to sin, but alive to God in Christ Jesus,” (Romans 6:11; NASB). Furthermore, the author of Hebrews teaches:
Christ tasted death so that many sons might be brought to glory, sons whom He is not ashamed to call brethren. So, we see that through the new birth, which comes to us by way of Christ death, burial, and resurrection, now enables us not only to call the God the Father ‘the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ,’ but also our own God and Father in the truest, most familial sense. So, if you are in Christ, you are members of a new and more glorious family to the eternal praise of God the Father!