Reading: “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.” 1 Peter 1:3
There are times when Christians don’t feel very joyful! Although we are instructed to “rejoice always’ there are occasions when we feel discouraged, disappointed or despondent. Trials and tribulations often have that effect. In times like this it’s good to read the advice Peter gave to persecuted Christians in the 1st century. Peter did not ignore that they were facing great battles but he did remind them that they had received great blessings. In the opening part of his first letter he highlighted three particular truths that ought to set the Christian singing again.
The experience of the new birth. They had been “begotten again unto a lively hope.” These words speak of regeneration. Regeneration is the gracious and sovereign act of God implanting the principle of spiritual life into the soul. By nature man is dead in his sin. He has no spiritual life. But when he is born again by the Spirit of God, he lives spiritually and unto God. It’s a powerful and permanent change of spiritual status.
The promise of a perfect inheritance. The Baptist preacher Charles Spurgeon said, “God has been pleased in his abundant mercy to prepare for his people an inheritance. A heavenly nature requires a heavenly inheritance, heaven born children must have a heavenly portion.” Christians have an incorruptible, undefiled and unfading inheritance that is reserved for them in Heaven.
The assurance of divine protection. Our inheritance is reserved for us, but it is not the only thing that is kept – we are also kept by the power of God. The Christian is kept continuously, powerfully and personally. Believers in Christ are saved, satisfied and secure! That’s a threefold reason to rejoice.
“The converted man, the believer in Christ, the child of God, -he and he alone is the happy man.” J. C. Ryle; Practical Religion, page 158.