“Praise the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ. According to His great mercy, He has given us a new birth into a living hope through the resurrection of Jesus Christ from the dead.” [1 Peter 1:3 HCSB]
This verse was my daily verse last Sunday. Peter was praising God the Father for the new birth he was given through the resurrection of Jesus Christ from the dead. As I read it, I was once again captured by two small phrases.
The first was “great mercy.” Everything about this new birth – really everything we receive from God is given according to “His great mercy.”
The word for mercy is eleos, and it means mercy, kindness, or good will toward the miserable and afflicted, joined to a desire to relieve them. God does not want us miserable or afflicted, and yet so many people think that is His aim. I lived under that lie for years. I thought God was looking for ways to keep me out of heaven, all the while He was looking to bring me into His family through “His great mercy.”
The second phrase that caught my attention was “living hope,” especially that word “living.” The hope that is ours at the new birth is not wishful thinking. It is not the kind of wishing we do about the lottery or a big inheritance from a long-lost relative. The hope we have as God’s children is a “living” hope. It is alive, full of life and breath.
I like to think of it this way. The wishful thinking the world calls hope is a dead hope. The hope we have at the new birth is every bit alive as our Resurrected LORD and Savior. His resurrection from the dead breathed life into our hope.
Bless His Holy Name! Amen