Message 3: God’s Grace in Salvation – Living in hope Part 1 (1 Peter 1:3-9) Written by Lawrence Hirsch
We have begun a series of sermons from the letter that Shimon Kefa/Simon Peter wrote to primarily messianic Jews who were living in the region of Asia Minor (mostly in modern day Turkey today).
Shimon and his brother were Jewish fishermen who had a life-changing encounter with Rabbi Yeshua. They were 2 of the 12 Jewish disciples of Yeshua who not only followed him as their rabbi but also because they believed he was the Promised Messiah of Israel.
Shimon Kefa became the leader of this band of disciples and later the chief of the Shl’chim, the Apostles. He is noted as being the Apostle to the Jews while Paul was primarily the Apostle to the Gentiles. Peter turned out to be the leader of the early messianic movement of Jews who believed in Yeshua as the Messiah.
Peter is known as the Apostle of Hope and Grace and he wrote his first Epistle to Jewish believers in times of trial and suffering possibly at the time leading up to the persecution of the Emperor Nero somewhere between 62-65AD.
This series is entitled “Hope and Grace in Times of Trial.”
In this truly pastoral letter, Peter encourages us in our daily walk with God no matter what we are going through in our lives. Through his words, God speaks to our hearts about our identity and our calling in Messiah as a holy priesthood standing fast in the true grace of God, empowered to be his witnesses in this world.
Last time we saw how this letter was written to God’s Chosen People living in the diaspora (referring to Jewish believers in Messiah). We also noted however, that there we no doubt many Gentile believers in Jesus in the congregations that received this letter. So, even though the primary recipients of the letter are Jews, we can also apply in a secondary sense, these instructions and encouragements to all of us, Jew and Gentile.
Peter told us that we are specially chosen by God, set apart by the Spirit of God and purified by the blood of Yeshua the Messiah.
Today, as we look at the outline, we can see we are in a new section; God’s Grace in Salvation, today we will do part 1; chapter 1:3-9 subtitled Living in Hope.
Outline (Adapted from Warren Wiersbe’s expository outlines of the Bible):
A Future Hope (1:3-5)
1 Peter 1:3–5 (CJB)
3 Praised be God, Father of our Lord Yeshua the Messiah, who, in keeping with his great mercy, has caused us, through the resurrection of Yeshua the Messiah from the dead, to be born again to a living hope, 4 to an inheritance that cannot decay, spoil or fade, kept safe for you in heaven. 5 Meanwhile, through trusting, you are being protected by God’s power for a deliverance ready to be revealed at the Last Time.
Dr David Stern points out that verses 3–4 open with a Jewish liturgical formula commencing a b’rakhah (Jewish benediction). The beginning of v. 3 is similar to the Amidah which is traditionally prayed every:
Baruch atah Adonai Eloheynu velohey avoteynu… Blessed are You Lord our God and God of our fathers…
Peter goes on to speak about God as having great mercy. Another concept found in the Amidah: “Ha’el hagadol hagibor vehanora, el elyon Gomel chasadim tovim, vekoneh hakol, vezocher chasdey avot… The great, mighty and awesome God, the most high God Who bestows loving-kindness and creates all, and remembers the kindness shown to the Fathers …
Then Peter points out that we have a living hope that is also a future hope because we have a living Saviour who has been resurrected from the dead.
“3… has caused us, through the resurrection of Yeshua the Messiah from the dead, to be born again to a living hope, 4 to an inheritance that cannot decay, spoil or fade, kept safe for you in heaven.”
Because of the resurrection of the Messiah we have a living hope… Because Messiah was resurrected from the dead, we too can be assured of our resurrection through faith in him.
“Yeshua said to Martha, “I AM the Resurrection and the Life! Whoever puts his trust in me will live, even if he dies; and everyone living and trusting in me will never die. Do you believe this?”” (John 11:25–26, CJB)
Maimonides’ 13th principle of Jewish faith says; “I believe by complete faith that there will be a resurrection of the dead at the time that will be pleasing before the Creator, blessed be His name, and the remembrance of Him will be exalted forever and for all eternity.”
We as messianic Jewish and Gentile believers share in this Jewish belief of the resurrection of the dead. The difference for us as messianic believers is that the Messiah has gone ahead of us and because of his resurrection, we are absolutely assured of our resurrection through him.
This changes our attitude to death.
Because of the resurrection, we are assured of a future hope… an inheritance that we will receive as stated in verse 4 “…an inheritance that cannot decay, spoil or fade, kept safe for you in heaven.”
Have you ever received an inheritance?… earthly inheritances are very unreliable… But the inheritance that God has for us is a sure thing…
The Greek word here for inheritance is equivalent to the Hebrew word Nachalah נַחֲלָה used in Deut 26:1.
“Now when you enter the land that Adonai your God is giving you as an inheritance, and you possess it and dwell in it,” (Deuteronomy 26:1, TLV)
Here, the inheritance is referred to as the Land of Israel that is given to the Jewish people as an eternal inheritance that cannot be taken away. But just as the land of Israel is given to Israel as an unconditional promise or gift, so in Yeshua we have an inheritance given to us that can never be taken away.
In fact, Peter says that this inheritance cannot:
“… decay, spoil or fade, [and is] kept safe. This word for kept safe could also be translated as shielded which is a military term.
“5 Meanwhile, through trusting, you are being protected by God’s power for a deliverance ready to be revealed at the Last Time.”
Through trusting or through our faith, we are being protected by God’s power for a future deliverance that will be revealed in the Last Time (end of days or the “Aharit HaYamim”)
For those who keep on trusting, we are promised God’s protecting even in the end of days and whatever those days may include.
What a living hope that we have in Messiah. When we undergo persecution or suffering, we know that God’s power guards us from within, preserving us for an inheritance of salvation that will be completely revealed at Messiah’s return!
A Present Hope (1:6-9)
1 Peter 1:6–9 (CJB)
6 Rejoice in this, even though for a little while you may have to experience grief in various trials. 7 Even gold is tested for genuineness by fire. The purpose of these trials is so that your trust’s genuineness, which is far more valuable than perishable gold, will be judged worthy of praise, glory and honor at the revealing of Yeshua the Messiah. 8 Without having seen him, you love him. Without seeing him now, but trusting in him, you continue to be full of joy that is glorious beyond words. 9 And you are receiving what your trust is aiming at, namely, your deliverance.
Because of these truths, we not only have a future hope, but we also have a present joy and hope even in times of suffering and trial. Our suffering is but “for a season” as the Lord sees it (“if need be”—v. 6); but the glory will be forever.
Rejoice in your suffering?
The Greek word for rejoice means to be extremely joyful or “to exult;” “to be overjoyed,” and refers to the outward expression of joy.
What are the keys for being able to rejoice in suffering?
- We know that it is “for a season.” In the grand scheme of things, in comparison to eternity, life here on earth is short. Our troubles last only for a little while; our hope in Messiah is for ever. Yeshua himself endured the cross and despised the shame because of the joy that was set before him.
- We can rejoice because suffering strengthens our faith. Faith that is not tested, cannot be trusted. If our faith is to endure, it must be purified and stress-tested. Like gold it must pass through the furnace (verse 7). Trials should not surprise us, or cause us to doubt God’s faithfulness. Rather, we should actually be glad for them. Our trials keep us trusting; they burn away our self-confidence and drive us to our Saviour.
- A third reason we can rejoice in suffering is that we know that when Yeshua comes, he will bring far more than an end to suffering; he will bring his reward of blessing. Our suffering is but “for a season” as the Lord sees it (“if need be”—v. 6); but the glory will be forever. And our trials are never forgotten by the Lord; he keeps our tears in his bottle (Ps 56:8). Rabbi Sha’ul says that ‘our light and momentary troubles are achieving for us an eternal glory that far outweighs them all’ (2 Cor 4:17).
- The fourth reason for being able to rejoice in our suffering is that our testimony of the Lord’s faithfulness will bring him glory, praise and honour. A believer’s joy and hope is independent of circumstances and the genuineness of our faith brings praise, glory and honour to the one whose name we bear; Messiah Yeshua.
Israel was called as a nation to give praise to Adonai. The very meaning of the word Jew or Yehudi is related to the hebrew yadah which means to extend your hand in praise.
Our lives, and even our suffering, is to bring praise, glory and honour to the one we love – God.
The way we handle suffering in our lives is a testimony to the Lord’s ability to keep us and bring us through difficult times… This is a great testimony of what God can do through us… (Joni Eareckson Tada).
James 1:2–4 (CJB)
2 Regard it all as joy, my brothers, when you face various kinds of temptations; 3 for you know that the testing of your trust produces perseverance. 4 But let perseverance do its complete work; so that you may be complete and whole, lacking in nothing.
“Without having seen him, you love him. Without seeing him now, but trusting in him, you continue to be full of joy that is glorious beyond words.” (1 Peter 1:8, CJB)
Verse 8 tells us that there is a special blessing and joy that we can experience that the first disciples cannot experience – believing in him even though we haven’t seen him (v.8) … Yeshua said: “Blessed are those who have not seen and yet have believed” (John 20:29).
I love the way that this section ends of in the present tense:
“And you are receiving what your trust is aiming at, namely, your deliverance.” (1 Peter 1:9, CJB)
As believers we can rejoice because we are (present tense) receiving what was promised, namely our salvation, that is the goal, the target (telos) of our faith.
Our salvation has already been won in the past, we have already been given new birth (v.3). Our salvation is also present as we are shielded by God’s power (v.5). Our salvation is also future in that we will receive an inheritance which will be revealed in the last time (v.4,5). Each day is bringing us closer to that final day. Because of this blessed hope that we have, we can rejoice and have “inexpressible
 Wiersbe, W. W. (1992). Wiersbe’s expository outlines on the New Testament (p. 737). Wheaton, IL: Victor Books.
 Fruchtenbaum, A. G. (2005). The Messianic Jewish Epistles: Hebrews, James, First Peter, Second Peter, Jude (1st ed., p. 327). Tustin, CA: Ariel Ministries.
 Wiersbe, W. W. (1992). Wiersbe’s expository outlines on the New Testament (p. 741). Wheaton, IL: Victor Books.