(3) Praise be to the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ! In his great mercy he has given us new birth into a living hope through the resurrection of Jesus Christ from the dead,
(4) and into an inheritance that can never perish, spoil or fade. This inheritance is kept in heaven for you.
1 Peter 1:3–4, NIV
Lord our God, remind us again and again of what you have done in our hearts and lives to make us certain of the resurrection. Help us to live in this certainty and to hold fast to everything good and great which you bring into our lives. Grant us the assurance that we are gaining ground in the battle for the redemption of those who are still in darkness and in the shadow of death. May we find joy in what we have here and now. Give us patience in our struggles. Give us hope for all that has gone wrong, because even what is in darkness is still in your hands. In the end everything must be brought to the light so that all humankind may glorify your great name. Amen.
The context of the words of 1 Peter 1:3–4, NIV
1 Peter 1:3–12 is one of the most loved passages in all of Scripture. It begins as a blessing to God, but also describes how incredibly He has blessed us in Christ. Because Jesus has risen from the dead, our hope is not a wish—it is as alive as He is. Our inheritance as God’s children is eternal, full of glory, and secured forever. Even in our suffering, we have every reason to rejoice. The mystery of God’s plan has been revealed to us in Christ. We are being saved!
Peter, the apostle of Jesus, writes a letter to Christians facing persecution to comfort them with the truth of who they are in Christ—children of God with every reason to rejoice in their salvation and future glory in eternity. Next, he urges them to live like the holy ones of God they already are by obeying God now, loving each other earnestly, and placing all of their hope in the endless life to come.
Meaning of the words
"Praise be to the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ! In his great mercy he has given us new birth into a living hope through the resurrection of Jesus Christ from the dead"
Peter shows us an appropriate response to God's great mercy to us: praise. Specifically, he blesses God the Father of our Lord Jesus Christ. God is one being, in three persons. Peter's letter will reveal some of the distinctions between Father, Son, and Holy Spirit. In this case, he praises the Father while acknowledging Christ as our Lord.
Peter blesses God for His mercy. As we have seen already in verse 2, God has chosen us, sanctifies us, and gives us great purpose. All of this happens without our ever needing to earn any recognition from Him. This is "grace," which is when someone gives something positive the other person does not deserve. "Mercy" is when someone withholds a negative consequence another deserves.
Instead of the punishment we deserve, God gave us something we could never have purchased or earned: He caused us to be born again. This is the very thing Jesus told Nicodemus must happen for anyone to see the kingdom of God (John 3). Specifically, God caused us to be born again into a living hope, through the resurrection of Jesus from the dead.
It's one thing to hope we will be saved, to yearn for life after death. Jesus proved that this hope is not a fantasy. He died, then showed Himself alive to many witnesses. Our faith is not a wish for a better world. The reason for our hope in an eternity with the Father is that our Lord is alive. Because He lives, those who believe in Him will also be resurrected.
Bless God for His great mercy!
"And into an inheritance that can never perish, spoil or fade. This inheritance is kept in heaven for you"
In verse 3, Peter revealed that we are born again to a living hope. Now he continues, explaining that we are also born again to an inheritance. How can we have an inheritance? Because, in Christ, we have become heirs of God's endless fortunes. How can we possibly be heirs of God? Because, in Christ, we have become God's own children. Incredible!
In Romans 8:15–16, Paul says that we "have received the Spirit of adoption," and that we cry, "Abba! Father!" "Abba" is a term of endearment, much like calling someone "Dad," or even "Daddy." It's a reflection of the warmth and closeness we can have with God. It's this spirit that makes us heirs of God and co-heirs with Christ Himself.
The Christians Peter was writing to were experiencing heavy persecution for their faith in Christ. They were suffering. We all suffer. One of the ways that we suffer is that we have very little of value in this world. What we do have—what we earn or what our parents and grandparents may leave to us—can easily be lost or taken away.
But as children of God, our inheritance can never be lost. It is ours now and ours forever. It is imperishable (can't die), undefiled (can't become corrupted or broken), and unfading (can never lose its value). Our forever inheritance of limitless worth is being kept—right this minute—in heaven for us.