Being Risen With Christ
by PastorErick | 4/18/17, 9:01 AM
1 Peter 1:1-9
1 Peter 1:1-9  Peter, an apostle of Jesus Christ, To those who are elect exiles of the Dispersion in Pontus, Galatia, Cappadocia, Asia, and Bithynia,  according to the foreknowledge of God the Father, in the sanctification of the Spirit, for obedience to Jesus Christ and for sprinkling with his blood. May grace and peace be multiplied to you.  Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ! According to his great mercy, he has caused us to be born again to a living hope through the resurrection of Jesus Christ from the dead,  to an inheritance that is imperishable, undefiled, and unfading, kept in heaven for you,  who by God's power are being guarded through faith for a salvation ready to be revealed in the last time.  In this you rejoice, though now for a little while, if necessary, you have been grieved by various trials,  so that the tested genuineness of your faith—more precious than gold that perishes though it is tested by fire—may be found to result in praise and glory and honor at the revelation of Jesus Christ.  Though you have not seen him, you love him. Though you do not now see him, you believe in him and rejoice with joy that is inexpressible and filled with glory,  obtaining the outcome of your faith, the salvation of your souls. (ESV)
What in the world does it mean to be “born again?” That phrase “born again” has been thrown around a lot and I’m afraid that through so much use the word has lost a lot of its meaning. For some of us, when we hear the phrase we think of something like “holy rollers” or maybe we think of having a spiritual experience of some sort.
So what does the Bible say about being born again? Is there some identifying ways that one can say, “indeed I am born again” and be biblically accurate? Today, as we dig into the first section of the book of 1 Peter we will see 1. How a person is born again 2. The fruit of someone who is born again 3. The reasons a person is born again.
How a Person is born again (vs. 1-3)
I would ask before going any further, “Who is doing the verbs here?” In this text we are told that we are “elected”, “caused to be born again”, “guarded” all according to “His foreknowledge”, and “great mercy.” Who’s doing the verbs?
G-O-D, that’s who. And actually, all three persons of the Godhead. Do you see that in vs. 2?
A person is born again according to God’s great mercy. He has chosen those who are born again or who will be born again before the foundation of the world, on account of Jesus’ life, death and resurrection.
Being raised in a highly individualistic culture amidst Revival meetings and Altar calls, it’s common for us to think that our choice is what causes us to be born again. But, just as babies in the fleshly realm do not choose when they will be procreated or when they will be born, we too do not ultimately choose in the spiritual realm. God is always the Initiator.
In other words, rebirth or regeneration is monergistic, not synergistic. It is done by God and by God alone. A dead man cannot cooperate with his resurrection. Lazarus did not cooperate in his resurrection.
Now where does Scripture say this new life happens? Where are we risen from the dead? Listen to Romans 6: Romans 6: We were buried therefore with him by baptism into death, in order that, just as Christ was raised from the dead by the glory of the Father, we too might walk in newness of life. Sometimes we wonder if we’ve been chosen or elected by God. We wonder if we really are born again. Most of the time we are taught to look to the strength of our faith in Jesus Christ to determine whether we’re really chosen. Now faith in Jesus Christ will most certainly be there if we are chosen, but because our faith can be so uncertain, we have something more objective to look at to determine whether we’re born again, namely baptism. If you were baptized, than the Scriptures say you were buried and risen with Christ.
Now if God has caused someone to be born again, then there will be fruit of the new birth in the person’s life. This is called fruit. Peter lists off four signs that I see in this text that will be natural outpouring from a born again person’s life.
The Fruit of Being born again
Filled with hope (3-5)
What does it mean to have hope in the biblical sense of the word? One writer defines it as a "favorable and confident expectation.” Hope is a favorable and confident expectation of what Peter says in vs. 4 an “inheritance that is imperishable, undefiled, and unfading, kept in heaven for you, who by God’s power are being guarded through faith for a salvation ready to be revealed in the last time.”
A person apart from faith in Jesus Christ has no reason to hope at all, because everything in this world will eventually fall apart. Cars, boats, houses, whatever it is, eventually, it will decay. But the Christian has great reason to hope because there inheritance, their possessions are in heaven and can never spoil or fade.
Peter reminds us this morning that the reason we have hope in this world is because of what Jesus has accomplished for us in His resurrection. He has given us heaven and all of paradise and it cannot be taken away because God has complete control over it: it is “kept in heaven for you, who by God’s power are being guarded through faith for a salvation ready to be revealed in the last time.”
Born Again Christians are joyful (vs.6-7)
Joy is one of the fruits of the spirit and therefore will be evident among those who call on the name of Christ. Now I think it is important to clarify that “joy” does not necessarily mean “happy.”
We rejoice despite persecution and difficulty in life because of our hope in Christ and the heaven that awaits us. We rejoice because we know that whatever we go through serves to strengthen our faith and shapes more into the image of Christ our LORD. When we are born again, our whole way of life is changed because we know that no matter what happens, through Christ we have the victory.
Born Again Christians love the LORD (vs. 8)
Peter says, “Though you have not seen him, you love him.” Yes we do. But when the Scriptures speak of “love” it speaks of something “more than a feeling,” (Yes I too just had the Boston song ring through my head). It is easy to say we love God, but it is quite another thing to love God in such a way that it expresses itself in action.
To love God means being faithful to Him; obeying him; suffering for him if need be; following his commandments and loving our neighbors sacrificially. To love God means loving His word and loving who He reveals himself to be in that word. As Jesus said, “If you love me you will keep my commandments.” (John 14:15)
The greatest commandment in the Scriptures is to “Love the Lord your God with ALL your heart, and ALL your soul, and ALL your mind, and ALL your strength.” We do not love God like that (though we should strive toward it), and for that we need much grace! Nevertheless, if we are born again, we will have some degree of love for the Lord (as tainted, small and cold as it may sometimes be).
Born Again Christians believe in the LORD (vs. 8-9)
This almost goes without saying, but born again Christians believe in the LORD. This goes back to the beginning again, when we stated that those who are chosen will believe, but I wanted to describe what this belief looked like a little more since that is what Peter does.
This is the faith that says, “I believe Jesus lived the perfect life in my place, died the perfect death in my place, and rose from the dead in my place. I put my trust solely in him for my life and salvation.”
I’m reminded of Martin Luther’s Christmas sermon of 1531 from Isaiah 9:6 ( For to us a child is born, to us a son is given….Isaiah 9:6 where he says,
It is not enough that he is “born” to us; he is also “given” to us. What does “given” mean? He is a [pure] gift, a present. There is nothing I have to give or pay in return.
The Results of being Born Again
The Salvation of your souls (vs. 9)
Why does one need to be reborn? Because our "old nature” is in bondage to sin and death. We don’t just need reformation, we need resurrection. We need the crucifying and life giving waters of Baptism to wash over us, so that in God’s sight it is as if we are completely innocent babes, entirely wrapped in the blanket of Christ’s righteousness.
In order for you to inherit the kingdom of God you must be made a new person. You must be declared to be a righteous person. When you are born again, Christ gives you His righteousness and makes you a brand new creation. In the sight of God you are covered in Christ and therefore, you have access to God’s throne just like His Son would. You can and will be saved because you are born again. And this results in…..
Praise and Glory to the name of Jesus Christ (vs. 7)
Grace and Peace,
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