Regenerated to a living hope

by Mike Ratliff

3 Εὐλογητὸς ὁ θεὸς καὶ πατὴρ τοῦ κυρίου ἡμῶν Ἰησοῦ Χριστοῦ, ὁ κατὰ τὸ πολὺ αὐτοῦ ἔλεος ἀναγεννήσας ἡμᾶς εἰς ἐλπίδα ζῶσαν διʼ ἀναστάσεως Ἰησοῦ Χριστοῦ ἐκ νεκρῶν, 4 εἰς κληρονομίαν ἄφθαρτον καὶ ἀμίαντον καὶ ἀμάραντον, τετηρημένην ἐν οὐρανοῖς εἰς ὑμᾶς 5 τοὺς ἐν δυνάμει θεοῦ φρουρουμένους διὰ πίστεως εἰς σωτηρίαν ἑτοίμην ἀποκαλυφθῆναι ἐν καιρῷ ἐσχάτῳ. 1 Peter 1:3-5 (NA28)

3 Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, who according to His great mercy having regenerated us to a living hope through the resurrection of Jesus Christ from the dead, 4 to an inheritance that is imperishable and undefiled and unfading, having been kept in heaven for you, 5 who are protected by the power of God being guarded through faith for a salvation ready to be revealed in the last time. 1 Peter 1:3-5 (translated from the NA28 Greek text)

The first chapter of 1 Peter is extremely pastoral. If there is anything the sheep in our time desperately need in great measure it is spirit-led shepherds (pastors) who are bound to the Word of God who obey Him in the pastoring of their flocks as our Lord commands. It is tragic that so many of those the world sees in our time that claim to be Christian leaders do not in any way shape or form meet that criteria. No, instead they are celebrities or they are apostates or heretics on the way to being apostates. God has his church, ἐκκλησία (ekklēsia), and he will continue to build it and no power can destroy it (Matthew 16:18), however, we are warned throughout the New Testament that wolves in sheep’s clothing, false teachers and prophets would come in to the church and lead many astray. This has continued until this day.

The passage I translated above, 1 Peter 1:3-5, should be a joyous one for the believer. It is for me. However, over the decades of me teaching and writing and ministering I have yet to present the facts of this passage without ‘offending’  someone. In my translation I used the words plain meanings rather than the normal, easier flowing words in those hard points on contention. If we take the plain meaning of text and do not try to bend it to fit into man-made doctrines or our denomination’s list of beliefs, et cetera then we are allowing the Word of God to speak to our hearts as it is intended. When we do this then we become living sacrifices in the hands of God and He, in return, transforms us through the renewing of our minds (Romans 12:1-2). My brethren, this is how we hear what God has to say.

Now with that in mind, drop you pretenses. Forget for a moment your objections to certain doctrines or whatever, and listen to what God is telling us through the the Apostle Peter who was a shepherd or pastor like Paul.

In v3 Peter begins with a praise of our God who is the Father of our Lord Jesus Christ. Yes, I begin each day in my prayer time like this. What did the Father of our Lord do? According to His great mercy He regenerated us to a living hope through the resurrection of Jesus Christ from the dead…  Your modern translation will say something like, “has caused us to be born again…” The word in question here is the ἀναγεννήσας (anagennēsas). It is the aorist active participle, nominative singular masculine case of ἀναγεννάω (anagennaō), which literally means, “cause to be born again”. It means to be “born anew” or to be “born again” or to be “begotten again.” Yes, our regeneration is the same thing as our new birth. When Jesus told Nicodemas in John 3:3, “Truly, truly, I say to you, unless one is born again he cannot see the kingdom of God“, this is what He was talking about.

What is the difference between those who are regenerated and those who are not? In this passage we see that those whom God has had mercy upon have a living hope in Jesus Christ through His resurrection from the dead. That means all in Christ have no fear of eternal death, but, instead, have eternal life! That includes an inheritance that is imperishable and undefiled and unfading, having been kept in heaven for you, who are protected by the power of God being guarded through faith for a salvation ready to be revealed in the last time. 

Unbelievers and “religious unregenerate christians” hate this sort of teaching because it is not about them. Those who are religious, but are all about their works and what they have done to earn their place in heaven do not have the living hope that the regenerate do. Some of the meanest opponents to what I do here on this blog are former professing Christians who fell away because they were not genuine. These apostates are unreachable. Their hearts are hard and they hate God and his truth and they hate everything we stand for, which makes me wonder at the New Evangelism guys and the emergents who really are little different from the old “liberal christians” who were simply religious apostates.

The difference between genuine Christians and phony christians is regeneration. Those in Christ are His by grace through faith and that faith came as a gift through regeneration. Being religious in a church is not the same thing nor a substitute for it in any way.

If your heart is pricked about this message I contend that the Holy Spirit is drawing you to believe. That means that you are like Nicodemas. You are being called to believe and your faith is ready for you to believe on Jesus. Let me know if you need help with this in any way.

Soli Deo Gloria!

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