The Restored Life
Welcome back friends! I’m very excited to share with you today something the Lord has been teaching me recently. This is a fresh lesson and it has fueled a lot of excitement in me and clarity toward what the Christian life is really all about. I will be really personal today and I hope that’s OK. Maybe in listening to me today, you will get some clarity about your own life.
Today we will be taking a deep dive into 1 Peter 1-2 as that unit of Scripture explains why all of us are dysfunctional and how God chose us and brought us into a new family that is very different than the one we are used to.
1). The Father Chose You
1). The Father Chose You
1 Peter 1:1–2 (NLT)
1 This letter is from Peter, an apostle of Jesus Christ. I am writing to God’s chosen people who are living as foreigners in the provinces of Pontus, Galatia, Cappadocia, Asia, and Bithynia. 2 God the Father knew you and chose you long ago, and his Spirit has made you holy. As a result, you have obeyed him and have been cleansed by the blood of Jesus Christ. May God give you more and more grace and peace.
Peter is writing to “God’s chosen people who are living in exile.” These are Jews who couldn’t go back home to Israel. They were living in a different, unfamiliar, strange place that reminded them that they were not home and they didn’t feel at home.
Even still, they are “God’s chosen people.” Exiles feel like orphans because they are separated from their homeland and family. After a while, they would forget where they came from and probably wrestle with identity issues. “Who am I?” “Where do I come from?” “Why do I exist and where I am I going?” The most important questions are tied to our fathers and how we see them.
Peter wants us to have singular focus on the heavenly Father. He wants us to know 2 things: 1). God knew you, and 2). God chose you.
You are not an accident or an after-thought. God is intentional with you. It might be possible that Peter is remembering Jesus’ words when he said, “even the hairs of your head are all numbered.” (Matthew 10:30, ESV). Not even the most narcissistic person alive knows that about themselves! God cares deeply about us. Secondly, he chose you.
And he chose me, making me holy by the Spirit he has put in me. This means I don’t work for God’s acceptance, but from it. We have a new Father and everything from now on is going to be different.
Peter then prays that God would continue to be kind to us and for life to go well in all our relationships, God and others. This is what grace and peace mean. Paul says it like this:
1 Therefore, since we have been made right in God’s sight by faith, we have peace with God because of what Jesus Christ our Lord has done for us. 2 Because of our faith, Christ has brought us into this place of undeserved privilege where we now stand, and we confidently and joyfully look forward to sharing God’s glory.
2). New Birth
2). New Birth
If we have a new Father, that indicates we have a new birth. Jesus taught that you cannot have one without the other.
5 Jesus replied, “I assure you, no one can enter the Kingdom of God without being born of water and the Spirit. 6 Humans can reproduce only human life, but the Holy Spirit gives birth to spiritual life. 7 So don’t be surprised when I say, ‘You must be born again.’
The water birth is the natural birth. Humans are literally “born of water.” Jesus wants to remind us that we also need to born in the Spirit. This is why it is pointless to baptize children who are not young enough to believe. Your birthday celebrates when you were born of water. Regeneration is when you are born in the Spirit, or born again. So Peter continues:
1 Peter 1:3 (NLT)
3 All praise to God, the Father of our Lord Jesus Christ. It is by his great mercy that we have been born again, because God raised Jesus Christ from the dead.
Peter prays for more grace and peace, and now he’s saying that God’s “great mercy” caused us to be born again. The great mercy, the thing we did not deserve was for Jesus to die for us and give us his life. Our present reality is resurrection. So many Christians live in a state of defeat, but Jesus died so that we might experience the resurrection in our own lives. Peter tells us that “God raised Jesus from the dead.” Paul wants us to know that the resurrection is personal - we have been raised with Christ!
Colossians 3:1 (NLT)
Since you have been raised to new life with Christ, set your sights on the realities of heaven, where Christ sits in the place of honor at God’s right hand.
Ephesians 2:6 (NLT)
He raised us from the dead along with Christ and seated us with him in the heavenly realms because we are united with Christ Jesus.
Colossians 2:12 (NLT)
You were buried with Christ when you were baptized. And with him you were raised to new life because you trusted the mighty power of God, who raised Christ from the dead.
We are totally indebted to God! But what does the new birth look like?
1 Peter 1:3–5 (NLT)
Now we live with great expectation, 4 and we have a priceless inheritance—an inheritance that is kept in heaven for you, pure and undefiled, beyond the reach of change and decay. 5 And through your faith, God is protecting you by his power until you receive this salvation, which is ready to be revealed on the last day for all to see.
The future is very bright! We don’t need to remain stuck in the past. The future doesn’t need to be same dysfunction you are used to. Think to yourself, Who ever told me that my future will be bleak? Why do I believe that? Paul would remind us that nobody will be able to imagine what God has lined up for us (Ephesians 3:20). You might counter with present reality. Life may be sour right now. The Bible is honest about your life. Look at this:
6 So be truly glad. There is wonderful joy ahead, even though you must endure many trials for a little while. 7 These trials will show that your faith is genuine. It is being tested as fire tests and purifies gold—though your faith is far more precious than mere gold. So when your faith remains strong through many trials, it will bring you much praise and glory and honor on the day when Jesus Christ is revealed to the whole world. 8 You love him even though you have never seen him. Though you do not see him now, you trust him; and you rejoice with a glorious, inexpressible joy. 9 The reward for trusting him will be the salvation of your souls.
The “wonderful joy ahead” is directly tied to “the great expectation” (verse 4) that we live with, or our “living hope” (ESV). Our joy is not fragile like happiness. It is not contingent on circumstance. Our joy is tied to a person. His name is Jesus! Because of this hope, we can get through anything in our lives and this is sanctification, or purification as Peter talks about it. Trials are not easy, but when is birth ever easy?
8 You love him even though you have never seen him. Though you do not see him now, you trust him; and you rejoice with a glorious, inexpressible joy. 9 The reward for trusting him will be the salvation of your souls. 10 This salvation was something even the prophets wanted to know more about when they prophesied about this gracious salvation prepared for you. 11 They wondered what time or situation the Spirit of Christ within them was talking about when he told them in advance about Christ’s suffering and his great glory afterward. 12 They were told that their messages were not for themselves, but for you. And now this Good News has been announced to you by those who preached in the power of the Holy Spirit sent from heaven. It is all so wonderful that even the angels are eagerly watching these things happen.
Birth is mysterious. Solomon, the wisest man to ever live said,
5 Just as you cannot understand the path of the wind or the mystery of a tiny baby growing in its mother’s womb, so you cannot understand the activity of God, who does all things.
The most significant of all births and all miracles is the miracle of new birth, the miracle of belief. The reason I say this is mysterious is because Bible-believing Christians have fought over this for ages. Does God save us or do we save ourselves? Does God choose us or do we choose God? Is it some combination of both? Two notable theologians emerge from the pages of history: John Calvin and Jacob Arminius and that’s where we get the two camps from, the Calvinists and the Armenians.
However, I believe if we are going to be biblical Christians, we need to live in the tension of both realities because they are present in many places throughout the New Testament, often in the same passage or verse. Peter makes it clear that God did his part by sending Jesus to pay for our sins. He also points out that you heard the gospel from people who partnered with God to declare the gospel. In other words, God is declaring his gospel and so are the apostles, and they work together. Did God declare the gospel or did people? The answer is yes! That’s why the predestination argument frustrates me. And we also fail to celebrate that God chooses people when we turn this into a soulless theological debate.
God chose you! that’s incredible! Even angels, whom Christ did not die for, were “eagerly watching these things happen.” There is no redemption for angels. Some of them rebelled and they are forever cursed. They are the demons. There is no forgiveness for them. This should give you a privileged perspective into your salvation. We are treated better than angels!
3). New Life
3). New Life
1 Peter 1:13–16 (NLT)
13 So prepare your minds for action and exercise self-control. Put all your hope in the gracious salvation that will come to you when Jesus Christ is revealed to the world. 14 So you must live as God’s obedient children. Don’t slip back into your old ways of living to satisfy your own desires. You didn’t know any better then. 15 But now you must be holy in everything you do, just as God who chose you is holy. 16 For the Scriptures say, “You must be holy because I am holy.”
Peter is now building on what he’s been talking about. We have a new Father and a new birth. Thirdly, he’s given us a new life. What are you going to be like after being born again? Mainly, you’re going to think differently. Our minds are alert and prepared with the truth of who God is and who we are. We are marked by self-control and we are putting all our chips in on Jesus. In a word, we are holy. Holy means different. We no longer pattern the dysfunctional living of our family origins. We mimic God. God is our Father. He is holy. We are trying to be like our Father.
17 And remember that the heavenly Father to whom you pray has no favorites. He will judge or reward you according to what you do. So you must live in reverent fear of him during your time here as “temporary residents.” 18 For you know that God paid a ransom to save you from the empty life you inherited from your ancestors. And it was not paid with mere gold or silver, which lose their value. 19 It was the precious blood of Christ, the sinless, spotless Lamb of God.
Peter mentions that we are praying to God. The ESV renders it as, “if you call on him as Father.” This indicates a personal relationship with God himself where we are expressing our heart to him.
We all need to be saved from the brokenness of our families (vv 9, 21). So let’s talk about generational curses. Whether you believe in that or not, or have a problem with the phrase, we can all agree that there is such a thing as generational sins.
A generational sin is any unrepentant sin that was passed down to the next generation. What is your home like? Is there any grace there? Any room to mess up? What are your traditions? Is dysfunction ritualized? Does your family gossip? What baggage is in your family?
Lots of people today are swobbing their mouths to find out what strand of dysfunction they descend from. All of our families are broken.
I’ve struggled with identity the majority of my life. Who is my dad? Who am I? Lately, the question has been, “Who is God?” I held on to these verses for the past 3 years:
18 knowing that you were ransomed from the futile ways inherited from your forefathers, not with perishable things such as silver or gold, 19 but with the precious blood of Christ, like that of a lamb without blemish or spot.
God tells me in these verses that all our families have “futile ways” we “inherited” from our “forefathers.” I don’t need to get acquainted with my father’s brokenness to deal with the sin in my own life. I’m very aware of all the ways I fall short already.
But this is the best part: I’ve been ransomed (or saved) from all the ways my family didn’t get it right - all the ways my dad didn’t get it right.
Today, what this means is that God is my Father. I didn’t quote it, but verse 17 talks about us calling on God as Father. It means I refuse to be mad at my biological dad. Why continue to hold a grudge against someone who doesn’t know the Father? (I’d argue that if you’re a male and you don’t know God, you won’t understand the most important part of your masculinity. Where are you being taught how to be a father?)
It means that when/if I have children of my own, I can start from scratch learning fatherhood from the perfect Father, instead of being hung up on the earthly one.
21 Through Christ you have come to trust in God. And you have placed your faith and hope in God because he raised Christ from the dead and gave him great glory. 22 You were cleansed from your sins when you obeyed the truth, so now you must show sincere love to each other as brothers and sisters. Love each other deeply with all your heart. 23 For you have been born again, but not to a life that will quickly end. Your new life will last forever because it comes from the eternal, living word of God.
Placing our trust in Christ is how we leave off the empty way of life from our families. The opening phrase is intriguing as we see Calvinistic and Armenian aspects here. Calvinism: we can trust God through Christ. Arminianism: You trust God. Both are true. Christ initiates, but we then need to place our trust in what Christ has already done for us.
“You were cleansed from your sins when you obeyed the truth.” John would point out that God not only forgives us, but cleanses us from sin when we confess (1 John 1:9). Obedience is how we practice living the new life in with our new family with our new Father. The new way of interacting with family is love. “Love each other deeply from your heart.” Loving each other takes practice, and this is how we transform from who we were to who we will be. Holiness is practiced by loving.
1 So get rid of all evil behavior. Be done with all deceit, hypocrisy, jealousy, and all unkind speech. 2 Like newborn babies, you must crave pure spiritual milk so that you will grow into a full experience of salvation. Cry out for this nourishment, 3 now that you have had a taste of the Lord’s kindness.
These are all old traits from our families. Peter says get rid of it, all of it! We don’t need to be dishonest people who live covert lives. We don’t need to be bitter people who can’t stand to see others get ahead. Start from scratch. We are babies who need to “grow into a full experience of salvation.” Not simply intellectual understanding, but experiential as well. As we saw in 1 John, this is moving beyond forgiveness into wholeness.
4). New Family
4). New Family
1 Peter 2:4–5 (NLT)
4 You are coming to Christ, who is the living cornerstone of God’s temple. He was rejected by people, but he was chosen by God for great honor. 5 And you are living stones that God is building into his spiritual temple.
If we are coming to Christ, we are leaving our family. Maybe this is Peter making sense of the radical teachings of Jesus, about leaving everything and not looking back.
28 Then Peter began to speak up. “We’ve given up everything to follow you,” he said. 29 “Yes,” Jesus replied, “and I assure you that everyone who has given up house or brothers or sisters or mother or father or children or property, for my sake and for the Good News, 30 will receive now in return a hundred times as many houses, brothers, sisters, mothers, children, and property—along with persecution. And in the world to come that person will have eternal life.
Luke 14:25–26 (NLT)
25 A large crowd was following Jesus. He turned around and said to them, 26 “If you want to be my disciple, you must, by comparison, hate everyone else—your father and mother, wife and children, brothers and sisters—yes, even your own life. Otherwise, you cannot be my disciple.”
Leaving our family, or having something or someone in our lives that takes priority over family can look like hatred. But what do you do when your family hates God? You must choose. When we are born again, our spiritual family tops the earthly one. Even if you grew up in a godly home like I did, you still will need to choose.
Christ is the living stone and we are living stones. This imagery is temple imagery. We together make up the house of God with Jesus holding us all up. He provides stability as our foundation. Many of our families were not stable.
6 As the Scriptures say, “I am placing a cornerstone in Jerusalem, chosen for great honor, and anyone who trusts in him will never be disgraced.” 7 Yes, you who trust him recognize the honor God has given him. But for those who reject him, “The stone that the builders rejected has now become the cornerstone.” 8 And, “He is the stone that makes people stumble, the rock that makes them fall.” They stumble because they do not obey God’s word, and so they meet the fate that was planned for them.
We trust Jesus to get us to the Father. He is our rock, our foundation. Anyone who rejects Jesus will never get to the Father because they have chosen by their own beliefs to stick with the dysfunction of their family.
9 But you are not like that, for you are a chosen people. You are royal priests, a holy nation, God’s very own possession. As a result, you can show others the goodness of God, for he called you out of the darkness into his wonderful light. 10 “Once you had no identity as a people; now you are God’s people. Once you received no mercy; now you have received God’s mercy.”
These exiles probably felt like orphans as they suffered from a lost sense of identity. But I want you to think about it, we are God’s very own possession. We can show the goodness of God to those around us. This is the result of the new birth! It’s not about us individually, but us together. We are the people of God! Once we we didn’t belong but now we do!
5). Keep Away From The Old Ways
5). Keep Away From The Old Ways
11 Dear friends, I warn you as “temporary residents and foreigners” to keep away from worldly desires that wage war against your very souls. 12 Be careful to live properly among your unbelieving neighbors. Then even if they accuse you of doing wrong, they will see your honorable behavior, and they will give honor to God when he judges the world.
There will always be a pull to our old nature, old life, old family baggage. But we know better now. We are in the fight of our lives! We are to actively resist what feels normal to us because we aren’t nobodies now, we are the people of God!
And when the the people of God live out of their new identity as God’s children, this acts as the visible gospel to a watching world that is hungry for hope, and dare I add, something different, something holy.
Father, thank you that you that just as you raised Jesus from the dead, you have caused us to born again to a living hope. Thank you that our future is not our past. Thank you that you are making us whole, healing us from the wounds of our childhood and our families. Thank you for being our Father. Amen!