In our first devotional study, Peter led us in praise. I hope your soul has gained a right perspective by returning your mind often to praise. We pondered God’s person. All other reasons for praising him are built upon the foundation of his holy person. He is worthy to be praised simply because of who he is. But now, see how eager Peter is for us to go on and ponder God’s actions.
His next sentence is l o n g . It seems to me that Peter is so eager to get the words out that he won’t even stop for a breath! However, we’ll be stopping often along the way to catch our breath! We’ll sit and rest, taste and savor – my New Testament version of the “Selah” found in the Psalms.
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. First Peter 1:3-5
If you haven’t already, add these next verses to your folded 3×5 card. See Perspectives from First Peter One
According to his great mercy,
Mercy. Great mercy. This is something God has. Mercy, by definition, is the withholding of a punishment that is deserved. What we read next is all possible because, and only because, of God’s mercy, not any merit in the receiver. We are about to hear how God applies his mercy.
Let’s fly over the sentence to pick out the nouns and their modifiers (easy grammar, right?). Your list might look something like this:
great mercy, living hope, resurrection, Jesus Christ, inheritance imperishable undefiled unfading, kept, heaven, God’s power, faith, salvation.
Don’t these words fairly sparkle? They are like diamonds, flashing in the light is we glide over them. They draw our attention to the One responsible for these happy, dancing, superlative words. The One responsible. That would be the One doing the action.
he has caused us to be born again to a living hope…
God does it all. The resources from which God draws his generous mercy all belong to him. He is the source of the resources!
He would soon turn six. Our monthly check had already arrived and there was just enough for the daily basics. But the money didn’t stretch far enough for extras, like cocoa, for his favorite chocolate cake. And, there was no way to buy him a birthday present, either. I was exceedingly concerned (worried is probably more like it.) The day came. No cocoa, no present. So, we got really creative. I had been on a carob kick and had a bit left. Ta-da! Chocolate cake. Grandparents (bless their wonderful hearts) sent presents. We had a little family party. Maybe he never noticed, but I felt keenly the lack of a present from me and his daddy. How could his own parents not get him anything? We bought time. “Instead of just a one-day celebration, we’ll celebrate you every day for a week! It will be birthday week!”, I explained, in hopes that a few extra dollars would show up before the week was over and we could present him with our gift to open. Each day he got some little special treatment – choosing the story to read, alone time with Daddy, going to bed a bit later — you get the idea. Nothing superlative. A bit here, a bit there.
See what God has caused, what he has put into action for your sake! His work is complete, perfect and permanent and satisfies every need we have for mercy. He pours it on his own redeemed people abundantly, without holding back, from his bottomless resources. He’s not limited by any lack of resources to apply his mercy to anyone who asks for it. The effects of his mercy are reality and apply to your every day past, present and future.
Don’t forget to keep your card with you and glance at it often! In between ins and outs of your daily schedule, ponder those nouns and their modifiers. Take each one in turn. Rehearse the definition of each word. Resist the urge to rush on. Let your heart sit awhile to ponder the list of things God’s mercy has made available to you. This is reality that makes a difference – eternally.