Part 1: 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.
Part 2: In this you rejoice, through now for a little while, if necessary, you have been grieved by various trials, so that the tested genuineness of your faith - more precious that 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.
Part 3: 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.
I thought that writing about 1 paragraph per post would be easy, maybe even too short, but this is so dense that I'm not sure. The last three highlighted paragraphs are all one paragraph originally1, I've just split them up to make it easier to write about.
After Peter's greeting (previous post), he starts his letter by praising Father God - the Lord of Lords and King of Kings. Peter says that it is by God's mercy that we have been born again, and that we are able to enjoy a living hope. As soon as Peter says this he begins to explain how, and he uses a chain or reasoning again like he did in his greeting.
I'm going to try and paraphrase in order to make the text less dense and make its meaning more obvious:
Because of God's mercy, we have a hope that is alive and so significant it is as if we have been reborn. Our life is new, reset, fundamentally different.
This is a direct result of Jesus dying and resurrecting.
The living hope seems to be hoping (or trusting) in the inheritance which is promised but not yet received. The inheritance is described as:
- Imperishable - cannot be destroyed.
- Undefiled - cannot be made dirty, less pure, less valuable.
- Unfading - doesn't get old or less good as time passes. It doesn't diminish.
- Kept in heaven for you - deliberately reserved in heaven for you, in particular.
By God's power, you are being guarded until your salvation.
This protection is received via your faith. Protection comes through your faith. Not because of it, or from it, but through it.
The purpose of the protection is to keep you safe until your salvation, which will only be revealed to you in the last time. Your salvation is mysterious, because it hasn't been revealed yet. This last point is itself mysterious.
The tested genuineness of your faith is more precious than gold. Not just the genuineness, integrity, or sincerity of your faith, but the tested sincerity of your faith.
This tested sincerity is more precious than gold. Your faith is contrasted with gold that will eventually decompose - even really high quality gold that is ultra refined. But your tested and sincere faith is more resilient and more valuable than gold.
The process that creates a tested and genuine faith in Jesus is therefore to be appreciated, because of the end result. If you have a living hope of an inheritance through Jesus resurrection, then rejoicing would be a good response even if it is causing you grief and many trials.
The trials and grief will ultimately result in praise and glory and honor during the revelation (revealing?) of Jesus Christ. I'm not sure if this is glory and honor for Jesus, or for the person who has a tested and genuine faith. Maybe both?
I don't know if this passage is instructional or reassuring, or both. I guess it's both at the same time - you should love him, even though you've never seen him. And also, don't feel uneasy about having never seen him. It's unusual to love someone you've never seen, but in this situation it's normal. Don't worry. Grace and peace.
The same goes for inexpressible joy - you're hope in Jesus, his resurrection, and your coming resurrection makes you happy in ways that you didn't expect and can't really articulate or explain - this is ok! It is more than ok - it is evidence of the sincerity and truthiness of your faith and is expected. Believing in someone you've never seen, and loving someone you've never seen is going to result in you obtaining salvation. It's unusual, and different, but don't worry. Grace and peace.
Originally in my English bible. Does the original text even have paragraphs? ↩