Born Again – 1 Peter 1:3-5 ESV, Rob Harlan, Teaching Team

Born Again 1 Peter 1:3-5

Context: We have been parking on some passages in 1 Peter before we rap up this book and reviewing some things before, we move on.  Today, I would like to talk about what we have in Christ in salvation as we look back at how this book opens up, because we know that this book is to the persecuted Church, and Peter wants to remind us what the purpose is.  In the middle of a trial, things can get foggy, and it can become easy to forget what the purpose is.  If there are many things against you, it can be easy to forget what is there still going in your favor, you can forget what you have going FOR you. 

1 Peter 1:3-5 “3 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, 4 to an inheritance that is imperishable, undefiled, and unfading, kept in heaven for you, 5 who by God’s power are being guarded through faith for a salvation ready to be revealed in the last time.””

  1. V 3 “3 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,”
    1. Praise – Peter begins with praising the Lord for what he is about to teach – and that is God’s GREAT mercy.
    2. What is mercy?  It is compassion and God’s covenant love the OT. In the New Testament it has the Idea of compassion and kindness and also idea of not getting a disserved punishment.
      1. Psalm 145:8 “The Lord is gracious and merciful, slow to anger and abounding in steadfast love.”
      2. Heb 4:16 “Let us then with confidence draw near to the throne of grace, that we may receive mercy and find grace to help in time of need.”
    3. What does his mercy Mean in this passage?  It means that He is SO merciful, he has caused us who are saved to be BORN AGAIN.  
    4. He has caused us to be “born again” – anagennao – ana (two), gennao (born) 
    5. What does this mean in the Bible? 
      1. John 3:6 – 8 “That which is born of the flesh is flesh, and that which is born of the Spirit is spirit.[c] 7 Do not marvel that I said to you, ‘You[d] must be born again.’ 8 The wind[e] blows where it wishes, and you hear its sound, but you do not know where it comes from or where it goes. So it is with everyone who is born of the Spirit.” – Jesus is communicating that it is the invisible part of us – our Spirit – that is reborn, not entering in our mother’s wome again. 
      2. Jesus uses a very similar term when he says you must be “born again” but really the term here is gennao anothen where the term can mean “again” or “from above” – both meanings are totally legit and I believe he means BOTH – He goes on to explain that being born again is a Spiritual rebirth, which he calls being “born of the spirit” 
      3. Ephesians explains this perfectly because it starts with the bad news – you don’t care about 100 million dollars unless you understand what is is like to lack money, you don’t care about the cure to cancer unless you know there is a disease that kills millions of people every year called cancer and you don’t care about the new birth unless you understand that you are dead in sin and stand condemned before a holy and righteous God.  
      4. Eph 2:1-5 “And you were dead in the trespasses and sins 2 in which you once walked, following the course of this world, following the prince of the power of the air, the spirit that is now at work in the sons of disobedience— 3 among whom we all once lived in the passions of our flesh, carrying out the desires of the body[a] and the mind, and were by nature children of wrath, like the rest of mankind.[b] 4 But[c] God, being rich in mercy, because of the great love with which he loved us, 5 even when we were dead in our trespasses, made us alive together with Christ—by grace you have been saved,”
      5. What is the new birth?  It is being made alive.  It is new life in Christ.  Everything about your life that was once the distinguishing traits, disobedience has been turned to obedience, passions of the flesh have been turned to passion for God, carrying out of the desires of the body have turned to self-denial and self-control, and instead of a child of wrath you are a Child of GOD.  1 Cor 5:17 “Therefore, if anyone is in Christ, he is a new creation.[b] The old has passed away; behold, the new has come.”
      6. If someone is born, they have a father, if you are born again, you get a NEW father.  What is it like now to have a new father?  We have a new identity.  
        1. Before you are saved, spiritually, you have SATAN as your father.  If you are of your father the devil then you value what he values, selfishness, pride, lying and the like. Also, you know that in your father’s eyes, it is performance that matters. Get out there and make me PROFET.  
        2. But with a heavenly father, when God is your father, you value what he values – selflessness, humility, Love, and the truth.  Get out there and make me proud.  You are his workmanship. 
      7. What it is not.  Using guilt to change our behavior.  It is not trying harder to try not to sin. It is not trying to earn favor with God by trying to be righteous. Isaiah 64:6 says that our righteousness is filthy rags.  
    6. When we are born again we are born INTO a living hope because of the resurrection of Jesus, which has purchased for us this new birth 1 Peter 1:18-19 “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.”
  1. V 4 “4 to an inheritance that is imperishable, undefiled, and unfading, kept in heaven for you,”
    1. When someone dies, they leave and inheritance to those that live on when they pass on their possessions.  Those that receive them did not earn them, but it comes to the recipients through the merits of another.  Like a ruler who is to inherit the thrown of his father, we inherit an eternal inheritance from Christ.
    2. What is this eternal inheritance?  The verse here has a LOT of descriptors – imperishable and etc…
    3. The final inheritance is the marriage, the final consummation, the final unification with Christ and to rule and reign with Christ in perfection worshiping him forever John 17:20 – 23a “20 I do not ask for these only, but also for those who will believe in me through their word, 21 that they may all be one, just as you, Father, are in me, and I in you, that they also may be in us, so that the world may believe that you have sent me. 22 The glory that you have given me I have given to them, that they may be one even as we are one, 23 I in them and you in me, that they may become perfectly one,”
  1. V5 “who by God’s power are being guarded through faith for a salvation ready to be revealed in the last time.”
    1. We are guarded by God – nothing can overcome us! Romans 8:35 “35 Who shall separate us from the love of Christ? Shall tribulation, or distress, or persecution, or famine, or nakedness, or danger, or sword?”
    2. Through faith – that is, through trust in Him and His promises.  2 Peter 1:3-4a “His divine power has granted to us all things that pertain to life and godliness, through the knowledge of him who called us to[c] his own glory and excellence,[d] 4 by which he has granted to us his precious and very great promises…”
    3. So we are kept, maintained, preserved from falling away through knowing him and faith in His promises, for what?  For the SALVATION that will be revealed at the last time.  We have salvation now, but there is an already and a not yet.  


  1. How do we receive this?  
    1. We must recognize that this is a work of God.  This is not something that we earn or a work of our own intelligence.  I believed in this because I would just that into apologetics and you just saw light.  You were just that smart.  
    2. Not an act of the will:  John 1:13 “who were born, not of blood nor of the will of the flesh nor of the will of man, but of God.” My experience with the Lord has shown me that walking an isle does not save you.  
      1. I walked so many isles and wondered why my understanding of the Gospel, though thorough, and my willingness to come forward to receive salvation resulted in NOTHING.  Less than nothing.  If anything, just more sin.  Here in this verse HE has caused us to be born again. It wasn’t until I was totally desperate before God realizing that I could do nothing that the Holy Spirit came and began transforming me. I was only 13, but I knew that I was in BIG trouble. It was in THAT place that God met me in my need. 
    3. This is a GIFT from God Eph 2:8. So if you need your life saved as a gift what do you do?  You ask the person who can save you.  
    4. The two blind men who were on the road, did they have a lot of self-focus and reliance on themselves? They asked and when they didn’t get a response, they cried all the more, and when people told them to be quiet, they cried even louder.   
    5. The opposite of this is the people in Nazareth.  It says that Jesus could not do many miracles there because of their unbelief.  I don’t think that was limiting his power, but just a statement that He couldn’t do the miracles because He had no opportunity – they wouldn’t come to him.  Their attitude was that if they knew Him and his brothers, that he could not be very great.  They were not willing to come to him.  As you see the will is involved but it is willing to come to someone else who can help.
  1. How to then WALK in this New birth?  
  1. It is possible to be born again and not feel like it, act like it, talk like it, and behave in a way that is completely out of character for someone that is saved.  We all bear fruit, or you are not saved, but the Bible speaks of degrees of fruitfulness, and there has been times in my life that I have seen so little fruit that it made me wonder if I was even saved.  
  2. 1 Cor 3:1-3 “But I, brothers,[a] could not address you as spiritual people, but as people of the flesh, as infants in Christ. 2 I fed you with milk, not solid food, for you were not ready for it. And even now you are not yet ready, 3 for you are still of the flesh. For while there is jealousy and strife among you, are you not of the flesh and behaving only in a human way?”
  3. Many look at their lives and they see doubt instead of faith, fear instead of peace, a feeling of worthlessness instead of the value we have in Christ, emptiness instead of fulfillment, they see fatigue instead of energy, they see depression instead of joy, they see lust instead of contentment, and they see selfishness instead of love.  In short, instead of victory over sin, they are defeated before sin and find that they seem to have no strength to fight it.  People like this are always claiming verses like Romans 7 and then bosting in their ability to sin and still be forgiven and calling that faith and we all wonder, are things supposed to be like this?  Are we missing something?  If you have a doctrine without power?  You probably have the wrong doctrine. 
  4. I want to encourage you that if that is you, that God has promises for you and they include the power to over come sin. The problem is that some people become so discouraged that they no longer believe that, and if the we live by faith and we start to loose faith, we find ourselves in a downward spiral. 
  5. Gal 2:20 “I have been crucified with Christ. It is no longer I who live, but Christ who lives in me. And the life I now live in the flesh I live by faith in the Son of God, who loved me and gave himself for me.”
  6. 2 Peter 1:3-5 “3 His divine power has granted to us all things that pertain to life and godliness, through the knowledge of him who called us to[c] his own glory and excellence,[d] 4 by which he has granted to us his precious and very great promises, so that through them you may become partakers of the divine nature, having escaped from the corruption that is in the world because of sinful desire.”