Fountain of Life

Scot McKnight describes 1 Peter 1:3-9 as a “chain reaction” of blessing. Another way pf putting it is to say the fountain of life surges through the opening made by the resurrection of Jesus, flows over into every aspect of our lives now, and carries us into the age to come.

The first of those blessings is a new birth. God knows that we can never make our old lives right, so in his mercy, he has given us new ones. Verse 3: “He has given us new birth into a living hope.”

“Man is born to trouble,” Job said,[1] but he is reborn to glory. This second birth engenders a new kind of life within us, and that life comes with hope pre-installed. The believer in Jesus, whether he is 18 or 81, has hope, and the 81-year-old’s hope is frequently more vibrant than the 18-year-old’s!

Contrast that with Woody Allen, who once said about getting older: “The only thing you can do (because you’re always walking with an abyss right under your feet) is what you did when you were 20 … distract yourself …”

The abyss over which Allen was walking is hopelessness and hopeless people are desperate for distraction. They don’t know how to live without it. For the psalmist, God was an ever-present help in time of trouble. For us, the cell phone and TV are ever-present distractions in time of hopelessness. The more dependent people are on distractions, the more serious is their hope deficiency, which does not bode well for America. And here’s the thing: over time, hopelessness becomes distraction-resistant.

Hopelessness is a spiritual condition that requires a spiritual cure: a new birth, a new life, in which hope is already integrated. The merciful God has given us the cure. “he has given us new birth into a living hope…”

It is not only a living hope that pulses through this new life; it is also a lasting hope. Look at verse 4: It is “into an inheritance that can never perish, spoil or fade.” Peter describes it rhythmically – even musically – in Greek, with each word starting with what’s called an alpha-privitive, which is like our prefix un. It could be translated it, “Un-perishable (if we can put it that way), undefiled and unfading.” F.W. Beare captured it well: “the inheritance is untouched by death, unstained by evil, unimpaired by time.”[2]


[1] Job 5:7

[2] Quote in Scot McKnight, NIV Application Commentary: First Peter, op.cit.

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