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THE FIRST EPISTLE GENERAL OF PETER - Chapter 1 - Verse 3
Which according to his abundant mercy. Marg., as in the Greek, much. The idea is, that there was great mercy shown them in the fact that they were renewed. They had no claim to the favour, and the favour was great. Men are not begotten to the hope of heaven because they have any claim on God, or because it would not be right for him to withhold the favour. See Barnes "Eph 2:4".
Hath begotten us again. The meaning is, that as God is the Author of our life in a natural sense, so he is the Author of our second life by regeneration. The Saviour said, (Joh 3:3,) that "except a man be born again" or begotten again, hennhyh anwyen, he cannot see the kingdom of God." Peter here affirms that that change had occurred in regard to himself and those whom he was addressing. The word used here as a compound (anagennaw) does not elsewhere occur in the New Testament, though it corresponds entirely with the words used by the Saviour in Joh 3:3,5,7.
Perhaps the phrase "begotten again" would be better in each instance where the word occurs, the sense being rather that of being begotten again, than of being born again.
Unto a lively hope. The word lively we now use commonly in the sense of active, animated, quick; the word here used, however, means living, in contradistinction from that which is dead. The hope which they had, had living power. It was not cold, inoperative, dead. It was not a mere form—or a mere speculation—or a mere sentiment; it was that which was vital to their welfare, and which was active and powerful. On the nature of hope, See Barnes "Ro 8:24".
Comp. Eph 2:12.
By the resurrection of Jesus Christ from the dead. The resurrection of the Lord Jesus is the foundation of our hope. It was a confirmation of what he declared as truth when he lived; it was a proof of the doctrine of the immortality of the soul; it was a pledge that all who are united to him will be raised up. See Barnes "1 Co 15:1, seq. See Barnes "2 Ti 1:10"; See Barnes "1 Th 4:14".
On this verse we may remark, that the fact that Christians are chosen to salvation should be a subject of gratitude and praise. Every man should rejoice that any of the race may be saved, and the world should be thankful for every new instance of Divine favour in granting to any one a hope of eternal life. Especially should this be a source of joy to true Christians. Well do they know that if God had not chosen them to salvation, they would have remained as thoughtless as others; if he had had no purpose of mercy towards them, they would never have been saved. Assuredly, if there is anything for which a man should be grateful, it is that God has so loved him as to give him the hope of eternal life; and if he has had an eternal purpose to do this, our gratitude should be proportionably increased.
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