The New World Of the New Birth
January 9th, 1983 @ 7:30 PM
1 Peter 1:1-5
THE NEW WORLD OF THE NEW BIRTH
Dr. W. A. Criswell
1 Peter 1:1-5
1-9-83 7:30 p.m.
Welcome, the great throngs of you that are sharing this hour with us on radio. This is the First Baptist Church in Dallas. And this is the pastor of the church, bringing the message. And the outline of the sermon is on the last page of your Sunday Reminder, The New World of the New Birth.
And we are going to try something tonight and just see how we fare with it. There are three basic ways to preach. One is a homily. The word homiletics comes from it, a homily. A homily is when a pastor, a preacher, takes the Scriptures and follows it and discusses it, verse at a time, one after another. That is a homily.
Another basic presentation of the gospel message can be found in an exposition, an expository sermon. An expository sermon, an exposition, is taking a passage of Scripture and expounding it. What does God say and what is its meaning for us? Like a paragraph or a chapter or two or three chapters, a larger section of the Scripture, that is an exposition.
Now there’s another way of presenting the message of God, and that is exegetical. Exegesis is taking the words of the Scripture—and if you believe in the inerrancy and the infallibility of the Holy Scriptures, you believe that the Word is inspired of God [2 Timothy 3:16]—an exegetical sermon—exegesis is taking the Word itself and presenting what that Word means: what God has said to us in the Word, an exegesis, an exegetical message.
Now it will be very rare, very rare, that I will ever prepare an exegetical sermon. Practically every message that I deliver is expository. It takes a section of the Scriptures and expounds the meaning that God has in it for us. But tonight, I thought, since we are studying the epistles of Peter, I thought tonight I would present an exegetical message and just see how it blessed our hearts. Now to do it, we’re going to have to have a Bible, because we’re going to look at those words, and we’re going to see what God says, the exact words of the Lord.
Now if you didn’t bring your Bible, in the pew rack, back of you, you’ll find Bibles. Isn’t that right? Aren’t some of them back there? And you who don’t have a Bible, why, in either the pew rack in front of you or behind, get a Bible. Let’s everyone get a Bible, and then we can follow the exegesis right verse after verse.
Now we’re going to read together out loud, 1 Peter 1:1-5; 1 Peter, chapter 1, the first 5 verses—do we have it? Now let’s all read it out loud together; 1 Peter, chapter 1, verses 1-5, together:
Peter, an apostle of Jesus Christ, to the strangers scattered throughout Pontus, Galatia, Cappadocia, Asia, and Bithynia.
Elect according to the foreknowledge of God the Father, through sanctification of the Spirit, unto obedience and sprinkling of the blood of Jesus Christ: Grace unto you, and peace, be multiplied.
Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, which according to His abundant mercy hath begotten us again into a living hope by the resurrection of Jesus Christ from the dead,
To an inheritance incorruptible, and undefiled, and that fadeth not away, reserved in heaven for you,
Who are kept by the power of God through faith unto salvation ready to be revealed in the last time.
[1 Peter 1:1-5]
Now the exegesis: Peter writes to the parēpidemos, parēpidemos—to the people alongside, translated here, in our Bible: “To the strangers” [1 Peter 1:1], or the pilgrims or the sojourners, in those provinces in Asia Minor. He refers to us as “a people alongside”—parépidemos. That is, we are in the world, but we are not of it. We are people alongside, separated and different. We are not to withdraw out of the world or from the world. We are in the world, witnessing to the world, but we’re not a part of it. We are a parépidemos, a people alongside.
He also refers to us as the diaspora [1 Peter 1:1]. Almost every time you read that word in literature, it refers to the Jewish people who are scattered among the Gentiles: the Diaspora. But here Simon Peter uses it to refer to Jews and Gentiles alike. We are a part of the Diaspora of God. We are the children of God, scattered among the cities and provinces of the world [1 Peter 1:1].
Now Simon Peter is well qualified to write to us. It’s been thirty years since the resurrection of our Lord from the dead. He has been a faithful teacher and preacher in all things. And John Mark is his amanuensis. And he has caused the Second Gospel in our Bible to be written. And he has visited the churches and he knows the people. And he writes to them as their friend and elder and apostle.
Do you notice now, in verse 2 that he believes in the Trinity and he names it: “the foreknowledge of God the Father, the sanctification of the Spirit, and the blood of Jesus Christ”? [1 Peter 1:2]. Do you see also that he believed in election and in the foreknowledge of God: “They are elect according to the foreknowledge of God”? [1 Peter 1:2].
I don’t care who the man is, whether he’s an Armenian or not—election and predestination and foreknowledge are prerogatives of Almighty God. He sees the end from the beginning, and He chooses in human history. Why, someday, we’ll understand, but the elective purpose of God is being worked out in human life, and among the nations of the world, and is one of the great basic doctrines of the Holy Scriptures.
Do you notice the beautiful salutation that he has? A Greek Christian greeting: charis, translated “grace,” and a Hebrew greeting: shalom, “peace” [1 Peter 1:2].
Then he speaks of our new faith: “The God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, according to His abundant mercy hath begotten us again” [1 Peter 1:3]; anagennaō. Gennaō is the word for “to be born, to give birth to.” And ana is the preposition “again.” So, he speaks of us who have found refuge in Christ as having been born again in Jesus, our Lord. And he’s the only one that uses that anagennaō; Simon Peter.
And he says, “We were born according to the mercy of God” [1 Peter 1:3]. Now that is a reflection of what Paul would say: “Not by works of righteousness which we have done, but according to His mercy He saved us, by the washing of regeneration, and the renewing of the Holy Spirit” [Titus 3:5].
In our first birth—and, he speaks of an anagennaō, a second birth, being born again [1 Peter 1:3]—in our first birth, we were born with gifts. I have a gift from God of this physical body. The Lord made it, gave it to me. I was born with a soul. He breathed into my physical frame the breath of life [Genesis 2:7]. And when I came into the world, I came with some gift, some talent. The gift of language: I learned to speak English. We have learned to speak. Animals don’t speak. We do. We have other gifts and they differ. We were born into this world with gifts. That’s our first birth.
But in our anagennaō, in our second birth, we are born into gifts [1 Peter 1:3-5]. In the inheritances that we have in the new world, and that’s the reason for the title of this sermon, The New World of the New Birth, when we’re born again, we’re born into gifts in this new world, in the kingdom of God. And Simon Peter names four of those marvelous gifts into which we are born, when we come into the kingdom of our Lord [1 Peter 1:3-5].
So the first one is, our new world is filled with a living hope. We are born into a living hope. The third verse: “He hath begotten us again unto a living hope by the resurrection of Jesus Christ from the dead” [1 Peter 1:3].
Now that arises out of the personal experience of Simon Peter. Simon Peter, like the rest of the apostles, in the ministry in the days of the flesh of our Lord, Simon Peter looked forward to an earthly kingdom. And he was going to be a prime minister into this marvelous empire of our Lord. All of the disciples believed that, and Simon Peter believed that. He was going to sit, maybe, on the right hand of the Lord, maybe John on the left hand. And they were going to rule the whole world. Their idea of the kingdom of heaven was an earthly kingdom, but the crucifixion dashed that hope to the ground. And when Simon Peter saw Jesus die, every hope that he had in his heart died with Him, dashed to the ground.
Can you imagine therefore the transfiguration, the new hope, the new life, the new vision that arose in the heart and soul of this apostle when the angel announced, “He is not here: He is risen from the dead . . . and He goes before you into Galilee: there shall you see Him” [Matthew 28:6-8].
Now I want to show you something. Mark, I mentioned a while ago, was the amanuensis of Simon Peter. He was Simon Peter’s secretary. He worked closely with the great apostle. Now, when Mark writes that glorious announcement of the angel, this is what he says the angel avows. Mark 16:7: “And go your way, tell His disciples and Peter that He will meet you in Galilee.”
Mark is the only one that writes that: “and Peter.”
What that must have meant to Simon Peter is beyond our entering into because we’ve never experienced such a tremendous nadir and zenith as Peter experienced when he saw Jesus die. And every hope died with him. And then the announcement: “He is alive” [Mark 16:6], and Simon Peter having denied Him [Mark 14:66-72], Jesus said, “You tell the disciples and Peter” [Mark 16:7]. What a marvelous thing!
That, he describes as “a living hope in the resurrection of Christ from the dead” [1 Peter 1:3]. Now that also is the personal experience of every regenerated man. We are born into that living hope. The unregenerated, unsaved man has no such outlook, no such hope, no such vision, no such persuasion, no such joy in prospect. The unregenerated man, the Bible says, is “dead in trespasses and in sins. He is without God and without hope in the world” [Ephesians 2:1, 12]. That’s what the Bible says about the unregenerated man. And when you see humanity, you can see an affirmation of that in all of the stories of human life.
Let me give you an example. In the city of Dallas, the president of the United States, John Kennedy, was slain. After all of the many, many commissions that have studied that murder, they have all come to the same conclusion. There was one man who did it, and his name was Lee Harvey Oswald. His mother said of Lee Harvey Oswald, “He was such a good boy.” That’s what his own mother said about him.
Or take again, the professors of Heidelberg University said of [Joseph] Goebbels, who was the right-hand minister of Adolf Hitler, and who led that entire propaganda of media that built the Third Reich, the professors of Heidelberg University remarked upon the splendid character of [Joseph] Goebbels, as he won his Ph.D. degree from the university. It is almost unthinkable, the depths of degradation in the plain, common human character.
Let me just take one other: this man Adolf Eichmann. Do you remember the search of the whole Jewish world for that man? He had slain, under Adolf Hitler, uncounted thousands and thousands and hundreds of thousands of Jews. Adolf Eichmann: they finally found him in Buenos Aires, Argentina. And the people of Argentina said he was their model citizen!
The depths of sin in the human life are immeasurable. It’s like Jeremiah said in 17:9, “The heart is deceitful above all things, and desperately wicked: who can know it?” [Jeremiah 17:9]. Or as the translator puts that in one of them, “Who can change it?”
It is unthinkable what human beings are capable of who are unregenerated. And that’s why the apostle says, “O, the wretched man that I am! who shall deliver me from this body of death?” [Romans 7:24]. And then his triumphant word: “I thank God through Jesus Christ my Lord” [Romans 7:25].
Now that is what Simon Peter is talking about: “A living hope in the resurrection of Jesus Christ from the dead” [1 Peter 1:3]. We, who were lost and dead in trespasses and in sins [Ephesians 2:1], and plunged into infinite despair in our own weakness—we have been raised to a living hope in our living Lord [1 Peter 1:3]. That’s what baptism pictures. We are dead with our Lord and buried. And we are raised with our Lord in new and resurrected life [Romans 6:3-5].
That is the first gift of the Holy Spirit when we are saved. We are changed. We are born again. We are a new people. We have a living hope in the resurrection of Jesus from the dead, the new world of the new birth [1 Peter 1:3].
All right, now the second gift into which we are born when we are saved: our new world brings us an incorruptible inheritance. In the fourth verse, the next verse: “We are begotten again to an inheritance incorruptible, and undefiled, and that fadeth not away, reserved in heaven for you” [1 Peter 1:3-4]. This is a matchless revelation from God to His children, an inheritance—kleronomia, kleronomia—a sanction-settled possession, the inherited paternal estate already up there in our name.
In Romans 8:17, Paul writes, the believer is called a kleronomos—a kleronomos: “If children of God, then a kleronomos—kleronomos of God and joint kleronomos with Christ.” Kleronomia: a settled inheritance that we receive from our Father in heaven. Then, he describes that kleronomos, the inheritance that we have in the world to come, and he does it with a series of alpha privatives.
Now you’ve heard me explain that several times. In the Greek, when they wanted to deny a thing, to negate it, they put an alpha—an “a”—an alpha in front of it. Like, the word for God would be theos. And put an “a” in front of it, atheos is a denial of God. He’s an atheist. The Greek word for knowledge is gnōsis. And you put an “a” in front of it: agnōsis. He doesn’t know. He’s an agnostic. Now that’s what Simon Peter has done here with a series of alpha privatives. He calls this inheritance aphthartos: “not corruptible, not perishable” [1 Peter 1:4].
Our Lord said, “Lay not up for yourself treasures on earth, where moth and rust doth corrupt” . . . phthartos—”But lay up for yourself treasures in heaven, where moth and rust doth not corrupt”. . . aphthartos—“thieves do not break through and steal” [Matthew 6:19-20]. So this inheritance that we have in heaven is not perishable [1 Peter 1:4]. Nobody can deny us of it. It is ours. It’s amarantas. That’s “a privative” again. It is without defect. There’s no flaw in the title. It is not sullied by sin or misery. And it is amarantas: unfading, unwithered [1 Peter 1:4].
Now we have a word like that. “Amaranth” is a poetic word, referring to a flower that is everlasting and unfading. And the adjectival form of “amaranthine” is our word for everlasting and unfading. This reserved in heaven for our inheritance is “amaranthine”—amarantas, it never fades. It is forever and forever [1 Peter 1:4].
And then he says it is up there tereō—the word “to keep, to hold firmly.” It is in God’s unchanging hands. It is what God has prepared for us, and it is ours forever, and no one can take it from God’s hands or deny us that inheritance [1 Peter 1:4].
There was a pastor, godly man, in London, who was visiting in one of those awful tenements in a section of the slums. And the pastor was in a dirty, dirty place where lay a poor, dying man. And so despicable and so impossible was the poverty there and the starvation there and the want there and the need there and the lack there that, unconsciously, he said under his breath—just unconsciously, “Oh, I’m so sorry for you, my poor man.” He didn’t mean for the man to hear it. In such squalor and such poverty, he just unconsciously made the explanation kind of under his breath: “I’m so sorry for you, my dear man.”
And the dying man overheard him and said, “Sir, you’re sorry for me. Think of my heavenly prospects.”
That’s the Christian. May be starving to death here; that doesn’t matter. May be poor; that doesn’t matter. May lack everything, don’t have anything here; that doesn’t matter. “I’m a child of the King, and we are rich! Our inheritance in heaven is ours, incorruptible, undefiled, amaranthine, and it will never fade away” [1 Peter 1:4]. That’s what Simon Peter says.
Now, the third gift into which we are born again: our new world promises us eternal security. How do you know you’re going to get there? How do you know you’re going to possess it? Maybe we’ll fall into hell between here and that time. He says in the next verse, 1 Peter 1:5: “We who are kept by the power of God”—phroureō, phroureō.
Now that’s a present participle in the Greek here, which signifies continuous action. It’s now and forever. It doesn’t stop.
Now, phroureō is built upon a military term which means to garrison, to keep safe with a garrison. It’s an old verb from phroura which is a word for a sentinel, a man who stands guard, and phroureō is built on that. We are here in enemy territory. We are. This world is no friend of grace. And our inheritance is over there; not here, but there [1 Peter 1:4].
We’re laid siege to by Caesar. Every kind of a trial and temptation is around us. Now shall we fail of our inheritance because it’s over there, it’s not here? That’s why he says we are kept, phroureō, guarded, garrisoned by the promise of God. It is He, it is God, who keeps us here, and who keeps safely our inheritance there [1 Peter 1:5].
Peter wrote this at the beginning of the awful persecution of the Christians in the Roman Empire. Nero had just blamed the Christians in Rome for the burning of the city. And the cry of Rome was “The Christians to the lions! The Christians to the lions!” And immediately the provinces picked it up. And he is speaking to those in those five provinces of Asia Minor who are suffering those fiery trials that he describes in the following verses. So he says, “You are in heaviness through manifold temptations” [1 Peter 1:6]. Lupeō, translated here “heaviness” [1 Peter 1:6], is the word for “to be grieved, to be saddened.” Lupē is the word for grief, for sadness.
And he says that we are in that grief and sadness because of the peirasmos. Now that is the Greek word for a bad temptation, a temptation to evil. Satan is referred to as a peirazōn. He tempts to evil. And the tragedy of their lives, the sorrow of it, comes out of the evil day in which they lived.
Now in the next verse he speaks of a trial that is good: “That the trial of your faith, more precious than gold . . . might be found. . .to the glory of Christ”; dokimion. The first peirasmos is a trial to evil, but the dokimion is a trial of character and speaks of strength and of victory [1 Peter 1:7]. We’re in a fiery trial, but God keeps us; and we are finding our property confiscated [Hebrews 10:34], but our inheritance is over there and nobody can confiscate that [1 Peter 1:4]. That’s what he writes to those precious people of the Diaspora in Asia Minor.
Now the last: we are born into a new world in a gift that’s to be fully realized at the end of the age when Jesus comes again. First Peter 1:5, the next verse: “We are born into a salvation ready to be revealed in the last time.”
Dear people, you will never, we will never understand the biblical use of that word “salvation,” if we don’t understand this. Now listen: this is vital for us because, when we read the Bible, all three of these states of salvation will be referred to. Sometimes it will be that, sometimes the other one, but there are three different stages.
Number one: the first stage of salvation. The first state of salvation refers to our deliverance from the wrath and judgment of God upon our sins. How do we know we’re not going to fall into hell? How do we know we’re going to stand at the great judgment day of Almighty God? How do we know that we are going to be delivered from the condemnation of evil?
Now that is our first state of salvation. When we accept Christ as our Savior [Acts 16:30-31], He delivers us from the judgment of sin [1 John 4:10; 2 Corinthians 5:21]. I don’t have to worry anymore about the day when I stand before God [Romans 14:10], because He is going to stand for me [Hebrews 7:25]. He is my great Mediator and Intercessor and Counselor. Isn’t that what you sing? A “wonderful Counselor” [Isaiah 9:6]. He is our lawyer. He is our mediator. He is our representative. Jesus is. And He is going to deliver us from the judgment of sin [1 Thessalonians 1:10]. He has paid the penalty of our sin with His own blood [Hebrews 9:12]. Now that’s the first state of salvation, when we accept Jesus [Acts 16:31].
All right, there’s a second state of salvation, and that is: the Holy Spirit comes into our hearts and He remakes us and He gives us power and glory and joy and happiness in our present life. It’s like that wonderful verse of the apostle Paul, in 2 Corinthians 5:17: “If any man be in Christ, he is a new creation . . . all things are become new.” That’s the second state of our salvation. We have Jesus in our hearts now and we have victory now [1 Corinthians 15:57]. And we have the love of God in our souls now. And we praise His name now and we sing and we glorify His name and worship and adore Him. That’s the second stage of our salvation: right now, praising God and the Holy Spirit, having made us new people.
Now there’s a third one, and that is yet to be. There’s a third state of our salvation, and that is when Jesus is apokaluptō, when He is revealed, when He comes again. And those are the words that Simon Peter uses here: It is “salvation ready to be apokaluptō at the last time” [1 Peter 1:5]. Apokaluptō means to unveil, to uncover. Apokalupsis is the Greek word for unveiling, and the Revelation begins with that word [Revelation 1:1]. When you pick up a Greek New Testament and turn to the Apocalypse, to the Revelation, that’s the first word you’ll see, apokalupsis: the unveiling of Jesus Christ, now hidden away; we don’t see Him personally. Up there with God in heaven, veiled over by—you just name it: the sky, the clouds, the world, the flesh, the weaknesses of sin; oh, how many things veil our Lord from us!
But someday, someday, He is personally going to appear unveiled—apokalupsis, the unveiling of Jesus Christ—“and we shall see Him as He is” [1 John 3:2], our glorious and wonderful Lord.
Oh, that hour, that home, that day of the soul!
In my visions and dreams
Its bright, jasper walls I can see;
Till I fancy but thinly the veil intervenes
Between that fair city and me.
[from “Home of the Soul,” Ellen M. H. Gates]
The unveiling, the apokalupsis of Jesus Christ [Revelation1:1].
And that is the fourth promise and the fourth gift into which we are born, in a salvation to be revealed at the end of the age, at the last time [1 Peter 1:5]. My sweet people, it’s a wonderful thing to be a Christian, to love God.
Well now, that is an exegetical sermon. How’d you like it? How’d you like it? Ah, bless your hearts! Bless your hearts. Taking the words, what He meant by them, and what God meant by them; there is not anything in this earth that we could give our children comparable to the faith in our Lord, nothing. And there’s not anything that we can possess personally comparable to loving the Lord Jesus, nothing. Whatever it is we were born with into this world we leave behind, this body. My members, anything I possess, all of it we leave behind. Our inheritance is over there [1 Peter 1:4]; our home is over there [John 14:2-3]. By and by, if we live long enough, every friend that we know will be over there. Everyone you love will be over there. If you live long enough, you will be a stranger in this earth, alone.
Our inheritance is not here, it’s there [1 Peter 1:4]. That’s what Simon Peter is saying. And we’re to look up and to lift up our heads, for our Savior is over there, and the day is coming when He will be unveiled, and we’ll see Him [1 John 3:2], be a joint heir [Romans 8:17], kleronomos, with Him. O Lord, it is wonderful to be a Christian, to love Jesus.
And that’s our invitation to you tonight. “Pastor, we’ve decided, and we’re on the way. My wife, my children, we all of us are coming tonight.” Or, “This is my wife, my friend, the two of us are coming tonight.” Or just you, “God has spoken to me, and I’m on the way” [Romans 10:8-13]. If you are in the balcony there is time and to spare, come. In the throng on this lower floor, down one of these aisles and to us here, “Pastor, we have decided and we’re on the way.” Do it. May ten thousand angels attend you as you come.
Let’s stand and pray. Our Lord, when we recount all of the good things, the wonderful things God hath prepared for those who love Him [1 Corinthians 2:9], our hearts overflow, oh, the abounding goodness of God, delivering us from the judgment and wrath of God upon our sins [1 Thessalonians 1:10], delivering us from the misery and the fire and the damnation of hell [John 3:16], and lifting us up in a living hope [1 Peter 1:3], in a new life in the resurrected Lord, our friend, our counselor, our mediator, our wonderful Savior [2 Peter 3:18]. And then placing us here in this earth to shine and to witness for Thee, to be happy in Thee, ah, Lord, how great, how good, how marvelous to be a Christian!
While our people pray and while we sing this hymn of appeal, that somebody you, on the first note of the first stanza, come and welcome. And thank You, Lord, for the sweet harvest You give us tonight, in Thy dear and saving and keeping name, amen. A thousand times welcome, while we sing.
THE NEW WORLD OF THE NEW BIRTH
Dr. W. A. Criswell
1 Peter 1:1-5
A. Three types of preaching – homily, exposition, exegesis
B. Peter writes to the parepidemos, “strangers”, “pilgrims – in the world, not of it(1 Peter 1:1)
1. Also writes to the diaspora – used here he to refer to Jews and Gentiles alike
C. He is well qualified to write to us
D. He believes in the Trinity, election and foreknowledge (1 Peter 1:2)
1. His beautiful salutation
E. Our new birth (1 Peter 1:3)
1. Anagennao – “born again”
2. Born according to mercy of God (Titus 3:5)
3. Our first birth we are born into this world with gifts
4. Our second birth we are born into the gifts of the rich inheritance of the new world, the kingdom of GodII. Our new world is filled with living hope(1 Peter 1:3)
A. This is a personal experience of Simon Peter(Mark 16:7)
B. This is a personal experience for every regenerate man
1. Every unregenerate, unsaved man is a hopeless creature
2. Depths of sin immeasurable (Jeremiah 17:9, Romans 7:24-25)
A. Kleronomia – a sanctioned, settled inheritance (Romans 8:17)
B. A series of alpha privatives – not corruptible, not perishable, without defect, unfading (Matthew 6:19)
C. Tereo – “to keep, to hold firmly”IV. Our new world promises us eternal security (1 Peter 1:5)
A. Phroureo – present participle, continuous action; military term “to garrison”
B. We are here in enemy territory – it is God who stands guard
C. Peter writes in awful persecution of Rome (1 Peter 1:6-7)
1. Heaviness because of peirasmos, a bad temptation
2. Precious is the trial of faith, dokimionV. Our new world will be fully realized at the end of the age (1 Peter 1:5)
A. Three stages of salvation
1. Past – refers to deliverance from wrath and judgment upon our sins
2. Present – the new creation, character, life (2 Corinthians 5:17)
3. Future – a full deliverance at the apokalupsis of Christ