The language one uses can reveal many details about that person. In a very broad sense, you would have a good chance of knowing someone is from France if they are speaking French, or have a French accent. That is more obvious. More specifically the usage of vocabulary, or certain dialect can give you clues about the background of a person.
I cannot tell you how many times I have had the discussion of “what do you call a carbonated beverage?” Or, “what do you call athletic footwear?” Obviously the answers are soda, and sneakers, definitely not pop and tennis shoes. When I am in New York, there is usually no dispute, but once I moved to Ohio, many arguments have issued due to the differences of vocabulary. Not only that, people could guess where I grew up by what I said, or even how I said certain words and phrases. If someone says the word water more like “wudder” I know they are probably from the Philadelphia area. When someone is taking about laundry and calls it a “warsher” and dryer, I know they are from the mid-west. The list goes on and on, but the important thing in all of this is our language tells others details about us.
The Language of Peter
In 1 Peter 1:3, Peter begins the body of his letter with a praise “Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ." He has so much to say, but his first thought in writing this letter is expressing praise to God. Most of the time I would read that verse and take it for granted. It struck me this time around though becuase Peter’s use of blessing for his opening line tells us the sort of man Peter is. A greeting like this is common also for Paul (2 Cor. 1:3; Eph. 1:3). These men have great faith in the Lord, and are not in this moment praising God in order to teach something, but just instinctively are people who are always naturally worshiping God.
The question I ask myself is praising the Lord the first thing out of my mouth instinctively? Why am I not a man who the second I open my lips, praises pour out towards God? I tell myself, wouldn’t that be a little strange? Would people think I was crazy for always praising God? Maybe you tell yourself the same excuses. However, maybe we need more "crazy" people in this world
Worthy of Praise
Peter’s praise isn’t in a vacuum. Peter shows that there are an abundance of reasons to praise God, all centered around the reality that “because of His great mercy he has given us new birth into a living hope” (1 Peter 1:3b). This living hope is fundamental to the rest of Peter’s argument in his letter. In the same way, this hope is fundamental to our existence as believers on this earth. Once we see how Peter describes this hope we all are given, then I think we will all agree on the praise that constantly should be on our tongues.
1. A Hope that is Imperishable. (vv. 3-5)
This is not a dead hope, grounded in some unsure reality. No, this is a living hope, that is completely tied to the living Christ, who rose from the dead. Peter in v. 4 describes our hope as imperishable, undefiled, and unfading. Do we realize that every material possession on this earth eventually will pass away? There is someway to destroy everything that surrounds us. Charles Spurgeon is quoted “Even solid granite will rot and crumble. It is a paradox the substance of things seen is devoid of substance. Empires, dynasties, and thrones have tottered by internal corruption. The inheritance of the saints of God has nothing within it that can make it perish.”
2. A Hope that Rejoices in the Midst of Trials (vv. 6-9)
Yes, we are given a living hope, that is imperishable that intertwines us with Christ, but that does not mean we will live a life free of trials and grief. Remember, Peter opens his book acknowledging that his audience is full of people who are experiencing persecution. Peter does not see persecution and trials as the absence of God, but sees God’s plan through the trials placed before us.
In fact, Peter calls us to rejoice in the face of persecutions, because “even though now for a short time, if necessary, you suffer grief in various trials so that the proven character of your faith - more valuable than gold which, though perishable, is refined by fire - may result in praise, glory, and honor at the revelation of Christ Jesus. (vv.6-8). The trials we face refine our faith. A diamond, before it is cut is not all that beautiful. However, once that diamond is refined, it becomes magnificent. The trials that we go through strengthen our faith and hope in Christ. We can rejoice, for sure in the good times, but also in the bad, because “you are receiving the goal of your faith, the salvation of your souls.” (1 Peter 1:9).
3. A Hope that is Altogether Marvelous (vv. 10-12)
This hope is thousands of years in the making. Peter clues us in that all the Old Testament prophecies about the Son of God’s suffering and glorification was for us. The prophets, somehow by the knowledge of the Holy Spirit, knew that they would never see the fruition of their prophesies, but it was for our benefit. Peter even mentions that angels wish to know more about this hope that we have been given. The gospel of Christ is not for angels, but for mankind. Angels would have no need to pay attention to it, yet they are captivated by it. This living hope is a marvelous one, that even the angels seek to learn more about. How lucky are we that the hope that we get to experience here on earth has been a story built up for thousands of years, that evenly heavenly beings are amazed by. How can we not be also?
Let Praise be on our Lips
Christian, this is the hope that we have as a reality to us, every hour of every day. A hope that is imperishable and marvelous, and is not contingent on the trials going on around us. In fact, those trials refine our faith in the hope of Christ. The more we understand about the gospel that is in us, the more we will naturally praise God in our everyday conversations. Let our language always be saturated with blessing of God the Father. If we are people who always have praises on our lips, the people around us will notice. Some will turn away from us because of it, but some will be drawn near to Christ, wondering what is this hope that we so often speak about.