When people see our two oldest boys, they often ask my wife and I this question: where does the red hair come from? Because they look at my wife and they notice she doesn’t have red hair and they look at me and they realize I don’t have red hair, and so where does it come from?
People ask that question because they have a basic understanding of human biology. They understand that we get our genes, our DNA, the things that make up who we are (our hair color, our skin color, eye color) we get those things from our biological parents and they got their genes, their DNA from their biological parents.
And so when people ask the question, “where does the red hair come from” they ask because they understand we are a reflection of who we come from. They know somewhere in our family there must be red hair).
It is fun to look at families that look alike and you can look at the kids and say “you are definitely your dad’s son, you are definitely your mom’s daughter.” There will be moments when I will be looking at my youngest son who looks a lot like me when I was young and I will see me
We resemble who we came from.
Not only are we a reflection of our family physically but we are a reflection of our family spiritually. When you were conceived, not only did your parents shape your eye color and your hair color but when you were conceived your parents impacted our very soul. They handed down something to you that impacted the nature of your spiritual condition. And unfortunately, they handed down something that damaged your spiritual condition.
When you were conceived, your parents gave you a sin nature—a nature that made you automatically disobedient before God.
The Apostle Paul wrote in Ephesians 2:3 that we were all by nature deserving of God’s wrath or God’s punishment because of our sin. You see, our instinct, our desire to sin, be selfish, to be lustful, to be arrogant, to do what is wrong was not something we learned in this life, it was not something we were taught in this life—it was a in our very nature at birth. A nature given to us by our parents.
King David, who was a King over Israel, understood this—this is why is Psalm 51 verse 5, David writes,
“… I was sinful at birth, sinful from the time my mother conceived me.”
Now before we blame our parents for everything wrong that we have done we need to understand that our parents were given a sin nature by their biological parents who were given a sin nature by their parents, and their parents were given a sin nature by their parents. And we can keep taking this further and further back until we get to Adam and Eve, the first man and the women, the very first parents.
And when God created Adam and Eve, he created them as perfect human beings they did not have a sin nature. And God placed them in a perfect garden to live. And they had a perfect relationship with each other and a perfect relationship with God. But then one day Adam and Eve disobeyed God. And when they disobeyed God, they were no longer perfect but they were now imperfect. And when they disobeyed God, the Bible says they sinned, they miss the mark of perfection.
When sin entered into this world through the disobedience of Adam and Eve, it brought things that were contrary to God—it brought selfishness, evil, rebellion. Those things were not a part of God’s perfect creation. The word was full of God’s perfect love. God’s perfect joy. God’s perfect peace. But once sin entered into the world, creation became corrupted. And sin not only corrupted Adan and Eve but sin corrupted everyone born OF them meaning you and I.
You see, when two imperfect people, when two sinners come together to have a child, they are going to produce an imperfect, sinful child. imperfection cannot produce perfection and sin cannot produce something that is without sin.
I have four small kids and small kids have a tendency to get messy whether it is with food, or mud, or paint and the moment they get messy one of the first words out of my wife’s mouth or my mouth is: Don’t touch anything let me come wipe you off. Because once they start touching things, everything the touch gets messy.
Adam and Eve’s messiness, their sinfulness, was not just contained to them. Since they were sinners, when they had kids, their kids were born messy, their kids were born sinners. And since Adam and Eve were the first parents, the starting point of humanity—Adam and Eve’s sin corrupted all of humanity. And because of that every one of us was born messy, every one of us was born sinners.
And you may so, “why is that so such a big that we are all sinners. Ok, so I not perfect, who is?”
What makes our sin nature so significant (such a big deal) and so serious is what sin produces in our lives.
1 Corinthians 2:14 says that sin blinds us from understanding the truth of God. In fact, Galatians 5:17 says that sin gives us a desire to live a life that is contrary to God. No is one born neutral toward God. Everyone is born in rebellion towards God.
Remember Ephesians 2:3 says we all have a nature– meaning a natural that we are born with that deserves God’s punishment. If were born neutral then why we deserve punishment.
Not only does sin blind us to the truth of God and put us in rebellion towards God but Romans 6:23 say that the consequences of sin in our life is death: a physical and spiritual death. The reason everyone will eventually die a physical death is because of sin. But sin also can lead to a spiritual death, eternal separation from God. You see, sin condemns us to hell. Jesus describes hell as a place of eternal punishment.
And because we are sinful people, there is nothing that we can do to remove our own sin because it is our very natural to sin. And so when we were born, we were born with a destiny—A destiny to die a physical death and destiny to die a spiritual death.
But before we just throw up our hands and give in to despair and hopelessness—there is HOPE for humanity. It is this very hope that we have been talking about for the last 2 weeks. There is a reason God has given to us the Bible. Because through these 66 books contained in the Bible God has revealed His love for you and me and His desire to be in a relationship with you and me. And so in the Bible God has revealed His plan to change our destiny so that we don’t have to experience a spiritual death, so we don’t have to live eternity separated from God.
The Bible calls this message of hope “the Gospel”. The word Gospel literally means “good news” and the good news of the Bible is this: You do not have to remain dead in your sins, but you can be made alive through Jesus Christ.
Today we are going to look at a verse that says while our physical birth deliverered us into death, there is a spiritual birth that can deliver us into life. And so if you have your Bibles will you turn with me to the book of 1 peter. We are going to be in 1 Peter chapter 1 verse 3.
1 Peter 1:3 says,
“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…”
Peter says there is a hope that we can we have because of the character of God and more specifically because of the mercy of God.
Now mercy is this: NOT getting what we DO deserve. If a person was standing before a judge guilty deserving of punishment and the judge said I am going to you spare you from punishment. That is mercy. That judge was NOT giving to that person what they deserved.
You and I were born sinners, deserving of death, eternal separation from God. Now it might not seem fair because we were automatically born into it, we did not have a choice in the matter but that is the reality of being born into a world under the curse and condemnation of sin. We can’t change that reality whether it is fair or unfair.
But Peter says through God’s mercy, we have the opportunity NOT to receive what we deserve. Through God’s mercy, we have the opportunity NOT to be condemned to hell.
And so Peter begins by saying this hope that is available IS NOT because of anything we have done, or anything that we will do, this hope is rooted in God’s perfection mercy.
Which is why this verse begins with praise and worship and honor…This hope is because of you,, it is because of your character, it is because of your mercy. God’s mercy was displayed and given to us through the resurrection of Jesus Christ. What is the connection between our hope and Jesus rising from he dead.
Well, earlier we said that the consequences of sin or the penalty of sin is death. Sin requires death.
But 2 Peter 3:9 says that God does not want one anyone to perish. — Our sins condemn us to death but God does not want us to die. And we may hear that and say if God doesn’t want us to perish, they why would God allow anyone to spiritually perish. I mean, isn’t He God. Can’t he just say, ahh, don’t worry about it. We won’t worry about your sins.
Well, not only is God merciful. And not only is he loving. But God is just.
And his justice requires that sin be punished. And the Bible says the punishment for sin is death. If he said, Ahh, don’t worry about it—I will let slide. it would be inconsistent with his holiness, his righteousness and God would no longer be God
And so humanity found itself in a dire situation. God’s justice required death and there was nothing we could do to get out of that death sentence. And so in a situation that seemed hopeless, God did the unthinkable, he sent his own Son to take the punishment for our sins. Jesus would die in our place.
Romans 3:25 says that God gave his son as an atoning sacrifice for our sins.
That would “Atoning” or “atonement” means make right what was wrong. God created us to know eternal life, not eternal death. And so through the death of Jesus, he was going to make right what had been made wrong. And so on the cross Jesus took upon himself all of the sins of humanity, all of our past, present and future sins. And he experienced the death that was meant for us.
And then he was buried. Proving he truly experienced a physical death and then 3-days later he rose again and it is through His resurrection that we have hope. That is why in verse 3, Peter says we have hope through the resurrection of Jesus Christ from the dead.
And so once again we say, how does the resurrection give us hope?
The resurrection is significant to us because when Jesus rose again he showed that he defeated death. Remember the consequences of sin is death and Jesus experienced that consequence BUT when he rose again he conquered death, he beat death meaning our destiny no longer has to be a spiritual death.
But his death, burial and resurrection does not automatically change our destiny—The Bible says salvation comes through faith. It is a personal response we all must make. Salvation comes through the repentance of our sins and placing our trust in Jesus as the only we who can forgive our sins and give us salvation.
God, through his mercy and grace, offers us a gift of salvation through his son Jesus Christ and we must by faith receive that gift. It is a decision that is before everyone.
When we place our trust in Jesus Christ, God takes our life, goes back to the cross of Christ and puts our life IN Christ. And so when we he died, we died, when he was buried, we were buried, when he rose again, we rose again.
Listen to the words of Romans 6:4:
We were therefore buried with Christ through baptism into death in order that, just as Christ was raised from the dead through the glory of the Father, we too may live a new life.
This is why the resurrection is so important is to us. If he did not rise again, then you and I could not have a new life. We would still be living in our old life, a life that leads to death. Our hope hinges on the resurrection,. This is why Paul writes in 1 Corinthians 15:14, “And if Christ has not been raised (from dead), then all our preaching is useless, and your faith is useless.
But the Bible says Jesus did rise from the dead. And listen to how Romans 6 continues in verse 7:
For when we died with Christ we were set free from the power of sin. And since we died with Christ, we know we will also live with him. We are sure of this because Christ was raised from the dead, and he will never die again. Death no longer has any power over him. When he died, he died once to break the power of sin. But now that he lives, he lives for the glory of God. So you also should consider yourselves to be dead to the power of sin and alive to God through Christ Jesus.
Through God’s mercy, he sent his son Jesus to die for our sins, and through his death, burial and resurrection, we have been given the opportunity to be “born again” – born not into to death that leads to hopelessness but born into a life that leads to hope or as Peter writes into a “living hope.”
What does that mean a “living hope?”
Well, before we can understand what “living hope” mean we need to first understand what biblical hope means. Most of us when we think about hope we think about something that is uncertain. It is dream or a wish. We might say, “I hope it doesn’t rain tomorrow. We don’t know if it will. It is just a wish.” But biblical hope is not a wish but rather Biblical hope is being certain of what is TRUE.
John 3:16 says, “For God so loved the world that he gave his one and only son that whoever believes in him will not perish but have eternal life.” That is Biblical hope. I can be certain that when I place my faith in Jesus I will not be condemned for my sin and perish but rather experience eternal life.
Biblical hope is being certain of what is true.
But Peter says that we were not just born into hope but into living hope. I think a lot times as Christians we think of our hope as something that is in the future. Right now I have to just endure in this word but when I die I will go to heaven that is when I will know peace and joy.
But when we see hope as just future hope, we miss out on the joy and peace this is offered in the present.
That word “living” is a present-tense word. Peter is saying that when you place your faith in Jesus you are born into a hope that you can experience NOW. It is a hope in which we can know the peace of Christ-NOW, It is a hope that says we can know the joy of Christ, NOW. In fact, it is a hope that says that Christ is alive and at work in my life NOW.
The Apostle Paul says in Galatians 2:20 “I have been crucified with Christ and I no longer live, but Christ lives in me.” If Christ in alive in you, then you can and should be experiencing the joy of Christ, the peace of Christ now.
When you have living hope, it is not a hope that comes and goes based on our family life, it is not a hope that comes and goes based on our job, it is not a hope that comes and goes that based on political, social or economic environment of our country.
Your hope is not rooted in the things of this world but in the reality that you have been raised with Christ meaning “you were set free from the power of sin and been made alive through Christ.
You have been given a new hope that gives you hope.
The old hymn says: My hope is built on nothing less than Jesus’ blood and righteousness;
My hope is NOT built on how good I am—because my sins will always condemn me.
My hope is NOT built on how often I go to church—because my sins will always condemn me.
My hope is NOT built on anything I do—because my sins will always condemn me.
You and I were born sinners condemn to die a spiritual death.
But through God’s mercy, he sent his son Jesus to right what was wrong—allowing us to experience a new birth. A Birth that leads to hope. A Birth that leads to eternal life.
Do you have that hope?