(this transcript has been lightly edited for readability)
So, we're working our way through 1 Peter, and we're going to look at 1 Peter 1:3-9, and I have entitled this, “The Plot Summary.” Let me read it again.
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, to an inheritance that is imperishable, undefiled, and unfading, kept in heaven for you, who, by God's power are being guarded through faith for a salvation ready to be revealed in the last time. In this you rejoice, though now for a little while, if necessary, you have been grieved by various trials, so that the tested genuineness of your faith–more precious than gold that perishes though it is tested by fire–may be found to result in praise and glory and honor at the revelation of Jesus Christ. Though you have not seen him, you love him. Though you do not now see him, you believe in him and rejoice with joy that is inexpressible and filled with glory, obtaining the outcome of your faith, the salvation of your souls.
What Peter is doing here, is like what a great novelist does. Let's say you're reading a novel that's 5 or 600 pages long, and as you get into the details of the story, the details of somebody’s description, you can lose sight of the larger plot. And so, what a novelist will do is they will create a way of reminding you of the big plot, the big sweep of the story. Maybe it's two old guys sitting on a bench. And they're having a conversation about the span of their life. That's the novelist reminding you of what the story is about.
So, because Peter is going to say many practical things, he wants to root all your understanding of those practical things in the larger plot of God's story; Scripture is dotted with plot summaries, and this is one of those.
So, this passage has a ‘then, then, now’ shape to it: ‘then’ of the past, ‘then’ of the future, and now. Peter’s interest is now but he knows you won't fully understand now, you won't fully understand who you are now, you won't fully understand what you're doing now, you won't fully understand what God is doing now, unless you have the larger plot in place.
So, here's the ‘then’ of the past. “Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ! According to his great mercy, he has caused us to be born again into a living hope through the resurrection of Jesus Christ from the dead.” God has caused you to be blessed with resurrection life. The same power by which Jesus was raised from the dead is now yours as the children of God. If you wonder, as you stand in front of that empty tomb, if your mind is blown, welcome to your life as a believer because that same power is now yours in Christ. You have been given resurrection power, that's who you are. That's the past.
Here's the future, “…to an inheritance that is imperishable, undefiled, and unfading, kept in heaven for you, who by God's power are being guarded through faith for a salvation ready to be revealed in the last time.” So, you are not only secure because God has caused you to now being imbued with resurrection power, but you are secure because your future is utterly secured by Him. You have a mind-boggling inheritance that's kept for you. And you are being guarded between the two ‘then’s’ to make sure that when that final day comes, not only will the inheritance be ready, but you will be ready.
Life in this middle is hard. But it's made less hard when you realize what you've been given, resurrection power, and what you're heading toward, an inheritance beyond your wildest imagination that'll be yours forever and ever and ever! Now you're ready to understand ‘now.’