And so God, because of His mercy, caused us to be born again. To change our condition, He had to give us a brand new birth because we were born dead in sin. That condition of misery could not simply be touched up. We had to be begotten again, born all over again. So He caused us to be born again. Welcome to Grace to You with John MacArthur.
I'm your host, Phil Johnson. We've all seen classified ads for items being sold, like a used car, an old piano, or maybe even a house. And the item is described euphemistically. It's not broken, it just needs TLC, or it's a DIY special. You get the idea. Well, if you or I were to describe our lives before coming to Christ, there's no way to sugarcoat it. People without the Lord don't need TLC to get themselves in order.
No, we are beyond repair. That is the accurate description of each of us apart from salvation in Christ. And it's against that backdrop that John MacArthur returns to his study called Our Great Salvation. Follow along now as John helps you appreciate your inheritance in Christ like never before. 1 Peter chapter 1 verses 3 through 5.
Let me read them to you. Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, who according to His great mercy has caused us to be born again to a living hope through the resurrection of Jesus Christ from the dead, to obtain an inheritance which is imperishable and undefiled and will not fade away reserved in heaven for you. This marvelous promise is protected by the power of God through faith for a salvation ready to be revealed in the last time. Now there is a great statement, a sweeping statement by the Apostle Peter with regard to the wonder of salvation. The key word in this portion of Scripture is in verse 4.
It is the word inheritance. The inheritance is defined in verse 5 as a salvation ready to be revealed. The section then calls us to bless God for our eternal salvation. And that is at the heart of worship, blessing God, adoring God for our eternal inheritance.
That's really why we come together. That's why we worship. We are praising and thanking God for our eternal salvation. Now beloved in the church of Jesus Christ, this should continually be our ringing theme. And I have to confess to you that it appalls me as I look at my own heart and the hearts of God's people to see how indifferent we are about this reality of salvation, how sort of ho-hum it can become. And do you realize that you will spend all eternity forever and ever and unending and the occupation of all of that eternity will be to praise God for your eternal salvation? You will do it and the angels will do it on behalf of what God has done for you. All the redeemed of all the ages forever and ever and ever and ever will exalt and rejoice and be glad and praise the living God for the glories and wonders of salvation that will occupy you forever and ever and ever.
You will never grow weary of it. Your rejoicing will never be diminished and yet here on earth when we think about it, it's a yawn because we're so familiar with it. What commentary on the fallenness of our souls is it not? What a commentary on our sinfulness that we would even need to be exhorted to glorify God for our salvation, that we would need to be instructed to bless God for an eternal inheritance. It speaks to us of the ugliness of our fallen condition, that that is not the occupation of our heart incessantly. How is it that we can get to the place where we take that for granted? How is it that we can come to the place where we no longer occupy ourselves in ongoing and constant praise to God for redeeming us like we once did in the first hours after our conversion?
How can we grow stale on something that we'll do forever and never grow stale of doing in a perfected state? The answer is it's because we're still in an imperfect state and it's our fallenness that makes us treat this surpassing reality with apathy, indifference. So may it be that Peter somehow calls us to a little bit of a taste of what we're going to spend forever doing, blessing God for His eternal salvation given to us, His children, as an inheritance. Now as we think about worshiping God for our eternal inheritance, Peter outlines for us in this doxology the elements of that inheritance which elicit praise. First, the source of our inheritance, the motive of our inheritance, the means of our inheritance, the nature of our inheritance, and the security of our inheritance. Each of these and all of these collectively should draw praise from our hearts. The source of our inheritance is none other than the true God, the God who is revealed in His Son, the Lord Jesus Christ.
He is the source. And that is to say that that salvation which we have received He gave to us. Would you notice please back in verse 1, Peter says to those who reside in the various countries as aliens that they are chosen, verse 2, according to the foreknowledge of God the Father? And Peter reminds his readers and us that we are what we are in Christ because God as the source has chosen us. What was the motive? Why did He do it?
Second thing I want you to see is that motive. And it tells us in verse 3, blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ who according to His great mercy has caused us to be born again and so forth and to obtain an inheritance and a salvation ready to be revealed in the last time. It was mercy that did it. It came out of the heart of God because God has an attribute called mercy. Titus 3, 5 says basically the very same thing, that it was by His mercy that He redeemed us, that He washed us, that He regenerated us. Ephesians 2 says the same thing, God who is rich in mercy even when we were dead in trespasses and sins came after us to save us.
And we can be thankful that the eternal God has as an attribute mercy. What is mercy? Well mercy is a word that makes reference to a person's condition, a person's miserable, pitiful condition.
It focuses on the condition of an individual. That is why for example in Mark 10 you have the person coming to Jesus and saying out of misery, physical misery, Lord have what? Mercy on me because mercy was a reflection of a miserable, wretched, pitiable condition and that is precisely the condition of sinners. We need mercy. We need someone to show compassion toward our pitiful, desperate, wretched, miserable condition as sinners.
The gospel is all about mercy. It's all about God's compassion toward people in a miserable condition. And what is that miserable condition? It is being dead in trespasses and sins. It is being cursed.
It is being fallen. It is being deprived of the life of God in the soul. It is being naked in terms of any good thing. It is that pitiful condition of the sinner damned to hell, unable to do any good thing at all and unable to change the course of his life by himself.
It is a leprosy that is far surpassing in its terrible consequence any physical disease or physical leprosy. Here we are in the pitiful condition of being lost in sin, damned to hell, captive to sin, slave to sin. Our minds are corrupt. Our hearts are corrupt and deceitful.
Our desires are wicked and wretched. And in that pitiful condition, we need mercy. That is God's gentle, compassionate, patient concern for us. You might look at it in contrast to grace. Mercy has respect to man's wretched, miserable condition. Grace has respect to man's guilt which has caused that condition. When God gives us mercy, it is to change our condition. When God gives us grace, it is to change our position.
One takes us from guilt to acquittal. The other takes us from misery to glory. And that's what's behind salvation. God looked at you and had compassion. Isn't that wonderful?
There wasn't anything in you that was desirable in and of itself. It's just that God is compassionate. God is merciful. God's heart grieves over people's misery. That's why when Jesus came into the world, He healed people with diseases as an expression of the compassion of God. Jesus could have proved His deity a myriad of ways other than that.
There are many kinds of miracles He could have done, but that demonstrated the compassionate heart of God. God is merciful. Exodus 34 says, the Lord merciful, almost as if it were His name. Psalm 108 4 says, God's mercy is far above the heavens. In other words, it is voluminous.
There is enough for all conditions. Micah 7 18, I love it. He says, He delights in mercy. Lamentations 3 22 says that it is the Lord's mercy that we are not consumed.
The very fact that we're alive is mercy on our pitiful condition. And then for those who know and love Him, His mercies are new every morning. Thomas Watson said, It is God's mercy that sweetens all other attributes. He wrote, God's holiness without mercy and His justice without mercy were terrible.
When the water was bitter and Israel could not drink, Moses cast a tree into the waters and then they were made sweet. How bitter and dreadful were the other attributes of God, did not mercy sweeten them. God's mercy He gives to whomever He will. Romans 9, He said, I will have mercy on whom I will have mercy. Out of His compassion, He has chosen to be merciful to you and to me and to grant us eternal salvation.
He is the source and He did it out of His mercy, not out of anything that we did or deserved. Is it any wonder that Paul in 2 Corinthians 1 3 calls God the Father of mercies? And this great saving mercy of God is free.
It is abundant. It is eternal. The mercy of the Lord is from everlasting to everlasting. It is His mercy that caused Him to give you an inheritance. Can you be thankful to Him?
Can you be thankful enough to so live as to bring glory to His blessed, dear name? The greatness of that mercy is seen in the difference between what we were and what we become in Christ. The source of our eternal inheritance is God and the motive is mercy.
What is the means, the third point? How do we appropriate this? You say God is the source and mercy is the motive. How do we receive it? How do we appropriate it?
How do we make it ours? How does that mercy touch us? It says, according to His great mercy, verse 3, He has caused us to be born again. Mercy had to have a means to affect what it longed to accomplish. Mercy had to have a means to dispel wretchedness. Mercy had to have a means to eliminate misery. And the means that mercy chose was new birth. And so God, because of His mercy, caused us to be born again. To change our condition, He had to give us a brand new birth. Because we were born in sin, we were born dead in sin, we were born dead in trespasses and sins, we had no life in us, we were alienated from the life of God.
That condition of misery could not simply be touched up. We had to be begotten again, born all over again. And so He caused us to be born again.
The prophet Jeremiah said the leopard cannot change his spots and the Ethiopian cannot change his skin and neither can you do good who are accustomed to doing evil. So there has to be a change in your nature and that's why the Bible says if you're in Christ, you're a new creation. You become heirs of God by birth, new birth, spiritual birth. You're an heir already, by the way, even before you were a Christian. You're heirs of wrath, Ephesians 2-3, heirs of eternal flames. That's an inheritance, alright, and that's an eternal inheritance. And that's also an inescapable eternal inheritance.
But that's not a desirable one. When you come to Christ, put your faith in Him, there's a total transformation. There's a new birth, a supernatural new birth. There's new life that replaces the old life. There's a new nature. There's a new love.
There's a new compulsion, a new desire. God recreates, regenerates, gives rebirth, a marvelous truth. In verse 23 of the same chapter, Peter writes, For you have been born again, not of seed which is perishable, not like human birth, not like human birth that has death built in, but you're born again of seed which is imperishable, that is through the living and abiding Word of God. And verse 25 says, The Word was preached to you. By God's grace, the Word was preached, you heard the Word, God activated faith in your life, you believed, and you were born again by an imperishable seed which will never die. That's the new birth, you have new life. The discussion of this comes so clear to us in John chapter 3.
Would you turn to it for a moment? When Jesus encounters Nicodemus, a ruler of the Jews, a man of the Pharisees, highly esteemed member of the Sanhedrin, respected rabbi, leading scholar, Pharisaical legalist who had no doubt externalized religion and was living by an outward code. He had come about as far as you could in a Judaistic system. He had come as far as you could in a religious orientation.
He was a very religious man, eminently prominent as a teacher of that religion, mature, able to dispense its truths and its traditions to others. And he comes to Jesus and Jesus says to him in verse 3, Unless one is born again, he can't see the kingdom of God. You know what he said to Nicodemus? Nicodemus, as far as you've come, as old as you are, as much as you know, you've got to start all over again. And I'm sure in the mind of Nicodemus, the thought was there something like this, well I know so much and I've experienced so much and I'm so deeply entrenched in religion and my comprehension is so far reaching and yet there's something missing, I wonder what he will tell me to add to my life. And Jesus in effect says don't add anything, dump it all and start all over again.
Credible, shed it all, get rid of it. In fact, Jesus said that prostitutes who were irreligious and immoral were closer to the kingdom than Pharisees. Amazing. Prostitutes didn't have any religion to shed. Nicodemus did. He was in a group that believed you were saved by works.
That's a curse. And Jesus was saying to him in effect start all over again. Be born all over again. That's what God wants to do in the life of the sinner when he places his mercy upon that sinner. That's what salvation is, it's new birth and you get a new nature and a new heart and a new spirit and a new love and a new power that results in a new walk and a new obedience.
That's what it is. But how? How did Nicodemus hear that you were to receive that? How does that new birth take place? Well, the whole emphasis of the gospel record obviously was not given in its complete fullness to Nicodemus, but enough was said. Look at verse 14.
Jesus, drawing from Numbers 21, uses an illustration that Nicodemus would have known very well. As Moses lifted up the serpent in the wilderness, even so must the Son of Man be lifted up. That whoever believes may in Him have eternal life. For God so loved the world that He gave His only begotten Son that whoever believes in Him should not perish but have eternal life. He said, Nicodemus, here's how you receive this new birth. You look to the Son of God who is lifted up and you believe in Him. And by believing in Him, the new birth occurs.
And he used an illustration that Nicodemus would understand. It's just like what happened in the wilderness in Numbers 21. Do you remember that because of the rebellion and because of the godlessness, the unfaithfulness of the Israelites, God sent snakes to bite them? Poisonous snakes?
The poisonous snakes were biting them? And do you remember that in verse 7 of Numbers 21 they began to cry out, we have sinned, we have sinned, we have sinned in great shame. They acknowledged that this was the judgment of God, justified judgment on their sin. And then God said, all right, put up a pole with a serpent on the pole and tell those people that if they'll look at that serpent, they'll be healed. Looking at that serpent acknowledged their sin and it acknowledged the desperation of their condition and it acknowledged that God had provided a means to deliver them from the snakes. It was a turning from sin and acknowledging that God had lifted up a means of deliverance. And Jesus is saying to Nicodemus, if you want new birth, turn from your sin and your heart saying, we have sinned, we have sinned, we have sinned, and look to the means which God has lifted up to bring you deliverance. This time, not a wooden pole, not any kind of a pole, but a cross, and not a snake, but the Son of God. It was a turning from sin to see the Savior. And the deliverance was not a physical deliverance from snakes, but a spiritual deliverance from the snake, Satan, the serpent. Nicodemus had to acknowledge that the religion which made up his life was nothing but a snake bite from which he needed healing. How does one come to know the new birth?
By looking at the Son of God lifted up on a cross and believing in Him. And so Jesus cut at the very core of Nicodemus' self-righteousness and said in effect what we need to hear, that we are begotten again through faith in Christ. That's the new birth.
Now let's go back to 1 Peter. Peter says that the means by which we receive the mercy of God which gives us the eternal inheritance is the new birth. And the new birth becomes ours through faith in Christ.
He says that. We are born again to a living hope through the resurrection of Jesus Christ from the dead. I wish, beloved, we had the time to go into the new birth in more detail. The Bible has so much to say about it. In John 1-13 it says it is the will of God, not of the will of man. The new birth comes by the will and power of God. As we saw in John 3, it is the work of the Holy Spirit.
We are born of the Spirit. It is also the work of the Word, the washing of regeneration by the Word. It changes the new man by giving him a new nature. It makes him a whole new creation. James says we become the first fruits among his creatures, a new creation.
The new birth is irreversible. The new birth is eternally, gloriously triumphant, unchanging. That is that which God wants to do in the life of one on whom he places his compassionate mercy. That's encouraging truth today on Grace to You with John MacArthur. He is Chancellor of the Masters University and Seminary, and the title of his current study, Our Great Salvation.
Now, in the lesson today, John, you covered the basic ordo salutis, the order of salvation, and the first step is this, looking at Christ lifted up on the cross. Now, I can imagine some people wondering about that. Since we can't physically see Christ, how exactly do we look at him lifted up? Well, it's the contemplation of his crucifixion. I mean, we all have some mental images. Crosses are everywhere in an unimaginable array of forms.
That's not what we're talking about here. We're not talking about a crucifix. We're not talking about a statue of Jesus hanging on a cross in a Catholic church. When I talk about looking at Christ lifted up on the cross, I mean perceiving the crucifixion for what it really was, not the physicality of it.
You've got to get past the nails and the blood. Those are dramatic realities, of course, but to understand the cross, you have to get past the cross itself, past the nails, past the spear, past the crown of thorns, and all the things going on around our Lord to the reality of what was being accomplished on the cross. That's what it means to look to the cross to see Christ.
That's just an incredible blessing. When your spiritual life flourishes and grows, one of the things that will occur, and it's at the top of the list, is you will love Christ more. You will desire to commune with him more. And because you see the glory of Christ continually unfolding on the pages of Scripture, your vision will become consistently more clear.
So that's what we're talking about. We're talking about a perception of Christ in my mind and my heart that sees him for what he is and what he did on the cross. A reminder again, before we let you go, the MacArthur Study Bible is designed to unlock the text of Scripture and help you understand what it means, 25,000 footnotes. And these Bibles are designed to be the go-to resource for every Christian because it frames the context and gives you the accurate interpretation. You can order the MacArthur Study Bible in the New American Standard translation, which is what I preach from, the ESV, or the New King James translation, and also eight or nine non-English translations. They're all available from Grace to You.
They're hard-bound leather versions, so you're going to find exactly what you want for your own use or a loved one. That's right, and thank you, John. Friends, since 1997, the MacArthur Study Bible has been helping people understand God's word verse by verse. Get all you can out of your study of Scripture. Order a MacArthur Study Bible when you contact us today. Call us at 800-55-GRACE, or you can also order the MacArthur Study Bible at our website, GTY.org. The Study Bible is available in paperback, hardcover, bonded leather, and premium leather covers.
The cost is reasonable. Shipping is free in the U.S. To order, call us at 800-55-GRACE or shop online at GTY.org. And friend, if you or someone you know is growing spiritually because of Grace to You, I'd encourage you to partner with us. Your tax-deductible gift helps us provide these radio programs and books and other resources to people around the world, many of whom may not have access to solid biblical teaching. You can mail your gift to Grace to You, Box 4000, Panorama City, California, 91412. You can also donate by calling 800-55-GRACE or go to our website, GTY.org.
Now for John MacArthur, I'm Phil Johnson. Be sure to watch Grace to You Television Sundays on DirecTV Channel 378 or watch online at GTY.org. And be back tomorrow to learn about riches that are yours in Christ but that you might not be tapping into. It's another half hour of unleashing God's truth one verse at a time on Grace to You.
Whisper: medium.en / 2023-10-29 23:01:19 / 2023-10-29 23:11:24 / 10