Thursday, October 8, 2009

Blessed 1 Peter 1:3

1 Peter 1:3-5

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, who are protected by the power of God through faith for a salvation ready to be revealed in the last time. (NASB)

My first thought is that I could camp out on the first phrase for a long time, even the first word. I’ve never looked up the word blessed. It sounds good in this verse but what do I mean when I say God is blessed. In Heb 7:7 the writer says that the lesser is blessed by the greater. How can I bless God? The good old dictionary and the Greek cleared up the confusion for me. The dictionary has several definitions and the one that fits in verse 3 is “worthy of adoration, reverence, or worship: the Blessed Trinity.” Checking out the Greek, the word is eulogetos (yoo-log-ay-tos'); adorable.

Our God is adorable. If I adore my wife, and I do, is this the same adoration that I have for God? My wife is attractive, delightful and charming – a definition of adorable. Would I describe God that way? Yes and no. He is much more than that. Adorable is also being worthy to be adored. Knowing sign language helps because the same sign is used for adore and worship. From now on, when I see verses say “Blessed be God” I will think of God how worthy He is of worship. Worship is the reverent honor and homage paid to God. What is homage? A dictionary definition is the formal public acknowledgment by which a feudal tenant or vassal declared himself to be the man or vassal of his lord, owing him fidelity and service. OK, now we’re getting somewhere. I can only worship God when I belong to Him.

A vassal was essentially a slave. As a vassal of God, I am owned by Him and in worship I acknowledge that He has complete authority over me. A vassal was granted land in return for paying homage to the lord, a portion of the crops, and even military service. Isn’t that the picture of a Christian? God gives to us life, everything we have on this earth, and an inheritance in heaven. In return we give back to Him our selves, tithes and offerings, our service to spread His Word. Living the Christian life has been often symbolized as warfare.

I’m glad that I picked the NASB for this verse since the NIV says “Praise be to God…” I don’t think I would have discovered the richness of the first four words otherwise. In many verses in the O.T. the NIV uses “praise” where the NASB uses “bless.” The NIV is much more readable than the NAS, but that may only because my vocabulary is limited as it is written to be more understandable at a lower reading level than the NASB.

The phrase, “God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ” appears only four times in the Bible. (Rom 15:6, 2 Cor 1:3, Eph 1:3, and 1 Peter 1:3) I sometimes become messed up trying to think of God and Jesus. So what do I do? I go back to what I know for sure, that Jesus and God the Father are one. John 1:1 In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God. (NASB) This has to be the clearest declaration of the deity of Jesus and the unity of God and Jesus. The next thing I do is think about what it means to say the Jesus is our Lord. It goes back that vassal thing above. He owns me and I am His.

Do I worship Jesus in the same way that I worship God the Father? Yes! Absolutely! How do I know that it is OK to worship Jesus? Well, I’ll start with what Jesus said. Matt 4:10 Then Jesus said to him, "Begone, Satan! For it is written, 'You shall worship the Lord your God, and serve Him only.'" (NASB) Clearly Jesus says by quoting the O.T. that we should only worship and serve God. John 9:38 Then the man said, "Lord, I believe," and he worshiped him. (NIV) Of course you then need to read and see how Jesus responded to worship. Did Jesus rebuke the man for worshiping Him? Not at all, in fact He used the situation to point out to the Pharisees that they were spiritually blind. When Thomas first saw Jesus after His resurrection he declared that Jesus was his Lord and God. John 20:28-29 Thomas answered and said to Him, "My Lord and my God!" Jesus said to him, "Because you have seen Me, have you believed? Blessed are they who did not see, and yet believed." (NASB) Did Jesus rebuke Thomas? Well, yes, but not for calling Jesus Lord and God, but because he had to see Jesus physically first. For us who have not seen Jesus in the flesh, we are blessed when we believe. This Greek word for blessed is not at all the same one that was used before. This is makarios (mak-ar'-ee-os) which means happy. In just a few more verses I'll see why I should be happy.

I’ve run out of time and will continue with these verses later.

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