“Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, who according to His abundant mercy has begotten us again to a living hope through the resurrection of Jesus Christ from the dead, to an inheritance incorruptible and undefiled and that does not fade away, reserved in heaven for you, who are kept by the power of God through faith for salvation ready to be revealed in the last time.” 1 Peter 1:3–5

A common objection raised by an unsaved person thinking about his need for salvation is that he knows himself too well. He knows he is a sinner and knows that he stands condemned for his sin. Not only is his sin debt overwhelming, but his personal resolve to be good will not be enough to keep him on the “straight and narrow.” His suspicion is that even if he tries salvation, he will not be able to hold out very long. He will soon return to his old ways.

Frankly, you can expect nothing less than this from an unsaved man. All his life he has failed at being perfect and now you have pointed out the powerful reality that he faces an eternity in hell if he dies in his sin. You have told him of the Perfect One who is “the way, the truth, the life.” He knows he is unworthy and he also knows he is unable.

No wonder he sees himself as imperfect, if he has seen an authentic Christian live his testimony out in the world. A believer makes the Christian life look joyful and easy. A serious Christian lives an anchored life. He is a man of faith. He lives by faith, and faithfully lives. His self-control seems superhuman. His ethic is unassailable. He displays peace in every contest, walks in the light, and has an over-arching certainty about everything he says. The grace-filled Christian life is a mystery to an unsaved person. To be a living example of high-quality Christianity is, without a doubt, way beyond his reach. Though he may be a moral and good person he knows he is missing the light of the Gospel that dwells in the heart of a believer, and that shines forth in all the Christian does.

Our passage in 1 Peter 1 is a great place to show an awakening sinner that God does the saving, not us. Salvation is all of God!

Peter’s words are even more powerful when you are reminded of his fickle attempts at being a good disciple. How often did he put his foot in his mouth? How often did his zeal move ahead of his reason? How often did his faith fail him in the middle of a trial? How often did he hear the Savior’s gentle rebuke? And yet, how precious when the Savior tells him that He interceded for Peter. How amazing that after all this Jesus asked him to feed His sheep!

One thing stands out: When he was left to himself, Peter usually made a mess of things. Thankfully, God leaves nothing to chance. After our Lord paid the penalty for our sins, rose from the grave, and ascended to heaven He sent the Holy Spirit. The Holy Spirit dwells within and prompts the believer to follow Christ. Also, as Peter teaches us in 2 Peter 1:4, at the point of salvation, God makes a believer a “partaker of the divine nature.” No longer is a man left to “try” to be good, he is gifted a new nature. This new nature follows being made spiritually alive. Our passage describes this event as “begotten…again,” or as John calls it, “born from above” (John 3:3). The unsaved man has never experienced the new nature of a believer and knows nothing of the divine enablement to obey the Lord. No matter how hard the unsaved man “pedals” he cannot surmount the obstacle of his sin nature. He cannot duplicate a Christian’s easy conscience sprinkled with the blood of the Lamb of God. Our Lord’s interaction with the disciples in Matthew 19:25f reads, “When His disciples heard it, they were greatly astonished, saying, ‘Who then can be saved?’ But Jesus looked at them and said to them, ‘With men this is impossible, but with God all things are possible.’” The sinner will have to take God’s word for it and trust that, just as God does the saving, He does the enabling.

We see what “with God all things are possible” means in 1 Peter 1:3ff. According to God’s abundant mercy the believer is begotten again to a living hope through the resurrection of Jesus Christ from the dead. He is begotten again to an inheritance that will never corrode or decay and it is unstained and unpolluted by evil. This inheritance is reserved in heaven never to be robbed or revoked. It is for “you who are kept by the power of God!” His keeping power is such that it keeps His children “through faith for salvation.” Salvation is all of grace and not of any human merit!

Other passages in Scripture underscore this fact. John 10:28ff declares, “My sheep hear My voice, and I know them, and they follow Me. And I give them eternal life, and they shall never perish; neither shall anyone snatch them out of My hand.” 2 Timothy 1:12 reads, “For I know whom I have believed and am persuaded that He is able to keep what I have committed to Him until that Day.” Jude 24 states, “Now to Him who is able to keep you from stumbling, and to present you faultless before the presence of His glory with exceeding joy” (1 Peter 4:13). Trust and obey.