Thursday, August 10, 2017

Our inheritance: secure

We are finishing up our study this week by focusing on these verses from I Peter:
Praise be to the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ! In his great mercy he has given us new birth into a living hope through the resurrection of Jesus Christ from the dead, and into an inheritance that can never perish, spoil or fade. This inheritance is kept in heaven for you, who through faith are shielded by God’s power until the coming of the salvation that is ready to be revealed in the last time. (I Peter 1:3-5)
I hope that we are praising God right along with Peter as we talk about our inheritance from God -- our salvation.

Do you enjoy old movies? Remember some of the great old ones, like the Agatha Christie and Hercule Poirot adaptations, where a room full of people is listening to a will being read? No one is talking because they are all intently listening, to see if they were willed anything....what did I inherit? is what they are thinking....
In verses four and five, Peter says that our inheritance, our salvation, is safe for eternity. Let's look at what Peter says, and see what other verses say, too, shall we? Because I enjoy reading Peter's description of an inheritance that is locked up in heaven (best bank ever, am I right?) and guarded against anyone who might try to take it from us! Not only that, but God's power is also guarding us, so that we will someday enjoy our inheritance!

Now, Christ Himself and being with Him is our inheritance -- but it also includes all that He will provide for those He has saved from sin. In fact, it's so vast that it is hard to describe. The only thing Peter can do is tell us what it is NOT: it's not perishable; it's not able to be defiled (spoiled); it won't fade.

Maybe we'd better look more closely. What does Peter mean?
When I studied up on it, most commentaries said that by imperishable, Peter meant our salvation is not harmed by death or decay.  Human inheritances are susceptible to both -- we might die before we can get our hands on it and enjoy it. If we do manage to wrap our arms around it, it is still subject to rust, moths, thieves, etc....
“Do not store up for yourselves treasures on earth, where moths and vermin destroy, and where thieves break in and steal. 20 But store up for yourselves treasures in heaven, where moths and vermin do not destroy, and where thieves do not break in and steal. 21 For where your treasure is, there your heart will be also." (Matthew 6:19-21)
But not our heavenly inheritance -- it is not perishable, and it can't be destroyed.
The commentaries told me that by "undefiled" in some translations, Peter means it cannot be spoiled by moral impurity. Think greed here. (Grin) Earthly inheritances can be the source of nasty quarrels and downright greed and thievery amongst family members. It can go on for years and years. Everyone and everything is touched by these situations, and it spoils people and things. Our heavenly inheritance? I can't take from yours, and you can't touch mine.....God has plenty for all of us!

Peter also says our inheritance won't fade. Time won't touch it. We have all heard stories of people who inherit vast fortunes and fritter them away. Their wealth fades away and they are left bereft, often much poorer than they were before they inherited their money. But God's riches are inexhaustible!  We are going to live eternally, and we will never "run out" of all that He has provided for us.

Sometimes new believers worry about getting to heaven. They still are clinging to the "what I can do to be worthy" way of thinking, and sometimes we veterans do, too. What if we don't make it? Will I really get to heaven where my inheritance is?
See that word in verse five: shielded -- we see it again in II Corinthians (11:32), and it means that those who are saved are under enemy attack. We know that, right? Satan is running around on earth and seeks to devour us! He wants to somehow stop us from getting to our salvation inheritance. But we are surrounded by God's power, and He will guard us. We will have safe passage to heaven, because we are guarded by the same Power that spoke our world into being!

I'm interested, too, in that phrase translated "ready to be revealed in the last time." My studies seem to indicate that Peter is saying we only enjoy a small portion of what God has for us, while we are on earth. We can trust God that our heavenly inheritance will be way better than we can even imagine! I kinda think that we will not be bored sitting in the clouds and strumming. At least not all the time! (Grin) Let's be logical, our Father is a Creator Who made an incredibly complicated world and universe, and we are in His image. I think He will have lots for us to do!
Are you concerned that you "don't have that kind of strong faith"? Oh, but you do! You have lots of must make sure that you put your faith in Him, not in yourself. Like the man who said to Jesus, "I my unbelief!" God alone is powerful, and He can impart faith to us. We must cast ourselves on His mercy, and ask Him humbly to give us faith.

Our Christian lives are built one day at a time....trusting each day in what Christ has done for us, and in His promises to always be with us. Then we can persevere, and we can claim our inheritance on that great day when "faith becomes sight."

Lord, you alone are worthy of glory! Humble us so that we trust only in you, not in ourselves. Strengthen our faith in your mercy and love!


Cathy said...

Definitely the best bank ever. There’s so much we don’t know about heaven.... little things.... we know the big things. But, what will we do? Will there be creativity there? I assume there will be, since God gave us that gift, but what will it be? Will there be quilting there? How about artistic things, like painting or drawing? Will our pets be there? Do pets even go to heaven? How will we recognize people? So many questions......

Katie Isabella said...

Where faith is concerned, I am ahead of the game. But only in that. I believe. I have faith. But I did many times think my request is not important enough for Him to heed.

Austin Towers said...

Amen!! The safest bank in the entire universe! But we so easily waver in our faith! I agree it is only minute by minute, day by day, we trust Him to see us through. In response to Cathy, I believe that all those questions will be answered to our complete satisfaction as we will be complete in Him.