Our Inheritance

November 11, 2014

Our Inheritance

“Peter, an apostle of Jesus Christ, to the strangers scattered throughout Pontus, Galatia, Cappadocia, Asia, and Bithynia,   Elect according to the foreknowledge of God the Father, through sanctification of the Spirit, unto obedience and sprinkling of the blood of Jesus Christ: Grace unto you, and peace, be multiplied.    Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, which according to his abundant mercy hath begotten us again unto a lively hope by the resurrection of Jesus Christ from the dead,    To an inheritance incorruptible, and undefiled, and that fadeth not away, reserved in heaven for you”  (I Peter 1:1-5).

This is the first article in a commentary on I Peter written by Russell George

Fortunate are those who anticipate receiving an inheritance.  It gives them something to look forward to.  Some might say, “The most fortunate are those who have already received their inheritance.” That’s true if it was a good inheritance and they don’t spend it foolishly.

God has promised an inheritance to his children.  In some aspects, it is similar to an earthly inheritance.  In other aspects, it is quite different.

There is always an element of mystery in an inheritance.  Perhaps the mystery is just in the question, “Have I been included?” We know that we have been included in the inheritance that God has promised us because he has told us that we are included.  The other mystery in the inheritance is that we don’t know what is included.  In an earthly inheritance it may be more or less than we expected.  We aren’t told much about what is included in our spiritual inheritance.  It is another of the glorious mysteries God has waiting for those who are his.  Since my heavenly Father is rich, I have reason to believe that my inheritance will be glorious.

One good thing about my spiritual inheritance is that it is indestructible.  Peter used three words to assure us that our inheritance will endure.  First he says it is incorruptible.  It is hard to think of any material possessions that are incorruptible.  It is interesting to observe cars parked in a supermarket parking lot.  Some are new and in almost perfect condition.  Others are showing their age.  Some show evidence of having suffered from a “fender bender.” Some have cracks in the windshield.  Some are showing the effects of rust.  The things of this world are temporary.

Peter says also that our inheritance is undefiled.  Going back to the cars in the parking lot, the new ones came from the factory with the appearance of perfection.  Really they aren’t.  Even new cars have factory defects.  Peter says that won’t be true of our inheritance.  What comes from God is perfect and it will remain that way.

Peter says also that our inheritance will not fade away.  It refers to something that will not lose its value.  In I Peter 5:4 Peter says that we shall “receive a crown of glory that fadeth not away.” It is the same Greek word that is found in 1:4.  Crowns don’t fade away like a cloud in the sky.  It is their value that fades away.  When an athlete receives a crown he is cheered and applauded.  It is his glory day.  From that day on, however, the glory fades away.  He still has the crown, but the glory of it starts fading away the day after he receives it.  Peter says that our inheritance will not lose its value like the athlete’s crown.  Our inheritance will be with us throughout all eternity and will never lose its value

The only way these values can be true of our inheritance is due to the fact that it is reserved in heaven for us.  Our soul goes on living forever, and believers will be forever surrounded by that which shall forever more endure.

Our hope of being included in this inheritance is based on two things that Peter mentions in these verses.  First is the blood of Jesus, mentioned in verse two.  We become a child of God by appropriating to ourselves the merits of the shed blood of Christ.  It is only by the righteousness of Christ that we can be admitted to heaven.  Romans 5:8-9 says,  “But God commendeth his love toward us, in that, while we were yet sinners, Christ died for us.   Much more then, being now justified by his blood, we shall be saved from wrath through him.”  In I Peter 1:23 Peter makes it clear that he is addressing these words to those who have been born again.  “Being born again, not of corruptible seed, but of incorruptible, by the word of God, which liveth and abideth for ever.”

Yes, it’s true that we are “elect according the foreknowledge of God,” as it says in verse two, but that doesn’t leave us without any responsibility.  If a man or woman dies without having accepted the salvation of God, it’s an indication that he or she wasn’t among the elect of God.

The second thing that gives us hope is the resurrection of Christ.  The fact that he rose gives us assurance that we too shall rise.  By the resurrection of Christ from the dead, God assured us that Christ’s sacrifice was accepted.  Christ said he would rise from the dead, and he did.  No one else has ever done that.  It is exciting to read I Corinthians chapter 15 and contemplate all that is included in the resurrection body.

In verse three Peter says we have a lively hope.  That means a living hope.  It is only by the mercy of God.  That means it is by the unmerited favor of God that we have this hope.  Do you have it?  Ephesians 2:12 tells us that there are those who are without hope.  “That at that time ye were without Christ, being aliens from the commonwealth of Israel, and strangers from the covenants of promise, having no hope, and without God in the world.” Heaven, with all its splendor, is a prepared place for a prepared people.  It isn’t for everyone, but it’s for you if you have trusted in Christ as your Savior.

If you have questions or comments you can send them to us at the following address:  rusandmargaretgeorge@windstream.net

 

 

 

 

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