The Foundational Promise of 1 Peter

1 Peter is a book of adversity and trials.  Much of the book focuses on the trials that a Christian may face and the proper response that he should have.  But before any of those difficult teachings are addressed, Peter starts with a promise.  He starts with an amazing promise that God has given to us, and that promise is the foundation of how we can endure through the various trials and difficult times that come into our lives.  Time after time throughout the book, Peter alludes back to this promise

1 Peter 1:3-5 says, “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, Who are kept by the power of God through faith unto salvation ready to be revealed in the last time.”  For the true Christian, God has given him new life through Jesus Christ.  But that new life and that living hope has an end goal that the Christian will reach.  Not only does God save the Christian from separation from God and eternal punishment in hell for his sin, but God also promises the Christian a wonderful and eternal inheritance in heaven.  In ancient Greece, the winners of the Olympic games would receive a crown, typically of celery leaves.  The crown was the symbol of their athletic superiority; it was a sign of greatness.  But that wreath would soon fade away.  But this inheritance that God promises is incorruptible, undefiled, and unfading.  It cannot be destroyed.  Time itself cannot diminish its quality.  On top of all of that, it is reserved in heaven by God Himself.  God protects and keeps this inheritance for us; when we reach heaven, it will be there for us.

But the promise of an inheritance in heaven would be of little comfort if we did not make it to heaven to receive it.  So verse 5 promises that we are also kept safe by the power of God.  Not only does God protect our inheritance for us until we reach heaven, but we are also kept safe by the power of God.  In Acts 23, a Roman captain planned to move Paul out of Jerusalem to Caesarea.  Forty Jews, rejecting the message of Christ and despising Paul for his ministry, planned to attack him along the way.  But the Roman captain sent nearly 500 Roman soldiers, the best trained soldiers in the world, with Paul to protect him along the way, and Paul made it safely to Caesarea.  But that protection pales by far in comparison to the protection that we are promised.  1 Peter 1 promises that the God of the universe will keep us safe until we reach heaven and receive the inheritance that He has reserved for us.  Once we accept Christ as our Savior, trusting Him alone, then nothing can stop us from receiving the promised inheritance.

The promise of this inheritance is foundational to the whole message of 1 Peter.  Peter’s readers lived in an area where they were beginning to face persecution and opposition.  Friends rejected them because they had turned to Christ.  Family members turned against them.  Soon they would begin to face official state persecution.  Much of this persecution came precisely because they had followed Christ and were striving to do right.  So throughout the rest of 1 Peter, Peter points to the example of Christ and shows these Christians how to endure through the difficult times that they would face.  But the entire pattern of endurance rests on this foundational promise of God.  No matter what trials they face, and no matter what opposition comes against them, they can endure and remain faithful to God, because they will receive this inheritance.  No matter what happens in their lives, their inheritance is in heaven.  No matter what happens in their lives, they will reach heaven and receive this inheritance.

–Pastor Tim

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