“Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ! According to his great mercy, he has caused us to be born again to a living hope through the resurrection of Jesus Christ from the dead, to an inheritance that is imperishable, undefiled, and unfading, kept in heaven for you, “
(1 Peter 1:3-4)
How often do you think about Heaven and what it is like? For me I don’t think about it enough, but when I do, when I really meditate on it as I read through the scriptures that describe its majesty, I am reminded of that old hymn that sings, “And the things of earth will grow strangely dim, in the light of His glory and grace.” The glory and majesty of heaven IS Jesus’ presence there, and when I settle on that thought for a time the things that seem so important or overwhelming in my day grow strangely dim. Imagining being in heaven for all eternity, without end, with the One I love makes my exhaustion seem more bearable, it diminishes anxiety over finances, it quenches my thirst for material pleasures, and it causes my HUGE problems to become miniscule. It is because these things are temporary. They have an expiry date, they will NOT last.
C.S. Lewis so wisely said, “All that is not eternal is eternally out of date.”
What is the inheritance that verse 4 is talking about? If you continue reading vs. 5 reveals it,
“who by God’s power are being guarded through faith for a salvation ready to be revealed in the last time.”
(1 Peter 1:5 ESV)
Our inheritance is our salvation. Jesus saved us for a future hope, one that is being prepared for us in heaven. Yes, there are a multitude of benefits and shadows of the glory to come once we are converted here on earth and for the duration of our time while we wait to go home to be with Him, but the fulfillment of our salvation, our inheritance, awaits us in heaven.
I am reading the Little Pilgrim’s Progress with my 6 year old son right now and we just read the chapter tonight when Little Christian is welcomed into the Celestial City and enters into the presence of the King. Here is how the chapter ends,
“The little pilgrims had now reached the threshold of the Palace, and as the doors were thrown open they heard a sound of the very sweetest music. The Prince Himself was waiting to receive them, and He smiled upon them and took their hands in His own. Then He led them into the Palace, and the whole City was filled with joy because their pilgrimage was over and they had been brought safely through the Dark River into the presence of the King.”
I love this story and plan on reading it to my kids every year that they live in our home. It is such an amazing description of the journey that unfolds in a Christian’s life. It is so revealing of the nature of a true pilgrim and a false one. It also serves many warnings of the traps the enemy sets to try to ensnare us and the temptations and sinful choices we often make, as well as the consequences that are sure to follow.
The greatest part of the story though, the climax, comes finally after the long and grueling road, in reaching the gates of the Celestial City and knowing that the suffering is over and eternal joy is ahead.
Imperishable, Undefiled, and Unfading…
As I mentioned earlier, I often feel exhausted, overwhelmed by finances, tempted by material possessions, and other issues of life that come up. But this is why being in God’s word daily is so important, because when I open my Bible and read and am reminded that what I am living for is being guarded in heaven where moth and rust cannot reach it and I can take a deep breath and say, “These things will pass away; they are perishable, defiled, and fading, but my hope and my salvation will not perish, be defiled, or fade because God is good and He is guarding me through faith,” as we will see in the next blog post on verse 5.
“The most tragic strain in human existence lies in the fact that the pleasure which we find in the things of this life, however good that pleasure may be in itself, is always taken away from us. The things for which men strive hardly ever turn out to be as satisfying as they expected, and in the rare cases in which they do, sooner or later they are snatched away…. For the Christians, all those partial, broken and fleeting perfections which he glimpses in the world around him, which wither in his grasp and are snatched away from him even while they wither, are found again, perfect, complete and lasting in the absolute beauty of God.” ~Randy Alcorn (Heaven)
Preparing the Way,