Our Future (1 Peter, Part 3)

7 May

You can listen to the podcast here.

Last week we saw Peter’s encouragement to obey and we looked at our hope, this morning we’ll find out about our future regardless of our current circumstances.

1 Peter 1:3-9 says, Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, who according to His great mercy has caused us to be born again to a living hope through the resurrection of Jesus Christ from the dead, to obtain an inheritance which is imperishable and undefiled and will not fade away, reserved in heaven for you, who are protected by the power of God through faith for a salvation ready to be revealed in the last time. In this you greatly rejoice, even though now for a little while, if necessary, you have been distressed by various trials, so that the proof of your faith, being more precious than gold which is perishable, even though tested by fire, may be found to result in praise and glory and honor at the revelation of Jesus Christ; and though you have not seen Him, you love Him, and though you do not see Him now, but believe in Him, you greatly rejoice with joy inexpressible and full of glory, obtaining as the outcome of your faith the salvation of your souls.”

As we look at our future, we have an inheritance that is imperishable. We have been sprinkled by the blood of Christ which means God has adopted us through Jesus. Christians are adopted children of God. Ephesians 1:5 says, “He predestined us to adoption as sons through Jesus Christ to Himself, according to the kind intention of His will.” We are God’s heirs. Romans 8:17 “And if children, heirs also, heirs of God and fellow heirs with Christ, if indeed we suffer with Him so that we may also be glorified with Him.” Galatians 3:29 “And if you belong to Christ, then you are Abraham’s descendants, heirs according to promise.” Titus 3:7 “So that being justified by His grace we would be made heirs according to the hope of eternal life.” An heir generally doesn’t do anything to deserve the inheritance; they receive an inheritance because of who they belong to. As Christians, we have an inheritance because we belong to God. The inheritance is given to us because God loves us. Our inheritance is imperishable. The inheritance is undefiled. It is pure, spotless, not held because of dishonesty. There are no legal battles to ensure we get our inheritance. It will not fade away. Unlike the laurel wreaths given to winners of the Olympic Games, our inheritance will not wilt or die. The crown of glory you will be given will not fade, it will not diminish, and it will not tarnish as things we inherit on earth do. Don’t be confused though, our inheritance is not given to us on this earth, our inheritance is reserved in heaven. There is no such thing as heaven on earth. If you Google “Heaven on Earth,” you’ll get over 15 million hits. I looked at the first several pages and few deal with spirituality. Some were for photography, some for spas, and some for finding spirituality. Some were dedicated to new age or eastern religions. There is nothing on this planet that can compare with the glory and splendor of heaven.

Peter goes on to say in verse 5, “Reserved in heaven for you, who are protected by the power of God through faith for a salvation ready to be revealed in the last time.” We are protected or kept by the power of God. The word picture painted here is that God protects us as though we were in a military installation.  It is a safe haven. The only reason we are protected is through the power and might of God. The conduit for God’s strength is our faith. As long as we exercise our faith in God, we are safe. Remember what Jesus said in Matthew 17:20, “if you have faith the size of a mustard seed, you will say to this mountain, ‘Move from here to there,’ and it will move; and nothing will be impossible to you.” It doesn’t take great faith for God to work, but it does take some. We must endure and persevere until the end to see the inheritance that is reserved for us. Our inheritance is prepared, it is ready, but it is in heaven. It will be revealed when Jesus comes again, when the last day arrives.

In v. 6, Peter says, “In this you greatly rejoice, even though now for a little while, if necessary, you have been distressed by various trials.” We must maintain our focus on the inheritance. We are to be exceedingly joyful over our secure place in heaven. No matter our current circumstances, we should maintain our eyes on the prize. Think of anything that you strive for. The work, effort, and struggle that you put into something pales in comparison to achieving the goal. Even though we all experience trials and difficulties and persecutions, the reward is worth the effort. It takes work to endure suffering. No one likes to suffer.  No one likes to have difficulties. It is part of our life here on earth and Peter is encouraging us to keep our focus on the inheritance that is ours. These trials last only for a short while.

Look at verse 7, “So that the proof of your faith, being more precious than gold which is perishable, even though tested by fire, may be found to result in praise and glory and honor at the revelation of Jesus Christ.” The proof of our faith is more precious than gold. Faith that is not tested is not faith at all. When faith is exercised, it grows; it becomes stronger. God is able to do what you ask of Him.  Nothing is too hard for God. When you step out on faith, you rely on the one thing that cannot fail, that will not fail, that will never let you down. When exercising faith, you rely on God’s power, not your own. We do have personal responsibility to pray, study, meditate on God’s word, etc., but when you trust God, you unleash a power that cannot be contained. The bottom line is that when you don’t exercise faith, you don’t trust God. Peter is saying that when the hard times come; when the trials come, and you are standing firm on the power of God, you, “may be found to result in praise and glory and honor.” It is not the trial that produces the praise and glory of Christ; it is the way we respond to the trial.

Remember whom Peter is writing. He’s writing to strangers scattered abroad. They did not have the privilege of walking and talking with Christ as Peter had; yet they loved Him. They heard of His greatness, His character, His teachings, His sacrifice for sin, His resurrection, and His ascension. They heard all about Christ and even though they’ve never seen Him, they love Him. Christ has done more for us than any other one who ever lived. He died for us, to redeem our souls; he rose, and brought life and immortality to those that would believe. He lives to intercede for us in heaven. He is preparing mansions in heaven for us. Jesus is a Savior that ought to be loved. The love of Christ is so strong that people have been willing to die for His name’s sake. People willing to go to the ends of the earth to preach His name. Verse 8 goes on to say, “Though you do not see Him now, but believe in Him, you greatly rejoice with joy inexpressible and full of glory.” Jesus is at the right hand of the Father. He is not visible to the human eye. Our belief in Him should be just as strong as if we’ve seen Him with our own eyes. In John 20:29 Jesus told Thomas, “Because you have seen Me, have you believed?  Blessed are they who did not see, and yet believed.” Some might say, “If I could just talk to Christ and see Him, I’d believe.” The reality is that even if this did happen, people still would not believe. Abraham told the rich man in Luke 16:31, “If they do not listen to Moses and the Prophets, they will not be persuaded even if someone rises from the dead.” 2 Cor. 5:7 reminds us that we, “Walk by faith, not by sight.” Verse 9 concludes by saying, “obtaining as the outcome of your faith the salvation of your souls.” The result of your faith is salvation. That is what we have to look forward to. This is our confidence.

We need faith to make it. That’s why we share testimonies of what God is doing in our lives. He is at work even though we cannot see Him. We must trust that His plans are for us to prosper. Do not let the circumstances of this life get you down. When we continue to walk by faith, our future is bright.

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