The Tabernacle Scroll
"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 - kept in heaven for you,-----". (1 Peter 1:3,4, NIV).
In this letter to believers who were facing suffering and persecution, Peter gives many instructions relating to the Christian's life and duties. But (take note of this) he begins by encouraging them! In the face of the trials and difficulties they were up against, all his instructions could easily have become just another burden for them. So Peter wisely begins his letter by encouraging them to look forward to the promise of their inheritance after this life. This looking forward would provide the stimulus for their Christian walk, and so it should for us too! We call it HOPE! Not wishful thinking, but an assured anticipation!
So what is Peter alluding to when he talks about the inheritance 'kept in heaven for you'? I believe Peter was encouraging these suffering believers to keep alive their hope in two important aspects of the believer's promised inheritance.
Firstly, the believer's victory. Those who believe in Christ are promised a glorious victory over the power of death. "But", you might ask "aren't unbelievers also going to be raised from the dead?" Yes, but resurrection for the believer means eternal enjoyment of God's presence, whilst for the unbeliever, it heralds eternal torment. The Bible calls this state of torment 'the second death'. It is a bodily existence cut off eternally from God's presence, without any hope of relief! In contrast the believer's eternal existence is called 'eternal life'. His existence in the resurrected body will be free from every suffering known to man in this sinful world; whether physical (sickness, pain, weakness and infirmity), or mental anxiety or emotional pain and guilt. (See Rev. 21:3,4 and similar passages). In fact, the believer will not even be able to sin, because sin itself will be destroyed.
Secondly, the believer's Glory. For a start the believer will share in His glorious rule subject to the extent that he has proved faithful in this life. That's the point of the parable of the faithful servants. But that's not all. The believer will also have a body of glory very unlike his present mortal body. We can get some idea of the splendour of this glorious body if we consider the appearances of Moses and Elijah at Jesus' transfiguration! Also, consider how Jesus passed through walls and doors after his resurrection. And we are told we will look like him! (Phil. 3: 20, 21).
Therefore, knowing these things to be true, be encouraged!
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