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A Heavenly Inheritance

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OCTOBER 17, 2008


! 1 Peter 3-12

A Heavenly Inheritance

3  Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, who  according to His abundant mercy has begotten us again to a living hope through the resurrection of Jesus Christ from the dead, 4 to an inheritance incorruptible and undefiled and that does not fade away, reserved in heaven for you, 5 who are kept by the power of God through faith for salvation ready to be revealed in the last time.

6 In this you greatly rejoice, though now  for a little while, if need be, you have been grieved by various trials, 7 that the genuineness of your faith, being much more precious than gold that perishes, though  it is tested by fire, may be found to praise, honor, and glory at the revelation of Jesus Christ, 8 whom having not seen you love. Though now you do not see Him, yet believing, you rejoice with joy inexpressible and full of glory, 9 receiving the end of your faith—the salvation of your souls.

10 Of this salvation the prophets have inquired and searched carefully, who prophesied of the grace that would come to you, 11 searching what, or what manner of time, the Spirit of Christ who was in them was indicating when He testified beforehand the sufferings of Christ and the glories that would follow. 12 To them it was revealed that, not to themselves, but to us they were ministering the things which now have been reported to you through those who have preached the gospel to you by the Holy Spirit sent from heaven—things which  angels desire to look into.[1]



Peter calls us to the central idea of salvation in these few verses.  The salvation that we have that is secure in the death and resurrection of Jesus Christ.  Christ’s act upon the cross was not for nothing.  He willingly put his hands out for the sake of man and paid a debt that we should pay.  He went through excruciating pain to pay this debt.  Excruciating, is an in interesting word that means “out of the cross.” It is very fitting that the only way we can explain such pain in English is excruciating.  Christ paid a debt that we could not.  There is nothing that man can do to earn his way into this inheritance.   Rather it is what God has done for us.

Propositional Statement:

We are secure in our salvation because of what Christ has done for us.

I.                  The Believers inheritance:

A.   The source of the inheritance  (1:3a)

a.     God the father of our Lord Jesus Christ.

b.     Peter conveys in the opening verse that God is the source of our inheritance.  The salvation that we have in the Lord Jesus Christ.  This calls back to the many times that Jesus calls God His Father.  It also shows the trinity.  In this Christ is saying that he is a part of the trinity, sharing in the power of the trinity.

B.   The Motive of the Believer’s Inheritance (1:3b)

a.     Mercy - it is shown through this verse that the motive is clearly God’s.  God’s mercy is shown to the believer by his salvation.  Mercy focuses on the sinner’s miserable, pitiful condition.  That without God’s Mercies we would be lost forever. 

b.     Mercy is not the same as Grace.  Mercy has to do with the condition of the sinner. While grace concerns his guilt, which caused the condition.

C.   The appropriation of the Believer’s Inheritance (1:3c)

a.     The prophet Jeremiah once said, “Can the Ethiopian change his skin, or the leopard his spots?” (Jer 13:23)  This of course implied a negative answer.  But when we speak of the sinner there is a change that must occur.  Not only a change of heart, but one of mind and soul.  In order for sinners to receive and eternal inheritance from God, they must experience His means of spiritual transformation, the new birth.  This is affirmed by peter when he says God has caused believers to be born again.  Jesus calls us to this in His speaking with Nicodemus in John 3:1-15.  He tells Nicodemus that he must be born again not of flesh and blood but of water and spirit.  It is this later rebirth that God calls us to and Peter reinforces. 

D.  The Nature of the Believer’s In heritance (1:4a)

a.     3 factors of the inheritance

                                                                         i.      Imperishable – refers to what is not corruptible.  That which is not liable to death, or not subject to destruction.  This is unlike the earthly inheritance of the Israelites that came and went because of their sins.  The believer’s inheritance will never be subject to destruction. 

                                                                      ii.      Undefiled – describes things that are unstained or unpolluted.  Everything in fallen creation has been stained by sin.   This is what Paul refers to in Romans 8:22 when he says: “For we know that the whole creation groans and suffers pains of childbirth together until now.”

                                                                   iii.      Will not fade away – the original Greek describes a flower that will not wither or die.  In this sense it describe that the inheritance that we are given will not fade away, it will not decay.

E.   The Security of the Believers Inheritance  (1:4b-5)

a.     A few words stand out in this section.  The first being reserved.  I think of a special occasion when a place is reserved for the guest of honor.  This is what God has done for us.  The place that this reservation is made in Heaven. 

b.     Heaven – is the securest place in the universe.  Our salvation is truly secure there. 

c.     Protected by the power of God.  The salvation that we receive is both given and protected by God. 

d.     Salvation – means rescue or deliverance.

II.                Salvation Joy

a.     Peter writes early in his epistle about the joy of salvation.  Basically because his readers needed the encouragement as they faced severe persecution.  Salvation joy is a permanent and profound emotion.  Something that is not fleeting.

b.     Confidence in a protected inheritance (1:6)

                                                             i.      In this refers back to the preceding passage which detailed their first great truth that brings Christian joy, namely their protected eternal inheritance.

                                                          ii.      Greatly rejoice- to have exceeding joy.

c.     Confidence in Proven Faith  (16b-7a)

                                                             i.      This is where Peter turns to the source of the joy.

                                                          ii.      Joy in the resurrection of Christ, which is more precious, the gold.  The fact that the Jews believed without seeing Christ.  Much like us today.

                                                       iii.      It is noted that the Christian life is not an easy one.  That we will face times of trial. 

d.     Confidence in a Promise Honor

                                                             i.      God will grant believers praise and glory and honor at the revelation of Jesus Christ.

                                                          ii.      Threefold tribute:  praise, glory and honor.

e.     Confidence in a personal fellowship with Christ.

                                                             i.      Again the Jews had believed though they had not seen Christ.  This is a wondrous relationship that the believer has with Christ.

III.             Salvations Greatness

a.     Salvation was the theme of the prophets.

b.     Salvation was the theme of the Spirit’s inspiration.

c.     Salvation was the theme of the Apostles preaching.

d.     Salvation was the theme of the angels examination.


[1] The New King James Version. Nashville : Thomas Nelson, 1982, S. 1 Pe 1:3-12

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