Everyone who has left houses, brothers, sisters, father, mother, children, or lands, for my name’s sake, will receive a hundredfold and will inherit eternal life….Then the King will say to those on His right: Come, you who are blessed by my Father, inherit the kingdom prepared for you from the foundation of the world. (Matthew 19:29; 25:34)
A Surprise Inheritance
J. Wilbur Chapman (1859-1918) recounted a testimony given by Mark Jones who had recently come to faith in Christ. Mark said: I got off at the train depot one day as a tramp. I was at my most desperate point and begging on the streets. Starving, I touched a stranger on the shoulder and said, “Mister, please give me a dime.” As soon as I saw his face, I recognized him as my aged father. I asked, “Don’t you know me?” Throwing his arms around me, he cried, “Mark, my son, I have found you at last! All is forgiven and all that I own is yours!” Mark said: Think of it, I was a tramp, begging for 10 cents from a man I didn’t know was my father. And for 18 years he had been looking for me to pardon me and give me all his possessions!1
Mark’s story reminds us of Jesus. Hebrews chapter 2 says that Christ makes people holy and brings us into His family. And that Jesus is not ashamed to call us His brothers and sisters. Amazing! And Christ also says: Here am I, and the children God has given me. He calls us His little brothers and sisters and also His children, heaping up analogies for our assurance, joy, and peace. Jesus wants His followers to be super-sure of His everlasting love.
Everything earthly decomposes by decrees. I read that even solid granite eventually rots and crumbles. Human empires, dynasties, and kingdoms all eventually fall because of human sinfulness, but Christ’s kingdom and our inheritance can never perish. Around 500 BC, even the Persian King Darius the Great had to admit: “People must fear and reverence God (Father, Son, and Holy Spirit). For He is the living God and He endures forever; His kingdom will not be destroyed, His dominion will never end. He rescues and He saves; He performs signs and wonders in the heavens and on the earth.”2
Another Look at 1 Peter 1:3-5
Peter writes about our Christian inheritance: “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 Christ from the dead. We have an inheritance that can never perish, spoil or fade. This inheritance is kept (guarded) in heaven for you, who through faith are shielded (guarded) by God’s power until the coming of the salvation that is ready to be revealed in the last time.”
Notice several more things from this passage:
Our Inheritance in Jesus Is Guarded, Kept, and Reserved for Us
The Lord keeps it safe in heaven for us until Christ comes to take us home. The Old Testament Jews were taken away from the Promised Land. And New Testament Christians were forced out of Jerusalem and scattered because of persecution.3 But God had something better in store for them and for Christians today. Right now worldwide, God is shaking the earth and removing what can be shaken (created things) so that Christ’s unshakable kingdom may remain and flourish.4 What is seen is temporary, but what is unseen is eternal.5
Jesus has gained a better and lasting inheritance for us, eternal salvation, through His life, death, and resurrection. And Christ is gradually restoring and renewing us from inside out. And He will return to restore and renew His creation in the new heaven and new earth where righteousness dwells.6 Our inheritance is safe and secure because Christ’s followers have been chosen by God the Father. And we are set apart by the sanctifying work of God the Spirit, to be obedient to Jesus and sprinkled with His blood.7 Our inheritance is secure because of God’s faithfulness, not ours. That’s the greatest news.
And We Are Guarded, Preserved, and Shielded by God until We Receive Our Blessings
Don’t miss the details of what Peter is telling Christ’s followers. Our inheritance is kept for us and we are kept safe by the Lord until we come to possess the inheritance. Jesus has gone to prepare heaven for us and sent the Holy Spirit to prepare us for heaven.
Peter says that through faith Christ’s believers are shielded by God’s power until the coming of the salvation that is ready to be revealed in the last time. Psalm 121 says that the Lord guards our going out and our coming in everything that we do forever. We can’t be more secure than that.
Remember The Three Tenses of Salvation:
- Christians have been saved once for all from sin’s penalty when God brought us to faith in Christ. (We call this justification)
- We are presently being saved from sin’s power as the Holy Spirit polishes and purifies us. (We call this progressive sanctification)
- And we will be saved finally from sin’s presence when we meet Christ face to face. (We call this glorification) The best is yet to come.
You were included in Jesus’ family when you believed on Him. And Christ identified you as His own by giving you the Holy Spirit, whom He promised long ago. The Spirit is God’s guarantee that He will give us the inheritance He promised and that He has purchased us to be His own people. He did this so we would praise and glorify Him forever with our lips and our lives.8
The Holy Spirit is the first installment of the Christian’s inheritance. When Christ returns, He will open the treasuries of heaven for His followers to delight in. Until Jesus comes for us, the Spirit gives us the assurance that God’s very best will one day be ours.
Prayer: Lord Jesus, thank you for giving us the Holy Spirit. Empower us to live for you and not for ourselves. Encourage us when we are downcast. Fill us with the Spirit’s goodness, peace, and joy make us a blessing to others. Forgive us and purify us from our sins and make us quick for forgive those who have sinned against us. Help us not to yield to temptation and deliver us from the evil one. Lord, have mercy upon us. We pray in your name. Amen.
Notes (various translations): 1 Adapted from an illustration heard from Chuck Swindol. 2 Daniel 6:26-27. 3 Acts 8:1-3. 4 Hebrews 12:26-28. 5 2 Cor 4:18. 6 2 Peter 3:13. 7 1 Peter 1:2. 8 Ephesians 1:13–14.