II. An eternal inheritance in heaven (3-9)
What does it mean to be born again?
What is our living hope? Why is it called a “living” hope?
What made this hope possible?
What are the unique characteristics mentioned about this inheritance? How does that compare with say the inheritance left behind by an extremely wealthy person for his child?
In this world, sometimes a child with a big inheritance will grow lazy. Does our heavenly inheritance have the same effect? Why or why not?
What does it mean that our salvation is going to “be revealed in the last time?” Is our salvation not complete yet? In what way?
What is our rejoicing (6) based on? Do you greatly rejoice? When do we tend to rejoice more than other times?
What should our attitude be when we face trials? Have you faced any trials recently? What were they?
How will knowing we have an inheritance in heaven affect our behavior and attitudes when we face trials?
What is more precious than gold (7)? Why?
How can we love God whom we do not see (remember our study in 1 John)?
Do you have this kind of inexpressible joy mentioned in verse 8? Why or why not? How can we get more of this kind of joy?
Psalms 43:5 – Why, my soul, are you downcast? Why so disturbed within me? Put your hope in God, for I will yet praise him, my Savior and my God.
2 Thessalonians 2:16 – May our Lord Jesus Christ himself and God our Father, who loved us and by his grace gave us eternal encouragement and good hope.
Romans 15:4 – For everything that was written in the past was written to teach us, so that through the endurance taught in the Scriptures and the encouragement they provide we might have hope.
Romans 15:13 – May the God of hope fill you with all joy and peace as you trust in him, so that you may overflow with hope by the power of the Holy Spirit.
Psalms 146:5 – Blessed are those whose help is the God of Jacob, whose hope is in the Lord their God.
2 Thessalonians 2:16 – May our Lord Jesus Christ himself and God our Father, who loved us and by his grace gave us eternal encouragement and good hope,
Ephesians 1:18 – I pray that the eyes of your heart may be enlightened in order that you may know the hope to which he has called you, the riches of his glorious inheritance in his holy people.
Colossians 3:23-24 – Whatever you do, work at it with all your heart, as working for the Lord, not for human masters, since you know that you will receive an inheritance from the Lord as a reward. It is the Lord Christ you are serving.
Titus 3:7 – So that, having been justified by his grace, we might become heirs having the hope of eternal life.
Act 20:32 – Now I commit you to God and to the word of his grace, which can build you up and give you an inheritance among all those who are sanctified.
1. God is abundantly merciful. This is one of the themes we can see throughout this passage. God chose us. He redeemed us. He saved us. He has given us an inheritance. This passage is something akin to Ephesians chapter 1 as we see many of the blessings that belong to believers. And NONE of these blessings are deserved. Everything God has given to us, He has given to us because of His kindness. How should God’s mercy affect us? This should be incentive for us to love God and to extend mercy to others as God has to us.
Application: Is there anyone whom you are struggling to extend mercy to? What do you need to do in order to show the same mercy to him that you have received from the Lord?
2. He has given us a living hope. Our hope is placed in Christ and He is alive! Our hope should not be set on anything in this world such as money, people, politics, luck, or fate. All of these things will disappoint. Neither should our hope be set on heaven or eternal life or a guardian angel. Rather, our hope is in Someone.
The disciples were actually disappointed for a couple of days. They placed their hope in Christ. They followed Him for three years. But then he died. They were crushed and couldn’t understand it, thinking that Jesus was the Messiah. But He died.
Illustration: This reminds me of some movies I have seen where the heroes make a promise to their kids or wife. Although they are about to embark on the most dangerous mission in the history of the world they promise, “I will be back for you. Everything will be OK” In real life, those who rely on them are bound to be disappointed.
But Christ did the impossible. He rose again from the dead. If He could defeat death, what can Christ not do? There is nothing impossible for Him (aside from sinning). Therefore put your hope in Him and you will never be disappointed. Do not put your hope on any person or material thing.
When you place your hope in something in this world there are only two possible outcomes. The first outcome is that you will never get what you hope for and be disappointed. The second outcome is that you will get what you hope for and still be disappointed because it does not bring the happiness you expected. Set your hope on Christ because He alone can satisfy.
3. An imperishable inheritance. If we place our hope in things in this world such as materials we may actually get a lot of them. But even if you do, they are temporary. For example, the owner of Myspace was offered 2 billion dollars for his company. At that time, Myspace, was THE place to be on the internet. He declined the offer. That was right before Facebook debuted. Soon Myspace was irrelevant and faded into obscurity. The golden egg that was going to make him, his family, and all of his descendants rich, vanished. Sometimes riches will not fade that quickly, but they longest they will last is until death. Then the person who put their hope in these things will be disappointed. See Luke 12:16-21. As believers, we have an inheritance that will never fade, that will never disappear, and that will never diminish. MacArthur describes this inheritance as “life, righteousness, joy, peace, perfection, God’s presence, Christ’s glorious companionship, rewards, and all else God has planned.” In short, paradise.
a) In the world, if someone has an inheritance like this, it could make them lazy. A biblical example would be the prodigal son. There are real life examples all around us. Kids with rich parents will sometimes rely on their parents’ money. They don’t learn to work or be self-sufficient. They don’t learn to solve their own problems as mommy or daddy is always there to bail them out. In short, they are lazy.
b) However, a believers’ inheritance should not make us lazy. In fact, it is just the opposite. Our inheritance in heaven will grow as we work diligently fulfilling God’s will for us on earth. The harder we work for God now, the better our heavenly inheritance will be. For example we may have a higher position in heaven or have more rewards (which we could give back to Christ, which would give us more joy) if we serve God more faithfully now.
4. We are protected by God’s power. This ties back into the fact that we have a living hope. Our inheritance and our very souls are protected by Christ. This is we can trust in it with confidence. Imagine Christ’s hand as the world’s first unbreakable safe. He holds us in His hand. This means that our heavenly inheritance and all of God’s promises to us are sure.
5. The salvation ready to be revealed. As Christians we are saved right now. See John 5:24 and John 3:36. We have eternal life, present tense. So then what does this mean? Well, although we are saved right now, we have not yet seen all the affects of salvation in our life. We are still trapped in these sinful, fading bodies. We still sin. We have not seen Christ yet. One day, we will receive new glorified bodies. We will actually be living in the mansions Christ has prepared for us. We will actually be able to see Jesus face to face. Here is the classic “already but not yet,” which we can often see in Scripture. We already have eternal life, but it is not yet fully realized.
Illustration: It is like an inheritance in trust. Sometimes when someone passes away, they leave their child the estate in trust. It fully belongs to them, but they can’t “get” all of it right away. Perhaps they get paid every year for twenty years. Then when they are old enough, the limitations are removed and they control all the assets of the estate. This is much like our heavenly inheritance. It belongs to us, but it is in trust. On this earth we will receive part. When we meet God, we will receive the rest.
6. How should this affect us? This should make us rejoice. We should rejoice even we face trials. Peter was writing to believers, many of whom were being persecuted. The world was turning against them. Friends, neighbors, the government, and even family were turning on them. It didn’t seem like a cause for rejoicing. But Peter reminds them that these things are temporary. Joy is not to depend on our circumstances. Joy comes from the hope that we have in Christ and is to be expressed in every circumstance we face.
7. These trials also serve a purpose. Throughout the Bible we see that trials are meant to increase our faith. They make us more dependent on God and more heavenly focused. They make us realize our weaknesses and God’s strength. And when we see that God is faithful to us, even in the middle of the trial, we are reminded to have faith in Him no matter what. Trials sift those who have true faith from those who are pretending.
8. Our relationship with God does require faith. When we face trials we may not understand the reason God is allowing them to happen. And we have not even seen God or Jesus, the object of our faith. See John 20:26-29, Matthew 13:16.
But God will reward those who believe in Him though we have not seen Him. The greatest “reward” is that our souls will be saved. We can have complete joy throughout our entire lives because we know, we KNOW that God is true. We have absolute confidence in His promises. He is our hope and this hope is true. So hold this faith in Christ close to your heart. Don’t let skeptics or persecution shake your faith. Examine your own life and your own faith and consider whether you do have joy inexpressible as Peter describes.
Application: What do you need to do in order to obey what you have learned in this lesson?
Chapter Breakdown: 1 Peter Chapter 01
3Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ! By his great mercy he gave us new birth into a living hope through the resurrection of Jesus Christ from the dead,
The Greek word for "blessed" is εὐλογητός (eulogaitos), meaning to speak good words, or to praise God. The praise goes to the God and Father of the Lord Jesus Christ. In the humanity of Jesus, the Father is His God. In the deity of Christ, God is His Father.
The Greek word for "he gave new birth" is ἀναγεννάω (anagennaow), an aorist active participle, meaning one who was born from above as a onetime completed action of the past. Once a person is born from above, then the action is completed. The person cannot be unborn. The active participle conveys a onetime completed action of the past which cannot be reversed. This active participle proves the doctrine of eternal security.
The messianic believers, like all men, were totally depraved and evil and headed to hell. They were only saved by the mercy (or the kindness) of God. He saved them by giving them a new birth. They were born with a dead spirit, but God made their dead spirit alive so that they could believe in Jesus. Their living hope is heaven, They receive this living hope through believing in the resurrection of the Lord Jesus Christ from the dead.
4that is, into an inheritance imperishable, undefiled, and unfading. It is reserved in heaven for you,
Those who believe in the resurrection of Christ will inherit a body in heaven that cannot perish or decay. This body will be undefiled, meaning that it cannot sin. The body will be unfading, meaning that it will never lose its beauty. It will never grow old and wrinkly.
5who by God’s power are protected through faith for a salvation ready to be revealed in the last time.
The Greek word for "protected" is φρουρέω (prone), a present passive participle, meaning to continually guard as that of a soldier in the military. The salvation of the Jewish messianic believers was continually and forever under the military protection of God's own power. The messianic believer will be revealed on the last day, which would be at the return of Christ to establish His literal 1000 year Millennial Kingdom.
6This brings you great joy, although you may have to suffer for a short time in various trials.7Such trials show the proven character of your faith, which is much more valuable than gold – gold that is tested by fire, even though it is passing away – and will bring praise and glory and honor when Jesus Christ is revealed.
Many cults and isms have attempted unsuccessfully to explain human suffering. Peter gave the divine reason for suffering. The purpose of suffering is the proof that one possesses faith. When one is willing to suffer for Christ, then the entire angelic world and the entire satanic world system can see that the believer is indeed trusting in Christ for salvation. The believer is willing to give up the comforts of the satanic world system for a future eternity of co-reigning with Christ over an eternal kingdom.
Gold is tested by fire to prove that it is genuine and valuable. Faith is tested by suffering to prove that it is genuine and valuable. When one suffers for Christ, then he brings praise and glory and honor to Christ.
8You have not seen him, but you love him. You do not see him now but you believe in him, and so you rejoice with an indescribable and glorious joy,
Peter was writing to second generation Jewish believers in Jesus who had never seen Him, yet they still loved Him. They came to love Jesus simply on the apostolic teaching of the apostles. The only way for a believer to love Christ today is by studying the Word of God at the deepest level. Those who claim that they love Jesus, but have never studied the entire counsel of the Word of God, do not love the Jesus of the Bible. They do not know Him. They love a Jesus of their own invention.
9because you are attaining the goal of your faith – the salvation of your souls.
The Jewish messianic believers of the diaspora were assured that God would complete the salvation process of their souls.
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