Wednesday, October 14, 2009

Our Inheritance – 1 Peter 1:4

And into an inheritance that can never perish, spoil or fade — kept in heaven for you, (NIV) Not only am I given new birth into a living hope but also an inheritance. The NAS version says to obtain this inheritance. Unfortunately the word obtain is italicized which means it isn’t in the original Greek. Obtain clarifies the meaning since it doesn’t seem like I can be born into an inheritance. That is something I get or obtain when another person dies. I don’t usually think about the future benefits of heaven as an inheritance but it fits because Jesus is the one who died so that I can go there when I die. That is another strange thought – I have to die (unless Jesus comes back first) before I can receive the inheritance.

In Heb 9:15-17 it says that Christ is the mediator of a new covenant (from which comes the term New Testament) so that I may receive the promised eternal inheritance because Jesus has died. The Greek word for covenant and will (used in verse 16) is the same - diatheke (dee-ath-ay'-kay). The verses go on to explain that for a will to be in force, the death of the one who made it must be proven. Now I want to go off with a big explanation of the proof of Jesus’ death and resurrection but then I’d never finish this thought. Besides, I did that a long time ago. (http://rayruppert.com/romans120/archives/studies_april_jun_99.htm) The current benefit of the inheritance is found in Heb 10:16 "This is the covenant I will make with them after that time, says the Lord. I will put my laws in their hearts, and I will write them on their minds." (NIV)

I need that law in my heart and mind, otherwise I’m without hope. In the past, before I was born again, my only hope for heaven was to be 100% obedient to all of God’s laws. The problem with that is that I can’t be 100% obedient. I don’t know anyone who can. Neither does God know of anyone who can. So the law was put there to show that I need someone to be a mediator for me. 1 John 2:1-2 My dear children, I am writing this to you so that you will not sin. But if anyone does sin, we have an advocate who pleads our case before the Father. He is Jesus Christ, the one who is truly righteous. He himself is the sacrifice that atones for our sins—and not only our sins but the sins of all the world. (Holy Bible, New Living Translation ®) Now of course that doesn’t give me the right to blatantly sin but Jesus does defend me and has paid the penalty for me. With His law in my heart and mind, I now have a desire to obey. Before it was all external obedience but not from my heart.

Now I want to get back to the inheritance that is kept in heaven for me. The key thing in 1 Peter 1:4 is that it can never – and I need to emphasize the word never – be diminished in any way. It is kept for me by the power of the almighty God. He has promised it in these verses. Is there anything I can do that will remove that inheritance? No. Is there anything that anyone else can do to remove it? No. It is based on the one who has promised it.

Eph 1:13-14 And you also were included in Christ when you heard the word of truth, the gospel of your salvation. Having believed, you were marked in him with a seal, the promised Holy Spirit, who is a deposit guaranteeing our inheritance until the redemption of those who are God's possession — to the praise of his glory. (NIV) The Holy Spirit who gives me hope is my guarantee that I will receive that inheritance. He will keep me until I die or Jesus returns.

That inheritance is like a divine 401(k). My inheritance is a mansion (John 14:2) and the right to reign with Christ. (Rev 3:21, 5:20, 20:6) That is the employer’s input to my 401(k). My input is found in Matt 6:19-21 (store up treasures in heaven.) The great thing is that this is kept safe for me. No depressions, recession, moth, rust, thieves, or anything else will be able to diminish that.

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