…Kept by the power of God through faith unto salvation ready to be revealed in the last time.

1 PETER 1:5

Christian believers need always to be leaning back very strongly on the keeping power of God!

The Apostle Peter says plainly that those who are elect, begotten, obedient and believing have this power of God reflected in their daily lives.

Elect: that is God’s business and it was His business before we knew anything about it!

Begotten: that is God’s business as we believe in His Son!

Obedient and believing: we who are kept by the power of God through faith unto an inheritance!

So there we are—and as Christians, we are not only rich but nobly rich! Rich with riches which need no apology. Riches which have no taint of having come to us through defiled hands.

I wonder when we will begin to behave and to live on the level of our spiritual riches instead of acting like poverty-stricken creatures trying to crawl under a leaf so we will not be seen?

Let’s let the world know how rich we really are! Let’s tell it—we are being kept by the power of God unto an inheritance reserved in heaven for us!

That is the full-time business of the child of God![1]

The Security of the Believer’s Inheritance

reserved in heaven for you, who are protected by the power of God through faith for a salvation ready to be revealed in the last time. (1:4b–5)

Having pledged that the believer’s spiritual inheritance was permanent in nature, Peter adds to his readers’ security by declaring that the believer’s inheritance is reserved in heaven. Its nature is fixed and unalterable and so is its place. Reserved (tetērēmenēn) means “guarded” or “watched over.” The perfect passive participle conveys the idea of the already existing inheritance being carefully guarded in heaven for all those who trust in Christ. Not only will that inheritance not change, but no one will plunder it. The reality of a guarded and imperishable eternal inheritance is precisely what Jesus referred to when He said,

Do not store up for yourselves treasures on earth, where moth and rust destroy, and where thieves break in and steal. But store up for yourselves treasures in heaven, where neither moth nor rust destroys, and where thieves do not break in or steal; for where your treasure is, there your heart will be also. (Matt. 6:19–21)

Heaven is the securest place in all the universe. The apostle John characterizes it as a place where “nothing unclean, and no one who practices abomination and lying, shall ever come into it, but only those whose names are written in the Lamb’s book of life” (Rev. 21:27; cf. 22:14–15).

Not only is the inheritance divinely guarded, those who possess it are also protected by the power of God from doing anything to forfeit it or be severed from it. God’s power is His sovereign omnipotence that continuously protects His elect. If God is for believers, no one can successfully oppose them (Rom. 8:31–39; Jude 24). All the details of this promise are to provide the believer with an undying hope of heaven, so as to provide joy and endurance.

The Christian’s continued faith in God is evidence of His keeping and protecting work (John 8:31; Col. 1:21–23; Heb. 3:6, 14; James 2:17, 20–26; 1 John 5:4, 11–13). At conversion, God energizes faith in believers’ hearts, and as He keeps them He continues to energize their faith (Ps. 37:24; John 10:28; Phil. 1:6). By His grace, God’s omnipotent, protecting power and the believer’s perseverance of faith always work hand in hand (cf. Dan. 6:1–23).

This security for the believer and his inheritance both look beyond this life and human history for a salvation ready to be revealed in the last time. Salvation (sōtērian) means “rescue” or “deliverance,” and here it denotes the full, final, eternal life God has not yet consummated. The New Testament implicitly reveals a threefold chronology for salvation. The past aspect of salvation is justification; it comes when one believes in Christ (Rom. 10:9–10, 14–17) and is delivered from the penalty of sin. The present aspect of salvation is sanctification. Believers are continually being delivered from the power of sin (1 John 1:9). Ephesians 2:8 declares, “For by grace you have been saved.” The Greek literally says, “you are having been saved.” Salvation thus is a past occurrence with continuing results in the present. Third, salvation also has a future aspect, glorification (cf. Rom. 13:11). Whenever a believer dies, God completely and finally delivers him from the presence of sin (cf. Heb. 9:28) and instantly brings him into his eternal inheritance in His heavenly presence. Paul eloquently expressed to Timothy his personal confidence in the certainty of his future inheritance: “The Lord will rescue me from every evil deed, and will bring me safely to His heavenly kingdom; to Him be the glory forever and ever. Amen” (2 Tim. 4:18; cf. Acts 26:18; Eph. 1:11, 14, 18; Col. 1:12).

The book of Hebrews has much to say about the believer’s future inheritance. In reference to angels, the writer rhetorically asks, “Are they not all ministering spirits, sent out to render service for the sake of those who will inherit salvation?” (1:14). Later on the writer says this concerning Christ and the new covenant: “For this reason He is the mediator of a new covenant, so that, since a death has taken place for the redemption of the transgressions that were committed under the first covenant, those who have been called may receive the promise of the eternal inheritance” (9:15; cf. v. 28).

The future aspect of salvation is particularly said to be ready, that is, complete and already awaiting the believer’s arrival. But future salvation is also connected to the end of human history. Peter says it is to be revealed in the last time. God will not make believers’ inheritance fully complete until the last episode of redemptive history, namely the return of Jesus Christ (cf. Matt. 25:34). After the rapture, all believers receive rewards at the judgment seat of Christ:

For no man can lay a foundation other than the one which is laid, which is Jesus Christ. Now if any man builds on the foundation with gold, silver, precious stones, wood, hay, straw, each man’s work will become evident; for the day will show it because it is to be revealed with fire, and the fire itself will test the quality of each man’s work. If any man’s work which he has built on it remains, he will receive a reward. (1 Cor. 3:11–14; cf. 2 Cor. 5:10; 2 Tim. 4:1, 8)

And the fullness of the Christian’s eternal inheritance will be realized at the end of the millennial kingdom when God creates the new heaven and new earth (Rev. 21:1–27):

Then he showed me a river of the water of life, clear as crystal, coming from the throne of God and of the Lamb, in the middle of its street. On either side of the river was the tree of life, bearing twelve kinds of fruit, yielding its fruit every month; and the leaves of the tree were for the healing of the nations. There will no longer be any curse; and the throne of God and of the Lamb will be in it, and His bond-servants will serve Him; they will see His face, and His name will be on their foreheads. And there will no longer be any night; and they will not have need of the light of a lamp nor the light of the sun, because the Lord God will illumine them; and they will reign forever and ever. (Rev. 22:1–5)

Just as originally the Lord Himself was the inheritance of the Levites (Josh. 13:33), the priestly tribe of Israel, so He also is the inheritance of the royal priesthood of Christ (1 Peter 2:9). The psalmist knew with certainty that he would inherit God: “The Lord is the portion of my inheritance and my cup; You support my lot. The lines have fallen to me in pleasant places; indeed, my heritage is beautiful to me” (Ps. 16:5–6; cf. 73:23–26). The prophet Jeremiah, even in the midst of the most difficult times, firmly grasped the same concept: “ ‘The Lord is my portion,’ says my soul, ‘Therefore I have hope in Him’ ” (Lam. 3:24). Christians are also heirs of God with Christ: “The Spirit Himself testifies with our spirit that we are children of God, and if children, heirs also, heirs of God and fellow heirs with Christ” (Rom. 8:16–17).

Christians possess some of the benefits of salvation in this life, but the great fullness of redemption is yet to come. God has promised unfathomable glories in the eternal perfection of heaven that will one day be the conscious experience of every believer. He is the source of the believer’s inheritance; it came because of His mercy and by the gracious means of the new birth; and it remains perfect and eternally secure, a reality all believers can fix their hope on.[2]

1:5 Not only is the inheritance guarded for Christians, but they are kept or guarded for it. In this life an heir may die before an inheritance is divided. But the same grace that preserves the heavenly inheritance preserves us as heirs to enjoy it. God’s election of His people can never be frustrated. Those who were chosen in eternity past are saved in time now and kept for eternity to come. The believer in Christ is eternally secure.

But there is a human as well as a divine side to eternal security. We are kept by the power of God—that is the divine side, but it is through faith—that is the human side. This does not mean that a person is saved only as long as he exercises faith. Where there is true faith, there will be continuance. Saving faith always has the quality of permanence.

The child of God is guarded by the power of God for salvation ready to be revealed in the last time. This refers to salvation in its future tense. It has often been pointed out that there are three tenses of salvation: (1) A Christian was saved from the penalty of sin the moment he first trusted the Savior (Eph. 2:8). (2) He is saved daily from the power of sin as he allows the Savior to live His life through him (Rom. 5:10). (3) He will be saved from the presence of sin at the time of the Rapture (Heb. 9:28). His body will be changed and glorified, and be forever free from sin, sickness, and death. This future tense of salvation also includes the time when the saints will return to earth with Christ and will be clearly shown to be children of God (1 Jn. 3:2).[3]

5 Salvation, whether in its past, present, or future manifestation, is a core Petrine concept (sōzō, GK 5392, 3:21; 4:18; diasōzō, GK 1407, 3:20; sōteria, GK 5401, 1:5, 9–10; 2:2). While it entails the individual, it does not emphasize the individual over the community. The salvation that comes from God, furthermore, has both temporal as well as eschatological dimensions.

This multi-perspectival view of salvation and inheritance, it should be noted, fits the theme of sojourning and pilgrimage. In the OT, the chief means of typologizing the believer’s inheritance was Canaan, the promised possession (e.g., Lev 20:24; Dt 15:4; 19:10; 20:15), though the Lord himself is the occasional object of such language (e.g., Dt 10:9; Pss 16:5; 73:26). The promised “land” only had meaning, however, against the background of Israel’s wandering in the desert and exile in Babylon. Salvation for Israel was past (i.e., deliverance from Egyptian bondage), present (in its “exilic wandering”), and future (blessings predicated on obedience to divine commands), and it retains these multiple dimensions in the new covenant for the chosen people of God.[4]

[1] Tozer, A. W., & Smith, G. B. (2015). Evenings with tozer: daily devotional readings. Chicago, IL: Moody Publishers.

[2] MacArthur, J. F., Jr. (2004). 1 Peter (pp. 36–38). Chicago: Moody Publishers.

[3] MacDonald, W. (1995). Believer’s Bible Commentary: Old and New Testaments. (A. Farstad, Ed.) (pp. 2251–2252). Nashville: Thomas Nelson.

[4] Charles, D. J. (2006). 1 Peter. In T. Longman III & D. E. Garland (Eds.), The Expositor’s Bible Commentary: Hebrews–Revelation (Revised Edition) (Vol. 13, p. 301). Grand Rapids, MI: Zondervan.


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