The Reading: 1 Peter 1:3-9
“an inheritance which is imperishable” (v.3) RSV
Although our inheritance from God is not defined clearly, it is nevertheless described as being glorious. Perhaps it is not put into words because in our present physical and sensual state we would not appreciate the spiritual world.
Peter is plainly carried away with keen anticipation when he writes about it; he says it is “an inheritance which is imperishable, undefiled, and unfading, kept in heaven for you” (v.4). He trusts his God that when something good is promised, it will be good!
Of course we do get a foretaste of the coming Kingdom while we live in this world. We experience the love, joy and peace of the Holy Spirit. We know the loving provision of our heavenly Father, and the fellowship of his children. This foretaste is also called our “guarantee” (2 Corinthians 1:22, 5:5 and Ephesians 1:14). In other words the Spirit is a down payment or a deposit. This is how we know and experience something of what is coming our way.
St Paul, as well as Peter, waxes eloquent about our future inheritance. But he knows that its nature can only be understood in our heart and not our head. He prays that the Ephesians may have “the eyes of their hearts enlightened, that they may know what is the hope to which God has called them, and what are the riches of his glorious inheritance in the saints, what is the immeasurable greatness of his power” (Ephesians 1:18-19).
This is what we need to pray for, both for ourselves and for all believers. God wants us to be full of anticipation and assurance. But if we have no conviction about our future state, then we will be fearful of dying. We will also remain unstrengthened when we face current hardships. If we have no real hope for the future then we will be, as St Paul puts it, “of all men most to be pitied” (1 Corinthians 15:19). We lose so much if we remain in ignorance.
Father, thank you for our glorious future inheritance. Grant me to both to understand it and to anticipate it more and more. Amen.
1 Note Paul’s plea against ignorance of the Lord’s return.
2 How are our future bodies described?