“…to an inheritance that is imperishable, undefiled, and unfading, kept in heaven for you.” (1 Peter 1:4 ESV)
When the Bible speaks of salvation, it also speaks of an inheritance. Our salvation — not just that our sins are forgiven but, ultimately, that we get God Himself — is also our inheritance, which is obtained in Christ (Ephesians 1:11). God in His fullness is our inheritance. So when we understand that, and we look into this verse above that Peter pens, we should direct our amazement up to God.
Our inheritance is kept in heaven for us.
We are told that our inheritance is “imperishable, undefiled, and unfading.” Let’s explore what those three characteristics mean.
When you look up the word imperishable in the Merriam-Webster dictionary, it says that it means “not subject to decay; enduring or occurring forever” (1). This inheritance is not flimsy; it does not go away. It is not here one day then gone the next. It is secure; forever with us, if God has saved us. It is secure not because we hold onto it so firmly, but that God promises not to let it go. It does not perish; it never ends; it will never be taken from us (nor will we ever give it back).
Turning the page a bit, it astonishes me that people are so quick to defend the notion that people can lose their salvation. I think this verse is one of many that plainly shows that it is not the case. Sure, this is a secondary issue; that is, it is one that we don’t have to agree over to have fellowship as brothers and sisters in Christ. Nevertheless, it is still an error that can bring with it unfortunate ramifications. Let me say it as simple as I can: if you can lose your salvation, then 1 Peter 1:4 is not true.
Our salvation, being our inheritance, is eternal (John 3:16). This famous verse tells us God sent Jesus into the world to give us eternal life. If salvation can be lost (or given back, which is even more unfathomable), then we don’t receive eternal life, which makes God’s promise in John 3:16 also not true.
I could go on and on about how this salvation isn’t something that can be lost. However, that is not the point of the post. The point here is to bask in the glorious reality that the inheritance God gives us is imperishable. If He has given it to us, we will one day receive all of it in glory, since it’s “kept in heaven.” Amazing.
Our inheritance is pure; it was not achieved by dishonesty or corruption. The inheritance we will receive fully in glory–that we get to enjoy partly now–is completely and utterly unstained. Christ’s life, death, and rescue ration secure our inheritance and it awaits us when we pass into glory.
Why is it undefiled? You could say it’s undefiled because the One who secured it–Jesus Christ–is undefiled. Jesus lives a perfect life yet died in the place of sinners. He did not deserve to die yet was murdered on the cross for our behalf.
This heavenly inheritance is not smothered with stains nor filled with poison; it is not profane nor spoiled. It is perfect. It is spotless. It is pure. Because Christ is.
In this world, everything eventually wears out; it all fades. But not so with our inheritance. It is other-worldly; namely, an inheritance of Heaven. It never shrinks nor fades; it maintains its majestic intensity. The inheritance we receive in full when we get to glory won’t be a worn down version of it because of how long we had to wait. It’ll be perfect.
This is hard to imagine. We are so used to things growing dim or becoming faint. It’s difficult to imagine that our inheritance is going to be perfect! And this inheritance never crumbles because God keeps it for us, as we see in the last of this breathtaking verse.
“Kept in heaven for you,” Peter writes. Our inheritance doesn’t waste away because the Lord is keeping it for us as we pass into glory. Though we now only receive some benefits of this inheritance–salvation, inexpressible joy, etc.–we will fully experience it in glory! What wonder awaits for the believer in Jesus Christ, who’s inheritance is “imperishable, undefiled, unfading, kept in heaven.”
Let’s marvel at this, friends.
Soli Deo Gloria