Peter wrote this letter to Christians scattered across Pontus, Galatia, Cappadocia, Asia, and Bithynia, modern Turkey. He calls the believers elect exiles of the Dispersion. Just as in the days of the Old Covenant when Israel was exiled to places that were not the Promised Land, their home, today during the New Covenant believers are exiles because our Promised Land is Heaven, our home is New Jerusalem and we are exiles among the world. But we are not hopeless. We know where our home is, we know who our family and fellow pilgrims are, and we know who our Lord is. He keeps our citizenship for us. Verse 2 describes believers.
“according to the foreknowledge of God the Father, in the sanctification of the Spirit, for obedience to Jesus Christ and for sprinkling with his blood:
May grace and peace be multiplied to you.”
Our Father knew us and chose us from the beginning. The Spirit consecrates and purifies us. He makes it possible for us to walk in obedience to Jesus Christ who saved us by His blood. That is wonderful news. And because of that we have hope. Not some distant fantasy, but confidence we live in and with, in the everyday. Because God is with us. He loves us, sanctifies us, and saves us. That is a living hope.
Peter describes that hope beautifully in verses 3-5.
“Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ! According to his great mercy, he has caused us to be born again to a living hope through the resurrection of Jesus Christ from the dead, 4 to an inheritance that is imperishable, undefiled, and unfading, kept in heaven for you, 5 who by God's power are being guarded through faith for a salvation ready to be revealed in the last time.”
Jesus is alive! His life gives us life. Peter describes eternal life as an inheritance, the legacy or bequest we receive from our Father. Normally to leave an inheritance the father would die, but in this case God rose from the dead and it is through His life that we live and receive eternal life. We died to our previous life, to sin and eternal death and live as new creations, sons of God eternally. Romans 6:8-11 reads,
“Now if we have died with Christ, we believe that we will also live with him. 9 We know that Christ, being raised from the dead, will never die again; death no longer has dominion over him. 10 For the death he died he died to sin, once for all, but the life he lives he lives to God. 11 So you also must consider yourselves dead to sin and alive to God in Christ Jesus.”
Our salvation, our eternal life is kept safe for us by God. Peter describes it as imperishable, undefiled, and unfading, kept in heaven for us. Imperishable means permanent, eternal, and enduring. It cannot be destroyed. Undefiled means pure spotless and unpolluted. It remains perfect. It can’t be corrupted. And unfading means it can’t even lose a little of its richness or vibrancy. And it is being kept in Heaven for us. Not far from us, not for one day but for us now, since we live in the Kingdom of Heaven. It is protected and will remain safe until Jesus is fully revealed in us on The Day when we are in New Jerusalem face to face with Jesus.
That awesome hope, our eternal life, which we live now and it is guarded and protected by The Lord Almighty is what gives us reason to rejoice. Life is messy, hard, and difficult. Tragedy and calamity happen. But because we have Jesus Christ our hope, we can celebrate and be glad though all of it.
Do you realize that the precious treasure of eternal life can actually become more pure, more vibrant, and stronger? It does. It does when we go through the fires of life clinging to our Hope, rejoicing in our Peace, and remaining faithful to our Lord. Can you imagine what the world sees when you go through some awful experience and rather than break and curse God, rather than grumble and whine, you praise the Lord and allow the Spirit to build you, strengthen you, and make you more like Jesus? They see Jesus revealed in you. They hear about the awesome power of God’s Spirit. They see the proof of El Shaddai. And so do you. He becomes more concrete to you. Verses 6-9 say it this way,
“In this you rejoice, though now for a little while, if necessary, you have been grieved by various trials, 7 so that the tested genuineness of your faith—more precious than gold that perishes though it is tested by fire—may be found to result in praise and glory and honor at the revelation of Jesus Christ. 8 Though you have not seen him, you love him. Though you do not now see him, you believe in him and rejoice with joy that is inexpressible and filled with glory, 9 obtaining the outcome of your faith, the salvation of your souls.”
Think about what an awesome gift salvation is. There is no earning it. There is no buying it. The only way to get it is by the grace of our Father, the blood of Jesus, and the power of the Spirit. It is eternal, guaranteed, and perfect. Eternal life is a wonderful legacy. It is ours now. It can only get better, stronger, and bigger. It is an inheritance that we receive not through our Father’s death but because Jesus lives and brings us out of death. May grace and peace be multiplied to you. Bless the Lord! Praise Him forever. He is the Author and Perfecter of our faith. He is keeping it safe for us with Him, imperishable, undefiled, and unfading.