“To obtain an inheritance which is imperishable and undefiled and will not fade away, reserved in heaven for you.” (I Peter 1:4)
When I was a boy, someone gave me a silver dollar, which I treasured. Not trusting myself with it, I gave it to my father and asked him to keep it for me, lest in my childish irresponsibility, I might lose it.
Speaking to the Christians whom he previously referred to as being like “aliens” in this world, Peter reminds God’s people that they have a heavenly Father who is keeping a reward for them. And he teaches us some things in this verse about the inheritance we will one day receive from Him:
— First, he says it is “imperishable” and “will not fade away.” Nothing can ruin or spoil it. Jesus said in Matthew 6 that moth and rust cannot destroy it, and unlike earthly treasures, thieves cannot break in and steal it.
— He also said it is “undefiled.” That is, it is holy and pure, not compromised or tainted with sin in any way like everything in this temporal world is.
— And he said it is “reserved in heaven for you.” The inheritance we will receive from God is unlike any earthly investments we may have. It will not decline in value; it will never suffer loss. Many on earth continually check their investments to see how they are performing; to make sure that they have not declined in value. But the Christian has no such worries with his heavenly inheritance. It is “imperishable … kept” by God in heaven for them!
— It is important to remember that this inheritance is indeed “in heaven” — it is not to be found here on earth. Don’t make the mistake of looking for all of your rewards from God during your lifetime. Sometimes there are indeed earthly benefits of serving the Lord –but most of them are not to be found here. Do not be discouraged, and give up your service, if you do not see instantaneous rewards in your life now. Your real home — and your ultimate inheritance — is in heaven, not here.
— And we must note that all of this is “for you” — those whom he has previously described as “born again” (:3), and who demonstrate the reality of their new birth by lives which are characterized by holiness and obedience (:1-3). Have you been born again? Do you prove it by your holy and obedient life? Then rejoice! Peter says you can look forward to a reward in heaven; an inheritance which can never be devalued or taken away!
A couple of years before he died, my dad sent me a little box. In it was a little note, with that silver dollar which I had entrusted to him years ago. The note read: “You asked me to keep this safe for you. It is time for you to have it.” I was grateful for my father’s faithfulness to keep what I had entrusted to him. And as Christians, we can be thankful that we have a heavenly Father who is likewise keeping our spiritual inheritance absolutely safe in heaven for us, until it is time for us to enjoy it with Him forever.
“For I know whom I have believed, and I am convinced that He is able to guard what I have entrusted to Him until that day.” (II Timothy 1:12)