“Blessed by the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, who according to His abundant mercy has begotten us again to a living hope through the resurrection of Jesus Christ from the dead, to an inheritance incorruptible and undefiled and that does not fade away reserved in heaven for you, who are kept by the power of God through faith for salvation ready to be revealed in the last time” (1 Pet. 1:3-6).
What Is Reserved In Heaven?
Peter describes an inheritance reserved in heaven, but what is this? Paul said it is the “crown of righteousness” (2 Tim. 4:8). It is the crown of life, as James puts it (Jas. 1:12). The inheritance is eternal life.
We will one day leave this world and our body. This will happen either when we die or when the Lord returns. When He does come back, everyone will receive a new body, a body suited for eternal life in heaven (1 Cor. 15:35-53).
Who Will Receive The Inheritance?
The faithful. Peter said that the inheritance is reserved “who are kept by the power of God through faith.” Notice, they are not kept by the power of God alone, nor are they kept by faith alone. It takes both God and man working in harmony to receive salvation; man must comply with God’s will (Heb. 5:9).
These people are ones who were “begotten again.” Jesus told Nicodemus that men must be born again, born of the water and the Spirit (Jn. 3:3-5). This takes place when a man receives and obeys the word of God, namely in repentance and baptism (1 Pet. 1:22, 23; Acts 2:38; note Peter was preaching on Acts 2).
When Will The Inheritance Be Received?
“In the last time.” Some people are under the mistaken notion that when a faithful Christian dies, he or she go immediately to heaven. This is not a biblical concept. Rather, the crown of life, the crown of righteousness, salvation, the inheritance, will be received when the Lord returns—the last time—that Day (2 Tim. 4:6-8).
When Christians die, they go to the Hadean world. The account of the rich man and Lazarus sketches for us what happens when the faithful and unfaithful die. The unfaithful go to torments, while the faithful go to Abraham’s bosom, also known as Paradise (Lk. 16:19-31). At the end of the world, this realm, Hades, will be destroyed in the lake that burns with fire and brimstone (Rev. 20:14). Another statement showing that we will not go to heaven until the Judgment.
What Does This Mean For Us Now?
Because of the abundant mercy of God reserving an inheritance in heaven, we have a living hope. This is what keeps us going from day to day in this miserable, dark world. It is the anchor of the soul (Heb. 6:18-20).
This is the one and only true hope of mankind (Eph. 4:4). We will not live on earth forever. That hope is a false hope. We will not pass into oblivion; false hope. There will not be 72 virgins for faithful male martyrs (don’t know what the females are supposed to get); another false hope. The one hope is resurrection to eternal life in heaven with God; a hope that ought to motivate us to live faithful and true to our Savior and God.