But here in verse 4 of the first chapter of 1 Peter, we have described for us aninheritance that can never fade, it will never lose its value, it will never lose its luster,unlike our earthly possessions that do lose their value, like our cars get old and rusty, orour food that spoils, or our jewelry that fades and loses its brilliance. The genuine andlasting joy that comes from recognizing Jesus as Savior and his glorious resurrection byfaith is a joy that will last forever, because all who trust in Jesus as the atoning sacrificefor their sins have a living hope knowing that Jesus conquered death, an enduring hope, asure hope of receiving an inheritance that is being guarded and held kept safe until it isreceived.That is an interesting way to thing about heaven, isn’t it? As an inheritance? Thatdescription of heaven underscores the Biblical teaching of salvation by grace alone.Heaven is not something that we can earn for ourselves. It is not something that we canaccomplish by purging the evil around us and abstaining from this or that, like the self-righteous moralists that you might see or hear. When you are an heir, you receivesomething for nothing. Because your family member died, you receive some wealth thatthey acquired in their life. You don
t do anything to get it, it’s just a gift. So it is with theinheritance that our Lord Jesus gives to us through his death and resurrection, it’s a gift!Ephesians 2:8,9,
For it is by grace you have been saved, through faith
and this not from yourselves, it is the gift of God
not by works, so that no one can boast.
As heirs of the promise, we receive something for nothing. As our brother in theflesh, Jesus earned perfection. When he died, he gave to us what he earned in his life.We have done absolutely nothing to receive that inheritance. God has given the crown of life to us as a free gift, free of the obligation of the law, because Christ already earnedthat wealth for us. And that crown will never lose it
s brilliance. It will never lose it
sluster. It will always shine with the brightness of perfection that no earthly article canmatch.
The joy of victory in temptation
But we don’t have to wait until eternity in order to have genuine joy, because theresurrection of Jesus, which grants us an eternal inheritance, also gives us daily victories intemptation, victory over suffering, grief and despair.
Peter writes in verses 5 through 7,
...who through faith are shielded by God
s power until the coming of the salvation that isready to be revealed in the last time. In this you greatly rejoice, though now for a littlewhile you may have had to suffer grief in all kinds of trials. These have come so that your faith
of greater worth than gold, which perishes even though refined by fire
may be proved genuine and may result in praise, glory and honor when Jesus Christ is revealed.
If you were to look at your rings once again, perhaps there are some of you whowould be able to tell what the size of the stone is in your ring, the type of gold or silver orplatinum in your ring, whether it is 10 karat or 14 karat or something like that. But doyou know how jewelry is tested to be genuine? Nowadays, jewelers have microscopesand different procedures where we can find out. But in Biblical times, silver and goldwere proven genuine by a specific test – the test of fire.Peter here tells us that the Christian’s faith, much like silver or gold, is also testedby fire, by
“all kinds of trials.”
As Christians, we shine with the brilliance of ourresurrected Lord, to whom we are connected through faith. We shine gloriously. But I’llbet that you don
t feel that way all the time. I bet that you don
t feel like you
re shining in