Let us turn to 1Peter 1. I will just read the first five verses. It says in 1Peter 1:1-5:
Peter, an apostle of Jesus Christ, to the strangers scattered throughout Pontus, Galatia, Cappadocia, Asia, and Bithynia, Elect according to the foreknowledge of God the Father, through sanctification of the Spirit, unto obedience and sprinkling of the blood of Jesus Christ: Grace unto you, and peace, be multiplied. Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, which according to his abundant mercy hath begotten us again unto a lively hope by the resurrection of Jesus Christ from the dead, To an inheritance incorruptible, and undefiled, and that fadeth not away, reserved in heaven for you, Who are kept by the power of God through faith unto salvation ready to be revealed in the last time.
We were looking at verse 3 last Sunday. We saw that this says:
Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ…
Then we spent some time looking at many verses that explain why the Bible speaks of Jesus as the Son and God as the Father of the Son. We saw that this all centers and focuses on the truth that Jesus died before the foundation of the world. He was the Lamb slain and He rose from the dead. He was resurrected before the world even began, before creation.
Through this tremendously glorious event of Jesus taking the sins of His people and paying for them in full and then resurrecting all before the world began, the Bible is telling us that this is how it came to be that Christ was called the Son of the Father and that, at that point, the Father became the Father of the Son Jesus Christ. This all involves the resurrection of Christ from the dead because He was the firstborn Son of the Father, the firstborn from the dead. The Bible tells us in several places that He is “the first begotten of the dead.”
This is why John 3:16 says:
For God so loved the world, that he gave his only begotten Son…
This is a reference to Jesus rising from dead. This took place before the world began, because it was as the Son that Hebrews 1 tells us “by whom also he made the worlds.” Colossians 1 also adds that He was “the firstborn of every creature” and that “by him were all things created.” These references just identify completely with Christ’s resurrection before the world began.
So this verse is giving us insight into things that are beyond this world, things that we could never know unless God gave us this information and told us what He had done. It was all “according to his abundant mercy” by which He “hath begotten us again.”
This Greek word for “begotten us again” is translated in only one other place and it is translated as “being born again.” Of course, this is all the result of God’s wonderful plan of salvation. This all has to do with His “abundant mercy,” mercy to cover just tremendous numbers of sin for a great multitude of sinners and mercy that is bestowed on people who do not deserve it. Not one deserves the mercy of God, which just tells us of the tremendous character and person of God and that He is so extremely merciful.
We also read in 1Peter 1:3:
…his abundant mercy hath begotten us again unto a lively [or living] hope…
We saw that “hope” identifies with Christ, just like “faith” identifies with Christ; and so we were born again unto a living Christ:
…by the resurrection of Jesus Christ from the dead,
So the “living hope” is saying the same thing as “the resurrection of Jesus Christ from the dead.” He is our “living hope” because He rose from the dead.
Going on to 1Peter 1:4, it says:
To an inheritance incorruptible, and undefiled, and that fadeth not away, reserved in heaven for you,
Being made born again to a living hope by the resurrection of Jesus from the dead results in the bringing to pass of an inheritance that is incorruptible, as well as all of these other things that God describes.
We are familiar with this inheritance because we had looked at this several times during our study in the book of Esther concerning the lot. The lot was cast in the book of Esther in order to select the day in which the Jews were to die. Then that day was turned from one of sorrow to one of great joy. The enemies of the Jews ended up dying on that day, but none of God’s people were destroyed.
But as we searched out the word “lot,” we saw that this had everything to do with an inheritance. For instance, we read in 1 Chronicles 16:16-18:
Even of the covenant which he made with Abraham, and of his oath unto Isaac; And hath confirmed the same to Jacob for a law, and to Israel for an everlasting covenant, Saying, Unto thee will I give the land of Canaan, the lot of your inheritance;
Again, we see the word “lot” in association with “inheritance.”
As we studied this word, we saw that once the land of Canaan was conquered through Joshua and the Israelites, it had to be distributed to the tribes and to the people of the tribes and that this distribution of the land of Canaan was accomplished through the lot.
The lot was cast and the sections of the land were divided to Israel and this became the inheritance of the tribes. They were given certain lands. We also know that within each section of the land that was given to a tribe, the families of that tribe would also receive their inheritance within that particular lot of land, which was also divided to them by lot.
So the lot has everything to do with the inheritance, and here we are given information about Abraham. This is because if we go back to Genesis 17 when God made the promise of the land, we read in Genesis 17:6-8 where God is referring to Abram who will become Abraham:
And I will make thee exceeding fruitful, and I will make nations of thee, and kings shall come out of thee. And I will establish my covenant between me and thee and thy seed after thee in their generations for an everlasting covenant, to be a God unto thee, and to thy seed after thee. And I will give unto thee, and to thy seed after thee, the land wherein thou art a stranger, all the land of Canaan, for an everlasting possession; and I will be their God.
We find here in Genesis 17:8 that the land of Canaan was to be “an everlasting possession.” This, of course, cannot be referring to the physical land of Israel that is in the Middle East. It cannot be referring to any part of this earth, because this earth is not going to endure forever.
Nothing on this earth can be given to anyone as “an everlasting possession.” It can be given as a possession. We can own our house or other things. We can own property, but this is only a possession. It is not “an everlasting possession,” because the Bible is clear that this world will be destroyed. This world will not endure forevermore. This world is temporal. It is finite and it has an end; and yet the promise of the land to Abraham was to be “an everlasting possession.”
When we check out God’s promise to Abraham, we find that it goes along with, for instance, what Jesus said in the Gospel of Matthew, which is, “Blessed are the meek: for they shall inherit the earth”; and this will be an everlasting inheritance. The meek is a synonym for the children of God, the ones whom God has saved. They will not inherit this sin-cursed and corruptible earth. They will inherit the new Heaven and the new earth; but first, this world must be destroyed.
God does not tell us in certain places when He speaks of the meek inheriting this earth that He first intends to destroy this earth and then create a new earth. He expects us to examine the whole Bible in order to come to this understanding. He also does not tell us in some places that the land of Canaan is referring to the Kingdom of God after God destroys this world and this earthly land of Canaan, this earth itself, and that it is then that He will create a new land. That land is the land that will be given to Abraham and to his spiritual seed, those who are likened to his descendants, those who are the children of God.
If we go to Psalm 37, we find these two ideas together, the ideas of the new earth and of the inheritance that was spoken of to Abraham. It says in Psalm 37:11:
But the meek shall inherit the earth; and shall delight themselves in the abundance of peace.
Then we read a little further down in Psalm 37:18:
JEHOVAH knoweth the days of the upright: and their inheritance shall be for ever.
So the inheritance of the meek is the earth and we can see how these two ideas fit together. The inheritance spoken of to Abraham and to his seed is in fact the new Heaven and new earth. It is one and the same with the eternal inheritance that the Lord Jesus spoke of when He spoke of eternal life. It is one in the same with the Bible’s statements that this world will be destroyed and that there will then be a new Heaven and a new earth, like we read in Isaiah 65:17-19:
For, behold, I create new heavens and a new earth: and the former shall not be remembered, nor come into mind. But be ye glad and rejoice for ever in that which I create: for, behold, I create Jerusalem a rejoicing, and her people a joy. And I will rejoice in Jerusalem, and joy in my people: and the voice of weeping shall be no more heard in her, nor the voice of crying.
This goes on to describe this wonderful eternal creation, this new Heaven and new earth, but notice how God then speaks of creating “Jerusalem.”
This is all identified for us. This is the “new Jerusalem” that comes down in the book of Revelation, which is the Bride of Christ or the body of believers. We are given eternal life, just like the new Heaven and new earth is eternal. Of course, God is eternal and His Word is eternal, and everything at that point has real substance and will last forevermore.
Let us turn to Hebrews 9 and we will see that the promise given to Abraham that is spoken of in Hebrews 11 is also found here. It says in Hebrews 9:15-16:
And for this cause he is the mediator of the new testament, that by means of death, for the redemption of the transgressions that were under the first testament, they which are called might receive the promise of eternal inheritance. For where a testament is, there must also of necessity be the death of the testator.
We are speaking of an inheritance. In earthly matters, we still find this in our world today. Things are worked out so that when an individual dies, that person may leave a will and his belongings and his riches to whomever he would like. He writes the names in his will of those whom he wants to receive these things and they receive the inheritance that comes as a result of the death of the testator, the one who wrote the will.
This is how God has planned things in the Bible. He has written out His will or His testament in the Word of God. Christ has died, as we read in 1st Peter, and rose from the dead; but nonetheless, He only died for His elect, for those whose sins He took upon Himself. Therefore, since He died for them, they are able to receive an inheritance that is eternal and that will endure into eternity future.
Let us go to 1Corinthians 15. We know that 1Peter 1:4 says, “To an inheritance incorruptible.” In 1Corinthians 15:42, it says:
So also is the resurrection of the dead. It is sown in corruption; it is raised in incorruption:
Being “sown in corruption,” which is two words, means that we hear the Gospel in our present state; mankind hears the Gospel. “Corruption” is that which is passing away, and the world is corrupt because of this.
We normally think of the corruption that is found in politics or the corruption that has to do with crime, but this word is referring to that which is impure, to that which has been contaminated with sin; therefore, there are the effects of this corruption, which is death. The world is dying and people are dying. We are seeing corruption, and so we have weaknesses and sicknesses. We have diseases and we are aging.
What happens if someone is just left alone as they live out their life? Well, it will not be long, only a matter of years, and they will see corruption in their physical body. Their body will deteriorate and literally begin to fall apart. Their hair will fall out. Their teeth will fall out. Their skin will lose its smoothness and it will age, and so on, until their death. Then their body will be put into the grave where it will continue to see corruption. It will continue to deteriorate until it returns to the dust. This is why the Bible speaks of seed that is “sown in corruption.”
Let me just make a point about the “seed.” This is speaking of the spiritual seed; and in 1Peter 1:23, it says:
Being born again, not of corruptible seed, but of incorruptible, by the word of God, which liveth and abideth for ever.
The “corruptible seed” would be any seed sown by a farmer, any seed sown in this world that is part of this world. “Incorruptible seed” is referring to the Bible, to the true Word of God, because one characteristic of incorruption is its eternal nature.
So the Word of God “liveth and abideth for ever,” and it is this Word that we hear when we read the Bible, no matter if we read it or if someone else is reading it to us. Parents could be reading it to their children or someone could be hearing it on the radio, or whatever. How ever it is that it is being heard, it is eternal seed that is incorruptible seed.
As we hear it, it falls on our hearts and our hearts are corruptible. Everything about us is corruptible; and so it is a matter of God’s good pleasure and of His perfect will with what He wants to do with that seed. If it is His will, and it has been His will through history and it is always His will with His elect people, then that seed, at some point in the hearer’s life, will take root and begin to bring forth fruit, but it will bring a new heart and a new spirit and that new spirit will be incorruptible because that person has been born again. The seed that is eternal brings forth a nature that is eternal, an eternal spirit that will live forever, because someone is now born again. They have a new heart and a new spirit.
This is what 1Corinthians 15:42 is telling us:
…It is sown in corruption; it is raised in incorruption:
It is the first resurrection that we are talking about when we are talking about the new spiritual birth. The Bible refers to two resurrections regarding salvation: the resurrection of the soul and the resurrection of the body.
Let us continue on in 1st Corinthians 15. It says in 1Corinthians 15:50-54:
Now this I say, brethren, that flesh and blood cannot inherit the kingdom of God; neither doth corruption inherit incorruption. Behold, I show you a mystery; We shall not all sleep, but we shall all be changed, In a moment, in the twinkling of an eye, at the last trump: for the trumpet shall sound, and the dead shall be raised incorruptible, and we shall be changed. For this corruptible must put on incorruption, and this mortal must put on immortality. So when this corruptible shall have put on incorruption, and this mortal shall have put on immortality, then shall be brought to pass the saying that is written, Death is swallowed up in victory.
The wonderful news of the Gospel is that there will be a time when incorruption takes over and corruption will be removed and gone forever. Finally, this happens at the resurrection of the body of God’s people at the end of the world when this corruptible is put away.
If we just take a quick look back at 1Peter 1:4, it says:
To an inheritance incorruptible, and undefiled…
This particular word for “undefiled” is only used a handful of times in the New Testament. One place is in Hebrews 13:4:
Marriage is honourable in all, and the bed undefiled: but whoremongers and adulterers God will judge.
This is telling us that God has established marriage. He has set up the marriage institution, which is an arrangement between a man and a woman; and that when a man and a woman enter into marriage and have marriage relations, which is the reference to the bed, then their marriage relations are undefiled. This is proper and good. There is no wrongdoing involved with this at all.
But if the same two people who might be just as much in love do not get married and yet they have relations, this is fornication. It goes on to tell us that they are “whoremongers and adulterers.” At that point, they are outside the will of God and of the law of God and they are transgressing the commandment of God.
If you want marriage relations, you need to be married. This kind of a relationship would be undefiled. But if you seek relations that only should be found in marriage and involve yourself with that, this would be something that defiles, whether it is the act or whether it is just the thinking. Remember that it is the sins that come out of the heart that defile a man, and one of them is said to be adultery.
So I think that we get a pretty good idea that to be undefiled means that there is no sin, no transgression of the law of God. It is pure and holy and right and good, and so is the inheritance that God’s people receive, both in their new resurrected body and in the new earth and eternity to come. That is undefiled. There will be no movement against the law of God. There will be no transgression of the Word of God in any way. It is a perfectly holy inheritance that the people of God will enjoy forevermore.
It goes on to say in 1Peter 1:4:
To an inheritance incorruptible, and undefiled, and that fadeth not away…
This language of “fadeth not away” is familiar because this is used later in 1st Peter chapter 1 and 1st Peter is quoting from Isaiah 40.
Lord willing, we will take a look at 1st Peter chapter 1 and all of its verses some time later, so let us go to Isaiah 40. We read in Isaiah 40:6-8:
The voice said, Cry. And he said, What shall I cry? All flesh is grass, and all the goodliness thereof is as the flower of the field: The grass withereth, the flower fadeth: because the spirit of JEHOVAH bloweth upon it: surely the people is grass. The grass withereth, the flower fadeth: but the word of our God shall stand for ever.
We can see why the inheritance “fadeth not away.” On the other hand, this world and any earthly things that we are presently enjoying, and we can enjoy the things of this world, will pass away. The problem is that whatever we are enjoying, whatever we are happy for, whatever makes our lives pleasurable, things that we esteem, whether it be family or friends or valuables or possessions or wealth of any kind, whatever it is, it is going to fade away. It will be gone.
We just read in Isaiah 40:7:
…surely the people is grass.
We tend to put a lot of stock in people and in relationships with other people, and God made us this way. We are to love and to care for others, especially those in our family; but we should never think that our ultimate desire should be to find a wife or to find a husband or to be happy once we are married and have children, once we have become established with our own families. We should never think of these things as everything that we want or everything that we need.
You might receive these things and these things might be quite a blessing to you. After all, the Bible tells us that children are a blessing from the Lord. The Bible also tells us that a man who has found a good wife has found a good thing.
These things are fine. This is God’s plan for us, but we also have to realize that time moves on. Time passes. Day follows day. Month follows month and year follows year. Soon the grandparents pass away; then our parents pass away; then our brother or our sister or we ourselves pass away. Everyone passes away, because the people are grass. Even the best of the grass, the flower of the grass, the beauty of the field, the wonderful things of mankind, it quickly fades and falls away and the wind takes it.
This is eternal God. This is not written by our fellowman. God used men to write this; but these thoughts, these words are coming from an infinite mind that has an infinite viewpoint. His perspective on the world is an eternal perspective. He sees the end from the beginning. He sees all things at once and He knows the end of each of us. He is writing very plainly and very directly, telling us words of great wisdom, and He is comparing people and all of the riches of the world as nothing but grass.
Yet, on the other hand, notice again Isaiah 40:8:
The grass withereth, the flower fadeth: but the word of our God shall stand for ever.
The only eternal and substantial thing is the Word of God. It has value. It has meaning and purpose. It is something that transcends and it is far more valuable than anything on earth.
Mankind treasures gold and silver more than other things because they can be purified with fire and they do not go away as quickly as other things. They endure to a much greater degree. Things that are solid and are made of good quality are the things that we respect. We value these things over cheaper things that break in a minute, like dollar store toys, things that do not last.
How many of us have bought cheap things and then regretted it and thought that we should have gotten something that had been made really well, something that would have endured the seasons and endured the pressures? Yet finally, though, everything in this world is ultimately the same and cannot endure. Beyond a period of time, everything comes to nothing, except the Word of the Lord.
Since the Word of the Lord endures forevermore, how valuable is it, even if we use the world’s idea of value? It is enduring and substantive and it has the ability to continue on; and so how valuable is it? Well, it is of great value. Actually, it is the only thing that has genuine value.
So, of course, this means that the thing that we should be spending most of our time on should be the Word of the Lord. Our time should be spent in reading it, in studying it, in memorizing it, in meditating upon it and keeping it in our hearts that we might not sin against God. God has so many good things to say about the Bible.
God also tells us in 1Corinthians 15:58, which is the last verse of this chapter:
Therefore, my beloved brethren, be ye stedfast, unmoveable, always abounding in the work of the Lord, forasmuch as ye know that your labour is not in vain in the Lord.
What is true of our labor in the world? Well, we have to admit that it is vanity.
This was part of the reason why Solomon was declared to be so wise. He looked at all of the work of his hands and realized, “Vanity of vanities; all is vanity”; and vanity is emptiness. It leaves us with nothing.
This is exactly what any work of this world leaves us with. It says in Job, “Naked came I out of my mother's womb, and naked shall I return thither.” We came into this world with nothing and we will certainly leave with nothing, except the Word of the Lord. The Word of the Lord is eternal.
We are involved in the work of the Lord when we are sharing His Word; and, yes, we are, of course, still called upon to share His Word. We are trying to figure out some things like exactly where we are in time, but this never changed. God’s Word is an eternal Word and we are to always share the Word of God. This is an eternal work and it is a work that is not in vain according to God Himself.