I. Inheritance of Immortality (verse 4)
Inheritance for the people of God in the Old Testament was land, the Promised Land. They were sustained in their wilderness wanderings by God’s promise of this inheritance. As Peter wrote this letter, he understood that the inheritance for God’s people is no longer Palestinian soil but something far better—“according to His promise we are looking for new heavens and a new earth” (2 Peter 2:13). As aliens and sojourners in this world, this is our hope—God’s promise of our inheritance. The original recipients of this letter had been displaced from their homeland, and Peter is reminding them that hope is not lost. In fact, their inheritance is far more certain than they had imagined! This promised inheritance cannot be touched or affected by the variation and inconsistency of time and circumstance. It is free from death or decay (i.e., “imperishable”), from uncleanness or impurity (i.e., “undefiled”), and from the natural ravages of time (i.e., “will not fade away”).
II. Guarded by the Garrisons of God (verse 5a)
What happens between the time of being born again and final salvation? What about the temptations, pressures, weariness, persecutions, and confusion we face in this life? Does God do anything about that? Does He send His Son to die for our sins, raise Him from the dead to open eternal life, cause us to be born again, and then stand back to see if we make it?
Peter answers that question by explaining that we “are protected by the power of God through faith for a salvation ready to be revealed in the last time.” God uses His divine power to protect us throughout our lives for the final salvation of our souls land our bodies. God intends for His people to be profoundly secure in Him, to know that God Himself is doing everything that must be done in order to guarantee our final, eternal salvation. Even the weakest, most vulnerable people who are inside a strong place are safe and secure. They may not be able to resist the enemy on their own, but in the protection of God’s power, they prove victorious (c.f., Psalm 18:2). The primary way that God works to guarantee our perseverance is by giving us faith to rest on Him and His Word. God’s power is the means by which our faith is sustained, and our faith is the means by which we are protected. There is no salvation or inheritance apart from continued faith.
III. Settled and Secure Salvation (5b)
The “salvation that is ready to be revealed in the last time” is the great deliverance that awaits us—deliverance from physical danger (Matthew 8:25), deliverance from disease (Matthew 9:20-21), and deliverance from sin (Matthew 1:21). Salvation has been completely accomplished based on Christ’s life, death, resurrection, and ascension. Salvation is settled and secure. It is a salvation, however, which we do not yet fully possess. As good as salvation is now, as enjoyable as the benefits of salvation are now, salvation has a still more glorious future!
- Our inheritance is Christ Himself (Psalm 16:5-6). Christ is incorruptible, undefiled, and will not fade away (c.f., Hebrews 7:26; Psalm 102:27). And Christ, our inheritance, will hold us fast until the end by preserving and guaranteeing our faith. The inheritance for the Christian in the New Covenant is far superior to the earthly inheritance that was Israel’s in the land of Canaan. Their land was taken from them in exile. While they possessed it, the fruits decayed and its glory faded. The beauty of the land was repeatedly defiled by sin. This will never happen in Christ’s kingdom! Our inheritance is secure in Christ. How can the certainty of your inheritance in contrast to the uncertainty of all earthly circumstances strengthen your hope today? In what ways are you tempted to hope more in the temporal circumstances that surround you, rather than the unchanging and eternal inheritance that is promised to you in Christ?