Heavenly salvation: origin, not destination (1 Peter 1.3-5)
I mentioned at the end of the last post that Christian hope is indeed heavenly, because it is from heaven that we await salvation. This helps understand the language of 1 Peter 1.3-5:
Praise be to the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ! In his great mercy he has given us new birth into a living hope through the resurrection of Jesus Christ from the dead, and into an inheritance that can never perish, spoil or fade— kept in heaven for you, who through faith are shielded by God's power until the coming of the salvation that is ready to be revealed in the last time.I suspect that many readers, upon hearing that their inheritance is "kept in heaven", imagine that the content of that inheritence is itself "heaven", a post-mortem paradise of some kind. However, this misses the main point of this passage. The living hope is precisely that: alive. Life is not simply the mode, but the content of the hope: the new birth is to be the start of new life. And this new birth is into resurrection life. The same kind of resurrection (indeed, strictly speak, the same resurrection) as Jesus. It is his resurrection that is both the ground and illustration of our lively, vivacious, vital, living breathing hope.
Thus, this hope is "kept in heaven" in a similar way to the new car your parents might give you for your birthday is kept in the garage for you. Not so that you can go into the garage to enjoy existence there, but so that the real hope - fully mobile vehicular life - is secure until the day that it is ready to be revealed. Or, to borrow an illustration, like the beer is kept in the fridge for you. The hope isn't to chill out long term, but to have the hope adequately stored and prepared. So too here, the purpose of its being in heaven, is that it is with God, indeed, our hope is God himself (that's why it's in heaven), and so there is no fear of its being flat or warm: it can never perish, spoil or fade. The paintjob won't get scratched by the neighbour and it won't get lifted by the local joyriders. Our future is secured by God's power; indeed, we ourselves are divinely shielded until the time is ripe. Not that bad things can't happen to us: on the contrary, they can and will. What is shielded is our future resurrection, it is securely held by the one whose power raised Jesus from the dead. No one can snatch us out of his hand.
Series: I; II; IIa; III; IV; V; VI; VII; VIII; IX; X; XI; XII; XIII; XIV; XV; XVI. Ten points for the city in this pic.