Friday, September 3

Kept in Heaven . . . for You.

He has caused us to be born again to a living hope through the resurrection of Jesus Christ from the dead, to an inheritance that is imperishable, undefiled, and unfading, kept in heaven for you, ” (1 Peter 1:3–4)
Those words, "kept in heaven for you" suggest two marvelous truths. 1) Someone does the keeping, which is God himself through Jesus Christ. And, 2) someone is being kept, and that is the true believer. That Peter is writing to believers is easily identified in the phrase "to those who are elect exiles . . ." (v. 1). The term, "elect" is more often than not used in order to accentuate the security of the redeemed who find themselves under great duress and therefore liable to feeling neglected, unloved or even rejected. The term "elect" is meant to encourage the saints, not become a watershed doctrine between Calvinists and Arminians. Elect by God means (among other things) held tightly, lovingly, and powerfully by none less than God himself, a doctrine which becomes increasingly dear as one's life hangs in the balance for Jesus' sake!

Birthed by God
The One who keeps is the same who births. This occurrence "caused us to be born again" does not appear elsewhere in the Bible (OT or NT) except one other time in 1 Peter 1:23. 
"Peter’s conception of new birth includes 'entrance into a new order of existence, but combines with it that of divine parentage: men enter the new life as children of its Author' (Hort 1898: 33, in Baker Exegetical Commentary). 
The emphasis here is not on our being born ANEW (though that is included), but rather on God having produced new children by His seed, or "the word of God" (1:23). One of the reasons we can be said to be "kept" is because God produced children of his own incorruptible seed! Our security does not rest, therefore, in our own ability to keep the law, or to obey God as important as these things are. But our being kept is owing entirely to God's own fathering of a new child, even we who have been born-again!

Birthed to What?
God caused us to be birthed to what? 1) A living hope (not a bunch of legalistic dead activities, and forced worship)! Oh, no! Lively, as in full of life! Do we have it? Further, we were birthed to 2) an inheritance (in heaven, with Jesus Christ and God, the Father), which is described with three modifiers: it's imperishable, it's undefiled, and unfading

Kept in Heaven for You
If indeed, it is God himself who "keeps" us and therefore who secures our place in heaven, it is outside ourselves and thus not liable to our human whimsy, our ups and downs. Can we see that once we've gotten through the other descriptions of the birthing process and the nature of our final inheritance with Christ, that our being kept is a natural result of such a magnificent work of grace! Of course we are kept, and our inheritance is undefiled and unfading. After all, look Who insured that we'd be birthed--God himself! 

Is that not enough?

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