Conclusion of the New Testament, The (Msgs. 099-113)by Witness Lee
Printed Copy: Available Online from Living Stream Ministry
Printed Copy: Available Online from Living Stream Ministry
First Peter 1:3 tells us that through the resurrection of Christ we have been regenerated unto a living hope. Then verse 4 goes on to say, “Unto an inheritance, incorruptible and undefiled and unfading, kept in the heavens for you.” At the end of verse 3 there is a comma, and verse 4 begins with “unto.” This indicates that “unto an inheritance” in verse 4 is in apposition to “unto a living hope” in verse 3. This means that the living hope is the inheritance and that the inheritance is the living hope. A living hope, resulting from regeneration, is our expectation of the coming blessing; an inheritance is the fulfillment of our hope in the coming age and in eternity.
A living hope is a hope of life. In particular, it is a hope of eternal life. Eternal life is our enjoyment and also our inheritance. All the riches of God’s being are involved in His life. These riches have become our inheritance in the heavenly bank. Our daily experience of eternal life is also an experience and enjoyment of the inheritance kept for us in the heavens. This indicates that the living hope and the inheritance are one.
The inheritance in 1 Peter 1:4 comprises the coming salvation of our souls (vv. 5, 9), the grace to be revealed at the unveiling of the Lord (v. 13), the glory to be revealed (1 Pet. 5:1), the unfading crown of glory (1 Pet. 5:4), and the eternal glory (1 Pet. 5:10). All these items of our eternal inheritance are related to the divine life which we received through regeneration and which we are experiencing and enjoying throughout our entire Christian life. “This inheritance is the full possession of that which was promised to Abraham and all believers (Gen. 12:3; see Gal. 3:6ff.), an inheritance, as much higher than that which fell to the children of Israel in the possession of Canaan, as the sonship of the regenerate, who have already received the promise of the Spirit through faith as a pledge of their inheritance, is higher than the sonship of Israel: compare Gal. 3:18, 29; 1 Cor. 6:9; Eph. 5:5; Heb. 9:15”—Wiesinger, quoted by Alford.
Through our second birth, regeneration, we have been born into a new inheritance. According to 1 Peter 1:4, this inheritance is not on earth; rather, it is kept in the heavens. Although this inheritance is kept for us in the heavens, we can enjoy it now on earth. Our heavenly, divine, spiritual inheritance is kept in the heavens; yet it is continually being transmitted into our spirit for our enjoyment.
In verse 4 Peter uses three words to describe our inheritance: incorruptible, undefiled, and unfading. I believe that this threefold description points to the Trinity. The word “incorruptible” refers to the nature of this inheritance. This is God’s nature, signified by gold. Here incorruptible refers to the substance, which is indestructible, not decaying. In contrast to any earthly inheritance, our heavenly inheritance is incorruptible, for it is not material. Anything material or physical is corruptible. But our inheritance kept in the heavens is divine and spiritual, altogether incorruptible.
“Undefiled” describes the condition of the inheritance and refers to its purity, to its being unstained. This means that our inheritance cannot be defiled; nothing can make it unclean. This condition is related to the sanctifying Spirit.
Finally, “unfading” refers to the beauty and glory of our inheritance; it speaks of its not withering. Because our inheritance is unfading, its beauty and glory cannot wither. Thus, “unfading” refers to the expression of the inheritance. This inheritance has unfading glory. First Peter 5:4 speaks of an unfading crown of glory. The everlasting expression indicated by the word “unfading” is the Son as the expression of the Father’s glory.
The three excellent qualities of our eternal inheritance in life—incorruptible, undefiled, and unfading—describe the Father’s incorruptible nature, the Spirit’s sanctifying power to maintain the inheritance in an undefiled position, to keep it holy, clean, and pure, and also the Son as the expression of the unfading glory. Therefore, the threefold description of our inheritance is also a description of the Triune God.
The Triune God Himself will be our basic inheritance. Related to Him as our inheritance we have five other matters: the coming salvation of our souls, the grace to be revealed at the Lord’s coming, the glory to be revealed to us, the unfading crown of glory, and the eternal glory. These five items, added together, are a subsidiary inheritance related to God Himself. Although these items are not the Triune God directly, they are related to the divine life, which is God Himself.
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