I am reading through my Bible again and am in the book of Joshua. This is very timely, for there is an urgency in my spirit, a renewed emphasis, on apprehending our salvation—our spiritual heritage.
We Christians, whether Jew or Gentile, have a spiritual heritage unto which we have been predestined, just as Israel of old was predestined to the heritage of Canaan—even before they were born. They were predestined to an earthly inheritance because of the promise God made Abraham long before they were born.
And their inheritance was marked out beforehand for them; it was given them by lot. They didn’t cross the Jordan and then have some sort of land rush, hoping to grab the best parcels of land before anyone else. Rather, Joshua divided their inheritance to them (Josh. 1.6), and he did it by lot (Josh. 13.6, 14.2). In other words, it was not actually Joshua, but God Himself who decided what portion each one was to possess. This assured that every Israelite, the small as well as the great, the weak as well as the strong, received a portion in the land. Ezekiel confirms this in what I believe is a prophecy foreshadowing our inheritance in the Spirit.
And ye shall inherit it, one as well as another… (Ezek. 47.14).
What an encouraging hope. Oh how we admire the great saints, and wistfully wish we could be like them. But this wondrous heritage in the Spirit is not just for the great saints; God will not be satisfied, God will not rest, till each and every true Christian, the small as well as the great, has apprehended his or her inheritance.
And so, like the Israelites of old, we too are a people with a destiny. I think it’s likely Paul is drawing a parallel to Israel of old when he says in Ephesians (which perhaps could be called the New Testament book of Joshua) that God has predestined us “unto the adoption” (Eph. 1.5) and also unto an inheritance (Eph. 1.11). It is a heavenly inheritance—a realm of abounding “spiritual blessings in the heavenlies in Christ” (Eph. 1.3). It is also a realm that must be conquered (Eph. 6. 10-20). Spiritual forces of wickedness “in the heavenlies” must be overcome, just as the Israelites of old had to drive out their enemies in the land God had given them before they could possess it.
And what is this all about? Why did God bring Israel of old into their inheritance? Why did He redeem them from Egyptian bondage, bring them through the wilderness, and into the land He had promised them? Ultimately it was that He Himself might be glorified, that He might make Himself a glorious Name (Ex. 15.11-17, 2 Sam. 7.23, Isa. 63.11-14).
So it does not surprise us to find Paul saying that this same motive is what is back of God’s purpose in eternal redemption and in bringing the redeemed into their inheritance.
It is “to the praise of His glory” that He has predestined us unto the adoption (Eph. 1. 4-7).
It is “to the praise of the glory of His grace” that those who first hoped in Christ are predestined to an inheritance (Eph. 1.11).
And, it is “to the praise of His glory” that this inheritance shall, in the day of redemption, be fully possessed (Eph. 1.14, 4.30).
This I am sure is what Peter has in mind when he talks of a salvation “ready to be revealed in the last time.” He says this salvation is a living hope unto which we have been begotten, and which he describes as “an inheritance incorruptible, and undefiled, and that fadeth not away, reserved in the heavens for you who are kept by the power of God through faith unto salvation ready to be revealed in the last time” (1 Pt. 3-5).
That’s so encouraging. Everything in this world is corruptible, defiled, fading. This heavenly inheritance is incorruptible. It can’t be defiled, and it never fades away. Even after so long a time it’s still there… waiting for you and me.
Notice that word reserved. There’s an inheritance in the heavenly realm with your name on it. Reserved for ________. No one else can have it. In fact I don’t need yours, and don’t want it; there’s one with my name on it too.
And no, Peter doesn’t mean that when we die and go to Heaven we finally get to keep our reservation. He says this salvation is “ready to be revealed in the last time.” It’s for here. It’s for now… “in the last time.”
Notice also that you and I are being kept for this reservation. We are “kept by the power of God through faith unto salvation ready to be revealed in the last time.”
Yes, the trial of our faith is very great… and at times, oh, so severe. But oh, how precious it is, more precious than gold that perishes! Gold will perish one day, but this inheritance, this salvation, will never perish.
Let us hold fast our faith, then, though it be tried by fire, and thus be ourselves ready for this salvation that is ready to be revealed, this inheritance that is reserved for us. The time is at hand! We have an appointment with a destiny! Let us keep it!