A Salvation Kept in Heaven – 1 Peter 1:5

Having described our salvation as secure by its very nature, Peter goes on to describe our salvation as “has been kept in heaven” and guarded by the power of God.  A second reason our great salvation is secure is that we are not guarding it, God the Father himself is keeping it for us.

1 PeterThe Greek syntax is important here, the verb is a perfect passive participle (φρουρουμένους, from φρουρέω). Our inheritance has already been kept (the perfect) and it is not kept by us, but for us (the passive). The believer is not responsible for keep their salvation, or maintaining their salvation. It is an expectation that will be realized at some point in the future.

Ultimately that salvation will not be fully revealed until the “last time.” While we might here “when we get to heaven” in this statement, Peter has in mind the return of Jesus, the ultimate vindication of Jesus as the Lord of this world.  We tend to think something like, “since Jesus died for me, I get to go to heaven,” which of course is true. But Peter’s Jewish theology and world view emphasized the return of Jesus to render justice and establish his kingdom more completely.  As we will see in the rest of this letter, Peter believes that Jesus is going to return very soon and that believers live in the gap between the first and second coming of the Messiah.

Taken along with 1 Peter 1:4, we can be certain our salvation is secure because it is based on the death and resurrection of Jesus, by its very nature it cannot decay, and it is being kept by God himself in heaven.

If this is the case, what should Christians think about their “present suffering”? Peter argues that since our salvation is so certain, the trials of this life are occasions for praise (vv. 6-7).  The believer can rejoice in their “fiery trials” because they know that their inheritance is secured.  The belief that Jesus is Lord and that he is returning to render judgment on the world in the future runs counter to the prevailing belief that Rome is all-powerful and renders justice and that Caesar himself is the ultimate Lord.

In the territories mentioned in 1 Peter 1:1, Rome was venerated in imperial religious activity that could not be separated from civic life. If one was going be successful in the Roman world of the late first century, then Rome must be recognized as sovereign over this world.  This world view would naturally bring Christians into conflict with local authorities.  Why do Christians avoid participating in civic events that are dedicated to gods, or even to Rome itself?

It is difficult for contemporary (American) Christians to fully understand this because America attempts to completely separate “church and state.” What we do in church has nothing to do with our loyalty as Americans, and we do not really see our loyalty to America as something that conflicts with our faith in Jesus Christ. But that was just not the case in first century Rome, nor is it the case in many countries today.

Is it possible to be a loyal Christian and participate fully in civic life in China? Or the Middle East? Or many countries in Africa? How can Peter’s assertion that our inheritance is kept for us in Heaven encourage Christians wo are indeed suffering greatly for their faith?

 

15 thoughts on “A Salvation Kept in Heaven – 1 Peter 1:5

  1. It’s made clear in 1 Peter 1:5 that our salvation is made secure via the shielding of our faith from God. Thus, no matter what tribulation or trial that we endure, our souls are eternally secure in God our creator. And in light of many of the religious battles being fought throughout the world, it’s important that we keep in mind that many Christians are, in fact, having to live under intense persecution for their faith. Although in America it can seem as if we are persecuted at times, I believe it is nowhere near the intensity as those Christians living in the far off countries of China, Russia, Africa, etc. But the Bible encourages those within their trials. 1 Peter 1:5 speaks of a literal shield of God’s power guarding us during these times and securing our souls regardless of death. But regardless of our doings, it is by God’s grace that we are saved. This is great news because it foretells of the crazy power in which Jesus bestowed upon the cross and the intensity of his death. Thus, we as believers being persecuted throughout the world can take heart not in what we do or don’t do but by what Christ already did (1 Pet. 1:4). This, in turn will cause us to live our lives with a courage to live, breathe, and die for Christ.

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  2. I don’t know what the “civil life” of China is but I fully believe that it is the responsibility of a Christian to integrate their faith in every aspect of life. It is our responsibility to live our lives in a way that people can see we’re Christian at all times. I like Luke’s last comment that said we can take heart because what Christ has done will cause us to live our lives with courage to live, breathe, and die for Christ. This means that because of what Christ did, we have the responsibility to live that out in ALL areas of our lives. I think this applies to church and government as well. I don’t think we should compromise our religious convictions in regards to voting or political beliefs. As Christians we are in the world but not of the world, meaning that we should not forego our beliefs simply because we live in a society that says it is ok to do so. The idea that suffering should be joyful is evident also in Philippians. We are able to be joyful because our suffering can promote the gospel of Christ to others.

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  3. I like the idea that our salvation is being protected by God. Jesus’ death secured us in a way that the devil cannot take away. We now have a place in heaven and all the devil can do is bring suffering to our lives. But as Romans 8:18 says, “our present sufferings are not worth comparing the glory that will be revealed to us.” I think that our security for our salvation disbands all the impact of evil in the world. However, at some point, I think that we are going to have to choose between our American loyalties and our Christian loyalties. Although America does not seem to contradict any of our beliefs as Christian’s they still uphold to things that we do not follow as Christians such as abortion and gay marriage. We are lucky not to be persecuted for our faith in America but in other places, Christians may have to endure suffering but they can face it because they know it is only temporary and God is eternal.

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  4. Now many are fix aided on the idea and knowing of personal salivation and how to get it. They are want to know how to keep it of if it is safe to say it is kept forever by God. This is not what interests me in this, I would like to know what salvation looks like. Not what you say it is but what it actually looks like in the Presence of God and in the physical and spiritual forms. Throughout this book by Peter it speaks towards salvation and that you are saved but not by anything you actually did but by what God has chosen to do for you because of his grace and love. Now, when you have chosen to accept this you are eternally saved by him. That could be anything from believing while you are a live which is important to simply remembering to ask him when you die and go to his place in heaven.
    The aspect of Salvation that interests me is not the specifics on how we come by it or keep it, or even how it is kept for us. But it is what transpires when we obtain salvation in heaven. For we do not have salvation on earth because it is only expressed after our physical death in heaven or the realm in which heaven exists. Is salvation our glorified bodies hanging in a closet in God’s palace?

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  5. According to Peter our salvation is kept in Heaven, and as you said in the post above, it is kept there for us by God, who cannot fail. To me this means that once you have secured your faith through the belief that Jesus died and rose again for everyone’s sin, that you are good. We should not be afraid of what happens to us because we know that whatever happens that we have the security that God is holding our place in heaven for us. This may be easy for me to say as an American Christian who hasn’t experienced much to any persecution compared to what people in other countries experience because of their faith in the same God that I believe in, but I believe that the place is still reserved for each of us in the same way.

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  6. My first thought when reading this when you mentioned “A second reason our great salvation is secure is that we are not guarding it…” is ‘that is good because some people would loose their head if it was not attached.’ Also in Matthew 6:19-21 talks about how things on earth is temporary while things in heaven is everlasting.
    In relationship to suffering as a time to praise, another view of suffering can come from kind of a psychological viewpoint. When people who are suffering they prefer to be with others who are going through similar issues. This is because those going through similar situations understand better what is going on than someone who does not have the same issue. In Dr. Schregardus’ class, she talked about cancer patients prefer to be around those with cancer or had cancer. This is because they better understand the emotions they are going through. Back to suffering. We could use the suffering we are going through in order to better relate to those who are hurting and those who are without Jesus in order to better witness to them.
    The question you posed was whether we are able to participate in fully in civic life anywhere in the world, to which I have to ask what would be your intentions in participating in them be. If it is to relate to those who do participate in order to grasp a better understanding of their viewpoints so that you can be a better witness to them. I think in that case it would be alright to participate in the civic life. If your intentions are to participate in the life for entertainment or belief then in that case, I would say that is a bad idea. This is because it would be easy to drift away from your faith and get caught up in the civic life rather then the christian life.

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  7. I enjoyed the way that you articulated that “the second reason our great salvation is secure is that we are not guarding it, God the Father himself is keeping it for us.” This was a very simple way to describe this concept, and it was a very useful statement. When I think about this concept of living a Christian life regardless of political pressures, I think of Daniel. Daniel, in my opinion, is the poster boy of living in a way that pleases God regardless of social and political pressures. At great personal risk, Daniel continued to pray even when the law dictated that he didn’t (Daniel 6). As impossible as this may seem, this is the way that we are called to live out our faith. With this in mind, I would say that it is possible to live out a genuine Christian faith in places like China, the middle east, and African countries. However, living in this way requires tremendous faith in God, and leads to great personal danger. However, we serve a big God, who is greater than all the governments of the world, and we must have faith like Daniel.

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  8. You mentioned in the fifth paragraph that “[t]he believer can rejoice in their “fiery trials” because they know that their inheritance is secured.” I often read fire in different light throughout the Bible depending on the subject being discussed. For example, God is a consuming fire. We know that much to be true (Hebrews 12:29). However, the fire that God personifies can also be read as a purifying fire, making great and perfect those who pass through it. Perhaps the persecution taking place in other counties is a sort of “refiners fire” which God has in place for those people to set the example for us? Maybe these different areas of persecution are a pre-cursor to a show of supreme force yet to come, be that ISIS, or any other terror organization. It is easy to type here and speculate, but another thing entirely to experience. That fire which refines may be exactly what is taking place. Perhaps the magnitude of America’s impact on other countries needs to be changed/adjusted. Maybe our consumerism is getting the best of us, and God wants things to be shaken and stirred up so that we might revert our eyes back to him.

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  9. When you ask the question, is it possible to be Christian and fully participate in civil law in China, the middle east, or some other place aside from the U.S I believe the answer is no. Mark 12:17 says that we are to render unto Caeser what is Ceasar’s and what is God’s unto God. It is clear that God does not really care about things like money, unless it is put before Him. So following normal civil duties like taxes and similar laws is not taboo for a Christian. If a Christian was to have an abortion as a civil duty, that is where it crosses the line. So no, we cannot.

    For the second half of your question, the answer is pretty obvious. If you investment is not at stake and is eternally held for you; it is easier for someone to go through persecution. Whereas, if you didn’t have any eternal stuff, what they did to you as persecution would be a lot more devastating. Because that is all you have. Essentially, our fate being locked in heaven is a type of insurance we are given to be able to stand up for God.

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  10. I think an important thing to realize when looking at how we view suffering in terms of eternal security is that we are blessed, or in some senses cursed, with a lack of persecution. In the time that Peter was writing, his audience was being driven out of their cities and slain for their beliefs. We in America look at a little mockery as persecution and “suffering” while people in areas of the Middle East and Asia are killed for their faith. I had a Pastor friend I met on a mission trip to Vietnam named Phuong. A year or so after I met him, the Vietnamese government threw him off a moving train and killed him. Simply because he was preaching the Scripture. But in my opinion, it is that persecution and suffering that gives Christians a true solid faith. It is something that many in our culture lack. It is viewed as a minor inconvenience compared to the magnitude that is eternity, like what it says in 1 Peter 1:3-6, that we should rejoice in all that Jesus has done for us despite the “grief you have had to suffer”.

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  11. People who are suffering from present trials can take great hope in the salvation that God has saved up for them in heaven. There is nothing that is worth more value than the eternal life that God gave us through Jesus. Verse 7 even says it is of greater worth than gold. Now there are things that are worth more than gold but the point is that this salvation is worth so dang much that the ones who suffer can have hope in it. The paradigm that surrounds salvation and worldly interests is a lot easier to navigate if you have a lot of money in this world and contrarily if you have none or are oppressed in some way. It seems that people who are suffering for their faith or just are suffering in general have a greater aptitude for faith in God.

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  12. We are told from a young age that our salvation is protected from the grace of God. Once we accept Christ and our faith is on display, there’s nothing that we come across that we can’t handle. 1 Peter 1:9 makes it clear that we are saved by God salvation and are protected by his love through our faith. Jesus died for our sins and that allowed us to be protected from any circumstances. By the death of Jesus, we have a place in heaven to meet God himself and Jesus one day. The acceptance of our salvation will guide us away from the devil. In our society as American Christians, we are not persecuted in our country for being Christians. We are allowed to speak up and speak out about our faith. As we live longer and come across different situation where we separate ourselves from God, we know that he’s always there looking over us. In other countries, it’s disturbing to read and hear about terrorist groups attacking Christians. I will never know what it feels like to be hated and targeted for my faith, but I know that God will have them in a special place. To be challenged and questioned on being a Christian, then be strike to death for your faith. These people are dying proudly of being a Christian and God will reward them. God showed us how we was supposed to live in his image by creating Jesus. Karen Jobes talks about how Peter uses the metaphor of Jesus as a sacrificial Lamb (Jobes, 317). If you think about it the persecuted Christians from other countries that are being killed for their faith might be the modern time of the sacrificial Lamb. Other Christians from different countries are showing us what it means to be a Christian. It’s not so much about how you show your faith when things are going well. But when times get tough, your action shows how much faith you really have in God.

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  13. The hope that salvation is there and will always be there sets my mind at ease. Even more so when i put myself in someone shoes that does not have the freedom to believe in what they please (Such as someone in China). Suffering is a part of life and anyone Christian that has to go through suffering for believing in Christ should have some sense of peace. I really get frustrated when Christians or non-believers even get frustrated with suffering. As they act like if God is so good why would he make me suffer? I really enjoyed Jobes statement wraps up the reading for this week by saying, “However, Peter corrects a popular view that because Jesus suffered, I don’t have to, by explaining that suffering in the life of a Christian is part of one’s calling to follow Christ” (Jobes 337). Holding that idea that Jesus suffered and I will most likely suffer in my lifetime i believe is key. In suffering you should not blame God, rather lean on God and understand there is a reason.

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