Guarded by God
I wonder if part of why we forget to focus on our eternal inheritance is our own doubt and anxiety, our struggle to truly believe it’s real—for us at least.
When I send a gift to someone in the mail, I sometimes get anxious about whether it will arrive safely, especially if it’s a precious gift. What if it gets lost in the mail? What if someone opens the package and steals the gift? What if it breaks before they receive it?
Does a similar anxiety nag you about your future heavenly inheritance? We’ve been considering how God has promised believers an unfading, eternal inheritance (1 Peter 1:4). But could something happen to prevent us from receiving this gift? What if we don’t “make it” to heaven? What if we’re not found worthy of it?
If these fears haunt you, don’t despair. Perhaps anticipating just such anxieties, Peter describes even more good news for believers. Not only is there a rich inheritance being kept for believers, we are being kept for heaven (v. 5).
Peter explains that through faith believers are “shielded by God’s power until the coming of the salvation that is ready to be revealed in the last time” (v. 5). Pointing to a future day when we’ll finally fully enjoy our eternal inheritance, Peter assures them that, in the meantime, we are not abandoned. Until that day, we are “shielded by God’s power.”
There are many reasons we could live in fear. Life in this broken world is dangerous. Temptations can easily trap us, leaving us with severe consequences. There is evil that wounds our hearts. The evil one intends us harm. We need God’s protection.
And that is exactly what we are promised here. The word translated shielded means to protect or guard. It was used in military contexts to refer to how soldiers stood guard over a village at night. It was expected that such guards would give their lives in order to protect the people.
So when Peter uses this word to describe God’s protection of us, this is not a light promise. This word assures us that God is willing to go to the greatest extremes to protect those under his care, his children. And as the death of Christ reveals, he was even willing to die to save and protect us from evil and secure our eternal salvation.
Our future inheritance is not just a possibility that God has stored in heaven but that could be lost. It’s one God keeps for us, and one God guards us for. Like our salvation, our future joy does not depend on us. The One who died for our salvation and rose for our new life also guarantees this inheritance—a future with him on the coming day of salvation. It’s not going to get lost in the mail, and neither are we.
1. God is shielding our inheritance. Where else in Scripture is God pictured as defending and protecting?
2. What are some ways that knowing our inheritance is secure could impact our view of the events that come our way?
3. These verses from 1 Peter are confidence instilling. How do you overcome any doubts or fears that may arise?