If you want a boost for prayer or a list of things to be thankful for as a Christian, look no further than 1 Peter 1:1-9. Peter greets his brothers and sisters in Christ who live in Pontus, Galatia, Cappadocia, Asia, and Bithynia and proceeds to lay out the details of our inheritance from God one after the other.
We were chosen to obey God. “… elect according to the foreknowledge of God the Father, in sanctification of the Spirit, for obedience…” v. 2.
While all people are required to obey God, only believers are compelled to have an obedient heart because of Christ's sacrifice. And our motivation to obey is fed by love for Him (John 14:15). What a privilege this is! For you to say that God chose you to obey Him is to claim the highest honor given to mankind. Satan cannot obey God because he cannot love God. A man or woman who cannot love God cannot obey Him. But to say that you can is to say that the love of God has changed you and warmed your heart to love Him.
We were born to a living hope. “Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, who according to His abundant mercy has begotten us again to a living hope through the resurrection of Jesus Christ from the dead…” v. 3.
Before you came to Christ, you were “dead in trespasses and sins” (Ephesians 2:1). You had no hope, no real life at all. But because Christ, having taken the wrath for your sins, was raised from the dead and you are joined to Him, you have been raised into a hope of eternal life. You have no reason to fear the second death, or the effects of sin in the world. The end of your journey is sure and founded upon the work of Christ Himself, to dwell with Him forever.
We have a sure inheritance. “… to an inheritance incorruptible and undefiled and that does not fade away, reserved in heaven for you…” v. 4.
Earthly inheritances are temporary. They can be spent, used up, taken away, or ruined. But the inheritance that is promised to you is as immortal as your soul and as sure as God’s Word. While its fullness waits for you in heaven, you have small glimpses of it here in fellowship with other believers, in prayer and Scripture, and even in simple things like joy, rest, and the enjoyment of good things. The unbeliever may experience small measures of these joys, thanks to the common grace of God, but he or she cannot expect the full measure of it after death.
God has promised we will endure to the end and enjoy that inheritance. “… kept by the power of God through faith for salvation ready to be revealed in the last time.” v. 5.
“Kept by the power of God.” There is no more certain security in the universe. How is this security provided for you? “Through faith.” Your trust in God is based on the works of Christ and the promises found in the Scriptures. This is the pipeline through which the experience of this certainty is given to you.
We have the honor of suffering for the glory of God. “In this you greatly rejoice, though now for a little while, if need be, you have been grieved by various trials, that the genuineness of your faith, being much more precious than gold that perishes, though it is tested by fire, may be found to praise, honor, and glory at the revelation of Jesus Christ…” v. 6, 7.
To suffer for the glory of God is a strange honor, and definitely not one you would have chosen for yourself. But being a follower of Christ, your greatest desire is that He would receive the recognition and glory He deserves from man. In your trials, your faith will be proven to be genuine and men who see it will have to decide whether or not your Christ is who He says He is. This revelation of Christ through your trials is an honor because it results in praise, honor, and glory to Christ.
God has enabled us to love Christ. “…whom having not seen you love.” v. 8.
A part of your inheritance that is often overlooked is your ability to love Christ. Before you were converted, it was impossible for you to love Him. He went against everything you were as a lost person. But the gospel has overturned your life, bringing you from death to life and transforming your nature. Now you can love Christ. Think of that! This love was bought with the blood of Christ. He didn’t need you to love Him. But He died so that you could love Him.
God promises that He will accomplish His will in our lives: our salvation. “… receiving the end of your faith—the salvation of your souls.” v. 9.
Here, Peter zooms out and looks at the big picture. That is, salvation, the great work of Christ and the result of your faith, finished and complete. You were justified in the beginning, you are being sanctified during your life on earth, and at death, you will be glorified and made like Christ. All of this together is your salvation and the whole of your inheritance. To have salvation means you have unhindered access to God, untarnished righteousness before God, and unending fellowship with Christ. With this end in view, you have all the motivation you need to pray without ceasing, to love God with all your heart, to love others as Christ loved you, and to continue without wavering to the end of your earthly life.