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THE FIRST EPISTLE GENERAL OF PETER - Chapter 1 - Verse 4
Verse 4. To an inheritance. Through the resurrection of the Lord Jesus we now cherish the hope of that future inheritance in heaven. On the word inheritance, See Barnes "Ac 20:32"; See Barnes "Eph 1:11, See Barnes "Eph 1:14, See Barnes "Eph 1:18"; See Barnes "Col 1:12".
Christians are regarded as the adopted children of God, and heaven is spoken of as their inheritance—as what their Father will bestow on them as the proof of his love.
The meaning here is, that the inheritance will be imperishable, or will endure for ever. Here, to whatever we may be heirs, we must soon part with the inheritance; there it will be eternal.
The word does not elsewhere occur in the New Testament. As applied to an inheritance, it means that it will be pure. It will not have been obtained by dishonesty, nor will it be held by fraud; it will not be such as will corrupt the soul, or tempt to extravagance, sensuality, and lust, as a rich inheritance often does here; it will be such that its eternal enjoyment will never tend in any manner to defile the heart. "How many estates," says Benson, "have been got by fraudulent and unjust methods; by poisoning, or in some other way murdering the right heir; by cheating of helpless orphans; by ruining the fatherless and widows; by oppressing their neighbours, or grinding the faces of the poor, and taking their garments or vineyards from them! But this future inheritance of the saints is stained by none of these vices; it is neither got nor detained by any of these methods; nor shall persons polluted with vice have any share in it." Here no one can be heir to an inheritance of gold or houses without danger of soon sinking into indolence, effeminacy, or vice; there the inheritance may be enjoyed for ever, and the soul continually advance in, knowledge, holiness, and the active service of God.
And that fadeth not away. Gr. amaranton. This word occurs nowhere else in the New Testament, though the word amarantinov (amarantine) occurs in
@1 Pe 5:4, applied to a crown or garland. The word is properly applied to that which does not fade or wither, in contradistinction from a flower that fades. It may then denote anything that is enduring, and is applied to the future inheritance of the saints to describe its perpetuity in all its brilliance and splendour, in contrast with the fading nature of all that is earthly. The idea here, therefore, is not precisely the same as is expressed by the word "incorruptible." Both words indeed denote perpetuity, but that refers to perpetuity in contrast with decay; this denotes perpetuity in the sense that everything there will be kept in its original brightness and beauty. The crown of glory, though worn for millions of ages, will not be dimmed; the golden streets will lose none of their lustre; the flowers that bloom on the banks of the river of life will always be as rich in colour, and as fragrant, as when we first beheld them.
Reserved in heaven for you. Marg., us. The difference in the text margin arises from the various readings in MSS. The common reading is "for you." The sense is not materially affected. The idea is, that it is an inheritance appointed for us, and kept by one who can make it sure to us, and who will certainly bestow it upon us. See Barnes "Mt 25:34"; See Barnes "Joh 14:2"; See Barnes "Col 1:5".
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