Peter’s addressees are the “scattered elect” of God. He is specifically addressing the Christians that have been scattered at the persecution that took place in Acts chapter seven. Stephen was stoned to death in that chapter, and the church was scattered around the Mediterranean basin. The Church at Antioch on the Orontes was formed by scattered believers. That’s the church where the believers were first called “Christians.” Having been driven from their homes, many felt the pangs of homesickness. They missed the familiar things of their childhood as well as the people with whom they lived most of their lives. Peter wanted to encourage believers around the world that Jesus’ resurrection from the dead carried with it the promise of eternal life in a much better place for all who believed. In 1 Peter 1:3-4, he told them, and us, “Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ! According to his great mercy, he has caused us to be born again to a living hope through the resurrection of Jesus Christ from the dead, to an inheritance that is imperishable, undefiled, and unfading, kept in heaven for you.”

 Faith in Christ makes us heirs of Christ. We have a guaranteed inheritance to be received beyond this valley of the shadow of death. Eternal life is ours! But it’s ours to be lived out in a much better place. It’s imperishable. It’s undefiled. And it’s unfading. It’s interesting to note that Peter does not try to tell us what heaven, our eternal home, will be like. Instead, he focuses on what it will NOT be like. When Peter says, it’s imperishable, of course, it means that our home is not capable of perishing. It won’t go away. But even better than that is that it includes the idea that it cannot be destroyed. When you face the kind of opposition the early believers faced, this was important. Many of them had their homes taken away from them and destroyed by political authorities motivated by the enemies of Christ. Peter wants us all to know that our homes are not made of wood, hay, or stubble but of indestructible material. The big bad wolf won’t be able to blow it down. When he speaks of it being “undefiled,” it means that it is not polluted. “To pollute means to make something dirty or harmful, especially with poisonous or waste products. It can apply to air, water, earth, or anything that can be soiled or contaminated. It can also mean to make something morally unclean or defile it. The word comes from the Latin word pollut, meaning ‘soiled.’”[1] To be “undefiled” is to be Free from stain, blemish, evil or corruption; immaculate; uncorrupted. Not polluted, not vitiated, not corrupted. Finally, Peter says it will be “unfading.” According to one commentator it, “means our inheritance is everlasting. It never becomes old. It never wears out. It is imperishable. Its beauty never fades. It never dries up. It is everlasting and forever undiminished. Our inheritance is perennially fresh. It never becomes old and worn. Time does not impair it.”[2]

When Jesus was about to go to his crucifixion, he encouraged the disciples that he had left behind by telling them; I am going to prepare a place for you (John 14:3). Jesus speaks to his followers about what he will do in the future. Peter tells us that it is finished now and waiting for us. Our heavenly home is our living hope that is guaranteed by the resurrection of Jesus Christ from the dead. We sometimes get so enamored by the things in the world that we don’t think of heaven very much and are not too anxious to go there. C. S. Lewis addressed this issue and said, “There have been times when I think we do not desire heaven, but more often I find myself wondering whether in our heart of hearts, we have ever desired anything else.… It is the secret signature of each soul, the incommunicable and unappeasable want, the thing we desired before we met our wives or made our friends or chose our work, and which we shall still desire on our deathbeds when the mind no longer knows wife or friend or work.”[3]


[2] Richison, Grant. 2006. Verse by Verse through the Books of 1 & 2 Peter. Bellingham, WA: Logos Research Systems.

[3] C. S. Lewis, The Problem of Pain, as quoted by Hughes, R. Kent. 1999. John: That You May Believe. Preaching the Word. Wheaton, IL: Crossway Books.