Though many states currently seem to be vying for the position, our state (Illinois) seems to have gained the dubious distinction of being second only to California in terms of financial woes. One of the many proposals that have been floated to extract us from this economic morass has been the suspension of funding for the State Employees’ Pension Fund. Needless to say, the consternation among present and prospective recipients of that fund has been voluble. Their cries have been added to the cacophony of many others who have found their prospects for a secure retirement greatly reduced or eliminated. The truth is that there is no way to truly secure our future well-being. Even where investments or pensions and other retirement funds remain intact, even a brief period of hyperinflation (which appears to be looming) could quickly render years of careful saving and investing nearly worthless. But the promise to believers is that, regardless of the exigencies of time, the Lord will provide for His own. And even more importantly, He has secured eternal blessings for us. For Peter reminds us that the “God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ” has “begotten” us to a living hope “to an inheritance incorruptible, and undefiled, and that fadeth not away, reserved in heaven for you, who are kept by the power of God through faith unto salvation . . .” (I Pet. 1:3b, 4, 5a).
An incorruptible inheritance. Natural retirement funds and human inheritances are “corruptible,” that is, they “perish” with the death of the recipient. The wealthiest person on earth can maintain that wealth only so long as he is alive, after which his status is no different from the lowliest beggar in Sri Lanka. Some people live their entire lives in the shadowy hope of obtaining an inheritance from a well-to-do relative only to die before they receive it or, having enjoyed it for only a brief period of time, to see it slip through their fingers by death. The best that man can naturally hope for is still only temporal. But the inheritance from the Lord is incorruptible: it cannot be harmed by death.
An undefiled inheritance. Think of how corrupted human investments may become. They are often administered by greedy, even rapacious men. Some of the funds are invested in enterprises of dubious worth. Some funds may be invested in companies engaged in unethical or even immoral practices. Some investments may be increased by taking advantage of the needy, the ignorant, or the unwary. The above is by no means a diatribe against capitalism: it is simply a realistic acknowledgement that man is sinful and engages in sinful activities and that money invested in this world is infested with that corruption. The eternal inheritance awaiting the believer is untainted by any sin. It is pure as Christ is pure, having been founded on His holy life and funded by His righteous work on the cross.
An unfading inheritance. Time affects the value of things in this life. A home that cost $3,000 around the time of the Second World War might easily cost $250,000 or more today. Due to inflation, the value of currency “fades.” We find ourselves needing more and more in order just to maintain the same standard of living. The glitter fades; the glory diminishes. To receive a penny or two once thrilled a young child. Today there is very little child can do with a penny. The value of what Christ has obtained for us is unfading. It is not affected by inflation or any other contingent of time. As eternity rolls forward, its value will remain steadfast.
And wonder of wonders, it is “reserved in heaven for you, who are kept by the power of God through faith.” There are no guarantees in this life. For even if the value of an investment or an inheritance remains, who’s to say that a man will survive to enjoy it? But those who know the Lord are secure in Him, as are the blessings that He has promised to His own. God fully funds all His promises. “For all the promises of God in him are yea, and in him Amen, unto the glory of God by us” (II Cor. 1:20). In the words of various others, the inheritance of the saints is immortal, pure, and beautiful; it will not perish, spoil, or fade; and it is untouched by death, undefiled by evil, and unaffected by time. This inheritance is of infinitely more value than gold. May we live with eternity in view.
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