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1 Peter 1:3-5 NASB

“Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, who according to His great mercy has caused us to be born again to a living hope through the resurrection of Jesus Christ from the dead, to obtain an inheritance which is imperishable and undefiled and will not fade away, reserved in heaven for you, who are protected by the power of God through faith for a salvation ready to be revealed in the last time.

What is the salvation ready to be revealed in the last time?

7 Answers 7

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The verses show that the Christians being addressed have already been 'born again to a living hope through the resurrection of Jesus Christ from the dead'. Being 'born again' is the essential start of seeing the Kingdom of God. That's what Jesus said to Nicodemus in John chapter 3. Without first being 'born again', nobody can see the Kingdom of God. (And if you cannot see it, how are you to enter into it?)

Those believers now have 'a living hope'. Only those who are being saved by faith in Christ have this living hope. So, those are two things that have already happened.

Then verse 4 says what awaits them - a pure and incorruptible inheritance is what they are eagerly expecting. This inheritance is reserved for them, in heaven. Their lively hope is to one day receive that inheritance, in heaven. Verse 5 shows that their hope also lies in being kept by the power of God, through faith, till that glorious day. This accords with what Paul told Christians in Philippi, that they could be confident that God, who had begun a good work in them, would see it to completion at "the day of Jesus Christ". (Philippians 1:6)

In Ephesians Paul further explains that, in Christ

"...we have obtained an inheritance, being predestined according to the purpose of him who worketh all things after the counsel of his own will: that we should be to the praise of his glory, who first trusted in Christ, in whom ye also trusted, after that you heard the word of truth, the gospel of your salvation: in whom also after that ye believed, ye were sealed with that Holy Spirit of promise, which is the earnest of our inheritance until the redemption of the purchased possession, unto the praise of his gory." (Ephesians 1:11-14 A.V.)

This shows the events that take place, prior to the ones being saved receiving their heavenly inheritance - the culmination of that salvation. This is verified here:

"For God hath not appointed us to wrath, but to obtain salvation by our Lord Jesus Christ, who died for us, that, whether we wake or sleep, we should live together with him." 1 Thessalonians 5:9-10 A.V.

The culmination of that salvation will be when they step out of time and enter eternity - when they die physically, only to be instantly with Christ in glory, as Paul showed in Philippians 1:21-24. Then the fulness of that salvation will be completed - in heaven, when their living hope will have become living reality.

That is what is "ready to be revealed in the last time" (1 Peter 1:5). The Greek word rendered 'revealed' is 'apokalupto' - to unveil so as to be visible. That unveiling takes place when God completes his good work in them as they enter heaven. Or, the revealing of Christ at his spectacular return may take place before they die, in which case they will then be gathered up to join him. Either way, their salvation is no longer a matter of faith, because they stand face to face with the Saviour, their salvation completed in him. Their 'living hope' will then be living reality - in heaven.

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While the Church recognizes that God created us in His image (as tripartite beings; body, soul, and spirit), we sometimes have to be reminded that Christ's work of redemption was to restore all three of those human elements, not just the renewed life to our spirit. The word salvation in the Greek is σωτηρία (sōtēria), and means deliverance, salvation, and preservation. There is no assumption that "salvation" always refers to man's spiritual rebirth. All three human elements must be "saved" (or delivered) in order to preserve the sanctity of God's original creation.

Therefore, when we see the word "salvation" in Scripture, we mustn't assume that the passage is always in reference to the rebirth of man's spirit (man going to Heaven). Man's soul too must be rebuilt (or saved), which Christians refer to as personal or progressive sanctification. Man must be made pure and holy by repentance (reversing an incorrect direction), confession of sin, and living in obedience. The third part of the human equation involves the body which will be spiritually overhauled at the second coming of Christ.

Man's spirit is reborn the very moment that he recognizes and acknowledges that Jesus Christ is the long awaited Messiah; the manifestation of God in human form, and that he believes that Christ has paid for all sin (John 1:11-13). The human soul will be evaluated and assessed as to its obedience and allegiance to Christ during this lifetime at the Judgment Seat of Christ (Romans 14:10 and 2 Corinthians 5:10).

The book of Hebrews shows the proper connection between Christ's finished work at Calvary and His God-appointed position as "heir of all things" (Hebrews 1:1-3). "The glory set before Him" (Hebrews 12:2) refers to the grand finale of God's act of redemption; the restoration of God's original creation on Earth, when Jesus Christ will be inaugurated as the King over all of creation.

Those believers who are recognized for overcoming sin and serving Christ in this lifetime (Revelation 2-3) will be rewarded with their inheritance as crowned co-heirs with Christ (Romans 8:17) and as the Bride of Christ. This grand finale of the human life on planet Earth will experience the "so great salvation as it is revealed in the end time," and as it plays out in Christ's earthly millennial kingdom.

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  • I upvoted this to encourage participation. I think some of the other answers are better, but this one is useful too, especially as a first effort. Commented Jul 14, 2023 at 14:27
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The use of the word 'salvation' in 1 Pt. is a little different from the way Christians normally think of the term. It is something that happens in the future, a salvation attained by enduring tribulation. Of course, as the OP says, Christians have already attained "great mercy... a new birth to a living hope through the resurrection of Jesus Christ from the dead." But this is not the salvation referred in the next sentence. Here, followers of Christ need to go a step further and share in Christ's suffering by enduring a persecution. This is explained in chapter 4:

Beloved, do not be surprised that a trial by fire is occurring among you, as if something strange were happening to you. 13 But rejoice to the extent that you share in the sufferings of Christ, so that when his glory is revealed you may also rejoice exultantly. (4:12-13)

This viewpoint is similar to the idea expressed in the third chapter of the Book of Revelation:

I am coming quickly. Hold fast to what you have, so that no one may take your crown. 12 The victor I will make into a pillar in the temple of my God, and he will never leave it again. On him I will inscribe the name of my God and the name of the city of my God, the new Jerusalem, which comes down out of heaven from my God, as well as my new name.

So the salvation that is to be revealed in the last days, in this letter, is not merely rebirth through faith in Christ's death and resurrection. This particular use of the term 'salvation' refers to what is attained when faithful (already "saved") Christians endure through tribulation and rejoice at Christ's coming.

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The salvation referred to in 1 Pe 1:3–5 can be better understood by considering the various salvations (or deliverances) brought about by Yahweh in the Hebrew Bible. In such circumstances, individuals or groups are delivered from a negative to a positive situation, often by means of relocation from an environment characterized by adverse conditions to a more favorable one.

For example, Noah and his family were delivered from the old world and the flood that came on their generation to the new world (Ge 7:1; 8:15–19; cf. He 11:7; 1 Pe 3:20; 2 Pe 2:5; 2 Pe 3:5–6); Lot and his daughters were delivered from Sodom and the wrath that was poured out on its inhabitants to Zoar (Ge 19:1–29; cf. 2 Pe 2:7), and Israel was delivered from their bondage in Egypt to the land of promise (Ex 3:8, 17; 12:29–42; cf. Ac 7:6–7; 13:17–19).

Similarly, the salvation at focus in 1 Pe 1:3–5 and throughout the New Testament was to consist primarily of believers being delivered from the present evil age (Ga 1:4) and the wrath of God that was coming upon the world (Ro 5:9; 1 Th 1:10; 5:9; cf. Mt 3:7 par.) to their eternal inheritance in heaven (Jn 14:2–3; Col 1:5; 1 Pe 1:4; cf. He 11:13–16).1

Peter’s reference to the “last time” (1 Pe 1:5) and the “revelation of Jesus Christ” (1 Pe 1:7) show that this salvation was to be accomplished at the Parousia (cf. He 9:28).2 At that time, the living disciples were to undergo a bodily change (1 Co 15:50–53; Php 3:20–21) and be gathered to Christ in heaven along with those disciples who died before the Parousia (Mt 24:31; 1 Th 4:13–17; 2 Th 2:1). This gathering of believers to the “heavenly land” (He 11:16) would not only achieve their salvation but also fulfill Yahweh’s promise to regather Israel from all the places where he had scattered them (Is 11:11–12; 27:12–13; 49:11–12; 54:7; 56:8; Ho 1:11).


Notes

1 Regarding the time of wrath that was expected to come upon the world, see Ac 17:30–31; 24:24–25; Ro 2:5–9; Re 3:10–11; 6:15–17; see also my response to “What is the wrath referred to in 1 Thessalonians 2:16?”

2 The Parousia refers to the “second coming” or arrival of Christ at the end of the age.

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    Could you explain your terminology - eschaton - please. The word can be used differently depending upon one's interpretation of the book of the Revelation of Jesus Christ. And - merely listing a string of texts is not helpful. One needs to set forth a substantial thesis and argument in order to gain the mind of the reader.
    – Nigel J
    Commented Jul 13, 2023 at 22:09
  • 1
    @NigelJ Thank you for your feedback. I changed "eschaton" to "end of the age" for clarity. I may also make some additional adjustments to my answer at a later time.
    – AMRhone
    Commented Jul 13, 2023 at 23:48
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The "salvation" revealed at the last time in 1 Peter 1:5 is defined in Heb 9:28 -

so also Christ, having been offered once in order to bear the sins of many, will appear for a second time, apart from sin, to those awaiting Him for salvation.

Many theologians make a simple classification of the "stages" of salvation

  1. Christ's death and resurrection provided atonement/justification for all who accept Christ
  2. The work of the Holy Spirit in the lives of converted sinners provides sanctification for those who accept it
  3. Christ's re-appearance at the "last time" will provide glorification "to those waiting for His appearing" as per 1 Peter 1:5 and Heb 9:28.

Thus, the final stage of Christ's salvation will be complete when He raptures the saints and takes them, to glory as per John 14:1-3, Heb 11:14-16, 1 Thess 4:16, 17, 1 Cor 15:39-55, etc.

This is confirmed by Peter's next statement in the few verses:

6 In this you greatly rejoice, though now for a little while you may have had to suffer grief in various trials 7 so that the proven character of your faith—more precious than gold, which perishes even though refined by fire—may result in praise, glory, and honor at the revelation of Jesus Christ.

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Disclaimer: I don't speak for any sect.

Peter was not writing to Baptists, but to Jews (in the broad sense), who were promised for centuries that the Messiah would come and regather the "Lost Sheep of the House of Israel." They had been scattered by the LORD for having built an unsanctioned Temple.

The Judeans looked down upon the scattered lost sheep of the Northern Kingdom, and "had no dealings with them":

[Jhn 4:9 LSB] [9] Therefore the Samaritan woman said to Him, "How do You, being a Jew, ask for a drink from me, being a Samaritan woman?" (For Jews have no dealings with Samaritans.)

But it is to them that Peter (ostensibly) is writing his letter.

[1Pe 1:1 NASB20] [1] Peter, an apostle of Jesus Christ, To those who reside as strangers, scattered throughout Pontus, Galatia, Cappadocia, Asia, and Bithynia, who are chosen

Jesus' entire earthly ministry was consecrated to recovering/finding the Lost Sheep of the Northern Kingdom, and bringing them back to Jerusalem:

[Mat 10:6 LSB] [6] but rather go to the lost sheep of the house of Israel.

[Mat 15:24 LSB] [24] But He answered and said, "I was not sent except to the lost sheep of the house of Israel."

To understand what "salvation" is in that context, it refers to being resurrected from covenantal death, and being rescued, like domesticated [unable to survive on their own] sheep with no shepherd. We see that clearly in the promise regarding the Passover:

[Jer 23:7-8 LSB] [7] "Therefore behold, [the] days are coming," declares Yahweh, "when they will no longer say, 'As Yahweh lives, who brought up the sons of Israel from the land of Egypt,' [8] but, 'As Yahweh lives, who brought up and brought back the seed of the household of Israel from [the] north land and from all the lands where I had banished them.' Then they will live on their own soil."

The failure of Jesus to fulfill this promise does, in the eyes of the Jews, indicate that Jesus was not the Messiah.

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  • Could you clarify: 1. You speak of an "unsanctioned Temple". Do you mean the Samaritan temple on Mt. Gerizim? 2. And do you mean that "Lost Sheep of the House of Israel" refers to northern Israelites, who became Samaritans? If so why do you say Peter wrote for Jews? Normally this term would refer to the Judeans, not those who had been scattered or who were adherents of Samaritanism. Commented Jul 14, 2023 at 14:25
  • Your answer would be more credible if you applied the Diaspora to all Jews not just those of the Northern Kingdom. It is true the first dispersal was of the Northern Kingdom, but all Israel eventually was affected. And it is clear even when given the opportunity most of the Southern Kingdom chose not to return. Thus it is highly unlikely Peter has an audience narrowly defined as you state. Commented Jul 14, 2023 at 15:25
  • @RevelationLad, where are these cities located? [1Pe 1:1 NASB20] [1] Peter, an apostle of Jesus Christ, To those who reside as strangers, scattered throughout Pontus, Galatia, Cappadocia, Asia, and Bithynia, who are chosen.
    – Ruminator
    Commented Jul 14, 2023 at 21:06
  • @DanFefferman, I would point you to the two different treatments, in Hosea 1 and 2. The LORD divorced the Northern Kingdom altogether, but Judah remained "Beloved" (IE: In covenant). Also, Ezekiel 37.
    – Ruminator
    Commented Jul 14, 2023 at 21:18
  • @DanFefferman, I see your point about my statement that Peter was "writing to Jews." I will modify that. Thanks.
    – Ruminator
    Commented Jul 14, 2023 at 21:40
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It is said there, in the very same sentence: “the imperishable inheritance” of the heavenly kingdom, and the eternal King in this Kingdom is the Lord Jesus Christ, and the Throne He sits on, or, to put it alternately, the Temple He dwells in along with His Father (cf. John 14:23) and the Holy Ghost (cf. 1 Corinthians 6:19) is our hearts that are cleansed from all the aliens (αλλοτρίων) /cf. Psalm 18:14 in Septuagint/, that is to say, intrusions of sins and attachments to transient earthly values.

Thus, “salvation” is when we through efforts and co-action with God’s grace, that is to say through forcing and pressing (Luke 16:16) defeat in ourselves sins and earthly attachments and win the Kingdom, that is to say, make our hearts fit for being “thrones of the house of David”(Psalm 122:5), that is to say, the thrones of the Holy Trinity.

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  • @Down-voter Hey my anonymous estimator, would you deign me worthy of your condescension and give a reason for your down-vote? Was it a style of my English, or, in your opinion, a fallacious theology, or any other reason? I will appreciate and be thankful if you lay down that reason(s). But if you have no rational reason and just out of anger or some ignoble emotion issued your verdict, then, what to say? - if so, then, I pity you, and wish you a good day. Commented Jul 14, 2023 at 10:49

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