1 Peter 1:5
Who are kept by the power of God through faith to salvation ready to be revealed in the last time.
The power of God works on both sides of the veil - preserving the inheritance for the heirs, and here keeping the heirs for the inheritance. Both forms of the Divine energy are needful if either is to be effectual. It were little joy to know how secure the riches of the future lay in God's treasure-chambers unless we know that he will also help our weakness and bring us to possess them. So every source of fear is dried up by this double assurance of the one mighty hand preserving us for our heritage and it for us. There is another double truth here in the brief words, "by the power of God through faith." On the one hand, the Divine grace which sustains; and on the other hand, the human faith which takes the grace - the one being the condition and the other the real cause. These two have been wrenched apart and been regarded as contradictory, and Christendom has been divided into two camps, with these two for their war cries; and here they lie harmoniously in one sentence, and complete each other.
I. WHAT THE HEIRS ARE KEPT BY. The military metaphor in the word "kept" is not to be passed by. We have the same word in its literal use in 2 Corinthians 11:32 ("kept with a garrison"), and employed figuratively as here in Philippians 4:7 ("the peace of God shall keep your hearts and minds'). Our weak natures are garrisoned as it were by reinforcements of Divine strength. Not by providences acting on our outward lives only, or by any forces upholding us as with external help, but by pouring power to resist and to overcome into our souls does God keep us in our conflicts with evil. His grace within us is yet more blessed than his hand around us. "I can do all things," said Paul, "through Christ strengthening me within." An indwelling Lord is our security. The hard-pressed fort is relieved by fresh troops joining the feeble defenders. We have the right to expect an actual communication of Divine strength breathed into our weakness. As the prophet laid his hands on the king's hands ere he drew the bow, in token of strength infused, so the touch of Christ's tender and strong hand will teach our "hands to war," so that a "bow of steel will be bent by our arms." We are "kept by [literally, 'in'] the power of God." It may not be fanciful to keep the local meaning of the preposition here, and to think of that power as lying around us like some fortress, whose massive walls keep the feeblest in safety. If we keep within our castle, no harm shall befall. The enemy may prowl round the base of the fortress reared high on the cliff, but they cannot climb to it, and their fire cannot shake a stone in its walls. If we dwell in God, we dwell in safety, and whatever storms of war rage without, deep peace abides within.
II. WHAT WE ARE KEPT THROUGH. Faith is the condition, the necessary condition, on which God's power works in and on us. The garrison which God sends to hold our hearts cannot enter unless we open the gate and let down the drawbridge to receive them. Our faith has no power in itself, but as our receptivity for Divine influences it is omnipotent. It is only a channel - the pipe which conveys the water, the hand which grasps God's hand, the open door through which angels can enter and encamp in our poor hearts. They cannot come to our help without it. They will certainly enter if we exercise this faith. Its elements are conscious need, lowly sense of our own weakness, and self distrust, absolute dependence on God in Christ, and a calm confidence and expectation of victory, which, when based on God, is reasonable and self-fulfilling. The measure of our faith will be the measure of our possession of the Divine power. If we open the gate but partially, we hinder the marching in of the celestial warriors whom God sends to our help. "Open thy mouth wide, and I will fill it."
III. WHAT WE ARE KEPT FOR. The "salvation ready to be revealed" is equivalent to the "inheritance" spoken of in ver. 4. "Salvation" here is of course used in its fullest meaning - complete and eternal deliverance from all the ills that flesh is heir to, and all the sins that mar the spirit, and complete and eternal possession of all the perfection and blessedness possible to glorified humanity. That complete flooding out of evil by the inrushing tide of glory is the goal alike of regeneration (Ver. 3) and of the sedulous guardianship of God's grace. It is but the completion of the begun salvation of earth, as the full corn in the ear which gladdens the golden harvest-time is of the tiny shoot peeping above the furrows in bleak, windy March. It is "ready to be revealed," says Peter. Possibly the meaning may be that this "salvation" is conceived of as lying hidden beneath much sin and imperfection in the hearts of Christians, as the full-spread beech-life lies wrapped up in the brown cone that braves the winter. The ultimate completed form of any germ may be said to lie ready to be revealed in its earliest form, and so may the remotest glories of the perfect salvation of the future be said to lie hid in the present, waiting for "the revelation of the sons of God." But perhaps, with more probability, we may regard this expression as in a general way parallel to the reservation of the inheritance, and. as being a strong metaphor intended to convey the certainty of our possession of it, if we on our parts are faithful. Nor must we forget that Christ has gone "to prepare a place" for us; his entrance into the heavens making heaven ready for us in mysterious manner, and his abiding there making our entrance there possible. That other order of things is close around us, enfolding this visible, touching it at every point. The separation is thin and filmy, nothing solid, only a veil. A touch of God's hand on the curtain, and it runs back rattling on its rings, and all the glory blazes out. All is ready - ready from all eternity in the Divine counsels, made ready once for all in time by Christ's death and ascension, being made ready in our hearts day by day by his gracious discipline and indwelling life. At last the veil wilt be done away and the salvation revealed. What an apocalypse that will be! If we open our hearts wide for the entrance of Christ's healing and upholding power, we shall be made ready to go in with him to the feast prepared for believing hearts from of old. Trusting to his death and sharing his life, the heirs will be kept for the inheritance, and the inheritance for the heirs. - A.M.
Parallel VersesKJV: Who are kept by the power of God through faith unto salvation ready to be revealed in the last time.