Imagine dirtying a cloth and throwing it in the fire- not to burn it, but to watch the embers clean it and turn it pure white. The ancients used a miracle mineral this way. They also used it as a cremation cloth, to wrap the bodies of their loved ones and keep their ashes contained in a fire.
What is this miracle mineral?
As I was studying 1 Peter 1:3-5 (emphasis added), especially verse 4, the commentary I was reading (Peter’s Principles: From 1 and 2 Peter by Harold L Fickett, Jr.) got me really curious about this mineral. What was it?
Asbestos was black to me.
Honestly, I knew very little about this unique mineral. I only have pictures in my mind of off-white sheets of it falling off our oak of a barn, built strong the old fashioned way with whole-tree beams stretching it’s length and covered in asbestos sheets the way we cover our houses in siding now. My opinion of it, due to all the lung and cancer issues it is known for, was really quite low. In fact, my feelings toward it were as black as the asbestos wall guard behind our wood stove growing up.
Asbestos: untarnished, unlike it’s reputation.
Yet, the idea of a cloth that, when thrown into fire doesn’t burn up but rather turns radiant white, is nothing short of amazing in its own right.
This mineral, which the commentary would not dare to name, maybe due to the tarnished reputation of asbestos, was mentioned in 1 Peter 1:4 (emphasis added):
1 Peter 1:4
3 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, 4 to an inheritance that is imperishable, undefiled, and unfading, kept in heaven for you, 5 who by God’s power are being guarded through faith for a salvation ready to be revealed in the last time.
The inheritance God promises to His followers is:
- Imperishable (aphtharton): Literally this means it is free from corruption of any type.
- Undefiled (amianton): This word describes asbestos, and it’s ability to be touched by fire but not destroyed.
- Unfading (amaranton): Like the idea of the fountain of youth, this describes the ability to keep it’s loveliness and beauty for all eternity.
Guarded, as if by a military.
This amazing inheritance we have in Christ is kept in heaven for us. As Fickett writes in the commentary, the word for kept “is a military term meaning ‘to be garrisoned about for the purpose of guarding and protecting.’ It is in the perfect tense which signifies that once the action has begun, it will continue.”
What is our inheritance?
Check out the verses below, which reveal aspects of our inheritance- eternal life with God- the opportunity to know God and to embrace Him as our portion.
” 3 And this is eternal life, that they know you, the only true God, and Jesus Christ whom you have sent.”
“The Lord is my chosen portion and my cup;
you hold my lot.
6 The lines have fallen for me in pleasant places;
indeed, I have a beautiful inheritance.”
3 And I heard a loud voice from the throne saying, “Behold, the dwelling place[a] of God is with man. He will dwell with them, and they will be his people,[b] and God himself will be with them as their God.[c] 4 He will wipe away every tear from their eyes, and death shall be no more, neither shall there be mourning, nor crying, nor pain anymore, for the former things have passed away.” 5 And he who was seated on the throne said, “Behold, I am making all things new.”
All things new.
Imagine that. With all the sorrow and pain we face, we watch countries swing from one political side to another in hopes of change- in hopes of something new, something better.
All the while, God gently calls us to store up treasures in heaven- plan and strive and work our hands to the bone for our eternal inheritance, for it will be new, better, perfect, and eternal.
19 “Do not lay up for yourselves treasures on earth, where moth and rust[e] destroy and where thieves break in and steal, 20 but lay up for yourselves treasures in heaven, where neither moth nor rust destroys and where thieves do not break in and steal. 21 For where your treasure is, there your heart will be also.
I don’t know about you, but the cares of this world so easily creep in and distract. What do you personally do to help remind yourself to focus on your eternal, asbestos inheritance? Please share in the comments!