We know the difference between perishable and non-perishable, right? Bananas are perishable. So is sweet tea (as evidenced by the moldy specimen on our kitchen counter after returning from vacation Wednesday night!). Canned goods, however, are called non-perishable – because they will last a good, l o n g time in your cupboard.
And yet even things that we call non-perishable are not completely so. Because canned beans, peas, and chicken noodle soup will all eventually turn to waste. And so, also, will much longer lasting things like gold (1 Peter 1:7, 18)! For this earth and its goods will eventually be destroyed.
But there are some things, the apostle Peter reminds us, that are truly beyond perishability! Have you ever noticed this theme in his first epistle, chapter 1 – imperishability?
In verse 4, Peter speaks of the believers’ inheritance, and calls it “an inheritance which is imperishable and undefiled and will not fade away.” The present world will eventually be no more. But we will receive an inheritance “in heaven” (and will continue enjoying it in the new earth) which will never perish. We will be in God's presence forever!
And not only is the believer's inheritance imperishable, but so also is his faith! In verse 7, Peter compares the Christian’s faith with “gold which is perishable” – and the comparison seems to indicate that our faith, unlike gold, is not perishable. It will be “tested by fire” – and will remain. If you truly trust in Christ today, then you will always do so! Praise God!
In vv.18-19, Peter makes a similar comparison between precious metals and “the blood of Christ.” “You were not redeemed with perishable things like silver or gold … but with precious blood.” And again, the comparison seems to indicate that while silver and gold are perishable, the blood of Jesus is not. And so what Peter is getting at, with that comparison, is that the payment that redeemed God’s people was not taken from the realm of temporary things, but from a much more significant source – from the very veins of Christ, who “always lives” (Hebrews 7:25).
And then, too, Peter speaks of the Scriptures as “imperishable” (v.23). “You have been born again not of seed which is perishable but imperishable, that is, through the living and enduring word of God.” The word of God will never go to rot; it will never cease to be true, living, powerful, and relevant. We are still feeding, in 2018, on the same word of truth that sustained the ancient Israelites millennia ago! And God’s people will continue to feed on it until the end of the world, and on into an endless eternity! The word of God is imperishable! And because the seed is imperishable, is it any wonder that the faith (v.7) which springs from that seed is imperishable as well?
Imperishable! Remember this theme from 1 Peter 1 the next time you find mold on your bread, or rottenness in a piece of fruit. Think of it when you see rusted metal, or a rotting tree, or something reduced to ash in a fire. So many things all around us are turning to waste – or someday will. But, praise God, there are some things that really are imperishable!