In my marriage preparation, which consists of buying new white shoes and studying marriage passages in the Word, I came across this gem about husbands and wives:
"… they are heirs with you of the grace of life …" (1 Peter 3:7).
Until now, reading in haste, I had always seen the word "heirs" here as a reference to the afterlife-that men should honor their wives because, after all, their wives will go to heaven just as they will. And, of course, this must be part of the meaning of the verse, for surely we have an inheritance after the shedding of this mortal coil.
But I have been purposefully leaning hard these past few years against the knee-jerk assumption that all or most of our benefits in Christ are coming only after we die. I don't see warrant for it in Scripture, but rather, repeated assertions that the blessings of Christ are very much available to us now.
For example, another verse I had heretofore relegated to post-death was the following:
"… blessed us in Christ with every spiritual blessing in the heavenly places …" (Ephesians 1:3).
Is this a reference to inheritance in the afterlife? I thought so until I noticed:
"God … raised us up with him and seated us with him in the heavenly places in Christ Jesus …" (Ephesians 2:4-6).
Note the repeated phrase "in the heavenly places." In the second reference, it is undisputable-and a well known teaching of orthodoxy-that we have been "seated" with Christ already. Past tense.
We are already heirs. We are already to "reign in life" (Romans 5:17), and to "walk in newness of life" (Romans 6:4). We are already able to "resist [the devil]" (1 Peter 5:9). We are already able, if we so choose, to "live for the rest of the time in the flesh no longer for human passions but for the will of God" (1 Peter 4:2). We are already meant to enjoy "the Spirit of wisdom and revelation" (Ephesians 1:17), and "the eyes of our hearts enlightened" (Ephesians 1:18), and the kind of faith with which we "can extinguish all the flaming darts of the evil one" (Ephesians 6:16). All the darts.
So then, "the grace of life" that Peter tells the husband he shares with his wife must be grace to live in this life! It is the "grace of life." It is power for living now, before the Day comes when there will be no more fiery darts of Satan that such grace will be needed to extinguish.