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OUR SECURE INHERITANCE
by Philip Owen

            Though specifics are often lacking and the details designedly obscure, the Word of God makes frequent concrete promises regarding heaven and the blessings awaiting believers in eternity.  One such recurring promise regards the inheritance that God has secured in Christ for every believer.  Consider just one truth the New Testament teaches regarding our inheritance.

            1.  The inheritance has been secured by the death of the Testator.  The writer of Hebrews states a universally acknowledged truth:  “where a covenant is [such as a will], there must of necessity be the death of the one who made it.  For a covenant is valid only when men are dead, for it is never in force while the one who made it lives” (9:16, 17).  The first use of the noun inheritance in the New Testament (the verb is used earlier) occurs in the “Parable of the Landowner” (Mt. 21:33f).  The parable addresses Israel’s rejection of their Messiah in terms of a landowner sending his son to collect produce from his vineyard which had been rented to vine-growers.  “But when [they] saw the son, they said among themselves, ‘This is the heir; come, let us kill him and seize his inheritance.’  They took him, and threw him out of the vineyard and killed him” (vv. 38, 39).  The Jews, of course, did not succeed in stealing the inheritance; but by virtue of their treacherous murder of the Christ, they secured it for the New Testament church.

            2.  The inheritance has been secured by promise.  “For if the inheritance is based on law, it is no longer based on a promise; but God has granted it to Abraham by means of a promise” (Gal. 3:18).  The promise of an inheritance was not wrung out of God as though against His will, nor was it obtained by some legal ploy.  Paul has in mind specifically the law of Moses (v. 17), which could secure nothing for us because it demanded that man do what he was constitutionally incapable of doing because of his depraved nature (Rom. 8:3).  But the believer’s eternal inheritance rests on the promise of God to Abraham—a promise that cannot be abrogated.

            3.  The inheritance has been secured by the indwelling Holy Spirit.  As Paul assured the Ephesians, “having also believed, you were sealed in Him with the Holy Spirit of promise, who is given as a pledge of our inheritance” (1:13b, 14a).  Just as in a real estate transaction, a buyer pays “earnest money” to the seller as a pledge that he will honor the terms of the contract and pay the full purchase price for the property, so God imparts His Spirit to believers as a pledge that all He has promised to believers in saving them will be paid in full at the proper time.  And as certainly as the earnest money is forever retained by the seller, so the Holy Spirit never leaves or forsakes the believer as the absolute Seal of the promise of God to glorify His own.

            4.  The inheritance has been secured by its inherent nature.  The believer’s inheritance is eternal, declares the writer of Hebrews (9:15).  The Apostle Peter elaborates on that truth, calling it “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” (I Pet. 1:4, 5).  Just as water is wet, and must be wet and nothing else according to its essential nature, so the believer’s inheritance is secure because  God has framed it as eternal, not liable to death or capable of corrupting, without stain or pollution, and forever glorious.

            We must await eternity to know, understand, and experience the full ramifications of that inheritance—but receive it fully we will, if we have been redeemed from our sin by Jesus Christ.

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