Our Eternal Inheritance
Do you have any idea what it means when Christians are said to possess an eternal inheritance? Continue reading . . .
Do you have any idea what it means when Christians are said to possess an eternal inheritance? Look with me at how this is expressed in Hebrews 9:15-17.
15 Therefore he is the mediator of a new covenant, so that those who are called may receive the promised eternal inheritance, since a death has occurred that redeems them from the transgressions committed under the first covenant. 16 For where a will is involved, the death of the one who made it must be established. 17 For a will takes effect only at death, since it is not in force as long as the one who made it is alive.
Let me explain what I think he is saying to us.
Securely locked away in a safe-deposit box at one of the banks here in Oklahoma City is the last will and testament of Sam and Ann Storms. It was carefully written up by a competent lawyer and bears all the marks of a fully legal and binding document. It describes in typical lawyer’s language what is to be done with our meager possessions once we are dead. As you would expect, our two daughters are the legal heirs to whatever may remain in our estate when we are gone. But this document draws no special attention as long as Ann and I are alive. It is of no benefit to our children so long as breath remains in our lungs. Until such time as we die, it is only ink on paper.
But when our time to depart this life has arrived, that document instantly comes into play. It speaks definitively to the disposition of all our earthly possessions. The right of ownership to our estate passes to our heirs. There is no such thing as an “inheritance” in any meaningful sense of that term until we die. Then, and only then, may our children lay rightful claim to what then will be legally theirs.
All of us are familiar with this scenario. What I’ve just described is or at least ought to be true in your case as well. In other words, if you don’t have a will, get one! But the important thing for you to understand today is that if you are a child of God by faith in Jesus Christ, you are an heir of all God owns! You stand to inherit the universe!
There are a couple of important things to remember about this will. First, there isn’t anything our daughters can do to dictate who gets what. That is a decision entirely up to the one makes the will. Jesus Christ has written up his will and he alone determines who gets what. Second, the will doesn’t count for much until the person who made it dies. As I said, our daughters don’t inherit anything until Ann and I die. Likewise, the heirs of Jesus Christ don’t inherit anything until Jesus dies.
We know of course that God can’t die. That is why he became a human being in the person of Jesus of Nazareth. God’s desire was to bequeath all he owns to his spiritual children (that’s you if your faith is in Jesus). And the only way this could happen was if he died, as he did in the death of his Son through the human nature that he took to himself in the incarnation. The death that had to occur for the heirs to come into their possession has occurred. No other death is needed. That is why we read biblical texts like these:
“The Spirit himself bears witness with our spirit that we are children of God, and if children, then heirs – heirs of God and fellow heirs with Christ, provided we suffer with him in order that we may also be glorified with him” (Romans 8:16-17).
“So let no one boast in men. For all things are yours, whether Paul or Apollos or Cephas or the world or life or death or the present or the future – all are yours, and you are Christ’s, and Christ is God’s” (1 Cor. 3:21-23).
“In him we have obtained an inheritance, having been predestined according to the purpose of him who works all things according to the counsel of his will, so that we who were the first to hope in Christ might be to the praise of his glory. In him you also, when you heard the word of truth, the gospel of your salvation, and believed in him, were sealed with the promised Holy Spirit, who is the guarantee of our inheritance until we acquire possession of it, to the praise of his glory” (Eph. 1:11-14).
Some of you may also be wondering: Who is the “executor” of God’s last will and testament? After all, the person who dies never executes his own will. Well, in this case he does! Jesus rose from the dead and was exalted to the Father’s right hand in heaven. He is there to “execute” the will to make absolutely certain that the children of God receive everything that was bequeathed to them.