Most believers and non-believers alike understand that putting ones faith in Jesus somehow connects you to the ‘family of God.’ Maybe they have even seen a “I am the daughter of King” Facebook meme, but do they really understand what that means… do you understand what that means? More specifically do you understand what that means in reference to your inheritance?
People that come to faith in God through Christ, Christians, are not “birthright heirs.” Meaning we don’t enter God’s family by being born into one of the 12 tribes of Israel. We are adopted into the family through Christ (Ephesians 1:5, Romans 8:15, Galatians 4:4-5). Much like Jacob we are chosen to be heirs. Now before you think this gives you something to boast in, please remember that Jacob did not get this privilege because he deserved it and certainly the prodigal son did not deserve to be given his inheritance prematurely. However; this is exactly what God does- he adopts the undeserving as sons and daughters and then chooses to give them an inheritance they are not entitled to, to make them co-heirs with his son Jesus. It is a statement of HIS goodness and generosity not our worthiness.
This last little bit about being chosen to be an heir is very important as an heir is more than just a family member. The heir carries on the family legacy and stands like a chosen representative for the whole family.
How does God expect his adopted children to carry on His legacy?
The Spirit himself testifies with our spirit that we are God’s children. 17 Now if we are children, then we are heirs—heirs of God and co-heirs with Christ, if indeed we share in his sufferings in order that we may also share in his glory.
Suffering is a bi-product of the mission of God. Co-heirs carry on the mission of Christ and yes this includes sharing in the suffering.(Just to be clear suffering is not the backlash you receive from posting hateful memes on social media) There is not a question of if suffering happens. There is not a possibility that only some heirs will bear the burden attached to position of heir. All heirs share equally in the blessing and the burden. If you are believer and have not in some way experienced the sufferings of Christ you should look at your engagement with the mission of Christ. Likwise we should throw out the riddiculous notion that Christians will somehow be spared suffering – it is unbiblical.
The good news is that we do not suffer in vain (Galatians 3) Heirs are guaranteed the blessing that comes with inheritance.
What is the blessing that awaits us in our inheritance? What was the blessing that the Israelites waited to claim- their promised inheritance? For them and for us also it is the Promised Land. They wandered 40 years in the desert waiting to enter the Promised Land and then ended up losing it by neglecting the plan and mission of God. We have to wait it out the rest of our life, but when we enter the our eternal Promised Land we can never lose it. The promise land we await is what is commonly called heaven but can also be called the coming Kingdom of God.
And there it is the connection between inheritance and the Kingdom of God.
The kingdom is our inheritance.
The Kingdom is God’s eternal rule and reign over the physical and spiritual realm (heaven and earth). The Kingdom includes spiritual and physical beings (people, angels, heavenly creatures), spiritual laws (there is only one way to God), God’s economy (the first will be last, the last will be first, it is better to give then receive), the provision to meet our needs and all wisdom , healing, understanding and power. It is the perfect reconcilliation of all created things to God and the complete reversal of the curse.
The kingdom is a future coming place (a new heavens and a new earth) but it is not limited to one time or place. In fact as heirs we get to experience glimpses and pieces of it in this life. We get to see and be a part of reconcillition, healing, and forgiveness. As good as those tastes of glory are it is nothing like the feast to come!
Like the Israelites the promise has already been given to us but we have yet to enter the fullness of that promise.
Re-read these verses with this idea of an already (but not fully yet) inherited kingdom in mind.
Matthew 6:33 But seek first the kingdom of God and his righteousness, and all these things will be added to you.
Matthew 21:43 Therefore I tell you, the kingdom of God will be taken away from you and given to a people producing its fruits.
Mark 1:15 and saying, “The time is fulfilled, and the kingdom of God is at hand; repent and believe in the gospel”
Just like being a part of God’s family changes things up for those that are adopted so does inheriting the kingdom. Citizenship in the kingdom changes your identity and comes with a set of rights and responsibilities.
First of all there is no ‘dual citizenship.’ we live here on earth (the kingdom of this world) but we are foreigners, refugees and imigrants. (maybe that is why God tells us to love on those guys so much ….hmmm) We are to set up camp and live fully on earth but it is not our home. Depending on how much you love this earth that is either good news or bad news. It should be good because we are no longer insecure, orphaned or have to wander without a home or place to rest. It is good because as citizens we have been declared holy enough to enter the presense God. Moreso, this declaration is based on the work of Christ not our ability to comply with all the laws rightly established in the kingdom. It is not a statement on our passports that can be revoked when we screw up, it is inherent in our identities as citizens… It is why we can even become citizens.
All of this – full citizenship, full adoption all the blessings and promises and position, the rights, the responsibilities, the invition into service -our inheritance given to us freely even though we are not rightly entitled to it and certainly without us deserving it; becomes even bigger in light of eternity.
Still to come…Inheritance part 3- How this changes our now.