Inheritance, Part 2
Genesis Lesson #044
March 3, 2004
11) Heirship of God (what every believer has in common) is based on the grace promise of the Abrahamic covenant. Galatians 3:29, "And if ye be Christ's, then are ye Abraham's seed, and heirs according to the promise." We are children of Abraham by faith. We are not of the physical seed but we have followed him in faith so we are his spiritual seed. Therefore we are heirs according to promise, i.e. by virtue of our position in Christ. This is the same thing that is stated in Romans 4:13, 14, "For the promise, that he should be the heir of the world, was not to Abraham, or to his seed, through the law, but through the righteousness of faith. For if they which are of the law be heirs, faith is made void, and the promise made of none effect." If inheritance comes through physical generation then faith is made void, it doesn't count. In other words, it doesn't matter what you believe just as long as you are a Jew, and that makes the promise of no effect.
12) Heirship demands eternal life because the son must have the same life as the father. We must have eternal life because the inheritance is eternal. This is seen in Titus 3:5-7, "Not by works of righteousness which we have done, but according to his mercy he saved us, by the washing of regeneration, and renewing of the Holy Spirit; which he shed on us abundantly through Jesus Christ our Saviour; that being justified by his grace, we should be made heirs according to the hope of eternal life."
13) Heirship means to share the destiny of Christ. He has an eternal destiny and we share it in His election. That is part of what it means to be predestined to be conformed to the image of His Son, Romans 8:29; Ephesians 1:11, "In whom also we have obtained an inheritance." That is the aorist passive indicative of KLERONOMEO [klhronomew] our verb for inheritance; 1 Peter 1:3, "Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, which according to his abundant mercy hath begotten us again unto a lively hope by the resurrection of Jesus Christ from the dead, to an inheritance incorruptible, and undefiled, and that fadeth not away, reserved in heaven for you." The words "living hope" and "inheritance" both relate to our personal sense of eternal destiny.
14) Inheritance, then, is both a present reality and a future possession, 1 Peter 1:4,5; Ephesians 1:11-14, "In whom also we have obtained an inheritance, being predestinated according to the purpose of him who worketh all things after the counsel of his own will: that we should be to the praise of his glory, who first trusted in Christ. In whom ye also trusted, after that ye heard the word of truth, the gospel of your salvation: in whom also after that ye believed, ye were sealed with that holy Spirit of promise, which is the earnest of our inheritance until the redemption of the purchased possession, unto the praise of his glory." So the sealing ministry of the Holy Spirit secures us in the family of God, in Christ, but it emphasizes the present possession of a future reality. That future reality is defined as an inheritance.
15) Heirship means eternal security, an inheritance that is undefiled, Ephesians 1:13, 14; 1 Peter 1:4, 5, "To an inheritance incorruptible, and undefiled, and that fadeth not away, reserved in heaven for you, who are kept by the power of God through faith unto salvation ready to be revealed in the last time." The "through faith" there is a reference to faith at salvation.
16) The sealing of God the Holy Spirit, then, is the down payment on our inheritance. That is related to all of the ministries of the Holy Spirit to the believer at salvation, Ephesians 1:14; Galatians 4:6.
17) The common inheritance of all believers includes a resurrection body, eternal life, no more sorrow, no more tears, no more pain, the old things have passed away, eternity in heaven, no more sin nature.
Distinctions in the inheritance
1) What is the problem? The problem is that there are some passages which speak of inheritance as a permanent possession based on faith alone in Christ alone, but there are other passages which clearly speak of inheritance as an acquisition or a reward. If inheritance means eternity in heaven then in these passages it is clear that some people can never be saved and other would lose their salvation. We see this in two passages. Ephesians 5:5, "For this ye know, that no whoremonger, nor unclean person, nor covetous man, who is an idolater, hath any inheritance in the kingdom of Christ and of God." If inheritance there is talking about what we all possess and is equivalent to the idea of eternal life and salvation, then it is making the statement that an immoral person or someone who is covetous doesn't have an inheritance. Colossians 3:24, "Knowing that of the Lord ye shall receive the reward of the inheritance," That verse states clearly that it is a reward, not a gift.
2) The only way to deal with this is to recognize that there are two categories of inheritance. The first category is inheritance of salvation, Ephesians 1:14, and those are all the blessings related to being a member of the royal family of God, adoption in the family of God. That is the inheritance that comes from sonship. Category two of inheritance is the inheritance of the kingdom, Ephesians 5:5; 1 Corinthians 6:9, 10; Galatians 4:18-20. Romans 8:17, "If children heirs also of God," the first category; "fellow heirs with Christ, if indeed we suffer with him, in order that we also may be glorified with him," the second category. Galatians 4:7, "Wherefore thou art no more a servant, but a [mature] son; and if a son, then an heir of God through Christ."
3) Just as Christ inherits the kingdom, Psalm 2:8,9, due to His loyalty and faithful obedience to God the Father (along with Hebrews 1:8), so will the joint heirs with Christ. That is the pattern. Jesus inherits as a result of His faithful obedience to God; so will the joint heirs with Christ because of their faithful obedience to God.
4) Thus the kingdom has been promised to those who love God, and not all believers love God. A lot of believers emote, they have sentimental feelings, but that is not how the Bible expresses love. Love to God is expressed in the Bible as obedience to God—John 14:21-24, " … Jesus answered and said unto him, If a man love me, he will keep my words: and my Father will love him, and we will come unto him, and make our abode with him. He that loveth me not keepeth not my sayings …" So the kingdom is promised top those who love God. Loving God is related to learning His Word, making that a priority, following it consistently, following the pattern of the Lord Jesus Christ in His spiritual growth. The negative illustration is Esau. Esau is the physical son, the firstborn in terms of chronology, the firstborn of the twins born to Isaac. Esau sells his birthright—Hebrews 12:16, "Lest there be any fornicator, or profane person, as Esau, who for one morsel of meat sold his birthright. For ye know how that afterward, when he would have inherited the blessing, he was rejected: for he found no place of repentance, though he sought it carefully with tears." Esau is a picture of the failure believer, the believer who has all of this potential in Christ and gives it up for the pleasures of the world, gives it up to feed the lust of his sin nature. This is a commentary on that fact that he did not have any sense of his spiritual destiny. He sold his own birthright for a single meal.
A believer can follow the pattern of Esau and be a failure in the Christian life. This comes by negative volition, and negative volition is not defined as hostility to the truth; negative volition is defined as apathy to the truth. Apathy to the truth is demonstrated by not making it a priority, by letting other things in life invade the believer's time to take in doctrine. No matter what it is, no matter how important it may be when you look around at how much time you spent in the last week studying the Word and letting the Word dominate your thinking, and you realize you were just overwhelmed by all the pressures of work, family life and everything else, then you are following the path of Esau. Negative volition doesn't mean you are hostile, it means that you are putting your emphasis on something other than the Word, and other than the message. Many, many people have gone to sound, doctrinal churches for years and years and have deluded themselves into thinking they are positive. Then a major crisis comes along in their life and all of a sudden they put the emphasis on the man rather than the message, they put their emphasis on their emotions, they put their emphasis on how they feel, on their family or their friends, and what that demonstrates is that for years there has been a spiritual erosion in their life because they became complacent and apathetic.