A devotional for the Saints at Medicalodge, Neosho, MO, given 8/26/01
"Blessed is the nation whose God is the LORD; and the people whom he hath chosen for his own inheritance" (Psalms 33:12, KJV).
There are 169 scriptures which deal with the word "inheritance." Most of them have to do with Israel's inheritance of Canaan. That's an interesting thing in itself, since Stephen said that Abraham actually owned no property in the promised land, "not even a foot's length," but God "promised to give it to him in possession and to his posterity after him, though he had no child" (Acts. 7:5). We usually think of an inheritance as property or money which is passed to the heirs upon the owner's death, but in this case, Abraham never possessed the land. Yet, the Bible often refers to Canaan as "the inheritance" of his descendants, who were heirs to the promise God made him (Gen. 13:15,17; 17:8; 28:4,13; 35:12; Ex. 6:4,8; 13:11; Jos. 21:43). That tells us that God is the one who really owned the land, and since He entered into a covenant relationship with Abraham, He is the one who bequeathed the inheritance to the heirs (Deut. 4:21; Josh. 11:23; 14:9; I Chron 16:18; 28:8). The scriptures also affirm that the people of Israel themselves were to be God's inheritance (Ex. 19:5; Deut. 32:9; Ps. 33:12; 78:71; 94:14; Jer. 10:16). Likewise, we share the inheritance of the saints in light (Acts 20:32; Col. 1:12). Here's a portion of Paul's prayer in Ephesians, Chapter one, which describes our relationship with the Father, "I pray also that the eyes of your heart may be enlightened in order that you may know the hope to which he has called you, the riches of his (God's) glorious inheritance in the saints" (Eph. 1:18, NIV).
That's what we're going to explore today, the riches of the glory of His inheritance in the saints. As I thought about this and prayed about it, it came into focus for me that we are God's inheritance because we are IN Christ, and Christ IS HEIR to all God is and has. The Hebrew writer tells us that "... in these last days he (God) has spoken to us by a Son, whom he appointed the heir of all things, through whom also he created the world." This Son in whom we live and who lives in us (Gal 2:20), "reflects the glory of God and bears the very stamp of his nature, upholding the universe by his word of power. When he had made purification for sins, he sat down at the right hand of the Majesty on high" (Heb. 1:2-3, RSV). When the Sprit opens our eyes to see the truth and majesty of this statement, we will be forever changed from the "mud creatures" who inherited the sin condition left us by Adam and Eve's transgression, into the light of the world today. The Holy Spirit is in the process of transforming our minds so that we see who we are in Him and who He is in us (Rom. 12:2; I Cor. 2:16).
Paul continues his awesome prayer in Ephesians, Chapter one, by asking that we see "...his incomparably great power for us who believe. That power is like the working of his mighty strength, which he exerted in Christ when he raised him from the dead and seated him at his right hand in the heavenly realms, far above all rule and authority, power and dominion, and every title that can be given, not only in the present age but also in the one to come. And God placed all things under his feet and appointed him to be head over everything for the church, which is his body, the fullness of him who fills everything in every way" (Eph. 1:19-23, NIV). Christ is the head and we are members of His marvelous body (Rom. 12:4-5; I Cor. 12:12,27; Eph. 5:30). God who created the heavens and the earth, who flung the stars and planets into the inky blackness of space, who said, "Let there be light, and there was light" (Gen. 1:3), has shined in our hearts and caused all the dark places to flee. He has called us, chosen us, redeemed us, sanctified us, called us holy, blameless and irreproachable, and made us His heirs (Acts 26:18; Rom. 8:17; Eph. 1:4; Col. 1:22; I Pet. 2:9; 3:7; Rev. 17:14). Oh what love the Father has bestowed on us that we should be called the Sons of God! (I John 3:1).
We learned two weeks ago, that God preached the gospel to Abraham (Gal. 3:8), and that gospel was the mystery hidden for ages until Christ came (Rom. 16:25-56; I Cor. 2:7; Eph. 3:5-9; Col. 1:26-27; II Tim. 1:9-10). It was the declaration and promise God made to Abraham, that in his seed, should all nations be blessed (Gen. 22:18; Acts 3:25; Gal. 3:8, 16, 29). This is how we Gentiles have become heirs to the promises of God (Eph. 3:6), and how we can partake of the covenants of promise made to the commonwealth of Israel. Paul declared, "And if you are Christ's, then you are Abraham's offspring, heirs according to promise" (Gal. 3:29, RSV). On the day of Pentecost, the Apostle Peter, empowered by the Holy Ghost said, "For the promise is to you and to your children and to all that are far off, every one whom the Lord our God calls to him"" (Acts 2:39, RSV). Ultimately, God calls everyone, for Jesus said, "and I, when I am lifted up from the earth, will draw ALL men to myself"" (John 12:32, RSV). He was lifted up on the cross, and He has drawn, is drawing, and will draw, all men unto Himself. This is the gospel, that "...ALL flesh shall see the salvation of God"" (Luke 3:6, RSV).
Once our eyes are opened to see that since WE ARE IN CHRIST, what He inherits, is ours also, it changes the way we look at the world and the bible as well. Look at what God has promised Christ: "Ask of me, and I will make the nations your heritage, and the ends of the earth your possession" (Psa. 2:8, RSV). There are many scriptures which talk about the nations coming to God (Ps. 67:2; 72:11; Is. 66:18; Jer. 3:17; Matt. 28:19; Rev. 15:4). This can never happen by man's actions alone. Various denominations have sent missionaries to the far corners of the earth, but since they cannot agree here at home about what the bible says, therefore it is unlikely that their converts will ever agree either. More precious than agreement on doctrine is the unity of the Spirit through love (Eph. 4:3; I Pet. 4:8). God has authorized sending missionaries to exalt the name of Jesus and tell of His salvation offered freely to all men. What He is about in this hour is calling out a people for His name (Acts 15:14). These called out ones become the elect, the remnant through whom God is working (II Kings 19:31; Isa. 10:20-22; 11:11; 37:31-32; Jer. 23:3; Mic. 7:18). He has always worked through a remnant, preferring to show His might through a few, lest anyone should say, 'My own hand has delivered me' (Judges 7:2). In the case of Gideon, God sent home twenty two thousand of the fearful troops who had agreed to fight the Midianites, leaving ten thousand. Of those, He reduced the number to three hundred fighting men, by whom the might and power of Almighty God caused the Midianites to run screaming into the night, literally, so that His power might be displayed in weakness. Likewise, Paul says, "So too at the present time there is a remnant, chosen by grace" (Rom. 11:5, RSV). And he makes it clear that "...if it is by grace, it is no longer on the basis of works; otherwise grace would no longer be grace" (Rom. 11:6, RSV). As He ever has done, God is working through a remnant for the salvation of the whole world, and also as He has ever done, He will get the total glory for it, for it will be a "God job" from start to finish.
Most people think they have to die to get their inheritance in Christ, having projected out into the future, many of the glorious promises that are ours today. In fact, Christ is the one who had to die, that we might inherit salvation (Heb. 9:15-16). A part of our kingdom inheritance is immortality, and we know from Paul's epistle to the Corinthians that not everyone will have to die to get it. He said, "Lo! I tell you a mystery. We shall not all sleep, but we shall all be changed, in a moment, in the twinkling of an eye, at the last trumpet. For the trumpet will sound, and the dead will be raised imperishable, and we shall be changed. For this perishable nature must put on the imperishable, and this mortal nature must put on immortality. When the perishable puts on the imperishable, and the mortal puts on immortality, then shall come to pass the saying that is written: "Death is swallowed up in victory." "O death, where is thy victory? O death, where is thy sting?" (I Cor. 15:51-55, RSV). We will all be changed from mortality to immortality, from the perishable to the imperishable, but we will not all die. Could you handle that? Would you rejoice if God decided to clothe your mortal body with immortality right here and now and you didn't have to die to get it? I love this passage. It gives me a great deal of comfort when someone I love dies, and yet, my spirit has caught the heartbeat of this Apostle, who said, "We will not all sleep." All of this is a matter of God's timing, of course. The prophets and faithful Jews of old looked for the appearing of the Messiah, but most of them went to their graves still waiting for His appearing. In the fulness of time, Christ was born of a woman, and His star burst across the black night of sin and corruption as He changed the destiny of all Adam's race. Likewise, in the fulness of God's time, we will not have to die to inherit immortality.
Since we ARE God's inheritance, His heritage (Ps. 33:12; Rev. 21:7), do you think He will lose any of it? Is He so careless that He may not be able to hold on to all He has created? Do you think Satan is so powerful that he can rob God of His inheritance by keeping billions of souls locked in sin so they will burn in hell forever? Who is in charge here in this universe we live in? Listen to this verse in Psalms, "Whatever the LORD pleases he does, in heaven and on earth, in the seas and all deeps" (Psalms 135:6, RSV). Whatever the Lord pleases, He does, and we know what pleases Him, we know what His will is, for the Apostle Peter said, "The Lord is....not willing that any should perish, but that ALL should come to repentance" (II Pet. 3:9, KJV). If the Lord does whatever He pleases "in heaven and on earth, in the seas and all deeps," isn't it possible that He really can manage to bring all to repentance? After all, "NOTHING is impossible with God" (Lk. 1:37). Luke's gospel gives us a couple of parables proving that God is not willing to lose anything. In Chapter 15, Jesus tells this parable to the self righteous Pharisees, who were criticizing Him for hanging out with "tax collectors and sinners" (Lk. 15:1). He asks, "Suppose one of you has a hundred sheep and loses one of them. Does he not leave the ninety-nine in the open country and go after the lost sheep until he finds it? And when he finds it, he joyfully puts it on his shoulders and goes home. Then he calls his friends and neighbors together and says, 'Rejoice with me; I have found my lost sheep.' I tell you that in the same way there will be more rejoicing in heaven over one sinner who repents than over ninety-nine righteous persons who do not need to repent" (Luke 15:4-7, NIV). Jesus said of Himself that He is the good shepherd who lays down His life for His sheep (John 10:11). He also said that His sheep hear His voice (John 10:14). Those who hear His voice know what kind of Shepherd He is, that He will always go out to find the sheep which is lost and restore it to the fold with the others. Jesus came "to seek and to save" all the lost sheep which belong to God (Lk. 19:10).
Israel was chosen as God's remnant out of all the world's population at the time, and yet, the record states, "To the LORD your God belong the heavens, even the highest heavens, the earth and everything in it" (Deut. 10:14, NIV). All men belong to God for He is the father of all (Mal. 2:10). Paul asserts that there is "one God and Father of us all, who is above all and through all and IN ALL" (Eph. 4:6, RSV). He told the philosophers he encountered on Mars Hill, that "From one man he (God) made every nation of men, that they should inhabit the whole earth; and he determined the times set for them and the exact places where they should live. God did this so that men would seek him and perhaps reach out for him and find him, though he is not far from each one of us" (Acts 17:26,27, NIV). He was not talking here to believers, Christian or Jewish, but to heathen. When Israel rejected Christ, God called the Gentiles, which is the fulfillment of John the Baptist's prophecy that "....ALL flesh shall see the salvation of God"" (Luke 3:6, RSV).
We are God's inheritance and He will not lose any of us. Jesus said of the woman who lost one of her coins, "...suppose a woman has ten silver coins and loses one. Does she not light a lamp, sweep the house and search carefully until she finds it? And when she finds it, she calls her friends and neighbors together and says, 'Rejoice with me; I have found my lost coin.' In the same way, I tell you, there is rejoicing in the presence of the angels of God over one sinner who repents" (Luke 15:8-10, NIV). In order to accomplish His purpose, God has "blessed us in Christ with every spiritual blessing in the heavenly places, even as He chose us in Him before the foundation of the world" (Eph. 1:3-4). He goes on to share God's plan for the ages with us, "For he has made known to us in all wisdom and insight the mystery of his will, according to his purpose which he set forth in Christ as a plan for the fulness of time, to unite ALL things in him, things in heaven and things on earth. In him, according to the purpose of him who accomplishes ALL things according to the counsel of his will, we who first hoped in Christ have been destined and appointed to live for the praise of his glory" (Eph. 1:9-12, RSV).
God has big plans for His inheritance and we who are chosen to serve Him now will be part of that plan. In His time, He will manifest His sons, for which the creation has been groaning (Rom. 8:19), and then with Christ as our head, we will "speak peace to the heathen (the nations)" (Zec. 9:10), for along with Christ, the nations are our inheritance and the ends of the earth, our possession. There will be no resistance, because He will "break them with a rod of iron, and dash them in pieces like a potter's vessel" (Ps. 2:8-9). They will be subdued by God's unconditional love, and Isaiah's prophecy will be fulfilled, "By myself I have sworn, from my mouth has gone forth in righteousness a word that shall not return: 'To me every knee shall bow, every tongue shall swear'" (Isa. 45:23, RSV). Lord, haste the day.
Jan and Lenny Antonsson
17178 Highway 59, Neosho, MO 64850 (Snail Mail)
"The Inheritance," by Jan
"Inheriting the Kingdom," by Jan
The Glory Road
We always enjoy hearing from you!
This page was uploaded to the web
by Jan Antonsson, Webmeister, on 8/27/01
and last edited on 11/04/08