By Jon W. Quinn
In some families, inheritance is very important. It represents the passing along of an immense fortune to the children from the parents. Sometimes, for the greedy and materialistic, this leads to ugly fights, bitterness and court battles (Luke 12:13-15). What a sad legacy to leave ones children: lots of money and a warped sense of value and character!
The apostle Peter teaches us about the inheritance that Christians have awaiting us. (1 Peter 1:3-5). He uses the most splendid language with which to give it reality for us. Peter sums ups the benefits of this rich inheritance with the phrase, "In this you greatly rejoice." (vs. 6) Let's look at some reasons as to why this is a thing to rejoice about!
The Unique Nature of our Inheritance
Unlike so many earthly riches, the inheritance of the Christian will not become corrupt or decay. All the fine homes of people in the time of Peter's epistle have decayed and fallen down. Elaborate Roman villas are now ruins, if they exist at all. Likewise the temples of the gods. The best we can do is restore them.
Not even one stands today in its glory and beauty. The things of this world are temporary (Hebrews 1:10-12).
This ought to show us that a home in heaven is far more important and of greater value than a beautiful home here in this world. Every earthly inheritance will rot, totter and fall, but our heavenly house can never decay (Hebrews 11:9-10; 13-16).
Our spiritual estate is pure and free from contamination. The future home of a Christian is not defiled by moral and spiritual evils which we often see in this world. This purity is vividly described in Scripture as honor, glory and light (Revelation 21:22-26)
No matter how contaminated this earth becomes, environmentally or morally, when the Christian closes his eyes in death, he departs for a country without any form of impurity. (Revelation 21:27; 22:14-15). Right now, God is preparing us for that place by equipping us to rid ourselves of impurity. Hopefully, we see the wisdom in cooperating with Him through our initial washing & sanctification (1 Corinthians 6:9-11) ; through putting away the practice of sin (1 John 3:3,4) and through walking in the light and confessing our sins if and when we stumble (1 John 1:7; 2:1).
Our heavenly inheritance will not fade away. The word “fade” comes from a word which means "an unfading flower." So much of the beauty of things which we see around us in this world fade. They perish because they are temporal (James 1:9-12; 4:13-16).
However, the Scriptures speak of the Christian's inheritance as being different. It will not fade away because of time. It is as eternal as the word which promises it (1 Peter 1:24-25). When the last trumpet sounds, time will be no more, and so all temporal things will end. But eternal things will last, their beauty will never fade. (2 Corinthians 4:16-18; Revelation 22:1,2).
Our inheritance is reserved in heaven for us. This reminds us of Jesus' promise to go to prepare a place for us so we can be with Him and share His glory (John 14:2). Jesus went to heaven and sat down at the Father's right hand and that is where I want to go too “when this world can no longer afford me a home.”.
Our Inheritance is Protected
What assures us that we will not lose our inheritance? ". . .The just shall live by faith." (Romans 1:17; Hebrews 10:38). The Bible says “You stand by faith." (Romans 11:20); "For we walk by faith." (2 Corinthians 5:7); "Who are protected (kept-KJV) by the power of God through faith." (2 Peter 1:5).
What does this faith entail? It includes the faith that there is a God, whose word (both it's promises and warnings) is true. It is confidence that here is a spiritual world, or realm, and that we have a spiritual side, in God's image; that will survive the body in death. It holds to the belief that we will spend eternity in one or the other state ; either in hell for the wicked, or heaven for the righteous. To keep your inheritance, do not allow your faith to be shaken or taken away from you. This faith is active, committed and trusting. It guards the way to your heavenly home. If we lose it, we will lose heaven! Trust in God, and He will protect you by His power through your faith.
Our Inheritance is to be Revealed in the Last Time
We should recognize the intangible nature of heaven. It cannot be seen with eyes of flesh. It cannot be felt with a touch of fleshly hands. But it is just as real as other intangibles, such as love, joy, peace and beauty. (1 Corinthians 15:50-53; 1 Corinthians 2:8). Those who rely on their senses to determine the nature of reality can never believe in heaven (or any of the other intangibles, really). Remember, some things are intangible now only because our experience is limited to the flesh and it's five senses. Who can imagine with what kind of senses our spiritual bodies will experience the joys of heaven? The day will come when that will no longer remain a mystery. Paul said "to die is gain" and that was "far better" than life in this world (Philippians 1:21,23). Now is the time to prepare ourselves to receive our prepared place. Someone once said, “Heaven is a prepared place for a prepared people.” That accurately describes what the Scripture teaches. Jesus has made it possible (2 Corinthians 8:9).
This is our inheritance. It is the wonderful "living hope" to which Peter says we were begotten when we began out new life in Christ. If God can raise Jesus from the dead, then he can provide us with the richest possible inheritance.
From the Bradley Banner 8/10/2003
Published by the Bradley Church of Christ
1505 E. Broadway
Bradley, IL 60915