Ephesians 1:3-11. 3 Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, who has blessed us in Christ with every spiritual blessing in the heavenly places… 11 In him we have obtained an inheritance…
Today’s blessing: inheritance.
There’s a story in the Gospels (minus John) of Jesus being approached by a rich, young, ruler. He walks up to Jesus and asks him “Good teacher, what must I do to inherit eternal life?”
But on that day Jesus gives him a terrifying answer. “Keep the ten commandments” is his reply as he starts listing them off one by one. “I have done all these things,” the young man piously responds.
So Jesus ups the ante. “OK, go sell all of your possessions and give the money to the poor and then follow me.” Did I mention he was rich? The Bible says that the Rich Young Ruler “went away sorrowful for he had great possessions.”
The answer Christ gave that day is very different from the answer that we get in Ephesians 1:11 about our inheritance – in him we have obtained an inheritance.
The Rich Young Ruler’s question was flawed from the beginning. “What do I need to DO to INHERIT eternal life.” But does anyone really DO anything to be an heir? Heir is not a title you earn. You are either born an heir or you are adopted as an heir. By God’s grace this is our position in Christ – adopted.
Our inheritance is all of grace, and none of doing. In fact, we are prodigals that receive our inheritance in spite of our doing (or not doing if you will). Even after we’ve blown our inheritance and return home to beg to be slaves, we are given our older brother’s inheritance on top of our own. We are twice heirs. Wearing his robe. His ring. His sandals. Eating his fat calf. Dancing at his party. But Jesus is the better older brother that not only comes into the party, he’s the dee-jay!
This is a whole new level of love and grace. This is glorious grace. Not just forgiveness. Not just redemption. Those blessings could have been given with God walking away from us after pardoning and freeing us. But what president has ever adopted and written into his will the prisoner he has pardoned? What governor has ever stayed an execution and then invited the felon to his house for dinner, oh, and then invited him to live there forever? I don’t think I’ve ever read such a beautiful yet preposterous story except in the story of Christ. Writing a rebellious child out of a will? Yes. But writing a wretched, rebellious enemy child INTO your will? It’s unheard of.
At this point it almost seems inappropriate to ask what our inheritance is. It’s so ridiculous that the criminals (us) should be heirs that how dare we even ask. We don’t want to be like this scene:
And it’s even more overwhelming, almost embarrassing, when we realize the answer.
What do we inherit?
You mean Heaven right?
Well yes, but much more. It’s back in verse 10.
Ephesians 1:10. as a plan for the fullness of time, to unite all things in him, things in heaven and things on earth.
Our inheritance is in him. All things will be united in him. We are in him. The math adds up. In him we inherit all things. This is why the suffering that we are experiencing now is nothing compared to the glory we will experience one day. Because all things means all things are made new. All things work out. All things become good. All things are restored. All things are returned. All things are redeemed. And all things are reconciled. No wrong done to you won’t be made right. No thing taken from you won’t be returned. No thing you’ve sacrificed won’t be restored a hundred fold. Relationships, houses, lands, all things (Luke 18:29).
But all things means nothing without HIM. It’s all in Christ.
I’m reminded in Exodus when God offers Moses the promised land without himself being there. It was after the Israelites sinned with the Golden Calf. God told Moses he would send his angel ahead and still keep his promise to give the nation the land of Canaan but he, God himself, would not go with them (Exodus 33:2-3). Moses’ response is breathtaking. He cries for God’s glory and refuses to go to the promised land without God. He’d rather have God than the inheritance. And then in chapter 34 he utters these words:
Exodus 34:9. And he said, “If now I have found favor in your sight, O Lord, please let the Lord go in the midst of us, for it is a stiff-necked people, and pardon our iniquity and our sin, and take us for your inheritance.”
Far more glorious than HAVING God’s inheritance is BEING God’s inheritance. His possession. His reward. His prize. This is the greatest of spiritual blessings – that in Christ we are a blessing to God. If God would take back the Israelites based on Moses’ favor, imagine what God will do for us based on Christ’s favor.
“To live is Christ” means that what is awaiting us is a glorious inheritance of all things. All that is Christ’s he will share with us. But even more glorious than the WHAT is the WHO. God our savior will finally receive his inheritance – you. Me. Us. The reward that he has spent all of eternity waiting for. The people he has given everything for. The criminals he set free and then adopted and made his own children for all of eternity. What grace.