A Better Inheritance
Before I became a preacher of the Gospel, I worked for a couple Wall Street investment firms. During my years as a financial consultant, I observed a couple of cases where a perfectly happy family was ruined through the death of a matriarch. Following the settlement of the estate and doling out of the financial and material inheritance, factions, bitterness, and estrangement ensued. These cases were instrumental in my departure from financial services. The Bible teaches how the love of money is the root of all kinds of evil (1 Tim 6:10). I saw it, and I believe it.
People think they can handle windfall gains, like material inheritance. The prodigal son was one who thought he would give it a go (Lk 15:11–32). He lost everything, like so many do. Wealth certainly makes itself wings like an eagle that flies toward the heavens (Prv 23:5). There is wisdom to be heeded, “An inheritance gained hurriedly at the beginning will not be blessed in the end (Prv 20:21).”
Why do people hoard up resources to their own hurt (Eccl 5:13), or to hurt others? Two sinful passions are the drivers for asset accumulation: fear and greed. These are the primary reasons for a person to accumulate wealth before they die and take nothing with them (1 Tim 6:7). Here is the source of worldly inheritance. The psalmist says it this way, “The stupid and the senseless alike perish and leave their wealth to others (Ps 49:10).”
Fear is the refusal to trust God for future provision. Why pray, “Give us this day our daily bread?” You have stored up many possessions for yourself (Lk 12:19–21). Instead, you have prayed, “Give me wealth.” It is the rich fool who forgets God when God has answered his prayer (Lk 12:20). Were you not taught how to pray (Prv 30:8)? You will be held accountable for your stewardship of your Master’s resources (Mt 25:14–30). Is Lazarus at your door? Does he live in your house? Do you pass him on the way to work? Do you sit next to him at church?
Greed is the idolatrous desire for more and more. It is idolatry (Col 3:5). It is an abomination to possess too much of the world, especially when the poor and needy are all around us (Mt 19:15). Storing up treasures on the earth, where moth and rust do corrupt, is a bad investment (Mt 6:19). Your life is but a vapor (Jam 4:14), and in all probability, you will leave your wealth to others (Is 10:3). Worse, you must give an account to God for your service to mammon (Mt 6:24). A good man leaves an inheritance to his children’s children (Prv 13:22), but what is the content of the inheritance? Is there a better inheritance (Gk. kleronomias)? Is it not better for us to position our progeny as heirs (Gk. kleronomoi) of heaven, instead of hell?
The Bible points us toward heaven and our eternal inheritance (Heb 9:15). Yahweh has made His children, heirs of God, and joint heirs with Christ (Rom 8:17). What is this inheritance? How does it differ from the legacy left by men of the world (Ps 17:14)?
When one forsakes his interests and investments in the world, even his family for the sake of the kingdom of God, his inheritance is eternal life (Mt 19:29). On the day of the Lord, when Jesus Christ returns, as judge, to separate His sheep from the goats, His invitation to His resurrected people will be, “Come, you who are blessed of my Father, inherit the kingdom prepared for you from the foundation of the world (Mt 25:34).” Election leads to eternal life in God’s eternal kingdom in the new heavens and the new earth (Rev 21:1). This is the inheritance we wish to explore.
The unrighteous will not inherit the kingdom of God (1 Cor 6:9; Gal 5:21; Eph 5:5; Rev 22:15). Instead, the unrighteous are the objects of God’s wrath (Rom 1:18). They are storing up wrath for themselves (Rom 2:5), living as flesh and blood enemies of God (Rom 5:9). Flesh and blood cannot inherit the kingdom of God (1 Cor 15:50). The sons of disobedience inherit damnation in hell and the lake of fire (Rev 20:10, 14, 15), their eternal home (Eccl 12:5).
A reasonable question was posed to Jesus by the rich young ruler (Lk 18:18–27), “Teacher, what must I do to inherit the kingdom of God?” First, it is wise for one to recognize his plight as a citizen of this fallen world, a member of the rebellious tribe of Adam. This rich ruler knew something was wrong. Some try to remedy this problem (separation from holy God) by living under the Law (Rom 2), but God’s promise of eternal inheritance was never designed to be the result of obedience to the Law (Gal 3:18). Legalistic moralists (fundamentalists) share the same eternal destination as licentious antinomians (liberals). The Law, whether there is blatant disregard or earnest endeavor to adhere, is not the solution to man’s sin problem. This was what the rich young ruler could not grasp as he turned his back on Jesus.
An inheritance is not earned. You cannot “do” anything to be an heir. An inheritance is simply credited to your account. It is a gift granted by one who has died. He rewards those in his favor with the benefits of his estate. Jesus said to his disciples, “Do not be afraid, little flock, your Father has chosen gladly to give you the kingdom (Lk 12:32).”
God the Father has qualified us to share in the inheritance of the saints of Light (Col 1:12). The children of God are children of Light because God is Light and the Father of lights. Children do not earn wages from their Father, as do hired hands. Sons, who are heirs, receive their benefits by will and testament. It is all grace. God has issued His will, and with our Bibles in our hands, we have His testament regarding our inheritance.
Salvation is inherited (Heb 1:14). Imagine an imposter coming into the court room while the will of the deceased is read and declaring that she has decided to be an heir of the testator. The children of God have their names already written in heaven (Rev 13:8; 17:8). The party crasher in Matthew 22 is illustrative of one who has chosen to be a beneficiary by his own free will (Mt 22:11–14). Needless to say, he is removed from the wedding banquet. One must be called by God to receive the promise of the eternal inheritance (Heb 9:15). The called out one overcomes the world by faith (1 Jn 5:4), “He who overcomes will inherit these things, and I will be his God and he will be My son (Rev 21:7).”
Jesus Christ is the source of eternal salvation (Heb 5:9). Paul suffered for the sake of the elect, for the purpose of their obtaining salvation, the inheritance, which ends in eternal glory (2 Tim 2:10). Regarding this obtainment, the apostle Peter wrote, “to obtain an inheritance which is imperishable and undefiled and will not fade away, reserved in heaven for you, who are protected by the power of God through faith for a salvation ready to be revealed in the last time (1 Pet 1:4–5). Because salvation is eternal, we recognize the work of God before time, during history, and into future eternity. Salvation belongs to the Lord (Jon 2:9), from beginning to end.
Our inheritance is reserved for us in heaven. It is imperishable, unlike everything in this world. It is undefiled, unlike everything in this world. It will not fade away, unlike everything in this world. Because it is reserved for us, the obtaining of our inheritance is guaranteed. Theologians refer to this as preservation or perseverance of the saints. Christians affectionately call it, “blessed assurance.” This is our treasure in heaven, where moth and rust do not corrupt. No thief gains access to heaven (Lk 12:33), and how could God lose what He controls in His sovereign power?
Grace is the means by which the child of God receives her inheritance (Tit 3:7). We are heirs of the grace of life (1 Pet 3:7). Our inheritance comes, first, as a pledge. The Spirit of promise is the token of our inheritance (Eph 1:13–14). The psalmist wrote, “The Lord is the portion of my inheritance and my cup (Ps 16:5).” In other words, God has given His Spirit as a gift to His elect ones (Lk 11:13; Acts 2:38), for whom Christ died to purchase their redemption (Jn 10:11; Eph 5:25). If one obtains the pledge (Eph 1:11), he has the promise of a full inheritance. The covenant guarantees it, and the testament declares it. The covenant cannot be broken because the covenant partners are faithful. Israel failed to keep the covenant with Yahweh, but Jesus Christ, the true Israel (Is 49:3), is faithful and true (Rev 19:11).
Everything revealed about our hope and future, full inheritance is captured by the writer of Hebrews with the word, “better.” Our inheritance is called, “a better country,” and, “a better possession and a lasting one.” We are heirs of better promises (Heb 6:17), which we embrace by faith (Gal 3:29). This is true for the remnant of Jews (Rom 11:5) and the remnant of Gentiles (Eph 3:6).
Jesus Christ has been appointed heir of all things (Heb 1:2), and the poor of this world have become heirs of the kingdom (Jas 2:5), of which He is King eternal, immortal, and invisible (1 Tim 1:17). Soon, however, we will see Him, the only God, face to face (1 Jn 3:2). We will be like Him when we see God in the face of Christ. Here is a better inheritance.
So, we have considered this inheritance which belongs to the children of God, the heirs of God. It is eternal. It is a kingdom. It is our salvation. It is secured by the death of Christ, and safely reserved in heaven for us. It is given to God’s elect ones in token form, as a gift of God, which is the indwelling Holy Spirit. It manifests in its fullness at the second advent of Christ. The bodily resurrection to life eternal will usher in the new heavens and the new earth, which is the eternal home for the sons and daughters, heirs of God in Christ.
In conclusion, Christian, you must reorder your life to set your affections on your eternal inheritance. Let goods and kindred go. To do so will free you from the fleeting, carnal inheritance of this world. That inheritance is filled with envy and strife, but we have a better inheritance. Give thanks to God for it and get ready to receive it in full. Eternal Glory!
David E. Norczyk
Spokane Valley, Washington
April 4, 2021