by Roland W. Keith
Most of us at some point in our life will find that someone cared enough for us to leave us an inheritance. Large or small it is something they want us to have, and their will in the matter is absolute. Therefore, when they die, and their last will and testament goes into effect we receive what they have willed to us. Our Father in heaven, the Great Creator, made His Son heir of all things created. According to Paul, “Long ago, at many times and in many ways, God spoke to our fathers by the prophets, but in these last days He has spoken to us by His Son, whom He appointed the heir of all things, through whom also He created the world” (Hebrews 1:1-2). But it was a unique covenant, in which all men who turn to His Son for salvation would share, upon the Son’s sacrificial death. Again, according to Paul, “Therefore He is the mediator of a new covenant, so that those who are called may receive the promised eternal inheritance, since a death has occurred that redeems them from the transgressions committed under the first covenant. For where a will is involved, the death of the one who made it must be established. For a will takes effect only at death, since it is not in force as long as the one who made it is alive” (Hebrews 9:15-17).
So, by the Will of the Father, His Son, Jesus Christ, has become both joint Testator and mediator, and joint heir of the promises of God. And we, the created, find ourselves heirs of the greatest inheritance possible — eternal life in heaven. However, as with many wills the right to take possession of our inheritance is conditional, that is, we must meet the requirements laid out for all would be heirs. We must live in obedience to His commands (John 3:36; I John 5:2), and we must also be willing to suffer, as He suffered for us, as Paul informed the Romans: “The Spirit Himself bears witness with our spirit that we are children of God, and if children, then heirs—heirs of God and fellow heirs with Christ, provided we suffer with Him in order that we may also be glorified with Him” (Romans 8:16-17).
The conditions placed on us have nothing to do with works of the Law, but are acts of obedience to the One who has offered us a priceless gift, by His Own good grace, as Titus was informed: “But when the goodness and loving kindness of God our Savior appeared, He saved us, not because of works done by us in righteousness, but according to His own mercy, by the washing of regeneration and renewal of the Holy Spirit, whom He poured out on us richly through Jesus Christ our Savior, so that being justified by His grace we might become heirs according to the hope of eternal life” (Titus 3:4-7). The offer made is much like a lawyer who informs a person that according to the conditions of a will the person can come into possession of their inheritance, but they are required to meet with their long-estranged brother in the lawyer’s office by a certain date to sign the papers. The inheritance is free, but conditional. If the brothers abide by the conditions of the will they inherit, if not their inheritance is forfeited. God offers us an inheritance beyond measure, but we must come to His Son in obedience to claim it, if we reject His conditions we forfeit what He has offered us.
According to the letter to the Galatians, “if you are Christ's, then you are Abraham's offspring, heirs according to promise” (Galatians 3:29). God’s desire for mankind goes well above and beyond what we deserve. His gift, if accepted, makes us brothers and sisters of His Own Son, as Paul explained: “And because you are sons, God has sent the Spirit of his Son into our hearts, crying, "Abba! Father!" So you are no longer a slave, but a son, and if a son, then an heir through God” (Galatians 4:6-7). From a pauper to a prince, from a shanty shack to a heavenly abode, we are transformed and blessed when we call on the name of the Lord Jesus. Just as Noah we become heirs of righteousness when we abide in God’s word (Hebrews 11:7). Moreover, those who were “afar off” (Acts 2:39) become heirs with the children of promise. As Paul wrote, “This mystery is that the Gentiles are fellow heirs, members of the same body, and partakers of the promise in Christ Jesus through the gospel” (Ephesians 3:6). Jews and Gentiles, male and female, slave and free — all mankind can share in the inheritance.
God is no respecter of persons (Acts 10:34; Romans 2:11; James 7:5: I Peter 3:7). From all nations and all walks of life God accepts those who come seeking Him. Moreover, His conditions are not burdensome (I John 5:3), particularly when we compare them to the reward that awaits us if, when we find Him, we accept His offer. As Paul asked his fellow Jews: “For since the message declared by angels proved to be reliable, and every transgression or disobedience received a just retribution, how shall we escape if we neglect such a great salvation? It was declared at first by the Lord, and it was attested to us by those who heard” (Hebrews 2:2-3). Why would any of us risk eternal punishment and turn our backs on such a great opportunity (John 3:18)?
God guarantees punishment for those who reject Him, but He also makes a guarantee to those who earnestly seek Him. In Hebrews 11:6 we read, “And without faith it is impossible to please Him for whoever would draw near to God must believe that He exists and that He rewards those who seek Him.” Earlier in the letter Paul wrote, “So when God desired to show more convincingly to the heirs of the promise the unchangeable character of His purpose, He guaranteed it with an oath, so that by two unchangeable things, in which it is impossible for God to lie, we who have fled for refuge might have strong encouragement to hold fast to the hope set before us. We have this as a sure and steadfast anchor of the soul, a hope that enters into the inner place behind the curtain, where Jesus has gone as a forerunner on our behalf, having become a high priest forever after the order of Melchizedek” (Hebrews 6:17-20).
There is no surer guarantee that we may have confidence in receiving our inheritance than the word of God. So, what are you inheriting? Eternal punishment, or eternal life in heaven? If you are reading these words the opportunity to inherit God’s promises is still available. Choose wisely.
Hi! I'm Roland. I began writing after retiring from the Navy in 2015. I believe that we each should strive to learn from one another, by sharing our thoughts and ideas. As a writer my goal is to help other seekers of truth to find and grow in Christ.