I am your share and your inheritance….Praise be to the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ! In His great mercy He has given us new birth into a living hope through the resurrection of Jesus Christ from the dead, and into an inheritance that can never perish, spoil or fade. This inheritance is kept in heaven for you…. (Num 18:20; Deut 18:2; 1 Pet 1:3,4)
This continues our series commenting on Scriptures selected by Elisabeth Elliot. My comments sometimes recall her radio teaching, writing, and example over the years. If you missed them, you can read What God Is to Me: Elisabeth Elliot (Part 1)(Part 2)(Part 3), Christ is My Hope, My Trust, My Confidence; Christ is My Strong Tower.
Members of God’s Family
Some older people fear running out of money before they die. People of all ages worry about not having enough resources to live on, going broke or bankrupt. We all want security; that’s natural. The Bible gives lots of sound financial counsel and teaches us to ask the Lord to provide for all our needs. And He does! In the Old Testament, the Lord promised Levi’s tribe that He (God) would be their inheritance and care for them especially, even though they owned no land to farm like the other tribes of Israel.
In the New Testament, Jesus urges us to store up treasure in heaven, safe from moth and rust and burglars.1 He commands us to avoid unhealthy hoarding of possessions and instead to stockpile what’s valuable in heaven (practicing justice, mercy, and faithfulness).2 All Christ’s followers are adopted into God’s family3 and made a royal priesthood.4 And now we have a rich and glorious inheritance because of our attachment to Jesus.5 Our spiritual wealth is eternal salvation in Christ and we are related to Him by faith alone, not by the earthly family we come from. That’s good news and it motivates us to be fair to our neighbor, to be compassionate and loyal in our love, and to walk humbly with our God.6
Jim and Elisabeth Elliot and four other missionary couples and children forgot about earthly riches to bring Christ’s good news to an isolated tribe known for their violence, who otherwise might never hear of God’s grace, mercy, and peace in Jesus. The missionaries sacrificed, practiced radical obedience to the Lord, and were willing to risk death to serve Christ. The five husbands were all speared to death while attempting to evangelize the Huaorani people of Ecuador. And when they were killed, they went home to be with Jesus in Paradise.7 For the missionaries and for all Jesus’ followers, life is only for serving Christ and dying is gain.8 Do we really believe that?
In the case of a will (a legal document), the inheritance kicks in only when the person who made the will dies. Christ is the mediator of a new covenant who died on the cross the death we deserve to set us free from our sins and He rose from the grave to guarantee our future resurrection and blessing.9 So we sing:
Living, He loved me. Dying, He saved me. Buried, He carried my sins far away. Rising, He justified freely forever. One day He’s coming, O glorious day!
Our Future Hope
In Mere Christianity, C. S. Lewis wrote: A continual looking forward to the eternal world is not a form of escapism or wishful thinking, but one of the best things a Christian can do. We are not to leave the present world as it is. If you read history, you will find that the Christians who did most for the present world were those who thought most of the next world. Martin Luther taught us to live as if Christ died yesterday, as if He rose this morning, and as if He is coming back tomorrow. We are to live with laser-like focus because at Jesus’ return, believers will be raised in glory, publicly welcomed and declared not guilty, and made completely happy in the full enjoyment of God forever. Praise the Lord!
Living Like Heirs
Our inheritance in Christ, must not make us careless or foolish about how we spend our days. Here are some New Testament life lessons for people who have a secure and wonderful future in Christ.
- Whatever we do for a living, we are to work at it with all our heart, as working for the Lord, not for human bosses, since we know that we will receive an inheritance from the Lord as His gracious reward. It is the ultimately the Lord Christ we are serving. That changes everything about our attitude to work and our actions on the job.10
- By God’s grace, we must turn from immorality, impurity, greed, and all sins which would keep us from our inheritance in Christ’s kingdom.11 We cannot repent too soon, because we never know how soon it may be too late.12 Lord, teach us to number our days, that we may gain a heart of wisdom.13
- The Holy Spirit is God’s deposit in every true believer, guaranteeing our inheritance until Jesus returns for us. He who began a good work in us will carry it on to completion until that day. So we must not grieve the Holy Spirit of God, with whom we were sealed for the day of redemption.14
If the Lord has blessed us with material wealth, let us praise Him and use every dollar to advance Christ’s kingdom. If we are poor the world’s eyes, bless God that He has chosen us to be rich in faith and to inherit the kingdom He promised those who love Him.15 With our inheritance in Jesus, we’ll live on forever with Him and never run short of anything we need.
Only one life, it will soon be past.
Only what’s done for Christ will last. (C.T. Studd)
Notes (various translations used): 1 Matt 6:20. 2 Matt 23:23. 3 Gal 3:36-29; 4:1-7. 4 1 Peter 2:9. 5 Eph 1:18. 6 Micah 6:8. 7 Luke 23:43. 8 Phil 1:21. 9 Heb 9:16-17. 10 Col 3:22-25. 11 Eph 5:1-7. 12 Thomas Fuller (1608-1661). 13 Ps 90:12. 14 Phil 1:6; Eph 1:14; 4:30. 15 James 2:5.