Pastor Dennis Smith
The apostle Paul wrote, “Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ…That in the dispensation of the fulness of times he might gather together in one all things in Christ, both which are in heaven, and which are on earth; even in him: In whom also we have obtained an inheritance, being predestinated according to the purpose of him who worketh all things after the counsel of his own will.” (Ephesians 1:1, 10–11)
And then Peter wrote, “Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, which … hath begotten us again unto a lively hope by the resurrection of Jesus Christ from the dead, to an inheritance incorruptible, and undefiled, and that fadeth not away, reserved in heaven for you.” (1 Peter 1:3–4)
Both apostles speak of an inheritance that is ours in Christ. Paul says we have obtained it; Peter says it is reserved in heaven for us. Both men are right of course, writing under the inspiration of the Holy Spirit. This is just one example of a phenomenon we find in Scripture that is sometimes referred to as “already but not yet.” What this phrase means is that God’s pronouncements concerning the things of the last days, all the prophecies and promises to his saints, are certain and have been inaugurated in the coming of Christ even if they have not yet been fully realized.
But getting back to the matter at hand, let’s consider this inheritance of which Peter and Paul wrote.
First, the Bible indicates that Jesus, as the Son of God, is the Father’s heir: the book of Hebrews says that “God … hath in these last days spoken unto us by his Son, whom he hath appointed heir of all things … Being made so much better than the angels, as he hath by inheritance obtained a more excellent name than they.” Although we can’t delve into it here, I would suggest to you that Christ’s inheritance involves a kingdom. We know that the Father has committed all judgment to the Son (John 5:22, 27), and I invite you to see Daniel 7:13–14.
But second, and this is the point that I want to make here: the Bible tells us that as children of God we are joint-heirs with Christ (Romans 8:17). There is hardly a more encouraging thought for the Christian than the sure prospect of sharing in Christ’s inheritance one day. Have you ever thought about what our share in that inheritance is? I would like to suggest that it includes at least three things: eternal life (Matthew 19:29), the resurrection (1 Corinthians 15:49–50), and a place in the everlasting kingdom of heaven (Matthew 25:34).
The promise that we will share in the inheritance that the Father has bestowed upon the Son can be for us a source of patience when trials come, strength when we find ourselves weak, and hope when circumstances look dark. Let us be encouraged by this truth, but also ready to encourage someone else with it.