The process of passing down an inheritance was very important in biblical times. Today, there is a specific legal process to facilitate the leaving of an inheritance. So where is God in all of this? He's in the inheritance business too. And that's very good news. In fact, it's The Good News.
“Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, who according to His abundant mercy has given us new birth into a living hope through the resurrection of Jesus Christ from the dead, to an inheritance that can never perish, spoil or fade, kept in heaven for you”
1 Peter 1:3-4 (NIV)
The process of passing down an inheritance was very important in biblical times. Fathers owned the family’s assets and passed them down as an inheritance to his surviving family as specifically directed by God’s Law when he died. Land was most precious as it was the means for making a living, for grazing animals or raising crops. Similarly, and even more importantly, God, our heavenly father, has an inheritance to pass on to us. Let’s look at our passage from 1 Peter where we will encounter all of the very basic conditions for an inheritance to be passed. Along the way let’s be sure to understand who’s responsible for each part, and what God’s inheritance looks like. The first condition, of course, is a death. In order for an inheritance to be left, someone has to die…
The resurrection of Jesus Christ from the dead
God came down to the earth in the human form of Jesus for a singular, glorious purpose—to live a sinless life and pay the death penalty for the sins of humankind. When Jesus died on the cross for our sins, His death initiated the eternal process by which His inheritance could be passed to us. But that’s as far as God goes. We have to do the rest. Which brings us to the next fundamental condition—surviving family.
New Birth into a Living Hope
In order for an inheritance to be passed down, there must be living family members to pass it to. This sounds ridiculously obvious, but there’s more than meets the average worldly eye going on here. You see, being born of a human mother, qualifies us for neither being alive nor being a member of God’s family. We are not born into God’s family, we are re-born into it. When, and only when, we accept God’s grace through faith in Jesus Christ as our Savior and Lord, do we become eternally alive. Before we accept the gift of God’s grace, we are dead, living in the state of sin that separates us from God that keeps us from eternal life. Until we address the matter of our sinful nature, we are not eligible to receive the inheritance God has for us, because we have not fulfilled the very basic qualification—being alive.
Upon fulfilling the requirement of being alive, God’s grace does its further work by making us family. By His grace, we are adopted into the family of God, making us co-heirs with Jesus for His inheritance (Romans 8:15-17).
So, what is the inheritance that eternal life qualifies us for?
Well, eternal life.
Eternal life achieves both establishing us as living children of God, eligible to receive His inheritance and being the inheritance itself. It is the means and the reward all rolled up into one—a God-given, two-for-one deal! Jesus’ resurrection from the dead assures us that the inheritance to be handed down would be significantly different from the inheritance handed down from earthly fathers to earthly surviving children. Let’s explore this some more.
Eternal life is kept in heaven for you (1 Peter 1:4)
Unlike earthly inheritances, it is certain. If a father on earth squanders all of his assets, the family may not receive any inheritance. As long as the father is alive, the inheritance is uncertain. Your God-given inheritance is certain. He’s already died and proven that eternal life is available through Him. Nothing can take that inheritance from you. It is kept in heaven for you! It’s a done deal.
Eternal life takes place in the Kingdom (Matthew 25:34)
God prepared the Kingdom of heaven for you before the foundation of the world. It’s always been there, it will always be there, and one day, His Kingdom will be returned to earth (Revelation 21:1-2). Those who are of His family, that have received His inheritance, will be administrators of His Kingdom. It will be a great responsibility filled with great purpose and joy! Can you imagine the joy of administering a Kingdom in which no death, mourning, crying, or pain exists (Revelation 21:4)?!
We can add to the riches of eternal life while here on earth (Matthew 6:19-21)
Jesus taught that when we focus our heart on things of eternal value, we lay ‘treasure in heaven.’ Our heart is a conduit, a channel or pathway through which the eternally valuable things we do here on earth are deposited into our ‘inheritance account’ in heaven.
God’s already done His part to guarantee that the inheritance will be there for us. We’ve got to do our part and then add to our inheritance each and every day. That’s the truth.
Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, who according to His abundant mercy has given you a new birth into a living hope through the resurrection of Jesus Christ from the dead, securing an inheritance for you that can never perish, spoil or fade. Where your heart is, there the treasure of this inheritance will be, kept in heaven for you.
That’s the YouTruth. God is Keeping an Inheritance for You.
Copyright 2010, 2011 Dan Buckhout