An inheritance is promised when someone is alive, but granted when they die. Generally, inheritances pass from a parent to a child, or children.
What is a Christian's inheritance in Christ?
In the New Testament, believers in Jesus Christ are referred to as God's children (John 1:12–13). There are many passages about what Jesus' followers inherited when He died, and what they will inherit when they die. The special thing about our inheritance in Christ is that, while it took His death to acquire, He rose again. We receive our inheritance in Christ because He lives. We also experience at least a portion of that inheritance during our earthly lives.
Ephesians 1:3 says that God "… has blessed us in Christ with every spiritual blessing in the heavenly places." This blessing includes things like being forgiven of our sins, being holy and blameless before Him, and being adopted as God's children. This is "… according to the riches of [God's] grace, which he lavished upon us, in all wisdom and insight" (Ephesians 1:7–8). God also makes His plan for the world known to us; He will ultimately unite all things in Jesus Christ.
Ephesians 1:11–14 talks about us having "obtained an inheritance" in Christ and being "sealed with the promised Holy Spirit, who is the guarantee of our inheritance until we acquire possession of it, to the praise of his glory." Jesus promises His followers in John 14:15–19 that He will return and that the Holy Spirit will be granted as a Helper. Those who have been born again currently have the Holy Spirit as we await Jesus' return and living for eternity with Him in heaven.
Colossians 3:23–24 talks about doing everything as for the Lord because we know our ultimate reward is not from earthly things, but receiving our inheritance from Him. Hebrews 9:15 talks about Jesus as the mediator of a new covenant in which His death redeems us from our transgression of God's law. It is in this new covenant that we can receive a promised eternal inheritance, i.e., eternal life with God in heaven.
First Peter 1:3–4 says, "Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ! According to his great mercy, he has caused us to be born again to a living hope through the resurrection of Jesus Christ from the dead, to an inheritance that is imperishable, undefiled, and unfading, kept in heaven for you." Peter makes the points that our inheritance will never rot, rust, fade away, or be corrupted (also Matthew 6:19–20; 1 Peter 1:23; Revelation 21:27). Unlike an earthly inheritance, our inheritance in Christ can never be diminished or destroyed.
For Christians, it is this promise, the hope of sharing in community with God forever, that sustains throughout whatever trials are faced during this lifetime. As 2 Corinthians 4:16–18 says, "So we do not lose heart. Though our outer self is wasting away, our inner self is being renewed day by day. For this light momentary affliction is preparing for us an eternal weight of glory beyond all comparison, as we look not to the things that are seen but to the things that are unseen. For the things that are seen are transient, but the things that are unseen are eternal."
This inheritance is promised, but not to everyone. The inheritance of eternal life with God is reserved for those who hear the truth, believe in Jesus, and receive the Holy Spirit—in short, Christians. The benefits of inheritance in Christ begin for a person when they accept Jesus as God's Son who gave His life for theirs, then rose to life again after being in the grave for three days. The Holy Spirit is granted to that person as a deposit, a down payment, a promise of the coming eternal life with God in heaven.
If you do not yet know Jesus, will you accept Him as your Savior and Lord today? This article will help you understand more about the truth of salvation in Jesus Christ.
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Truth about the Christian Life