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All Christians are sons of God, and although at times believers are also called the children of God, “son” denotes a characteristic that “children” does not. It denotes an inheritance after the manner of sons depicted in the Old Testament. Inheritance was passed down through the male. Sisters in Christ should not therefore be put off about being called sons. It’s all about inheritance. And remember that men are also called the bride of Christ.

So, what do Christians inherit? It is not entirely clear to our way of thinking, as in, “At my grandfather’s death we inherited his farm.” One can imagine a farm. A house. A barn. Animals. Crops. But the inheritance the Lord has for us is in Scripture does not appear as physically graphic as that.

For one thing, and most importantly, we inherit salvation. Concerning angels, the author of Hebrews wrote, “Are they not all ministering spirits sent out to serve for the sake of those who are to inherit salvation?” (Hebrews 1:14).1 Peter eloquently penned much the same in the first chapter of his first letter: “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, who by God’s power are being guarded through faith for a salvation ready to be revealed in the last time” (1 Peter 1:3-5). 

Other interesting hints about this inheritance appear along the way, if we will look for them. Let’s begin with a glorious blockbuster. In this passage, the four “living creatures” and the twenty-four elders sing this song after Jesus takes the scroll that no one else anywhere was qualified to open: “Worthy are you to take the scroll and to open its seals, for you were slain, and by your blood you ransomed people for God from every tribe and language and people and nation, and you have made them a kingdom and priests to our God, and they shall reign on the earth” (Revelation 5:9–10).

This is the only place in Scripture where this amazing truth is proclaimed so clearly, but there are statements that allude to it, if we are listening. Jesus said to the church in Laodicea, a church that was so fallen that He was trying to gain entrance: “The one who conquers, I will grant him to sit with me on my throne, as I also conquered and sat down with my Father on his throne” (Revelation 3:21). It is interesting, don’t you think, that Jesus used this truth about believers’ future rulership as an encouragement to the Laodiceans to repent and return to Him?

One of the first things Jesus taught was, “Blessed are the meek, for they shall inherit the earth.” (Matthew 5:5).

Reigning on the earth. Inheriting the earth. Sitting on Jesus’ throne. Interesting, true words that leave us wondering, “What would that look like?”

And consider this wondrous, bewildering passage from Romans: “For I consider that the sufferings of this present time are not worth comparing with the glory that is to be revealed to us. For the creation waits with eager longing for the revealing of the sons of God. For the creation was subjected to futility, not willingly, but because of him who subjected it, in hope that the creation itself will be set free from its bondage to corruption and obtain the freedom of the glory of the children of God” (Romans 8:18–21). This revealing of the sons of God is “That status is what all Christians long for, and Paul now associates all material subhuman creation with them in such a longing.”2

So, somehow, everything that has been created has been longing for us to be revealed. Strange to think that creation “longs.” I cannot enlarge upon this truth because I do not know how to further its sense. Perhaps it has to do with redeeming all that God created, returning to His original plan, back to the placing of Adam and Eve in the garden.

The Lord God Almighty, sovereign over all things, has chosen to keep the details of these weighty truths hidden from us. Although we should be reminded of this stunning future that awaits, it is wise not to think on them too much; wiser to make supreme loving Him with all our hearts, obeying Him, and seeking to please Him, as Paul did. “So whether we are at home or away, we make it our aim to please him. For we must all appear before the judgment seat of Christ, so that each one may receive what is due for what he has done in the body, whether good or evil” (2 Corinthians 5:9–10).

Yes. There is that to consider in this discussion about inheritance and reigning. Let us not be found wanting in that day.

 

1The Holy Bible: English Standard Version. (2016). Wheaton, IL: Crossway Bibles.

2Fitzmyer, J. A., S. J. (2008). Romans: a new translation with introduction and commentary (Vol. 33, p. 507). New Haven; London: Yale University Press.

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