Christian: You Are God’s Inheritance

I love it when, while reading a familiar passage of the Bible, you come across something that somehow you missed every other time you read it. Such was the case the other day when reading in Ephesians 1. It says, in part,

[16] I do not cease to give thanks for you, remembering you in my prayers, [17] that the God of our Lord Jesus Christ, the Father of glory, may give you the Spirit of wisdom and of revelation in the knowledge of him, [18] having the eyes of your hearts enlightened, that you may know what is the hope to which he has called you, what are the riches of his glorious inheritance in the saints, [19] and what is the immeasurable greatness of his power toward us who believe, according to the working of his great might…

Paul prays that God would open the eyes of the Ephesians to see the truth about God, specifically so that they would know three things:

  1. the hope to which they are called
  2. the riches of God’s glorious inheritance in the saints
  3. the immeasurable power of God at work in the believers life

For me, something struck me from number 2. Whenever I read those words in past readings, I think that in my head I was hearing “what are the riches of his glorious inheritance for the saints”. But that is definitely not what the verse says. It says believers should know “what are the riches of his glorious inheritance IN the saints.”

There is a world of difference between the two. Do you see it? The first version (the wrong one) pictures all Christians receiving a great inheritance. I think that I read it that way previously because only a few verses earlier (11-14) Paul emphasizes the inheritance that awaits all believers in heaven. It is true – Christians do receive a great inheritance in heaven. Yet that is not what verse 18 says. Verse 18 says that God is the recipient of a glorious inheritance. The inheritance that God receives is “in the saints”.

My take on this is that the “riches of [God’s] glorious inheritance” is friendship with believers. God will enjoy spending time with those who love him. He is richly rewarded with their sinless presence. He will fellowship with them forever and be thrilled about it.

Is this striking to you? It was to me! I tend to be the kind of person who emphasizes the depravity of man. We are all sinners, we all fall short, and none of us deserves God or his mercy. We deserve wrath and punishment. These are all Biblical truths. But, based on this verse, I think there is a sense in which we can willingly bask in the knowledge of our own wickedness so much that we begin to lose sight of our true value. Let us not forget that we are made in the image of God. And though we do not deserve to have forgiveness, Christ thought it worthwhile to suffer and die to save us from the clutches of sin.

God, through the Apostle Paul, wants all Christians to have “the eyes of their hearts enlightened, that [they] may know” that God is going to be richly blessed with us as his inheritance. This is not meant to lead us to arrogance. It is not meant to cause us to think too highly of ourselves. It is not meant to promote a man-centered gospel. But it is meant to remind us that God is our Father, that he intentionally and joyfully made each and every one of us (Psalm 139:11-16), and that he did so because he loves us and wants to be with us.

In heaven, believers will have a glorious inheritance, that of Christ himself. In heaven, God will have a glorious inheritance, that of the saints. This mutual enjoying of one another forever is certainly one thing that will make heaven the paradise it is described to be. Let us each deeply long for the coming of this day!

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2 Comments on “Christian: You Are God’s Inheritance

  1. Very interesting, I never noticed that. I did see what I think is basically the same thing some time ago in Hebrews l2:1-3 For the joy that was set before him he endured the cross……So what was his joy? couldn’t be heaven… My thoughts only.

    • I think you are right about “the joy set before him” in Hebrews 12, that the “joy” is reunited fellowship with His creation, much like the prodigal son returning home to the loving embrace of a joy-filled Father.

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