Partakers of the Inheritance
The Inheritance of the Saints in Light
1. κλῆρος (klay-ros):
a. An object used in casting or drawing lots, which was either a pebble, or a potsherd, or a bit of wood.
b. The lots of several persons concerned, inscribed with their names, were thrown together into a vase, which was then shaken, and he whose lot fell out first upon the ground was the one chosen.
c. That which is obtained by lot, an allotted portion.
d. In the New Testament it is used of that which is given or assigned rather than won… “a portion allotted to someone.”
e. Acts 1:17 – Judas was “assigned” a portion or a lot (part) with the apostles. He was hand chosen by the Lord.
· Acts 1:26 – they cast their “lots” (same word)
f. Acts 26:18 – an inheritance (same word) of those who are sanctified… the saints. Here it has to do with our position in Christ.
2. What IS our inheritance?
a. As believers, we have a spiritual inheritance in Christ.
b. Matt. 19:29 – our inheritance includes eternal life! LIFE!
c. Heb. 6:12 – our inheritance includes all the promises of God.
d. Rom. 8:17 – we are joint-heirs with Christ!
e. Rev. 21:7 – we shall inherit ALL things!
f. I Cor. 3:21-23 – for all things are yours… already!
g. Heb. 9:15 – it is an eternal inheritance!
3. This inheritance is our PRESENT POSSESSION.
a. I Pet. 1:4 – there is a portion of our inheritance that is yet future. It is “in heaven” and reserved. When we enter into heaven, we will be able to experience this portion of our inheritance. But even now, it is OURS.
b. Eph. 1:11 – in whom we have obtained an inheritance!
» Aorist – we have already obtained this inheritance.
» In Christ we have already obtained our inheritance. (For He is in heaven… at the Father’s right hand… and we are in Him.)
» The WE (and us) in this chapter refer to Paul and ALL believers of this age. (Cf. vs. 4,5,7)
» All believers have been allotted this inheritance by virtue of the fact that we are in Christ.
» We have already obtained it. It’s ours. It is a present possession.
c. Eph. 1:3 – we have already been blessed with all spiritual blessings.
» Our inheritance includes all our possessions in Christ.
» In Christ we have already obtained ALL spiritual blessings.
» Several of those blessings are listed in Eph. 1: chosen; predestinated; accepted; redemption; forgiveness; Holy Spirit; members of His body; filled with the fullness of God; etc.
d. Eph. 1:13-14 – the Holy Spirit is the seal of our inheritance… down payment… proof…
» In Christ we are sealed with the Holy Spirit. (vs. 13b)
» The Holy Spirit is the earnest of our inheritance. (down-payment)
» The seal of the Spirit is God’s proof that this inheritance is ours… even though we cannot see it… His presence is our proof… and the down payment for our final and future inheritance in glory.
» We have obtained our inheritance. It is ours. Even the future aspect is our possession – and is already reserved for us.
» The bulk of it we are able to experience now—by faith.
» ALL of it belongs to us now. The Holy Spirit is God’s proof to us of the reality of this inheritance.
4. The inheritance is “in the light.”
a. “In the light” does not refer to the saints but with the inheritance.
» Perhaps if the expression were re-worded more closely to the way we normally speak in English, it would help.
» “The saints inheritance in the light.”
» It is our inheritance that is “in the realm of light.”
b. Light: implies several things… broad meaning…
» Knowledge; truth… (as opposed to ignorance and error)
» Goodness; purity… “unsparing holiness” – Wm. Kelly (as opposed to evil and impurity)
» Joy; blessedness… (as opposed to depression and grief)
» God is light; light is His character.
» Contrasted to Satan’s kingdom of darkness (vs.13) (as opposed to the Son’s kingdom of light)
» Our inheritance is not in this earthly, temporal, physical realm of darkness. It is in the heavenly, spiritual, eternal realm of light.
c. I Tim. 6:16 – God dwells in the light of His radiant glory; hence, our inheritance is wherever God is! (Not just earth or heaven… but wherever God is…)
» Because of God’s infinite holiness, He is unapproachable.
» Ex. 33:19-23 – No man can come into the full glory of His presence and live…
» In fact, at His Second Coming, His glory will be the destruction of His enemies. “Who shall be punished with everlasting destruction from the presence of the Lord and from the GLORY of His power.” (II Thess. 1:9)
» The law always put man at a distance from God; they could NOT approach His glorious light. We have been made MEET for our inheritance in God’s light… not physically, but spiritually. We still have a mortal body that could not stand in the full blazing glory of God’s presence… but we are made MEET spiritually to enter into His presence.
» Heb. 10:19 – That is why in the book of Hebrews the Christian believer is seen doing what no Old Testament saint would even think of: entering into the holy of holies – the place where God’s Shekinah glory dwelt… that dazzling light that no man dared approach lest he die. We can enter… every day… because we have been fitted for God’s very presence! Awesome!
» We are IN Christ, who is at the Father’s right hand.
» This of course, is due to the power of the blood of Christ (Heb. 10:18-19b) (Col. 1:14).
» I John 1:7; 2:10 – it is our privilege PRESENTLY to walk in light; to abide in the light… a place of purity, truth, righteousness, holiness, joy, goodness…
» We are not trying to get there… we ARE there… we LIVE there… that is our inheritance… our glorious position in Christ… Who is in the Light…
Partakers of the Inheritance
1. Partakers: Lit: unto the portion.
a. Peter used both terms in Acts 8:21 when he rebuked Simon – “ye have neither part (partakers) nor lot (inheritance) in this matter.”
b. Simon had no inheritance in this matter—not even a portion of the inheritance!
2. The concept of a lot (portion) of an inheritance came right out of the Old Testament..
a. Num. 26:52-56 – Canaan land was given to Israel as their inheritance… and each tribe was appointed a “lot.” (an appointed portion; a part; a share)
b. Paul uses this familiar Old Testament concept to describe OUR inheritance. We too have an inheritance—and each one of us has his share in it…
c. Every believer shares in redemption, the shed blood, a place in heaven, a glorious position in Christ… heirs…
d. In the Old Testament, Israel had an earthly inheritance… our inheritance is not earthly or physical. Our inheritance is in the realm of light… holiness… a heavenly position in Christ.
e. Israel’s inheritance was in Canaan—and Israel had to enter the land and fight against the enemies and drive them out before they could lay hold of their inheritance. (Num. 33:51–54)
f. Paul uses this terminology to describe our inheritance in Christ.
3. BUT—don’t misunderstand this Old Testament type…Far too many Christians make the wrong application from the Old Testament illustration—to the detriment of their worthy walk!
a. A common view:
» Exodus pictures salvation
» Wilderness wandering pictures our earthly life
» Crossing Jordan pictures death
» Entering the Promised Land pictures heaven
b. Problems with that view:
» It sees enemies and battles in heaven! Not so! It misrepresents heaven.
» But more dangerous is the view that our Christian life is viewed as “wandering in the wilderness”—and that that is normal Christian experience.
» It is NOT the norm for the believer. Unfortunately wandering may be an accurate picture of many Christians’ lives, but it is not the norm. It should have been a short journey from the Red Sea to Canaan Land… Beulah Land!
» Most Christians today view the Christian life in just this manner: we get saved… and are thankful for salvation… and want to tell others how to be saved… but they STOP SHORT of entering into the Promised Land… into their inheritance… into God’s rest… they fail to fully enter into their heavenly blessings in Christ… they POSSESS them but they do not experience them by faith.
» Instead, they wander in the wilderness… subsiding on the earthly food… murmuring because they are not content… complaining about a lack of water… opposing God’s leaders… continually coming short of the inheritance God WANTED them to enter into… because they were afraid of the giants and refused to trust God.
» Hymn # 805 (Because He Lives)—verse 3—poor theology!
· This poor soul sees himself as fighting and struggling all through this life—no rest.
· He does not see victory till heaven.
· He doesn’t KNOW until he arrives in glory: no assurance
· Bill Gaither is not the world’s best theologian…
c. The right view of the illustration:
» Exodus = redemption in Christ.
» Israel was redeemed out of bondage to slavery in Egypt –the world. We were redeemed out of the world—and out of slavery to sin.
» Moses was their redeemer; Christ is ours.
» It was just an 11 day journey to cross the wilderness—and COULD have and SHOULD have entered into their inheritance early on… but refused to trust God.
» Wilderness wanderings = chastening… the only alternative to entering into Canaan… wander in a dry and weary land… this was NEVER intended to be the norm.
· It didn’t have to happen that way.
· They could have entered into their inheritance right away, but it was a lack of faith that resulted in them being condemned to the wilderness for 40 years.
· Unfortunately, too many believers today waste much of their Christian life wandering in a spiritual wilderness, going in circles and not going on to perfection: maturity.
· They didn’t HAVE to wander. The inheritance in the land was THEIRS. It was their possession—they simply had to walk in by faith and possess their possessions!
· The land was theirs for a long time before they finally got to experience it—a land flowing with milk and honey.
· Instead, they wandered in a dry, parched, weary wilderness—when they COULD have been and should have been enjoying the riches God promised them!
» Crossing Jordan pictures not our physical death, but our death with Christ… our old man being crucified.
· Not until we come to this point of reckoning SELF dead are we able to enter into our Canaan land.
· Before the Christian can ever enter into the full appreciation of and experience of his riches in Christ—he must come to an end of himself…
· We need to acknowledge that our old man DIED with Christ…
» Canaan does not picture heaven, but the heavenlies – our PRESENT experience of our heavenly blessings.
· Christ is in heaven and we are in Him.
· But physically, we are on earth—but are to ABIDE in Him and DWELL in our Canaan… dwelling our Beulah Land… by faith.
· We have been raised up already in Christ… and hence, the heavenlies are OURS already! That is our inheritance…
· We are joint heirs with Christ. It is glorious position in Christ.
· This is our present possession, but we only experience its riches as we abide in Him by faith, a heavenly experience is ours… now… a foretaste of glory divine!
» Entering the Promised Land pictures the believer, once redeemed, entering into BY FAITH a full experience of what he has in Christ… our inheritance in Him… entering into our REST.
» It isn’t necessary to wander spiritually for years; and waste years of our Christian life.
» We can and should enter in as soon as we get there! Pursue it… seek it… LEARN about our riches in Christ through studying the Word… and then enter in by faith… and settle in and enjoy it! LABOR to enter into His rest! Hunger after it…
» We get so occupied with seemingly innocuous things in this world… but they are actually weights HINDERING us from marching forward and going on to maturity… preventing us from appreciating our HEAVENLY riches and resting in our spiritual inheritance!
» It was natural and right for the Jews to take time on the other side of the Red Sea to sing and praise God for His deliverance… but after that initial burst of JOY, it was time to move on and enter into the Promised Land!
» It is natural and right for a new believer, having just experienced redemption to linger a while and praise God for the deliverance… but after that initial burst of JOY, time comes to move on to perfection… to grow up… to CONTINUE walking by faith… to face the foes by faith… to experience God’s power and victory… and to enter into a deep appreciation for and experience of our heavenly and spiritual inheritance in Christ… a deeper experience; grow up IN HIM.
» The worthy walk is not characterized by wandering in a dry and weary wilderness… going in circles. A worthy walk is characterized by entering into the Promised Land… resting in our riches in Christ… claiming that land by faith… and actually setting the souls of our feet upon it!
4. As Christians, we possess our inheritance already, but it is only experienced by faith.
a. When Israel marched into the Promised Land, there were enemies who opposed them… and hindered them from RESTING in the inheritance which was really theirs… God gave it to them…
b. But they had to drive out the Canaanites and break down their altars before they could enjoy it.
» So too, we as believers have a rich inheritance in Christ, but we cannot enjoy it until we drive out our enemies… sin, worldliness, self, the idolatry of covetousness…
» Before we can enjoy our rich inheritance in Christ, we need to put our enemies to death…
» Worldliness, covetousness, sin, and self will all hinder us from enjoying our riches in Christ. Those enemies MUST be put to death.
» And this is not done through our own strength or effort. This victory is ours only by FAITH.
» To experience this victory, we must come to the Cross… and by faith we RECKON self to be dead; reckon that the world is crucified unto me and I unto the world; that sin not in part but the whole is nailed to the cross and I bear it no more!
» Sin, self, and the world will only BLIND us to our inheritance in the light… our true riches in Christ.
» But when we come to the cross, the things of earth will grow strangely dim in the light of His glory and grace!
» We have already OBTAINED our inheritance and have already been blessed with all spiritual blessings… but we often fail to enjoy them… or experience them.
» They are ours by faith.
c. It was FAITH that enabled Israel to have victory over their enemies, drive them out, and then REST in their inheritance…
» Josh. 1:2-6 – march into the land by faith; I have given it to you for an inheritance; no man shall be able to stand against you IF you walk by faith… enter the land… and trust ME for the victory.
» We too are to march into the land by faith… go on to perfection and maturity…
» BELIEVE what God said: all things are yours! No enemy has the power to withstand us when we walk by faith—no fiery dart of the enemy is able to pierce our armor…
» God gave the WHOLE land to Israel, but they only experienced it bit by bit… as their feet tread upon the ground… as they faced the foes along the way… God continued to give victory after victory… and they grew and expanded in the land.
» So too with the believer in Christ. We already have our inheritance… it is our privilege to LEARN more and more about it in God’s Word… face the foes along the way… see God give victory after victory… and march in and claim that land by faith… it’s ours!
d. In the Old Testament, Israel had an earthly inheritance. In the New Testament, we have a heavenly inheritance… a hope laid up for us in heaven… enjoyed NOW through faith.
» As Israel BELIEVED God (even though it didn’t SEEM, or feel true)… it SEEMED like they would never defeat the Canaanites… but as they believed God, God gave them victory.
» As they walked by faith, their feet marched over new land and that which was theirs by inheritance was theirs experientially. They took possession of their inheritance.
» Christ’s LIFE in us, redemption, entering into the Holy of Holies; priestly ministry; coming to the throne of grace; dwelling in God’s presence; complete in Him; accepted in the Beloved; forgiven;
» As we walk by faith, our heavenly blessings and inheritance becomes our daily experience.
» By faith, our eternal inheritance can be experienced and enjoyed… the deeper our faith, the deeper our experience.
» If you don’t really BELIEVE what God has said about our inheritance, then this is just a bunch of religious gobbledygook.
» But if you DO believe it, this is precious! This is life… and joy and peace and rest!
e. Therefore, we need not pray for God to bless us… but rather, believe that He already HAS!
» Eph. 1:17-18 – pray that God would open our eyes to SEE and experience some of our riches of the glory of His inheritance in the saints…”
» We have a heavenly calling… a heavenly and eternal inheritance—our present possession.
» Lord, help us to know this… believe this… and experience this in our daily lives! Lord, open our eyes of faith to see!
» Don’t we often pray from an earthly perspective?
· Lord, protect me—instead of “Lord, help me to see how safe I am in thee!”
· Lord, provide for me—instead, “Lord, help me to see how rich I am in thee!”
· Lord, defeat all my foes—instead of, “Lord, thank you for defeating my foes at the cross and making me MORE than a conqueror in thee!”
· Lord, improve my earthly condition—instead of “Lord, help me to see my glorious heavenly position in thee!”
· Lord, bless me—instead of “Lord, thank you for having blessed me with all spiritual blessings in Christ. Help me to see how rich I am in Christ.
· Lord, THANK YOU that I am already a partaker in an eternal inheritance.”
Made Meet to be Partakers
A. The Term
1. Made meet: (ἱκανόω – hikan-ó-oh) – “to make sufficient, to authorize, to make fit; render fit, qualify”
a. Used only here and in II Cor. 3:6 – made us ABLE ministers of the New Covenant.
» II Cor. 3:4 – all their confidence and trust was in God.
» Vs. 5 – their sufficiency was not of self, but from God. (same term – different form…)
» Vs. 6 – it was GOD who made them ABLE (meet) ministers.
» God made them meet to be apostles. He appointed them to that position. It was not a vote of men, but the calling of God. (I wish young men thinking of going into the ministry would take this to heart!)
» It speaks of being authorized and thus qualified for a position.
» It is the LORD who does the authorizing and qualifies a man for the ministry.
» Transplant that meaning into Col. 1:12.
b. Every genuinely born again believer in Christ has been made MEET to be a partaker of the inheritance of the saints.
» We all have been authorized and are thus qualified to be partakers.
» This is true of the believer who has just recently accepted Christ as Savior as well as the believer who has known Christ for many years!
» It is true of the carnal believer as well as the spiritual believer.
» EVERY believer has been made MEET to be a partaker of the inheritance of the saints.
» This rich inheritance belongs to ALL of God’s saints… from the feeblest to the strongest.
c. It is the Father who makes us meet… who authorizes and qualifies us.
» We are not authorized or made meet by self effort…
» This authorization and qualification is the work of God the Father through the shed blood of Christ on the cross on our behalf.
» The Father sent His Son to be the propitiation of our sins.
» The Father makes us meet on the basis of the merit of His Beloved Son… on the righteous basis of the cross…
· Christ has delivered us (vs. 13)
· Christ provided redemption and forgiveness (vs. 14)
· THIS is the basis upon which we are made MEET.
» It is by His merit, not ours that we are able and meet to enter into he rest and rich experience of our glorious inheritance… our calling as saints.
· I stand upon His merit, I know no other stand;
· Not e’en where glory dwelleth, in Immanuel’s land.
d. Hath made us meet = the action is finished.
· This is an aorist participle: “Giving thanks to the Father, to the One who hath made us meet…”
· He is not presently “making us meet” but has already “made us meet.”
· Because Christ’s finished work on the cross is complete… we have thus been made meet… fully meet… fully. authorized and qualified to enter into our Promised Land.
· This speaks of our position, not condition… we are complete in Christ—and completely qualified and completely authorized to partake of this rich inheritance.
· Until we get it settled in our minds and hearts that we really ARE qualified, we will be afraid to enter in… perhaps we will feel it presumptuous to do so… perhaps some will (through false humility mingled with unbelief) not FEEL qualified—even though God said we ARE!
· The blessings and inheritance are all ours… but unbelief and fear and ignorance of our glorious position will KEEP us from claiming them by faith!
· Ignorance, fear, and unbelief will keep us wandering in a spiritual wilderness… afraid to take God’s hand and walk right into the land… face our foes… drive out our enemies… and settle down into the inheritance God wants us to have!
· We don’t have to FEEL meet or sufficient… authorized or qualified. We are simply to BELIEVE what God said and act accordingly…
2. When this truth becomes YOUR experience—be constantly giving thanks to the Father—for HE is the One who made us meet to be partakers of this inheritance! My Father planned it all!
3. If you are not born again… this inheritance is NOT yours… but it can be.
a. Christ died for you and paid the penalty of your sins.
b. God simply wants you to BELIEVE Him… trust in Christ and be saved TODAY.
c. John 1:12: But as many as RECEIVED Him… to them gave he power (AUTHORITY) to become the sons of God.