Day 19: Heirs
"The Spirit Himself bears witness with our spirit that we are children of God, and if children, then heirs—heirs of God and fellow heirs with Christ, provided we suffer with Him in order that we may also be glorified with Him.” – Romans 8:16-17
Text: Ephesians 3-14
One of the greatest revelations and promises in the entirety of Scripture is that Christians are heirs of God and fellow heirs with Christ. I say that this is an amazing promise, because it runs completely counter to everything that we might expect from God. As sinners, we should expect condemnation and death. Instead God provides mercy, salvation, and eternal life. He does not stop there; He presents us with signed and executed adoption papers, bringing us into His family. But how is this possible? And why is this important?
Adam as the First Heir
“Then God said, “Let us make man in our image, after our likeness. And let them have dominion over the fish of the sea and over the birds of the heavens and over the livestock and over all the earth and over every creeping thing that creeps on the earth.”” – Genesis 1:26
In order to answer the first question of possibility, we must start, as we often do, with Adam. Adam was created as the first heir of God. According to the passage above, Adam was not only created in the likeness of God, but he was given an inheritance: the earth, and everything in it. We often think of this as a custodial relationship, which, indeed, it is; however, the New Testament shows that, while this is true, the relationship spoken of in Genesis went beyond that of a mere Lord / Vassal. Luke, for instance, speaks of Adam as the son of God (Luke 3:38), and Paul refers to Christ as the New Adam (Romans 5:14, I Corinthians 15:45). Yet Adam sinned, and mankind fell. By trying to steal that which was not his (the fruit of the tree), he forfeited his inheritance, and even lost the right to be in the presence of God.
None of this was a surprise to God, of course. This was all according to His plan made before the foundation of the world. Indeed, He chose us in Christ before the foundation of the world (Ephesians 1:3-4).
The New Heir
"In these last days He has spoken to us by his Son, whom He appointed the heir of all things, through whom also He created the world." – Hebrews 1:2
God, in His glorious wisdom and mercy, determined that the inheritance should be restored. He promised to do just that; right after the fall, He promised a Savior would come as a new Heir (Genesis 3:15). The Lord then promised Abraham that, though the whole world was under God’s curse, through his seed all the nations of the earth would be blessed (Genesis 12:3). Then slowly, over millennia, the Lord reveal more about the Heir. He would be the Seed of the woman, a descendant of Abraham, a Prophet like Moses, a Priest better than Aaron, the Son of David and rightful King. He would be the Servant who suffers for His people, and He would be the Son of the Most High God. He would be the New and Better Adam, fulfilling everything that Adam had been called to do, thus winning the full, eternal inheritance. He was appointed the Heir of all things, and through His life and His death, He provided atonement for sin and true righteousness for His people. Now, as the Firstborn of All Creation, everything belongs to Him (Colossians 1:15), and all authority in heaven and on earth are His (Matthew 28:18)
Believers as Heirs
"In Him we have obtained an inheritance, having been predestined according to the purpose of Him who works all things according to the counsel of His will." – Ephesians 1:11
The New Heir was not satisfied with simply having everything in the world as His. He also wanted a people for Himself, brothers and sisters to share in His inheritance (John 17:20-21). Through His work as Redeemer and Savior, Jesus has secured for believers the unique honor of adoption into the family of God (John 1:12-13, Romans 8:16-17), and as members of the Heavenly Family, we have the rights of full heirs of God. Which means that everything that He has is ours as well. As Sinclair Ferguson says “All that belongs to the last Adam is for us…Christ took what was ours so that we might receive what was His.” And He placed in us His Spirit, as the downpayment and guarantee of our inheritance (Ephesians 1:13-14).