Inheritance and Responsibility
A number of years ago I was at an event standing in judgement against some of the people that had attended. My attitude was basically summed up as, “They aren’t all that spiritual and gifted.” As I was standing there (surely with a sneer on my arrogant face), the Lord spoke to me. He said,
“If you are my son, then these are you brothers. A son does not stop at being a son, he is an heir.”
I realized then and there that as a son I had a responsibility in the kingdom of God. As an heir, I had an inheritance. And as a son-heir, it was my responsibility to welcome these brothers and sisters into that inheritance. Even if it was true that the people I was judging were not that gifted or spiritual (whatever that means), then my responsibility as an heir was not to disdain their position or status, but to do all that I could to welcome them and help them discover their God given identity and purpose.
Inheritance theology is pre-figured by Ezekiel in his prophecy of the future temple.
In the Old Testament, God makes a covenant promise to Abraham that is essentially summed up in Genesis 17:7:
“And I will establish My covenant between Me and you and your descendants after you in their generations, for an everlasting covenant, to be God to you and your descendants after you.”
Eventually, the covenantal promise to Abraham is tied to fulfillment of the religious system and tabernacle revealed to Moses. If you stayed in right relationship with the tabernacle, fulfilled your obligation to the religious system, and supported the priesthood the benefits of the blessing of the promise of God to Abraham would bear fruit in your life. The problem was that this was impossible to fulfill.
Galatians says that the law is intended to be our tutor.
"Therefore the law was our tutor to bring us to Christ, that we might be justified by faith." Galatians 3:24
Paul further elaborates on the purpose of the law in Romans.
"What shall we say then? Is the law sin? Certainly not! On the contrary, I would not have known sin except through the law. For I would not have known covetousness unless the law had said, 'You shall not covet.'" Romans 7:7
Galatians is also very clear that the law was given because of transgressions. It was never intended to be the system of conduct that enabled you to receive the promises of God. God covenanted with Abraham long before the law was given to Moses. The covenant promise stands in spite of the law. In what way was the law a tutor that would lead to Christ? It was a tutor in the sense that it showed the desperate sinfulness of sin.
This principle plays out in minute ways every day with my children. If I tell one of my children they cannot play with a particular toy, chances are they will begin to want to play with that toy. The boundary I have set serves to prove the desire within them to fulfill their own will. Therein lies the heart of the law, it proves to us daily the ways in which we seek to gratify our own desire.
Moving back to our inheritance. The promise of God (to be God to Abraham and his descendants) was tied to religious duty because mankind kept failing. In order to unshackle the promised inheritance of God to his people God sent his only begotten son.
The promise then comes by being in Christ, because Christ fulfilled the law and received the promise. Hence Christ’s language of the vine:
“I am the vine, you are the branches. He who abides in Me, and I in him, bears much fruit; for without Me you can do nothing.” John 15:5
As we abide in him we receive what is his. To the degree you are in him you receive what he received. So what exactly is this promised inheritance? What was that God would grant if the law was fulfilled? What is granted now that Christ has fulfilled the law and we are in him?
“…that the blessing of Abraham might come upon the Gentiles in Christ Jesus, that we might receive the promise of the Spirit through faith.” Galatians 3:14
The inheritance that is the promise of God to Abraham was the Spirit. It is the Spirit that cries, “Abba, father!” It is the Spirit that dwells in our hearts through faith. The inheritance you received is not so much eternal life, but rather the Spirit of God, which is the life of God.
With this inheritance comes great responsibility. You are given an inheritance and then charged with stewarding that inheritance. The tenacity of your hold on the inheritance of God will face some of its greatest tests in the call to love the people you cannot stand.
“Let nothing be done through selfish ambition or conceit, but in lowliness of mind let each esteem others better than himself.” Philippians 2:3
It is one thing to esteem those that you love. It is another thing to esteem those that you care about. It is still another thing to esteem other Christians. Yet it is quite another thing entirely to esteem others as greater than yourself. Not just those you love, or care about, or Christians in general, but others. It is not so much about how you esteem those like you, but how do you esteem those that are radically different than you, and may not even like you back. But that is the life of Christ, is it not?
Thank you so much for your continued support. Please continue to pray for the Lord’s provision for us, protection for our family, and his leading in the ongoing work of all that we are doing. We love and appreciate each and every one of you.
Cassian and Erin are doing great and well into the process of bonding and growth. Please pray that we get some sleep!
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Joshua Hoffert, Wind Ministries
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