Last time we got a little ahead of ourselves and didn’t answer the question as to what God did to make Israel of old fit for the inheritance He had promised them. We’re thinking of that passage in Colossians in which Paul said that God has “made us meet to be partakers of the inheritance of the saints in the light” (Col. 1.12). Meet—it means fit, competent, able, sufficient. We can discover the answer to how God did this by seeing what He did to make Israel of old sufficient for the inheritance He had awaiting them.
I believe that, in the main, He did two things.
First, with the blood of the Passover lamb He redeemed them “out of the house of bondmen, from the hand of Pharaoh king of Egypt” (Dt. 7.8). It was a great beginning for them, so new a beginning that they were to start their calendar from this date. They were now a people unhindered, set free; no longer would they serve Pharaoh and his interests. They were now separated unto a divine destiny. In that great “night of the LORD” they made their exodus from Egypt, and were shortly looking back over their shoulders at the impassable sea they just been baptized in. That was the next thing God did to make them “meet” for their inheritance. Having come through this baptism, Egypt—the land, the territory, the domain wherein they had been slaves—was behind them forever.
Three months later God brought them to Sinai where He brought them into covenant relationship with Himself in the giving of the Law. This is the consequent thing that God did to make His people fit for their Canaan heritage. The first was the Passover. The second was their baptism into Moses (1 Cor. 10.2), and the giving of the Law at Sinai. Which correspond to Pentecost.
For, as do many other Bible students, I believe that what took place at Sinai is intertwined with Pentecost, as is the baptism “in the cloud and in the sea.” Pentecost was to be celebrated in the third month fifty days after the Passover, which was held on the 15th of the first month. (See Lev. Ch. 23.) And so we read, “In the third month when the children of Israel were gone forth out of the land of Egypt, the same day came they into the wilderness of Sinai” (Ex. 19.1). They had been on the move, then, for 45 days when they came to Sinai. A few days later God came down to them in fire and gave them a law written in fire (Dt. 33.2).
This, their Pentecost, their baptism and their receiving the Law, was vital to the taking of their heritage. The Passover was indispensible, but only with this further step would God’s people be “meet” to enter the land and make it their own. God would remind them over and over again that if they were to be successful in driving out their enemies and taking their inheritance—and keeping it—they would have to be ever mindful to observe this Law (Dt. 4.1, 6.1, Josh. 1.7, etc.).
These two things were tremendous things, but—and let this sink into us deeply—they were not ends in themselves. The children of Israel were still in their beginnings. Before them lay their heritage.
So with us. We are inclined to view certain elements of our Christian experience as ends in themselves, forgetting that we too have a heritage before us. Let’s review our scripture passage again, this time more fully, and watching now for the parallels to the Exodus of Israel and their entry into Canaan.
…Giving thanks unto the Father, which hath made us meet to be partakers of the inheritance of the saints in the light…
Having stated this, Paul now backs up to show us what God has done to make us meet to be partakers of this inheritance of the saints in the light.
…Who hath delivered as from the power of darkness, and hath translated us into the kingdom of the son of His love;
In whom we have redemption through His blood, even the forgiveness (remission) of sins… (Col. 1.12-14).
This passage is so closely paralleled by another in Acts that I must quote it also. Paul is making his confession before Agrippa. He says that God has sent him to the Gentiles:
To open their eyes that they may turn from darkness to light, and the authority of Satan to God, that they may receive remission of sins and inheritance among them that are sanctified by faith that is in Me (Acts 26.18 Interlinear).
And so Paul shows us that like Israel of old, the Christian too has been made meet for his heritage. And we need to be made meet. Unrighteous sinners have no inheritance in the kingdom of Christ and of God (Eph. 5.5, 1 Cor. 6.9). But we are no longer unrighteous sinners: we have been delivered from “Pharaoh”—the authority of darkness under which we were held in bondage to sin—by Christ the Passover Lamb who has been sacrificed for us (1 Cor. 5.7), and, consequent to that, by our baptism into Christ. We are now fit for this wondrous eternal inheritance in the light among others who have been similarly sanctified—set apart—by faith in Jesus.
We who believe in Jesus have been redeemed by the blood of the Lamb, in whom we have forgiveness, remission, of sins. And after having believed comes the Spirit baptism, the seal of “that Holy Spirit of promise” (Eph. 1.13). With this we have come to our Sinai, our Pentecost, our receiving of the law. What law? The same Law that Christ sent to the disciples in fire on the day of Pentecost when He baptized them in the Holy Spirit—the law of the Spirit of life in Christ Jesus, by which we walk through the land of our inheritance in total liberty from the law of sin and death.
Just as the Torah was the law of the old covenant, the law of the Spirit of life in Christ Jesus is the law of the new covenant. Israel had to adhere strictly to the Torah in order to possess their heritage (Josh. 1.7). We must abide by the Law of the Spirit of Life in Christ Jesus, thus fulfilling the righteousness of the Torah, and thus having “good success” in possessing our spiritual inheritance. It is only as we walk in this Law, walk in the Spirit, that we are able to possess our inheritance. It is utterly impossible to do so without this.
But the thing is—and this ought to encourage us immensely—because of the provision God has given us, we are fit, competent, able to possess it! In fact with this enabling, there is nothing in this universe that can hinder us from possessing our spiritual heritage. Many Christians are in circumstances that are heart breaking. But no circumstance of life regardless how bitter or grievous or difficult can hinder us from entering into and enjoying the heritage in the Spirit that God has marked out for us in Christ.
…More next time.