I am reading through my Bible again and am in the book of Joshua. This is very timely, for there is an urgency in my spirit, a renewed emphasis, on apprehending our salvation—our spiritual heritage.
We Christians, whether Jew or Gentile, have a spiritual heritage unto which we have been predestined, just as Israel of old was predestined to the heritage of Canaan—even before they were born. They were predestined to an earthly inheritance because of the promise God made Abraham long before they were born.
And their inheritance was marked out beforehand for them; it was given them by lot. They didn’t cross the Jordan and then have some sort of land rush, hoping to grab the best parcels of land before anyone else. Rather, Joshua divided their inheritance to them (Josh. 1.6), and he did it by lot (Josh. 13.6, 14.2). In other words, it was not actually Joshua, but God Himself who decided what portion each one was to possess. This assured that every Israelite, the small as well as the great, the weak as well as the strong, received a portion in the land. Ezekiel confirms this in what I believe is a prophecy foreshadowing our inheritance in the Spirit.
And ye shall inherit it, one as well as another… (Ezek. 47.14).
What an encouraging hope. Oh how we admire the great saints, and wistfully wish we could be like them. But this wondrous heritage in the Spirit is not just for the great saints; God will not be satisfied, God will not rest, till each and every true Christian, the small as well as the great, has apprehended his or her inheritance.
And so, like the Israelites of old, we too are a people with a destiny. I think it’s likely Paul is drawing a parallel to Israel of old when he says in Ephesians (which perhaps could be called the New Testament book of Joshua) that God has predestined us “unto the adoption” (Eph. 1.5) and also unto an inheritance (Eph. 1.11). It is a heavenly inheritance—a realm of abounding “spiritual blessings in the heavenlies in Christ” (Eph. 1.3). It is also a realm that must be conquered (Eph. 6. 10-20). Spiritual forces of wickedness “in the heavenlies” must be overcome, just as the Israelites of old had to drive out their enemies in the land God had given them before they could possess it.
And what is this all about? Why did God bring Israel of old into their inheritance? Why did He redeem them from Egyptian bondage, bring them through the wilderness, and into the land He had promised them? Ultimately it was that He Himself might be glorified, that He might make Himself a glorious Name (Ex. 15.11-17, 2 Sam. 7.23, Isa. 63.11-14).
So it does not surprise us to find Paul saying that this same motive is what is back of God’s purpose in eternal redemption and in bringing the redeemed into their inheritance.
It is “to the praise of His glory” that He has predestined us unto the adoption (Eph. 1. 4-7).
It is “to the praise of the glory of His grace” that those who first hoped in Christ are predestined to an inheritance (Eph. 1.11).
And, it is “to the praise of His glory” that this inheritance shall, in the day of redemption, be fully possessed (Eph. 1.14, 4.30).
This I am sure is what Peter has in mind when he talks of a salvation “ready to be revealed in the last time.” He says this salvation is a living hope unto which we have been begotten, and which he describes as “an inheritance incorruptible, and undefiled, and that fadeth not away, reserved in the heavens for you who are kept by the power of God through faith unto salvation ready to be revealed in the last time” (1 Pt. 3-5).
That’s so encouraging. Everything in this world is corruptible, defiled, fading. This heavenly inheritance is incorruptible. It can’t be defiled, and it never fades away. Even after so long a time it’s still there… waiting for you and me.
Notice that word reserved. There’s an inheritance in the heavenly realm with your name on it. Reserved for ________. No one else can have it. In fact I don’t need yours, and don’t want it; there’s one with my name on it too.
And no, Peter doesn’t mean that when we die and go to Heaven we finally get to keep our reservation. He says this salvation is “ready to be revealed in the last time.” It’s for here. It’s for now… “in the last time.”
Notice also that you and I are being kept for this reservation. We are “kept by the power of God through faith unto salvation ready to be revealed in the last time.”
Yes, the trial of our faith is very great… and at times, oh, so severe. But oh, how precious it is, more precious than gold that perishes! Gold will perish one day, but this inheritance, this salvation, will never perish.
Let us hold fast our faith, then, though it be tried by fire, and thus be ourselves ready for this salvation that is ready to be revealed, this inheritance that is reserved for us. The time is at hand! We have an appointment with a destiny! Let us keep it!
These words are anointed indeed. They raise me up and bring joy to my heart. They move me to tears. I have read this one and the previous entry about our Joshua – Jesus. The longing to come into the fullness of our inheritance in Him is this groaning we feel. Yes indeed. It has to be pressed in for. It is being contested in the spirit realms. The land was theirs by right but it still had to be fought for. There were giants to overcome. But, oh, the rewards that will be found. Press on brethren. Though we go through trials and tests, our present sufferings are not worth comparing to the glory that will be revealed in us (Rom 8v18). The rewards that are there. Finer than gold indeed. The reward is Him. It is Jesus. His nature in us and through us. The reward is fullness of life in Him. To hear His heartbeat. To know His sweet, still voice ever more clearly. To be found fully in Him. No trace of us left. The depth of these truths is indescribable. The revelation is so marvellous. In these truths, in what He has purchased for us, there is the entire meaning and purpose for Him to even create us in the first place. He is the Alpha and the Omega. He is the author and finisher. I am broken by these truths at the same time as being lifted up. My unworthiness before His throne is laid before me. It stares at me in the mirror. And yet He calls me into this place. This palace. This table. This mending feast. My sin is washed away. The revelation of this in itself is enough to praise Him night and day. To cause me to worship Him through the watches of the night. This wondrous salvation. Our wonderful Saviour. Yet there is more. Pressing on across the Jordan. Into the life of fullness and the walk of the Spirit. Oh, to walk that walk. To be consumed by His life, His thoughts, His heart. To have His mind. This world fades away. All is but rubbish in this earthly domain. Truly it is. In comparison to the indescribable, immeasurable greatness of knowing Him. Glory to God for evermore. What are we that He should be mindful of us? That He should care? He has not treated us as our sins deserve. Oh happy day. Blessed assurance Jesus is mine (He is ours)…..oh what a foretaste of glory divine. These days are coming. I see them on the horizon. Closer and closer still they move towards us. We will walk in this inheritance in these realms. They will invade this sin sick world and we shall walk as He walked. He will be so close to us. He will come to us as never before. Closer than we have yet ever known. The chains of this world and the rod of the oppressor will be utterly broken; here in these realms and in these days. We will walk in these truths, in this inheritance. It is for a day soon to come. “He who testifies to these things says “Yes, I am coming soon”. Rev 22v20
Hi, Martin, I bear witness with what you said: “We will walk in these truths, in this inheritance…” I’m thinking of what God said to Joshua at the border of their inheritance. “Be strong and of a good courage; for unto this people shalt thou divide for an inheritance this land…” (Josh. 1.6). So, thinking of this in terms of the fulfillment of this promise in Christ, it ministers faith and rest to my heart to know that it is the responsibility of our Joshua– Jesus Christ– to divide unto us our heavenly heritage. He will not fail to do this. And so, yes, we shall walk in it. “Every place that the sole of your foot shall tread upon, that have I given you” (Josh. 1.3).
…There is a beautiful spirit of worship in what you have written, Martin.
Thank you Allan. Yes. This is very important for us to know and I feel myself needing to rest in this. As we carry the right heart before Him it is His work to bring us into it. Devoid of striving or grasping. Not by our works as this is the old covenant of religion. Not a heavy thing. His yoke is easy and his burden is light. I am guilty more than many perhaps of applying pressure to myself. We can want Him so much to be pleased with us and to be seen as worthy in His eyes. The heart of a son is at rest. He wants us to be rid of an orphan mind set and heart.
I have really been wondering about the distinction between a great saint and (seemingly) smaller ones. What is a great saint? Is his inheritance bigger, better, will he receive more than others? And are the smaller ones the dupes here?
It is true that we can see/experience – still on earth – that all things belong to us as soon as we are completely one with Christ in the spirit. In Heaven, again, there is only oneness, not two or three separated from each other although we remain different individuals. However, we are inseparably one with Him AND with each other. We may know that we possess as much as Christ has because we are “possessed” by Him. All who know such a state will eagerly share their inheritance with others, for it is written;
“And all that believed were together, and had all things common; And sold their possessions and goods, and parted them to all men, as every man had need.” (Acts 2:44-45)
This was the first “heavenly state” which believers experienced on earth.
Nonetheless, one might also think of the parable of the talents here (Mt 25:14-30). Five talents vs. two talents which led to an inheritance, and one talent which was hid in the earth, and finally was completely lost, that is, that servant even lost his eternal life!
That’s horrible, isn’t it?
All three servants had been blessed with spiritual gifts they should have shared with others in order to multiply them. And two servants, indeed, were faithful. But what about the third servant? Why was he so afraid and called our sweet and lovely Lord even “a hard man”?
The Bible says,
“There is no fear in love; but perfect love casteth out fear: because fear hath torment. He that feareth is not made perfect in love.” (1 Jn 4:18)
I think he was not only not yet perfected in love, but even he had none. His talent was hid all the time. No fruit. Why? Could we imagine that he was jealous of those two other servants whom the Lord used more than him?
Perfect love, as described in 1 Cor 13, knows no jealousy. Perfect love shares everything. Yet, the jealous believer wants to have it his/her own way. He/she wants to be better than others. From a carnal point of view, I do understand it, but we should strive for oneness with Christ which casts out both fear and jealousy.
If a believer has been tempted to do his/her “own thing” although he/she has been given a certain gift which ought to be shared with others selflessly, then they should repent as soon as possible, since the destiny of that “one talent servant” is ETERNAL DEATH.
“Know ye not that the unrighteous shall not inherit the kingdom of God? Be not deceived: neither fornicators, nor idolaters, nor adulterers, nor effeminate, nor abusers of themselves with mankind,
Nor thieves, nor covetous, nor drunkards, nor revilers, nor extortioners, shall inherit the kingdom of God.” (1 Cor 6:9-10)
Sorry, Allan, that I somehow “pushed a bit against the fence” of dreaming of our inheritance – sometimes I did it as well – but the Lord urged me to write these comments just the way I wrote them.
I admit that it seems from time to time that I am ”a freaky woman”, but I hope that even my seemingly craziest comments comprise an exhortation toward sober-mindedness in all things. We are not yet in heaven, and I hope we all do help each other grow instead of focusing on our own spiritual growth which automatically ensues as soon as we have forgotten our self (= death of self) and care for each other as Christ did and does for us.
Let us adore and admire only our Lord Jesus Christ, so that we can see we are all one with Him, and Paul, and Peter, and John, and Mary, and Anna, and Priscilla, and Jeremiah, and David, and Esther, and Sarah …….…………………
We are all brothers and sisters. There is no difference between us!
Hi Susanne, some good thoughts there. When it comes to small and great, I am also reminded of Isaiah’s prophecy in which he spoke of “vessels of cups and vessels of flagons” (Isa. 22.24). It doesn’t mean that the flagons are “greater” in God’s sight; it just means that some have a greater capacity than others. And those whose capacity is less are not forgotten. Then also Paul’s words on the body of Christ– that God has tempered the body together giving more abundant honour to the part that lacked… that the members might have the same care for one another. I think that in it all, God is just saying that when it comes to possessing our eternal inheritance, not one of His own is overlooked or forgotten.
And, both the bride and the Groom are “heirs together of the grace of life.”
As to the fate of the unprofitable servant, I think I’ll just leave that up to God, remembering that every man’s work (my own included) will be tried by fire… and some, while all their works might go up in smoke, they themselves shall be saved, “yet so as be fire” (1 Cor. 3.15).
Just one question, though. Referring to 1 Cor 3:15, I take it you are talking about false doctrine spread during his lifetime which will result in the loss of a Christian’s eternal reward although he will be saved?
John Wesley for example defined that loss with losing a “peculiar degree of glory.”
And Matthew Henry wrote,
“Those who spread true and pure religion in all the branches of it, and whose work will abide in the great day, shall receive a reward. And, Lord, how great! how much exceeding their deserts! 2. There are others whose works shall be burnt (v. 15), whose corrupt opinions and doctrines, or vain inventions and usages in the worship of God, shall be discovered, disowned, and rejected, in that day-shall be first manifested to be corrupt, and then disapproved of God and rejected. Note, The great day will pluck off all disguises, and make things appear as they are: He whose work shall be burnt will suffer loss. If he have built upon the right foundation wood and hay and stubble, he will suffer loss. His weakness and corruption will be the lessening of his glory, though he may in the general have been an honest and an upright Christian. This part of his work will be lost, turning no way to his advantage, though he himself may be saved. Observe, Those who hold the foundation of Christianity, though they build hay, wood, and stubble, upon it, may be saved. This may help to enlarge our charity. We should not reprobate men for their weakness: for nothing will damn men but wickedness. He shall be saved, yet so as by fire, saved out of the fire. He himself shall be snatched out of that flame which will consume his work. This intimates that it will be difficult for those that corrupt and deprave Christianity to be saved. God will have no mercy on their works, though he may pluck them as brands out of the burning.”
(Matthew Henry Bible Commentary, 1 Corinthians 3)
Transferred to today’s blogging scene, I see a big difference between those bloggers who spread false doctrine unknowingly because they still don’t know the TRUTH, yet keep on seeking it. Those bloggers (who also welcome commenters who challenge their own belief) will never be a case of 1 Cor 3:15 since God will guide them into all the truth (Jn 16:13).
As opposed to this, there are bloggers who also spread false doctrine and their own false view on different spiritual things, who also have been honest seekers of the truth; however, they have been warned by God to change their misleading opinion [let’s say, just for instance, by deleting certain blog posts which could “poison” unsuspecting “droppers-in”]. Those bloggers, indeed, will be case of 1 Cor 3:15 if they don’t repent. The day of judgment will be awful for them, since on that very day, they will see all those who had been infected, even harmed, by their false doctrine, and the implications thereof.
May we not belong to those self-seekers.
“Our God shall come, and shall not keep silence: a fire shall devour before him, and it shall be very tempestuous round about him. He shall call to the heavens from above, and to the earth, that he may judge his people. Gather my saints together unto me; those that have made a covenant with me by sacrifice. And the heavens shall declare his righteousness: for God is judge himself. Selah. Hear, O my people, and I will speak; O Israel, and I will testify against thee: I am God, even thy God.” (Ps 50:3-7)
“Not many of you should become teachers, my brothers, for you know that we who teach will be judged with greater strictness. For we all stumble in many ways. And if anyone does not stumble in what he says, he is a perfect man, able also to bridle his whole body.” (Js 3:1-2)
“For the time is come that judgment must begin at the house of God: and if it first begin at us, what shall the end be of them that obey not the gospel of God? And if the righteous scarcely be saved, where shall the ungodly and the sinner appear?” (1 Pt 4:17-18)
“Just one question, though. Referring to 1 Cor 3:15, I take it you are talking about false doctrine spread during his lifetime which will result in the loss of a Christian’s eternal reward although he will be saved?”
No, this doesn’t refer to the spreading of false doctrine, but rather, I would say, to dead works– building upon the foundation things that are not eternal, things the Architect and Builder has not authorized. And perhaps Matt. 25.30 (the “unprofitable servant”) isn’t speaking of the same thing as 1 Cor. 3.15, but I don’t think being cast into “outer darkness” necessarily implies what you described as “eternal death.” In any case, I confess that at this time I don’t have much revelation on matters of the Judgment. At present I think there’s a lot of speculation and presumption in this area, and I for one am content to leave it all safely in God’s hands till He is pleased to grant clear revelation on it all.