Nov 19, 2013
The Guarantee Of Our Inheritance
Through faith in Christ we have received an inheritance — the heart-filling joy of beholding God’s glory in Christ forever.
We can see that in Ephesians 1:11 — In him we have obtained an inheritance …
And in Colossians 1:12 — the Father, who has qualified you to share in the inheritance of the saints in light …
And in 1 Peter 1:3-4 — God … has caused us to be born-again … to an inheritance …
This inheritance is most naturally understood as the heart-filling joy of beholding God’s glory —
- because Paul says the inheritance is “in light” (Col 1:12) and “light” often describes God’s glory in Christ (2 Corinthians 4:3,6; Revelation 21:23);
- and because Peter says this inheritance will “be revealed” to us (1 Peter 1:5), and later says that what will “be revealed” to us is God’s glory (1 Peter 5:1).
So, because you are trusting Christ, you have an inheritance — the all-satisfying joy of beholding God’s glory in Christ forever and ever and ever.
But There’s More
Not only does God give us this inheritance, he gives us the Holy Spirit as the guarantee of this inheritance.
We can see that in Ephesians 1:13-14 —
… the promised Holy Spirit, who is the guarantee of our inheritance …
And in 2 Corinthians 1:22 —
… [God has] given us his Spirit in our hearts as a guarantee.
And 2 Corinthians 5:5 —
He who has prepared us for [heaven] is God, who has given us the Spirit as a guarantee.
But how is the Holy Spirit the guarantee?
One answer is that because we trust Christ we have the Spirit, and since the Spirit will keep us in the faith, we can be assured that we will receive the inheritance.
That is surely taught in God’s Word. But I think the Spirit is even more of a guarantee than that.
The First Installment
The Greek word translated “guarantee” has to do with money. If someone wants to buy a large-ticket item, he would give the seller a guarantee, which mean he would give some money as “the first installment with a guarantee that the rest would follow” (Harold Hoehner, Ephesians: An Exegetical Commentary, p.241).
That happens today in real estate transactions. When we sold a home years ago, a buyer gave us an offer, along with a deposit. This deposit was an actual first-installment of the total money she promised us.
She had taken part of her total money, and given it to us, so we could know that she had money, and that her money was good.
That’s what God does for us through the Holy Spirit.
When God gives us the Holy Spirit as a guarantee, he takes a portion of what we will experience in heaven, and gives it to us now as a first installment, so we can know for sure heaven is real, and that it is all-satisfying.
We can see this even more clearly when we look at two other passages that describe what the Spirit does.
Take Romans 5:5 for example —
God’s love has been poured into our hearts through the Holy Spirit who has been given to us.
The Holy Spirit gives us times when we not only know that God loves us, but when we feel his actual love for us.
Heaven is where we will know God’s love most fully (Romans 8:38-39). But God, by the Spirit, gives us tastes of his love now, so that by first-hand experience we can know his love is real, and that it is all-satisfying.
Look also at 2 Corinthians 3:18 —
And we all, with unveiled face, beholding the glory of the Lord, are being transformed into the same image from one degree of glory to another. For this comes from the Lord who is the Spirit.
The Holy Spirit enables us to behold the glory of the Lord. That does not just mean knowing that Christ is glorious (as important as that is). Other passages show this means we will have times when we see and feel and experience the very glory of God in Christ (John 17:21-23; Colossians 1:27; 2 Corinthians 4:6).
Heaven is where we will receive the full revelation of God’s glory in Christ (1 Peter 4:12-13; Revelation 21:23). But God, by the Spirit, takes some of the actual glory we will experience in heaven, and enables us to experience it now, so that in this life we can know his glory is real, and that it is all-satisfying.
How Can We Experience This?
God is sovereign. He pours out this gracious work of the Spirit where and when he chooses.
But in his mercy, through Christ, he has given us steps to take which he promises will bring us this gracious work.
He encourages us to pray for this work of the Spirit (Luke 11:13; Ephesians 1:15-22; Ephesians 3:14-19).
And he promises that as we fight to hear his word with faith, he will provide us with this work of the Spirit (Galatians 3:5; Ephesians 6:17; John 6:35; John 7:37-38).
God promises that as we seek him with fervent prayer and meditation on God’s Word, he will give us times when we so feel his love, so behold his glory, that we will experientially know heaven is real and is worth it all.
That’s how the Holy Spirit is the guarantee of our inheritance.
Pie In The Sky?
People criticize Christianity for being just about pie in the sky by and by.
Well, it is about pie in the sky — the all-satisfying pie of beholding God’s glory in Christ forever and ever.
But it’s not just about pie in the sky. Because God, by the Spirit, gives us tastes of that pie now, in this life.
And when we taste that pie — we will have unshakeable peace, overflowing joy, sacrificial generosity, risky love, and bold evangelism.
Another slice, please.
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And here are some related posts you might find helpful –
- How The Holy Spirit Guarantees Your Inheritance (4-min video)
- What If I Do Not Experience The Holy Spirit?
- Don’t Settle For Just KNOWING The Truth — FEEL The Truth (4-min video)
- What Is The Baptism Of The Holy Spirit (Part One)
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