“The Spirit itself beareth witness with our spirit, that we are the children of God:
And if children, then heirs; heirs of God, and joint-heirs with Christ;”
Romans 8:16, 17
Imagine for a minute that a rich uncle left you 10 million dollars in his will. In fact, he gave that same amount to each of your five brothers and sisters. That’s handy because it means there’s no jealousy or rivalry. You had no idea he had that kind of money. He had always been generous with you but you had no clue he intended, or was able, to give so abundantly.
There’s one stipulation however: you can only keep $1,000,000 for yourself but only after you give the other nine million away. Your uncle set up a simple system with the Executor of his estate to report how you share your bounty. You must first claim your inheritance, prove you are one of the rightful heirs, and agree to the terms. And by the way, you and your brothers and sisters cannot just all give your nine million to each other. It has to go to needy and worthy causes.
I know this is just an imaginary scenario, but I think it’s helpful to ponder sometimes how you would behave in such a situation. Would having such resources available to you change the way you see yourself and your fellow man? You would realize you could make a very real difference in the lives of many, many people. Who would you help? What organizations would you support? How would it make you feel to be able to do so much for others?
Just thinking about this as I write, I feel empowered to share what I do have, which is far from $9,000,000. But maybe I do have more than that to give. And maybe you do to. Who can put a value on the love in your heart? What is forgiving your enemies worth?
Our true spiritual inheritance now
In his letter to the Romans quoted above, Paul declares that we are “heirs of God, and joint-heirs with Christ.” Have any of us even begun to scratch the surface on what this really means and the implications it should have on the way we live our lives?
And pay attention to the verb tense in this verse. Paul says we are [present tense] the children of God and therefore heirs right now. He’s not talking about way off in the future or after you die.
Jesus always emphasized that the kingdom of heaven is at hand, here and now, not just somewhere in the distant hereafter. Paul brings home that point by declaring that we are heirs of this kingdom. We may not see or comprehend it all right now, but it is still true and valid right here, right now.
So what is this spiritual inheritance?
It’s to think and act like Jesus. To love like him. To pray like him. To forgive like him. To heal like he did. To surrender to God’s will like he did. To see that the kingdom of heaven is here and now as he did.
This is your divine inheritance. It is your divine right to be like Jesus. In fact he promised, “whoever believes in me will also do the works that I do; and greater works than these will he do, because I am going to the Father.” (John 14:12 ESV)
Have you claimed your inheritance? Have you accepted your right to receive such a gift? Or have you somehow decided you must not be included in the list of heirs who get the full gift?
God has prepared this infinite inheritance of good for all His children. Christ has opened the door so we can see God’s loves for us as sons and daughters, that our spiritual inheritance exists, and that we are worthy of it.
But just as in the imaginary exercise above with a rich uncle, we have to put our inheritance to good use to bless others. It’s not enough just to sit around and think, “Wow, I’m the child of God. I have all His goodness and love in my life. I’ll just sit here and bask in that joy.” Jesus did not just take care of his own needs. He used his God-given abilities to bless and heal others. We must do the same.
Claim your God-given inheritance
Take a moment right now. Close your eyes. (Right now. Don’t pretend you’ll do it later.) And claim, with the same assurance you would assert in a courtroom your right to the rich uncle’s gift as his niece or nephew, that you are the beloved child of God. Claim with absolute conviction that you are the heir of God, and a joint-heir with Christ. If you’ve never done this before, it may at first seem hypocritical, that you don’t deserve to take such a bold position. But you don’t earn the position of “child of God,” you just are. And you must claim it.
You have full rights to the spiritual resources in the kingdom of heaven just as much as Jesus did. He constantly exercised his divine rights. It’s time for us to follow his example.
Just to be clear, a major part of this legacy is to give God full credit for your ability to do what you do. Jesus never did anything for personal glory. He reminded his followers, “I can of mine own self do nothing.” (John 5:30 KJV) Do we half remember that when we go about doing what God has impelled and empowered us to do?
It is your divine right and inheritance to pray with the same conviction and authority that Jesus did. Expecting the same results is part of your spiritual birthright as well. Don’t be so quick to trade this glory for a pot of lentils as Esau did (Genesis 25:30-34).
Several years ago, I was struggling with a serious problem. My knees were swollen and painful. It was slowly getting worse and had been going on for weeks. It was hard to find a comfortable position sitting, standing, or lying down. There was a noticeable limp when I walked and going up and down stairs was a slow process.
During this time I was praying for healing. I prayed every way I could think of. But one morning I had a spiritual breakthrough. My prayers took a different turn. I started claiming my rights as a child of God and that this problem was not included in my inheritance from God. It had no part or place in what God had ordained for me. These weren’t just words. I felt deeply the spirit of God’s love for me and my divine rights as His heir.
Within the next three or four days, the swelling was gone, the pain disappeared, and I had full freedom in all my activities. I was grateful for this healing, but even more grateful for the lesson it taught me to claim my true spiritual inheritance as a child of God.
You can do the same…today.
Is there something going on in your life that is not part of your divine inheritance? It might be a health issue, a situation at work, some greed or jealousy or some other sin hiding in your heart. God has given you dominion over whatever the problem may be. Jesus has pointed out the way to proceed. Now it’s time to follow.
Take your stand. Claim your full inheritance as God’s dear child. And don’t back down. You are the heir of God and a joint-heir with Christ.
Blessings to you,
P.S. As always, I’d love to hear from you if you found this helpful and hear your thoughts. Please leave a comment below. Do you know someone who might find this helpful? Please share.