Hebrews Lesson 150 March 5, 2009
NKJ Isaiah 26:3 You will keep him in perfect peace, Whose mind is stayed on You, Because he trusts in You.
We've been in Hebrews 9.
NKJ Hebrews 9:15 And for this reason He
is the Mediator of the new covenant, by means of death, for the redemption of the transgressions under the first covenant,
That's the payment for sin that occurred in the Old Testament.
that those who are called
That is a term that refers to those who have trusted in Christ as their Savior.
may receive the promise of the eternal inheritance.
So those who are called look back. That term looks back to phase 1 justification; salvation that occurs when we put our faith alone in Christ alone, that instant we are regenerated. God the Holy Spirit gives us a new human spirit, and we have a new life. We move from spiritual death to spiritual life. That occurred whenever you believed in Jesus Christ as your Savior.
may receive the promise of the eternal inheritance.
Now that indicates a shift in time from the past response in phase 1 to the future phase 3 glorification and then reward at the Judgment Seat of Christ. It indicates the purpose for Church Age believers has to do with that future inheritance. We began a study a couple of weeks ago on the Doctrine of Inheritance. The important thing to see in the Doctrine of Inheritance is what we see in Colossian 3:23-24. That is that inheritance is related to something that is earned and identified as a reward.
NKJ Colossians 3:23 And whatever you do, do it heartily, as to the Lord and not to men,
NKJ Colossians 3:24 knowing that from the Lord you will receive the reward of the inheritance; for you serve the Lord Christ.
So there are two things that we have to keep in mind. Number 1 is that salvation is not a reward; it is a free gift – Ephesians 2:8-9.
NKJ Ephesians 2:8 For by grace you have been saved through faith, and that not of yourselves; it is the gift of God,
NKJ Ephesians 2:9 not of works, lest anyone should boast.
Second, we have rewards that are promised on the basis of service, on the basis of obedience. It's easy in some passages to become confused. The trend from so many in the evangelical world today and in past centuries has been to confuse these two types of passages so that salvation becomes linked to a work in a backdoor sense. Now of course there's the Arminian position that sort of front doors works. But there are many evangelicals who backdoor works so that if the works aren't there, then you weren't really saved. We usually refer to that position as lordship salvation. That's more of a modern designation because there are those like John MacArthur out in Southern California who is very well-known on the radio who emphasizes that faith in Christ is submitting to His Lordship. So that's the idea there is that when you believe in Jesus, it's not simply trusting in Christ or believing certain truths about Him - that He is the Messiah, that He is the eternal Second Person of the Trinity, incarnate in humanity who died on the cross for our sins - but that faith really has the idea of commitment.
If you look the word faith up in any thesaurus, you're not going to find commitment as a synonym. So there are some fundamental errors that are made. But that's the idea in Lordship salvation is that people commit their lives to Christ. If they haven't committed their lives to Christ or committed themselves in obedience or submission to the sovereignty of God, then they're not really saved. It's just a head-knowledge and not a heart-knowledge. They bring in that little truism that is often repeated in churches that sounds nice but is totally fraudulent.
Belief is a matter of understanding certain propositions, certain statements. The term proposition is really a technical term. A proposition in logic is any statement that can be verified or falsified. A question - what's the temperature outside? That can't be verified or falsified. It's a question, a command. Go get me a cup of coffee. That can't be verified or falsified. That's a command. But a statement – there is snow on the ground outside. Well, that can be verified or falsified. Jesus is the Son or God. That can be verified or falsified. It is either true or it's false. So that's what a proposition is.
No one has direct, immediate knowledge of Jesus. Not one of us ever saw Jesus. Not one of us has ever had that personal encounter with Jesus. No one we know has had a personal encounter with Jesus despite the fact that we may know some odd people. No one has ever had a personal encounter with Jesus. They have only known about Him through the statements of the Scripture.
John says in John 20:
NKJ John 20:31 but these are written that you may believe that Jesus is the Christ, the Son of God, and that believing you may have life in His name.
That's a proposition. These are written – these propositions, these statements about Jesus that you read about all the way through the Gospel of John. These are propositions. They are either true or they're false. These can be true or falsified. So we only know Jesus through the statements of Scripture. We come to Scripture and we believe these statements.
Now some people say, "Well that's an awfully cold impersonal kind of religion. Isn't Christianity all about a relationship?"
It is. But the relationship comes after you put your faith in Jesus Christ. At that instant that we're adopted into the family of God, we are identified with Christ in His death, burial, and resurrection through the baptism of God the Holy Spirit. The Holy Spirit takes up residency in us. The Father and the Son take up residence in us. Then a relationship begins. But that's not the starting point. It doesn't matter if you have a relationship with Jesus. That's not going to get you into heaven. Judas had a relationship. He had a close personal relationship with Jesus. That isn't going to get him into heaven. It's trusting in Jesus Christ as the one who died on the cross for our sins and that believing that, trusting in Him, accepting. That's receiving Him. That's another synonym that the Scripture uses. That's what faith is. It is believing something to be true and relying upon it; it's not this idea of committing to it.
Now when you get into the Gospels, which is where we are headed eventually, when we get to point 13 or 14 we'll get into some of these Gospel passages, and what's really tricky there is that statements about inheritance are closely united in statements that talk also about salvation. So you have to pay attention to context.
Then you have to look at these verses and say, "What's a work and what is a gift? What's a reward and what is something that is freely given as a result of faith in Christ?"
We usually refer to some of these statements as discipleship statements where Jesus says, "If you want to be a disciple, then you need to take up your cross daily and follow Me."
Well, some people will say or take those as all salvation verses. But if that's a salvation verse, then salvation is based on doing something. It's not based on simply believing that Jesus died on the cross for your sins, but you have to do something else.
Now everybody who gets rewarded has eternal life. But not everybody who has eternal life is going to get rewarded or have an inheritance. As we saw last time there are two kinds of inheritance that are spoken of specifically in Romans.
So I want to go back and pick up a little review starting with point 6. I'm not going to go all the way back to the first point. We'll just start at point 6 recognizing that our heirship is based on adoption and sonship. Therefore inheritance is related to our position in Christ.
NKJ Romans 8:16 The Spirit Himself bears witness with our spirit that we are children of God,
That comes about through adoption, which is true of every person when they trust Christ as Savior. When a person trusts Jesus Christ as Savior, God does a number of different things in every believer's life. I've seen these categorized and enumerated. I know one person who says 185 different things God does for you at the point of salvation. Then there are others. Originally in Louis Sperry Chafer's Systematic Theology, he had (I forget) 33 or 34 things that were listed. One category is that we have a close relationship with God the Holy Spirit. Then it lists all the ministries of God the Holy Spirit – indwelling, giving spiritual gifts, filling. All those were subcategories of one point. So somebody can come along and break those out into individual points. Now you have 5 more things that God does for you at the point of salvation. So it doesn't matter how many numbers there are, but there are a vast number of things that God does for every person at the instant of salvation.
And they're not experiential. What I mean by that is you don't feel it when it happens. You don't suddenly have this little vibration or charge that goes through you and now you know that you're saved. You may be sick. You may have the flu. You may be hanging on a cross like the thief next to Jesus and he certainly didn't get the rosy glow and have an ecstatic experience as he was hanging there being crucified when Jesus said, "Today I will see you in paradise." So it's not experiential. It is only after you're saved, after you are regenerate and have the Holy Spirit that you go through the Scripture and begin to study that you realize and you learn all of these tremendous things that God did for us at the instant of salvation. They are the resources that every believer has. It gives us tremendous potential. Every believer has access to the same power of the Holy Spirit. Every believer has access to the same position that he has in Christ. Every believer has all of these things without distinction.
One of those is that we're all members of God's royal family. We are all children of God. That qualifies us. Verse 17 says:
NKJ Romans 8:17 and if children, then heirs -- heirs of God and joint heirs with Christ, if indeed we suffer with Him, that we may also be glorified together.
I pointed out last time that this is a really an important verse. It's important because it identifies two categories of inheritance. There is an inheritance that is related to God. We are heirs of God. And there is a second heirship that is joint heirship with Christ. The way the English Bible translates this and punctuates the sentence makes it look as if they are synonymous. That's how I've got this on the screen in front of you. The phrase "heirs of God and joint heirs with Christ" indicates that there is a synonymous relationship between the two and that every child of God gets these two types of heirship. The problem is there is this conditional clause that follows the phrase "joint heirs with Christ".
If indeed we suffer with Him, that we may also be glorified together.
That seems to put a condition on inheritance, on all inheritance that is related to suffering in Jesus. You can believe in Jesus; but if you don't suffer - have you really been saved?
Some would say, "Well, if you haven't suffered…"
Of course then you have to define what suffering is because what is suffering to one person may not be suffering to another person. But we have to go back and look at how that particular word is used. That word is used to describe the Lord Jesus Christ in His spiritual growth. In passages such as Hebrews 2:10, God the Father took Him through various sufferings, the adversity of living in a fallen world where He matured. He set that pattern as He faced all these different kinds of adversity and testings that we face. He handles them the same way that we can handle them through the Spirit of God and through the Word of God. So He set the precedent for us and He set the precedent for the spiritual life of the Church Age.
The precedent of the spiritual life of the Church Age is not in the Mosaic Law. That's another problem not only Lordship salvation has; but this was a problem coming out of the Roman Catholic Church that all of the theologies of the Reformation had. They got justification right, but they weren't real clear on sanctification, which is the spiritual life. So they were trying to grow spiritually by bootstrap spirituality – by performing works, by being obedient without understanding the role of the Holy Spirit.
One of the dominating theologies throughout all that period was what we call Reformed Theology or Calvinism. What's interesting is you go back and you read Calvinistic theology. As rich of a heritage as it is and as much as it contributed to our understanding of the Bible and even though I don't agree with Calvinistic theology in many areas, historically we have to recognize that Calvinistic theology shaped Western Civilization in magnificent ways primarily because of the high view of God that it had and the low view of man that it had. What I mean by a low view of man is it recognized that man is a corrupt sinner and could do nothing to improve himself spiritually and that man is not basically good, but basically evil. Man is basically a sinner. The implications of their high view of God and their low view of man were profound and changed Western Civilization. For that we can be grateful.
Nearly everybody who was in the colonists in American in the 16th and early 17 centuries came out of a Calvinistic or reformed heritage for the most part. They were Scotch-Irish Presbyterians and Congregationalists; and they were independent Baptists from England. They were very Calvinistic as well.
But the problem in that whole system ,as well as with Lutheran theology, was that after you get justified by faith alone; you're basically being sanctified by works. Your spiritual growth is through morality, and they didn't understand the ministries of the Holy Spirit.
I was amazed when I was taking a doctoral course at Dallas Seminary back in the 80's and we had to do a certain amount of extracurricular reading. The two books that were supposed to be the best theologies on God the Holy Spirit - one was written by John Owen called The Holy Spirit. He was the premier Calvinist Puritan theologian in England. He was Oliver Cromwell's chaplain and Chief of Staff. When you look at him in context he just absolutely brilliant. Then the second work was a work by a man Abraham Kuiper who again was absolutely brilliant individual. He was not only one of the premier theologians within the Dutch Reformed denomination in Holland in the late 19th century, but he was the president or premier of Holland – Prime Minister of Holland and was brilliant in many, many areas. These are 400, 500, 600 page books in 8-point print. (They didn't do 14-point print with a lot of white space like they do today to get a big book) This is detailed material. But what's interesting is they leave out things like the baptism of the Holy Spirit and the filling of the Spirit. You can't even find a chapter on the filling of the Holy Spirit. Then if you also try to look for spiritual warfare you don't find Calvinist theology or Reformed theology trying to deal with spiritual warfare until the 20th century. Once they came under attack from the charismatics and the charismatics started making a big deal about the baptism of the Holy Spirit, indwelling of the Holy Spirit, and filling of the Holy Spirit; then all of a sudden in the 20th century the reformed camp starts trying to make up for lost time. But up until 1900 there was nothing there about the role of the Holy Spirit in the spiritual life of the believer. It was all sort of bootstrap Christian life - just go out and be moral and obey the Bible and you're going to grow spiritually - no understanding of the role of God the Holy Spirit. So all of this ties together because they don't recognize a distinction between a carnal Christian, someone who is a believer and justified but their whole life produces dead works and a believer who is walking by means of the Spirit therefore is growing and advancing the spiritual life. If you don't have a category for the carnal rebellious apostate believer, then you end up making works your ultimate tool to evaluate if a person is saved or not.
"Well, look at that person. Look at what they did. Look at where they go. How can they be saved?"
Immediately when you make those statements you're arguing subtly maybe but you are arguing that works is the basis for salvation. So they would link these two things together. You have one heirship. Everybody gets it. So everybody gets to heaven with the same things.
I pointed out last time that it's all about punctuation and in the original Greek there is no punctuation. So, I always enjoy having fun with this little exercise, statement. "Woman without her man is nothing" can be punctuated two different ways. One way, you put in two commas. It is basically saying:
Woman, without her, man is nothing.
So your main phrase there is "man is nothing."
Whereas, if you only put a comma after man, what you are saying is woman is nothing.
Woman without her man, is nothing.
In the first case a man without a woman is nothing. In the second case, a woman without a man is nothing. So it's all in where you put the commas. So if we re-punctuate Romans 8:17 so that we put a comma after God and no comma after Christ, then we have a phrase that "if we're children then we're heirs of God". In addition to that – "joint heirs with Christ if indeed we suffer with Him".
That word suffer is the same word that's used to describe Jesus' advance in His humanity as He dealt with the testing and the things that He faced as He was maturing in His own spiritual life in His humanity. So if we go through that process with Him, if there is spiritual growth and spiritual maturity, which is when we're walking by the Spirit and God the Holy Spirit is producing fruit and growth in our lives then that's what's rewarded, what's rewardable. That becomes the basis for inheritance
In point 7, I pointed out that heirship means to share the destiny of Christ. Christ has an eternal destiny. We share that as we share His election. There are some key verses to look at in regard to this.
NKJ Ephesians 1:11 In Him also we have obtained an inheritance,
It could be translated "we have receive an inheritance."
being predestined according to the purpose of Him who works all things according to the counsel of His will,
Now 1 Peter 1 is a key chapter for understanding inheritance. We're going to come back in about two points and we're going to look at verse 4 and look at verse 5 in 1 Peter 1. Let's remember that.
NKJ 1 Peter 1:3 Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, who according to His abundant mercy has begotten us again
This is past tense; when we trusted Christ as Savior.
to a living hope through the resurrection of Jesus Christ from the dead,
That's future. Hope in Scripture in the New Testament means a confident expectation. It is a confident expectation of a future reality. Hope is always oriented to what is going to happen in the future. That hope is tied in this passage to verse 4 when it talks about inheritance. So the hope looks forward to that inheritance that God has reserved for us until there is phase 3 glorification.
8. Now as we understand this, we move from understanding that heirship is sharing the destiny of Christ and then we have to answer the question – so what exactly is Christ's heirship? I pointed out last time that He's an heir because of who He is not because of what He did. Matthew 21:28 deals with the parable of the landowner sending his son. He's a son before He's sent. He is the heir before He is sent. But He qualifies for his inheritance by the things that He suffered - Hebrews 1. We looked at Psalm 8:3-6 which focuses on the fact that Jesus Christ as man is created lower than the angels so that He can fulfill the original destiny of Adam to be elevated over all of God's creation. Mankind, the human race, will eventually rule and be at Christ's ascension. He's at the right hand of the Father. At Christ's ascension, it is a man who is now sitting at the helm of the universe. This is picked up and quoted in Hebrews 2:6-8. I pointed out in verse 8 that the writer of Hebrews applies this by saying:
NKJ Hebrews 2:8 You have put all things in subjection under his feet." For in that He
The first He there is God the Father.
put all in subjection under him,
That is, Jesus Christ.
He left nothing that is not put under him. But now we do not yet see all things put under him.
That won't happen until the future when Jesus Christ comes to the Father (Revelation 4 & 5) as the Lamb and takes the scroll from the Father's hand (the title deed for the earth) and then begins to open those seals to establish His authority over the planet during the Tribulation period. That takes us up to point 9.
9. Inheritance is both a present reality and a future possession according to 1 Peter 1:4-5. Now the translation I'm using in these slides is from the New King James. The New King James translated the first part of 1 Peter 1:4 the same way it had translated Ephesians 1:11 that we looked at a minute ago – to obtain an inheritance. But that idea of obtained isn't there. It is simply that we were born again to a living hope to an inheritance. There is not a verbal idea there. It's just stating that is an aspect, a reason that we were saved is for that inheritance. Then there are three adjectives that describe the inheritance. It's imperishable, undefiled and won't fade away. It is permanent. One aspect of this that is so important is it's related to eternal security. We can't lose a certain aspect of this inheritance.
NKJ 1 Peter 1:4 to an inheritance incorruptible and undefiled and that does not fade away, reserved in heaven for you,
The word there - the Greek word there that's the word tereo, which means protected or be kept. It's the same word that Jesus uses in His high priestly prayer when He prays to the Father that He keeps us. It's one of the key words that we have in the Gospel of John for eternal security. So it is an extremely strong word for the preservation of this inheritance. It is reserved or kept or preserved in heaven for you.
Then I put a note there at the end as a reminder that the inheritance there is the hope that we have. We are future looking. The main point here as I keep reiterating is we're living today in light of that future reality. That's what has to become so real to us. Faith is when we come to the Scripture and walking by faith; it's when the truths of the Scripture are more real to us than our experience, the things that we go through, our emotions, the difficulties we face in life. Faith is trusting that what God reveals to us in His Word is true and accurate no matter what experiential evidence may seem to say.
This applies to areas in science like in the creation-evolution debate. We see Darwinist, evolutionists coming with an old earth view. They have all kinds of evidence, all kinds of data. The propaganda machine in the public schools is in high gear. So the average person thinks it's silly to think that the earth isn't old. And the average Christian thinks that too. They've become convinced because of all this propaganda running around that the earth is old. But there is no evidence for an old earth. In fact there is a lot of scientific evidence for a young earth and a lot of scientific evidence that says the evidence that they use for an old earth doesn't fit. There are some technical DVD's out that the Institute for Creation Research has produced as a result of their RATE Project. That is an acronym for the real age of the earth. They have a ten-year study.
One of the things that I'm thinking about next year for the Chafer Conference as we look at the issue of evolution and creation is having one of their guys come out here and talk about, give that evidence in a couple of sessions so that people are more familiar with all the evidences for a young earth. But it happens in science. We looked out there with the experience of looking at these fossils, the experience of certain scientific data.
"Well, the earth's got to be old."
Well, wait a minute; the Bible seems to suggest that it's young. So the truth of God's Word has to be more real to us than experience.
People go out and they have experiences with the supernatural, and they think they've encountered demons or spirits. They get involved in all kinds of things. I've seen a major trend in the last 50 years among missionaries that go out on the edge of civilization dealing with a lot of very primitive stone-age tribes and they'll encounter all kinds of animism and spiritism.
Then they come back and they say, "Well, we led this person or that person or this other person to the Lord. We know they're saved, yet they are still demon possessed."
Or, the demon possession came back on them. So they are looking at a certain behavior pattern in somebody and they're saying that on the basis of their limited, finite knowledge they are able to truly access whether the person is demon possessed or whether or not they're just emotionally unstable. We have to make a decision on the basis of Scripture that Scripture teaches that a Christian cannot be demon possessed. But if they made a clear statement that they believe in Christ as their Savior then that means that whatever is going on isn't demon possession. It's something else.
You have to make the truth of God's Word more real to you than your experience. When you are going through difficult times in life – and that is very likely in the coming years especially in light of what's happened with the economy and many of the decisions that are being made and have been made.
We are going to see a very different financial picture I believe in the next decade than we've seen for the last 30 or 40 years. We've had an expansive growing economy ever since World War II. But if you go back and look at the charts on the growth of the stock market after the Depression, after the Great Depression – the stock market crashed in '29, the Great Depression in the early part of the 30's. It took decades before people really had restored confidence in the market. The growth pattern through the 30's, 40's and 50's is just barely above flat. That's because there wasn't much of a trust in the market. Yet there was still a progression and there was a lot of prosperity during that time especially coming out of World War II. But it wasn't as fast. You didn't see that dynamism that we've had in the last 30 years.
Some of you remember the recessions in the 70's. So we've gotten used to (I believe it was partially artificial) a lot of this growth that seemed to be there the last 20 years or so. Now we're going to see a different environment. For some people, that's going to become very difficult.
Some people are going to face the inability to pay their mortgage. Some people are going to lose their job. We're in Houston and it won't be as difficult for us as other places, but it doesn't matter whether you're in New York or in Houston. If you lose your job and can't get one for a year, it doesn't matter whether you're in the best place or the worst place in the world; it still impacts you in ways that are very tough to deal with. So it's going to depend on the doctrine in your soul and your ability to focus on what God is doing in your life and how God is training you and preparing you for that future orientation. That means keeping your eye on God's plan and what He is ultimately doing in your life and preparing you for a future ministry in the kingdom.
So we have in 1 Peter 1:4-5, this inheritance is kept for us. We are protected. That's the same word in the Greek that's used over there in Philippians 4:5-6 that we are to pray to God.
NKJ Philippians 4:6 Be anxious for nothing, but in everything by prayer and supplication, with thanksgiving, let your requests be made known to God;
NKJ Philippians 4:7 and the peace of God, which surpasses all understanding, will guard your hearts and minds through Christ Jesus.
So we are protected. We are guarded. There's a fortification that occurs in our soul by the power of God through faith for a salvation ready to be revealed in last time.
That word salvation there is not talking about phase 1 justification, but phase 3 glorification when we are absent from the body, face-to-face with the Lord. The rapture occurs and we are there, present at the Judgment Seat of Christ.
So inheritance becomes a present reality because we understand what it is. It motivates us and strengthens us today because that future hope is so real to us now that it is more real than whatever negative experiences there might be.
Ephesians 1:11 which I've used already in other places states the same idea.
NKJ Ephesians 1:11 In Him also we have obtained an inheritance,
That's the verb kleroo which is the root of klernomos, kleronomia, the words for inheritance.
being predestined according to the purpose of Him who works all things according to the counsel of His will,
There's a plan and He is moving us in terms of that future realization of the plan. Then when we go to a couple of verses later in Ephesians:
NKJ Ephesians 1:13 In Him you also trusted, after you heard the word of truth, the gospel of your salvation; in whom also, having believed, you were sealed with the Holy Spirit of promise,
So our inheritance is related to the promise of God the Holy Spirit. That is, He seals us in our relationship with God. Sealing is a sign of His ownership.
Somehow in here I left a point out and the verses go with another point. God the Holy Spirit is the down payment of our inheritance. Ephesians 1:14 as well as Galatians 4.
9. Heirship means eternal security. It's an inheritance that's undefiled which we just saw in I Peter 1:4-5, also Ephesians 1:13-14. It means that we can't lose. Because it's grounded in Christ, it can't be lost. We're identified with Christ and we're placed in Christ. That is a position that can't be shaken by anything that we do because it's all dependent upon who Christ is and what He did on the cross. As Church Age believers we receive God the Holy Spirit who is the down payment of our inheritance. That's again Ephesians 1:14 and Galatians 4:6 speaking of His sealing. Texas is good cattle country. It's like getting branded.
10. That seal is a mark of ownership. It's not visible. I can't look at you and see that. It's the same word used in Revelation. I think the sealing there may become visible, the second half. I'm not sure of that, but it's possible because it seems to be that there is a clear marking. But it's like a brand.
What's interesting is back in the wild and wooly days of the Old West when they were branding cattle to mark ownership what would often happen out on the range is that rustlers would come along and they would steal some cattle or find some running lose out there might have somebody else's brand on it. What they would do is go out and they would capture these cattle. Then they would use the cinch rings on their saddles as a make shift branding iron and they would reshape the brand so that it would look from the outside as if it didn't have the original brand; but it had their brand. Or they would have a branding iron that they would have made to fit over the original owner's brand. Then the only way you could tell if the brand had been changed was to kill the animal and skin it. Then when you reverse the hide (looked on the inside of the hide) then you could see that the brand had been changed, the brand had been fixed.
I always thought that was a great illustration for a lot of Christians. They get saved and are sealed by the Holy Spirit, but then they live like the child of the devil for the rest of their lives. They live completely immersed in the cosmic system. You look at their lives and you can't tell if they're saved or not. You can't look at their lives and see any evidence of salvation. But they are. It's not until they die that it will become evident that well, they were saved after all.
We will be surprised at a lot of people who are in heaven. There are presidents of this country that have made clear statements of their faith in Jesus Christ and they will be in heaven. Now I know some of you want God to have different districts in heaven so that some of those presidents aren't in your district. But you won't have that sin nature trend when you get there - neither will I.
11. So the Holy Spirit is that down payment on our inheritance. It is a seal or pledge of that future inheritance that we will receive from the Lord. Ephesians 1:14
NKJ Ephesians 1:14 who is the guarantee of our inheritance
A down payment as it were.
until the redemption of the purchased possession, to the praise of His glory.
Here is a use of the word redemption that doesn't look back to the payment of the price for sin on the cross, but it looks forward to the ultimate completion of the salvation process when we are fully glorified in the presence of God.
13. What we realize is that in the Christian life, inheritance is also said to be earned and a reward. So we have these two categories of inheritance, one that's a gift (inheritance, heirs of God) and one that is a reward. Now we're going to have to keep that in mind. So, in the Christian life inheritance is earned.
NKJ Hebrews 6:12 that you do not become sluggish, but imitate those who through faith and patience inherit the promises.
There the word is makrothumia which indicates long endurance as opposed to hupomone which is the word that we've studied in James for enduring in times of trouble. There it is talking about patience. Now some of us myself included would have to give up on salvation if it were dependent on becoming patient. You know who you are. We're the ones who pray for patience now. But if salvation is dependent upon developing patience, I'll never get to heaven. So that's a work. That is related to reward. It's not talking about entering into heaven or receiving eternal life. It's talking about the reward that comes as a result of spiritual growth and inheriting the promises.
14. Inheritance has its roots of course in the Old Testament as we've seen already. In the Old Testament with Israel it is related to the Abrahamic Covenant. Paul picks that up in Galatians 3 and makes that connection as well. That's an important passage to look at. So the point is simply inheritance in relation to Abraham can be related to the land promise or the seed promise. That is contextually. Sometimes it's always related to the land promise; sometimes inheritance is related to the seed promise, the promise of a Deliverer, the promise of a Messiah. But it's always related to the idea of a divine promise. We see that again and again and again: this connection between an inheritance and a promise. A promise is a statement that has inherently a future fulfillment. Now a key verse for this is in Galatians 3:18 which comes at the conclusion of a section.
NKJ Galatians 3:18 For if the inheritance is of the law, it is no longer of promise; but God gave it to Abraham by promise.
Now there's a contrast here between promise and law. We're going to go to Galatians 3. To understand the last part of Galatians where it talks about this contrast between promise and law, we have to understand this in terms of the context. This can be a confusing section to get into when you start talking about inheritance and the promise and what does all of this has to do with what God is promising here. It's connected contextually with the Holy Spirit. The way we see this is to go back to the first part of the chapter. The key verse for understanding this is Galatians 3:3:
NKJ Galatians 3:3 Are you so foolish? Having begun in the Spirit, are you now being made perfect by the flesh?
This is really a key verse for understanding the whole epistle of Galatians. It's a question he asks here; but he doesn't answer until Galatians 5:16. There are three words that are used in Galatians 3:3 that are not used again until Galatians 5:16. That's Spirit and perfected and the flesh.
What happens at the time that Paul wrote this was after he had gone to these cities in the southern part of Galatia and many of them had been saved, after Paul left the Judiazers came in and said, "You know you just didn't get it all by just believing in Jesus. You have to come under the Law and the men have to be circumcised and you have to implement the Law to grow spiritually."
It's not any different than Lordship salvation or Reformed theology message that's dominated so many evangelicals over the last 400-500 years. It's a way of growing spiritually just by doing what the Bible says to do without understanding the role of the Holy Spirit.
So Paul says:
NKJ Galatians 3:3 Are you so foolish? Having begun in the Spirit,
That's how they got saved – by faith alone in Christ alone. The Holy Spirit regenerated them. He says:
are you now being made perfect
…or completed, matured
by the flesh?
You started the spiritual life through a spiritual process of the Holy Spirit called regeneration. So do you produce growth by the flesh or the sin nature? That is his question. That is what sets the stage here in the middle of this section. He's going to then develop this.
In verse 5 he says:
NKJ Galatians 3:5 Therefore He who supplies the Spirit to you and works miracles among you, does He do it by the works of the law, or by the hearing of faith? --
See that's the contrast. Is it works or is it by faith or by promise – trusting in the promise?
Then he goes to Abraham as his illustration in verse 6.
NKJ Galatians 3:6 just as Abraham "believed God, and it was accounted to him for righteousness."
I believe that statement as we've studied it in the past in Genesis 15:6 is a statement that related to Abraham's original salvation. It should have been translated from the Hebrew "Abraham had already believed God and it had been imputed to him as righteousness." So the promise is given to Abraham, and it's a promise of the land that he is going to possess. That's the inheritance. Inheritance is used there as a synonym for possession or ownership.
NKJ Galatians 3:7 Therefore know that only those who are of faith are sons of Abraham.
Now he's not talking physically here; he's talking spiritually. Those who believe God's promise of salvation follow in the spiritual footsteps of Abraham. God made the promise to him in the Abrahamic Covenant that by your seed all will be blessed. That is the promise. We are blessed with spiritual blessings by following Abraham in his faith in God. He believed God would provide a future Savior for the Messiah. We look back to the accomplishment of that.
NKJ Galatians 3:8 And the Scripture, foreseeing that God would justify the Gentiles by faith, preached the gospel to Abraham beforehand, saying, "In you all the nations shall be blessed."
Paul just extracted this from the Old Testament passage. Then in verse 10 he says:
NKJ Galatians 3:10 For as many as are of the works of the law are under the curse; for it is written, "Cursed is everyone who does not continue in all things which are written in the book of the law, to do them."
Works in terms of trying to gain approbation from God apart from the Holy Spirit may make you more moral. You may memorize a lot of Scripture, lead a lot of people to the Lord, read a lot of the Bible and go to church a lot. But if it's done in the power of the flesh and the power of the sin nature; then it's wood, hay and straw. It's not going to do anything for you spiritual growth.
NKJ Galatians 3:11 But that no one is justified by the law in the sight of God is evident, for "the just shall live by faith."
NKJ Galatians 3:12 Yet the law is not of faith, but "the man who does them shall live by them.
The point that he's making is you can't advance by works. Faith is related to promise. He's develops this.
NKJ Galatians 3:14 that the blessing of Abraham might come upon the Gentiles in Christ Jesus,
So that what?
that we might receive the promise of the Spirit through faith.
So, here the indwelling on God the Holy Spirit is part of our inheritance. It's that promise. It's part of what we possess now as believers that current pledge, the sealing of the Spirit that is ultimately going to be fulfilled in our future inheritance. So this is how Paul develops his argument.
NKJ Galatians 3:16 Now to Abraham and his Seed were the promises made.
This is one of the key verses on the importance of syntax and grammar.
He does not say, "And to seeds," as of many, but as of one, "And to your Seed," who is Christ.
So he bases his interpretation of the passage on the singular noun seed and says that refers to Jesus Christ not to His physical descendents.
NKJ Galatians 3:18 For if the inheritance is of the law, it is no longer of promise; but God gave it to Abraham by promise.
So the point that he is making here is that inheritance that we have is based on a promise. It is based on grace and is related to the Holy Spirit. It's not based on works through the Law. So this has to be understood. That makes inheritance therefore something even though it's earned; it is done through grace through the Holy Spirit.
That takes us to the 15th point, which is:
15. Inheritance is related to rewards for what is earned for service whereas salvation is a free gift, back to where I started with Colossians 3:24 understanding that distinction.
Now having gone through these passages, we are prepared to go into the inheritance passages used in the gospels and to try to understand what Jesus is talking about in these various passages. You have in Matthew 5:5 the meek or the humble will inherit the earth. What does that mean? That's in the Beatitudes. Is that for today? What's the significance of that in terms of inheritance? You have "inheriting the earth" there. You have other passages that talk about "inheriting eternal life." You have other passages that talk about "inheriting the kingdom." What do these terms mean?
We will come back next time and start to go through these passages. There are 8 or 9 key passages in the gospels and then in the epistles to understand the different ways in which inheritance is talking about different things that are inherited and how that relates to us as believers and our future orientation.
Let's bow out heads in closing prayer.