…giving thanks unto the Father, which hath made us meet to be
partakers of the inheritance of the saints in light. (Colossians 1:12)
There are many references in the Bible to the inheritance our Creator has promised to give to those who belong to Him. This is, however, one of the few references specifically instructing us to give thanks to our Heavenly Father for His unique work to render us fit (“meet”) to share in (“be partakers of”) the inheritance.
Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, which according to his abundant mercy hath begotten us again unto a lively hope by the resurrection of Jesus Christ from the dead, to an inheritance incorruptible, and undefiled, and that fadeth not away, reserved in heaven for you, who are kept by the power of God through faith unto salvation ready to be revealed in the last time. (1 Peter 1:3-5)
This marvelous summary in Peter’s letter describes the wonderful characteristics of our divine inheritance. It is a living hope, “ready to be revealed” at His appointed time. It is an inheritance that cannot be corrupted or defiled or withered, ever. It is carefully tended (“reserved”) in heaven by God’s power—He Himself keeping us under garrison guard (2 Corinthians 11:32). Nothing could be more secure than our inheritance from God!
There is a very personal side to our inheritance. Each of us who are the twice-born children of the Creator will undergo a personal evaluation on the value of our earthly behavior (1 Corinthians 3:11-15). The Bible is quite clear that during our initial judgment in heaven there will be degrees of individual “reward” handed out by the Lord that are in direct proportion to our effectiveness with the resources that God has granted to us on earth (Matthew 25:14-30; Luke 19:11-27). Our works certainly do follow us into eternity (Revelation 14:13).
Although those personal rewards will no doubt be marvelous, the focus of the thanks we are told to give in Colossians 1:12 seems to be on what all believers “share”—the divine inheritance from our Creator God. We are “joint-heirs” with the Lord Jesus (Romans 8:17).
There is a lot we won’t understand until it is revealed to us in heaven, but there are several wonderful glimpses that the Scriptures provide on what is forthcoming. Here are just a few of them for us to think about.
Sharing in the Glory of Christ
In His prayer to the Heavenly Father recorded in John 17, the Lord Jesus asked: “Father, I will that they also, whom thou hast given me, be with me where I am; that they may behold my glory” (verse 24). He was referring to “the glory which I had with thee before the world was” (verse 5). Whatever that involves, it certainly includes an unimaginable majesty and power, and a “glory” that we would never realize apart from our inheritance.
…our Lord Jesus Christ: which in his times he shall shew, who is the blessed and only Potentate, the King of kings, and Lord of lords; Who only hath immortality, dwelling in the light which no man can approach unto; whom no man hath seen, nor can see: to whom be honour and power everlasting. Amen. (1 Timothy 6:14-16)
We who are the twice-born will share—participate together—in that majesty.
Sharing in the Image of His Son
This shared inheritance is really staggering. Down here we are “earthly.” The Bible tells us that these earthly bodies are corrupt, not worthy of honor, weak, made of natural material, and mortal (1 Corinthians 15:42-54). Not a very complimentary picture! But our inheritance is that we will be made “like him” (1 John 3:2).
At the resurrection we shall be changed, because God has predestined us to be “conformed to the image of his Son” (Romans 8:29). That process surely includes an ultimate “spotless” and “perfect” spiritual condition. But it also includes the summorphos, the “with form” that shares in the “same kind” of eternal body that the Lord Jesus Himself now possesses. The Lord Jesus “shall change our vile body, that it may be fashioned like unto his glorious body” (Philippians 3:21).
Reflect, sometime, on the rather stunning picture of the glorified body of the Lord Jesus presented to the apostle John when he was commissioned to write the “revelation” of the Lord Jesus (Revelation 1:13-16). Two of the Old Testament prophets had similar glimpses into the fearful presence of the glorified Christ (Ezekiel 1:26-28; Daniel 10:5-9). They were rendered speechless at the sight. When we receive our inheritance, we will be able to share in His presence, because we will be “conformed to the image of his Son” (Romans 8:29).
Sharing in the Great Assembly of the Saints
There are several pictures of the “general assembly and church of the firstborn, which are written in heaven” (Hebrews 12:23). The book of the Revelation of Jesus Christ speaks of the “great multitude, which no man could number, of all nations, and kindreds, and people, and tongues” (Revelation 7:9) that assembles before the throne to sing, worship, and praise the Lord Jesus. Nothing is quite like the thrill that shoots through the hearts of the saints of God when we share in a large assembly, singing the great songs of forgiveness, salvation, and victory in Christ. Multiply that by many billions and we might catch a peripheral glimpse of what the victory assembly in heaven will be like. We will share together in those moments.
The promises to the “overcomers” given by the Lord Jesus to the seven churches in Asia provide a curious insight into the privileges granted to them. Think about these eternal liberties that we will be given.
- We will “eat of the tree of life” (Revelation 2:7).
- We will “not be hurt of the second death” (Revelation 2:11).
- We will be given “power over the nations” (Revelation 2:26).
- We will be “clothed in white” and be personally identified before the Father and before the angels by our Lord Jesus (Revelation 3:5).
- We will be made “a pillar” in the Lord’s New Jerusalem and be given the “new name” of the Ruling King (Revelation 3:12).
- We will be given the authority to “sit” with Christ as He rules the Kingdom (Revelation 3:21).
Giving Thanks for Sharing an Inheritance Together
Heavenly Father, please accept our thanks for what You have planned for us to enjoy together in eternity. These words from grateful hearts seem terribly insufficient to present to You as praise, yet we ask that You will receive them as our joyful eagerness of what we expect from Your gracious hand.
Holy Father, You have told us to pray for Your Kingdom to arrive on earth. It is difficult, sometimes, to see the future realities that You have prepared for us, but our hearts yearn for them. The word pictures that You have inspired in the Scriptures are magnificent. The description of the New Jerusalem is startlingly beautiful. Knowing that we will one day stand around Your Throne and sing together of Your power and glory brings an intense joy to our hearts. Thank You for giving us a glimpse of what will be.
Until that day dawns, O our Lord God, we all have known and gratefully acknowledge Your providential care and provision down here, for which we all give You thanks. Until that day, Lord Jesus, we would echo the long-ago words of King David: “Let the words of my mouth, and the meditation of my heart, be acceptable in thy sight, O LORD, my strength, and my redeemer.”
These petitions and gifts of our thanks we offer in the Name of our Lord Jesus. Amen.
* Dr. Morris is Chief Executive Officer of the Institute for Creation Research.
Cite this article: Morris III, H. 2011. Sharing the Inheritance. Acts & Facts. 40 (11): 4-5.