A Testament to our Inheritance: great news for believers in Jesus Christ


I’d like to start out 2016 with a message to get us off on the rightNew Testament cover CC foot. In the Bible, a testament is an agreement (or covenant) involving an inheritance of some sort. As such, the New Testament is all about an inheritance, but it differs from the Old Testament in a major way. Whereas the Old Testament was all about “what we must do,” the New Testament is all about “what has already been done for us.”

To fully grasp the implications of this, we must understand the biblical meaning of “adoption.” When we hear the word, we think of a family bringing in a child who is not biologically theirs. In biblical times, (especially, during the Roman Empire) however, adoption meant something completely different. An adoption ceremony was held to celebrate the day when a biological son had become qualified, through training, to receive the father’s inheritance. The son was given a special garment to display his new status. The father would announce, “This is my son.” From that moment, the son was given legal access to the inheritance.

baptism of Jesus CCAt Jesus’ baptism, His Father proclaimed from heaven, “This is My beloved Son, in whom I am well pleased.” At that moment, Jesus had moved into His inheritance. Whenever “son” is used in the Bible, it usually implies that an inheritance is at issue. Satan knew this fact well. After Jesus’ baptism, he tempted Jesus to forsake His inheritance by questioning His sonship. He kept provoking Him with, “If you are the Son of God…”


Satan does the same thing to us. He will do whatever it takes to keep us from understanding and living in light of our inheritance. The book of Ephesians contains one of the most beautiful descriptions of our inheritance in Christ as well as an exhortation to live our lives in light of it. Take some time and read the first chapter several times. It’s so lofty that it’s easy to miss the reality of what it says.

The Parable of the Prodigal Son in Luke 15 offers some vividprodigal son PD illustration of just how Satan works in trying to keep us separated from our inheritance. I’m assuming that you know the story. If not, take a moment and read verses 11-32. Here are three things Satan used then and uses on us today:

  1. Ignorance In verses 11-12 we see the younger son showing his ignorance of what would be his as well as what was already his. He reduced it all to a “cash settlement” and headed off to a distant country.
  2. Guilt and Condemnation In verses17-19 we see Satan heaping guilt upon him with a heavy dose of condemnation for his unworthiness.
  3. Religiosity and Tradition we find Satan convincing the older brother that he was getting a raw deal. After all, he had done all that his father had asked and had received nothing.

 This is exactly what Satan does to us. He does his best to keep us from understanding and rejoicing over our inheritance. Some of it is still in the future, but much is already ours. The part that awaits us is so fantastic that it should change our lives just thinking about it. Let me illustrate with a story.

There once was a man named Clem who lived in West Virginia. He was very poor and could barely feed his family. He had accepted poverty as his way of life. He spent all his time farming his property. But it hadn’t produced much in years. He, his wife, and children lived uneventful, sad, and quiet lives.

gold mine CCThen one day, a man from the Mid American Mining Company knocked on his door. He asked if his company could start a mining operation on his property. Within a month, the company uncovered the largest vein of gold in the history of their company. Within another month, the papers were signed and Clem and his family became incredibly wealthy—more money that they could possibly spend in a lifetime. The gold was there all along. It was his. He just didn’t know about it until someone discovered the truth. Imagine how different his life would have been if he had learned the truth sooner. Even before he ever received a cent, he would have been filled with joy knowing what was coming. Many Christians are like Clem. Everything that belongs to Christ is theirs too, but they don’t know it, so they live lives of quiet desperation.

If ignorance doesn’t work, Satan will use guilt and condemnation. He will make us feel so defeated, beat up, and rotten that we can’t even think at such a lofty level any longer. If that doesn’t work, there’s always the Pharisee card. He gets us feeling so sanctimonious and proud of our service and accomplishments that we become blind to our inheritance.

Here’s a quick little quiz to discover how we’re doing in combating Satan’s schemes against us. From memory, recite Romans 3:23. Most of us know this one: “For all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God.” Now recite verse 24… from memory. Chances are good that you’re at a loss. Why is it that we know well the verses telling us of our shortcomings, but are at a loss to describe the good news—the absolutely wonderful news? Here’s verse 24:

being justified as a gift by His grace through the redemption which is in Christ Jesus.

Isn’t it time to stop letting Satan rob us of what is rightfully ours? Isn’t it time to stop letting our past keep us from our future (and present)? We began with a discussion of the New Testament, adoption, and inheritance. Here’s a closing thought. When the church meets together, it is really about discussing and celebrating the contents of the last will and testament of our oldest brother.

Now, isn’t this a great way to start a new year?

Happy New Year CC



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New Testament cover by juxtapose^esopatxuj
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Baptism of Jesus image by Waiting for the Word
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Gold mine photo by Helen Wilkinson
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Happy New Year image by Roula30
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