Saturday, July 18, 2015

Identity in Christ - 29 (heirs of God; joint-heirs with Christ)

I am actually doing two identities. I was meditating on the first, making little progress in understanding it, when I remembered the second,  further down the list. Since, they both dealt with our inheritance, I included it with the first, thinking they should complement and amplify each other.

Understanding the "what" is actually fairly easy. We were separated from God, because of sin. In Christ, and with our allegiance, God adopted us into his family. We are his children.
In the natural world, when the father dies, the children receive part of the father's estate. Whatever the father had, that was valuable, was given to the children.

In the spiritual world,  our heavenly Father is not going to die. But, as his children, we still become his heirs. Jesus is, of course,  the first-born son. Traditionally, when the father dies, the first-born son becomes the leader of the family. So, Jesus becomes the leader of the family. But he is a son, so he is an heir. And we are heirs also.

So far, so good. But how does this change the way God views us or deals with us? How does this change the way we are intended to live?

● God's Perspective

When God declares his adopted children as his heirs, this is a further indication of God's acceptance and commitment to us as a father.  We are not just taken into the family and provided for. We are given equal status with the "natural" children.

A king could bring orphan children into his home. He could feed, clothe, educate and shelter them. That would be tremendously generous. But he could carve out parts of his kingdom. He could given them royal titles. (Count Johnny of Baltimore. Duchess Jenny of Philadelphia.) He could give them important positions in his kingdom. These would be unexpected steps, but would definitely demonstrate how highly the king values these orphans.

The word translated into English as "inheritance" in the original language means "possession," or, in verb form, "to come into possession." Scripture says we are heirs of God's kingdom and God's glory. God is giving to us, as our possession,  both kingdom and glory. Of course, we do not have ultimate authority in these things, because Jesus is the first-born.

I am still unsure how this works out practically.  Is this shown somehow after God's kingdom is fully established?  Are there supernatural resources at our command now?

● Living My Life

I have already sat that I do not see any practical outworking, except one. It is to me a further indication of how sold out God is for us, about us. He is putting all his resources into our possession.

We do need to remember our position in line. Jesus is the first in line. He has first dibs. But our hearts ought to be Jesus' heart. We should want the same things. We should aim to achieve the same things. Some goals. Same values. Same priorities.

There are some Christian theologies that seem to suggest that if you are walking with God and have sufficient faith, you will have a 20-room mansion and a Bentley. However, Jesus -- who walked closest with God, and who did have faith that moved mountains -- had no place to lay his head. He was despised, betrayed and died a criminal's death.

Jesus, God who became man, first-born, ruler of the kingdom,  had a totally different heart about possessions, lifestyle, and purpose in the world. He came as a servant.  He enabled people to get into a new and right relationship with God. He enabled people to return to living as they were designed.  And we need to have Jesus' heart, no matter what place or status we have in life.

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