Jesus is the only man who made a will, died so that we could inherit, and then came back to life again to make sure we did!
Today is Ascension Day, when we remember that, after his resurrection appearances, Jesus ascended to heaven in front of witnesses. Because of all that Jesus did, we have a great inheritance if we follow him, and his ascension put the seal on it all.
In Paul’s letter to the Ephesians, chapter 3, he talks about the mystery of the Gentiles, that God’s promises are no longer only for the Jews:
This mystery is that the Gentiles are fellow heirs, members of the same body, and partakers of the promise in Christ Jesus through the gospel. (Eph.3:6)
Through the gospel the Gentiles have the same inheritance as the Jews, so whoever you are, the same is available to you:
… an inheritance that is imperishable, undefiled, and unfading, kept in heaven for you. (1 Peter 1:4)
This inheritance comes because you are related:
and if children, then heirs – heirs of God and fellow heirs with Christ, provided we suffer with him in order that we may also be glorified with him. (Romans.8:17)
So what is this inheritance?
But, as it is written, “What no eye has seen, nor ear heard, nor the heart of man imagined, what God has prepared for those who love him.” (1 Cor.2:9)
It’s full extent is beyond our comprehension, but here is just a taste:
Acceptance: In him and through faith in him we may approach God with freedom and confidence. (Eph.3:12)
Salvation: For it is by grace you have been saved, through faith—and this is not from yourselves, it is the gift of God (Eph.2:8)
Riches: Oh, the depth of the riches of the wisdom and knowledge of God! How unsearchable his judgments, and his paths beyond tracing out! (Romans 11:33)
Resisting Temptation: Submit yourselves, then, to God. Resist the devil, and he will flee from you. (James 4:7)
Validation of our faith: And if Christ has not been raised, our preaching is useless and so is your faith. (1 Cor.15:14)
The Holy Spirit as a constant companion and counsellor: But very truly I tell you, it is for your good that I am going away. Unless I go away, the Advocate will not come to you; but if I go, I will send him to you. (John 16:7)
Jesus’ continuing intercession for us at the right hand of God: Therefore he is able to save completely those who come to God through him, because he always lives to intercede for them. (Hebrews.7:25)
So what should be our response to so great an inheritance?
Be very careful, then, how you live—not as unwise but as wise, making the most of every opportunity, … Instead, be filled with the Spirit, speaking to one another with psalms, hymns, and songs from the Spirit. Sing and make music from your heart to the Lord, always giving thanks to God the Father for everything, in the name of our Lord Jesus Christ. (Eph.5:15, 16a, 18b-20)
[Adapted from a sermon by Gaynor Maclean at Pantygwydr Baptist Church]