“THE RICHES OF THE GLORY OF HIS INHERITANCE IN THE SAINTS”
When we think of what the Bible teaches about inheritance we usually think about ourselves and how that we became “heirs of God” when we believed the gospel of our salvation. We learned about this marvelous truth of our inheritance when we learned what it meant to be justified, regenerated, and reconciled to God through faith in Christ Jesus. Being justified we became heirs of God’s life — eternal life — just as Paul declares to us in Titus 3:7:
“That being justified by his grace, we should be made heirs according to the hope of eternal life.” (Titus 3:7)
Being “heirs of God” we are also “joint-heirs with Christ,” as Paul states in Romans 8:17. Hence, we will be inheriting eternal life in a glorified immortal body just like that which the Lord Jesus Christ possesses in His victory over sin and death for us. In connection with this God “sealed” us as His heirs and gave us an “earnest” as we await our inheritance.
“In whom ye also trusted, after that ye heard the word of truth, the gospel of your salvation: in whom also after that ye believed, YE WERE SEALED WITH THAT HOLY SPIRIT OF PROMISE,
WHICH IS THE EARNEST OF OUR INHERITANCE until the redemption of the purchased possession, unto the praise of his glory.” (Ephesians 1:13-14)
Our inheritance as “heirs of God” begins with “the hope of eternal life,” but it does not stop there. Incredibly there is more. For God through Christ has “made us meet to be partakers of the inheritance of the saints in light,” as Paul exclaims in Colossians 1:12. We have obtained an inheritance with Christ as the “head of all principality and power,” and will have a part with Him in the government of the heavenly places. This too is our inheritance, and we learn of it particularly in the advanced doctrines of our edification set forth in Ephesians, Philippians, and Colossians.
Naturally, therefore, when we think of the doctrine of inheritance our inheritance as “heirs of God, and joint-heirs with Christ” usually comes to mind. However, as we deal with the doctrine set forth in Ephesians, Philippians, and Colossians Paul also teaches us about the issue of God’s inheritance — an inheritance that God Himself has and that He will possess as the end result of all that He is doing through Christ. Paul declares the reality of God’s inheritance in Ephesians 1 as he cites for us some particular things that God wants us to know.
“That the God of our Lord Jesus Christ, the Father of glory, may give unto you the spirit of wisdom and revelation in the knowledge of him:
The eyes of your understanding being enlightened; that ye may know what is the hope of his calling, AND WHAT THE RICHES OF THE GLORY OF HIS INHERITANCE IN THE SAINTS,…” (Ephesians 1:17-18)
God has an “inheritance in the saints,” and there are “riches of glory” for Him in connection with it, which God wants us to know about. This means that God is doing something for Himself in what He is doing for us and with us in the Lord Jesus Christ. An understanding and appreciation for the issue of God’s inheritance in the saints is one of the magnificent jewels in “the treasures of wisdom and knowledge” contained in the “mystery of Christ.” To behold it with “the eyes of our understanding” ought to thrill our hearts and excite our minds because of the measure of understanding it gives to us about the glory of the ages to come.
In all that God is doing He is not acting capriciously or without purpose. Rather, He is acting with intent and clearly understood objectives. The fundamental reality of this is something that is evident right from the beginning of God’s word, and it is particularly pointed out on a number of occasions. One example of this is found in the book of the Revelation as part of the confession of the twenty four elders as they worshipped God.
“The four and twenty elders fall down before him that sat on the throne, and worship him that liveth for ever and ever, and cast their crowns before the throne, saying,
Thou art worthy, O Lord, to receive glory and honour and power: FOR THOU HAST CREATED ALL THINGS, AND FOR THY PLEASURE THEY ARE AND WERE CREATED.” (Revelation 4:10-11)
God created all things and He did so for His pleasure. He did so, therefore, to please Himself and for Himself, and everything He does is in accordance with this. This being so it should not surprise us that Paul talks about God’s inheritance, and that He is doing something for Himself through Christ and with who He has made us to be “in Christ.”
It is in view of the revelation of “the mystery of God’s will” that we are now in the position to understand and appreciate what it is that God is doing for Himself. God has taken us into His privy counsel having made known unto us “the mystery of His will” and now we can understand the fulness of what He is doing as “the Father of glory.”
As Paul teaches us, God has now revealed that His purpose in Christ involves the reconciliation of the heavenly places to Himself as well as the reconciliation of the earth. God’s destruction of Satan’s plan of evil will not only see the dominion of the earth restored unto Himself through Christ and His nation Israel, but according to the “mystery of Christ” the dominion of the heavenly places will also be restored to God through Christ and His “new creation,” the body of Christ.
“Wherein he hath abounded toward us in all wisdom and prudence;
Having made known unto us the mystery of his will, according to his good pleasure which he hath purposed in himself:
That in the dispensation of the fulness of times he might gather together in one all things in Christ, both which are in heaven, and on earth; even in him:” (Ephesians 1:8-10)
This God has now made known, and in doing so He has manifested His genius and His incomparable wisdom. Hence, Paul refers to this revelation as,…
“the wisdom of God in a mystery, even the hidden wisdom.
Which none of the princes of this world knew: for had they known it, they would not have crucified the Lord of glory.” (I Corinthians 2:7-8)
God’s wisdom and genius is now on display in an unparalleled manner. For God has taken the wise one (Satan) in his own craftiness and has now shown that He is “only wise.” Indeed, through the publishing of “the mystery” God is now making the heavenly places ring with the triumph of His “manifold wisdom.”
“And to make all men see what is the fellowship of the mystery, which from the beginning of the world hath been hid in God, who created all things by Jesus Christ:
To the intent that now unto the principalities and powers in heavenly places might be known by the church the manifold wisdom of God,
According to the eternal purpose which he purposed in Christ Jesus our Lord:” (Ephesians 3:9-11)
God purposed to have dwell in Christ the “fulness” of the governmental authorities in heaven and on earth. (Col. 1:15-20) In connection with the accomplishment of this God also purposed to have His wisdom extolled as “manifold wisdom” to the praise of His glory. It is this that God is doing for Himself and that will be “the riches of the glory of his inheritance in the saints.” God’s inheritance in His saints will be the genuinely heartfelt and intelligent praise and honor that He will receive from them because of the greatness of His grace and wisdom that they truly appreciate. In the ages to come God will receive for Himself the praise of the glory of His grace and “manifold wisdom” that He deserves as “the Father of glory.” For as “the Father of glory” God begat a plan in Christ that would bring forth to Him from His creation that which is rightfully His as Creator — the full glorification of His person and attributes, and the whole-hearted praise of His wisdom in all that He does. It is only right for God to receive this glory. And He will receive it richly by what He is accomplishing through Christ Jesus.
That we will have a part in all of this because of the “riches of God’s grace” unto us in Christ, should bring forth from us right now “the praise of the glory of His grace.” But what excitement ought to grip our minds as we think about the glory to come in “the dispensation of the fulness of times.” For that dispensation will begin with God receiving for Himself “the riches of the glory of His inheritance in the saints.” If that’s how it begins, what must its outworking be like! — K. R. Blades