Last year, America’s National Park Service celebrated its 100th birthday. Back when Congress created it, its purpose was to protect and preserve the places of wild beauty in America. This mission was originally championed by Teddy Roosevelt, who said, “We have fallen heirs to the most glorious heritage a people ever received, and each one must do his part if we wish to show that the nation is worthy of its good fortune.”
So too, we as Christians receive an incredible spiritual heritage when we become members of the family of God. In Ephesians, Paul tells us, “In [Christ] we have obtained an inheritance… In him you also, when you heard the word of truth… and believed in him, were sealed with the promised Holy Spirit, who is the guarantee of our inheritance until we acquire possession of it, to the praise of his glory” (Ephesians 1:11, 13-14 ESV).
The inheritance Paul is talking about here is the limitless wealth of life in God, secured for us by the saving work of Jesus through his life, death on the cross, resurrection and ascension. Our eternal future is settled, and we are assured that an inheritance beyond our most glorious imagination awaits us in heaven.
But that doesn’t mean our heritage is some wistful daydream. Rather, it’s a living hope we can count on. And because it is secure already in Christ, it’s also a present reality that we can take part in each and every day. How? Part of our heritage is a relationship with the Holy Spirit, who joins us to Jesus. Through the Spirit we can begin to taste the spiritual riches of eternity even in the here and now, and we can act now as we count on God’s faithfulness to deliver on his promises.
We can live now in a way that points to what we hope in – that God will, in the end, put everything right. God’s kingdom will come and his gracious and good will, will be done in the new heavens and new earth. We will be his glorified children sharing in the same love the Father has for the Son and the Son has for the Father in the Spirit. By that same Spirit, we are renewed, transformed, and empowered to act on the hope we’re already assured of in Christ for eternity. Living in hope of such an inheritance from God is a powerful, life-changing process.
As much as I like our national parks, I think I’ll take my heritage in Christ over that one any day!
I’m Joseph Tkach, speaking of LIFE.