Most if not everyone wants to be a recipient of a fortune or treasure that is passed down within a family structure. To receive something of value from someone who has passed it down to you in the event of their death is commonly known as an “inheritance”. Often, responsible families will incorporate a will which is in the form of a document. In this document, it is outlined as to who will receive items that are passed down from the person who will at some point pass away. An inheritance can be a large sum of money, a car, or a house. It can be anything that holds intrinsic value.
Just like an inheritance within a family structure provides the chain of passing down items of value to succeeding generations, those who are in Christ are also heirs to the inheritance that God offers. In Romans chapter 8, the Apostle Paul explains the inheritance that every Christian has if we are truly connected to God:
(NIV) Verses 14-17:
“For those who are led by the Spirit of God are the children of God. The Spirit you received does not make you slaves, so that you live in fear again; rather, the Spirit you received brought about your adoption to sonship. And by him we cry, “Abba, Father.” The Spirit himself testifies with our spirit that we are God’s children. Now if we are children, then we are heirs—heirs of God and co-heirs with Christ, if indeed we share in his sufferings in order that we may also share in his glory.”
The main words to focus on in this scripture are, “heirs”, “God’s children”, and “share”. These words are associated with anyone who follows Christ, because once we are adopted into the family of God through Christ & the Holy Spirit, we become God’s children. What does it mean to be a child of God? You can think of this in a similar context of being a son or a daughter to a Mother or a Father.
In the process of an inheritance, parents that truly love their children usually leave a legacy or something of value for the next generation. That is because the relationship between the child and parent warrants that there is a continuation of items of worth within the hands of those who are next in line. God treats those who are His children in the same way. All of us who are in Christ, we share in His blessings because we are heirs with God and joint heirs with Christ. It is because we are in the family of God, that we have access to the blessings He wants to bestow upon us.
However, notice what Paul also says at the end of verse 17. He says “if indeed we share in his sufferings in order that we may also share in his glory.” Paul is talking about the sufferings of Christ. To be a Christian isn’t to simply claim the title, but it is to suffer as Christ did for the sake of God. Just as we will be recipients of the blessings of God, we will also be recipients of momentary suffering for Christ’s sake.
As mentioned, we who are in Christ have access to the inheritance that God wants to give to us. It is the element of passing down gifts and items of value that God wishes to provide to every person who follows Him. However, there is one thing that all Christians must be responsible for and that is maintaining our inheritance. It is quite possible to reject what is being given to you by giving your inheritance to someone else in exchange for what appears to be a better deal.
In our society today, there are many who constantly squander their inheritance because they are living in sin and disobedience. God wishes that all people come to know Him and to give them a blessed existence. However, because many don’t know that an inheritance is accessible to them through Christ, they are giving their inheritance away on a daily basis. This is just what Esau did with Jacob in the Old Testament.
In Genesis chapter 25, the birth of Jacob and Esau is recorded in verses 24-25. Jacob and Esau were individuals who the Lord had given as a prophecy to their mother Rebekah. They were also two individuals that were inherently different in their character and in their behavior. Esau was originally given the birthright because he was the first-born. A birthright simply meant that a son who was born first was given the same authority that the Father had upon his death. So, Esau would possess the authority and other assets given to him by his Father, because he was born first.
Notice in verses 25-26 that there was a struggle between Esau and Jacob as they exited their Mother’s womb: (NIV) “The first to come out was red, and his whole body was like a hairy garment; so they named him Esau. After this, his brother came out, with his hand grasping Esau’s heel; so he was named Jacob.” We can see that Jacob held onto Esau’s heel with the intent to steal his birthright even before he was born.
As the two grew older, there was another point in time in which Jacob had another opportunity to steal his brother’s birthright. In verses 29-33 we see the following exchange:
(NIV) “Once when Jacob was cooking some stew, Esau came in from the open country, famished. He said to Jacob, “Quick, let me have some of that red stew! I’m famished!” (That is why he was also called Edom. Jacob replied, “First sell me your birthright.” “Look, I am about to die,” Esau said. “What good is the birthright to me?” But Jacob said, “Swear to me first.” So he swore an oath to him, selling his birthright to Jacob.”
So, essentially Esau sold his birthright for stew. There are two things that we can gather from this:
1. Esau did not know or care about the value of his birthright – There are many who live their lives in sin, not knowing the value of the inheritance that God offers. By being in Christ you are able to receive God’s blessings. However, when we sin we are trading in our inheritance for something that is worthless and perishable.
2. Esau was willing to do anything to feed his appetite – The scripture says that Esau was hungry – so hungry that he gave away his inheritance. Sometimes it is quite easy to give away your inheritance for a moment of sin. All of us have various appetites that are driven by our flesh, but if we are not careful, we can give our inheritance away for a moment of sin that is fleeting.
The point to be made is that when we come to know who God is in the pardon of our sins, we have access to an inheritance. God has so much in store for you and I, but we must be willing to see the value of His blessings. If you are in sin, you are giving up your inheritance for momentary pleasure. Christ died and rose again so you could be a joint heir with Him. Accept Christ as your Lord and savior by repenting of your sins. Once you have accepted Jesus’ sacrifice, you are welcomed into the family of God where your inheritance is waiting for you.