God Himself, Our Inheritance
By Fred O. Blakely
"Thou art no more a servant, but a son; and if a son, then an heir of God through Christ" (Gal. 4:7; cf. Rom. 8:16-17).
It is one thing—and a very wonderful one, indeed!—to have the blessing of God. As Solomon said, "It maketh rich" (Prov. 10:22). But to have God Himself—not just the gift, but the Giver—for one's portion and inheritance, that is truly a feast of "fat things full of marrow," in the diction of Isaiah (Isa. 25:6).
And—glory of glories!—that is exactly what is conferred upon God's children. He Himself, together with the Son—by the Holy Spirit—comes to them, through their faith. That present indwelling, in turn, is the foretaste and earnest, or pledge, of the fuller measure thereof yet to be realized—when faith shall give way to sight—and experienced forever. Such are the implications of the text printed above, which represents us as "heirs of God."
The Involved Mutuality. The mutuality characteristic of the divine-human relationship, of course, is involved in this situation. The Son is in the Father and the Father is in the Son (Jn. 14:11). Similarly, we are in Christ and He is in us (v. 20). Also, we are in the Spirit and the Spirit is in us, if we are identified with Christ (Rom. 8:9). That mutuality prevails as well with respect to the respective inheritances. While God is our inheritance, we are also His heritage. Thus, Scripture's representation of the latter circumstance.
Paul prayed that the church might be made conscious of "the riches of the glory" of God's "inheritance in the saints" (Eph. 1:18). Previously, Moses had besought God for Israel in this connection. "O lord, let my Lord, I pray Thee, go among us," and "take us for Thine inheritance" (Ex. 34:9). That God did just that for Israel is indicated by Jeremiah's later declaration for Him. Alluding to His chastisement of the nation, God said, "I have forsaken Mine house, I have left Mine inheritance" (Jer. 16:7; cf. vv. 8-9; ch. 50:11).
"The riches of the glory" of God's "inheritance in the saints," as Paul put it in Ephesians, will be fully manifested in the consummation. That is, when the work of redemption has been completed. In the glorified church, unrestrictedly indwelt by God, He will have the ultimate, or fullness, of His designed heritage.
From the beginning, it seems, God's intent in man's creation was to diffuse, or extend. Himself in His offspring. That diffusion, of course, will result in no diminution whatever of the essential wholeness of God Himself. It will, however, adequately exhibit Him in His Godhood, as apparently nothing else could do, to His admiring and worshipping subjects.
An Essential Distinction. In this contemplation, we distinguish between God Himself and "the things of God," or the revelations and blessings emanating from Him (I Cor. 2:11). The Father has appointed the Son "head of all things" (Heb. 1:2). "All things were created by Him, and for Him," we are told (Col. 1:16). Thus, in Christ, we are joint-heirs with Him of these things (Rom. 8:16-17). So is it written to the saints, "All things are yours" (I Cor. 3:21). And again, "All things are for your sakes"—an intriguing and challenging circumstance, of a truth (II Cor. 4:15).
This inheritance, of course, is not unconditional, as Revelation 21:7 makes plain. "He that overcometh shall inherit all these things," it is declared; "and I will be his God, and he shall be My son" (ASV). Paul's assertion in Romans 8:17 is corroborative of the conditionality. We are joint-heirs with Christ, "if so be that we suffer with Him." The suffering of reference is that entailed by subjugation of the flesh and the overcoming of the world.
The One of Reference. To the matter of our inheritance of God Himself, we need to give a great deal of attention. Today the church is seriously deficient in the knowledge of God, which alone can produce spiritual life and effectualize confidence (Jn. 17:2-3; Col. 3:10; contrast Eph. 4:18). Thus, the God of Scripture needs to be proclaimed with power, to acquaint the people with Him with whom they have to do (Heb. 4:12-13).
He is the great Self-existent and -sufficient One, "of whom and by whom are all things" (Heb. 2:10). As Paul declares in Romans 11:36, "Of Him, and through Him, and to Him are all things," for which "glory forever" is due Him (cf. II Cor. 5:18; Rev. 4:8-11). He is the "Lord Almighty" of Second Corinthians 6:18. Hence, with Him "all things" consistent with His character and purpose in Christ "are possible”, as Jesus declared (Mt. 19:26). That is why "no word of God shall be void of power" for accomplishment of that for which it is intended (Lk. 1:37, ASV; cf. Isa. 55:10-11).
When God is adequately perceived in His true nature. He will draw those of an honest and good heart to Himself (Jn. 12:32; cf. ch. 6:44-45). That is, He will draw when He is seen as the all-powerful One, as well as "the God of all grace" (I Pet. 5:10) and of "all comfort" (II Cor. 1:3), as well as that of infinite wisdom.
It is in recognition of that situation that Scripture calls upon those who claim to speak for God to make Him, as well as the Son, the subject of their proclamation. They, as Isaiah indicated, are to get themselves up to Mount Zion, from which point alone God can be adequately perceived. Then, from that lofty height, they are to say to the people, "Behold your God!" (Isa. 40:9).
As we have indicated, that seems to be the basic element lacking in much of today's preaching. The religious spokesmen appear not to have seen God themselves. They are coming to their people from the lowland of earth, where He is not sufficiently discernible.
The Inheritance's Nature. The text of Galatians 4:7 says in Christ we are "heirs of God." As we have said, we need to look more fully into the nature of that heritage. It involves the possession by us of God Himself. Anything short of that is less than God's design for His people under the new covenant.
Christ's Name of Immanuel, "being interpreted," means “God with us," Matthew explains (Mt. 1:23; cf. Isa. 7:14). The characteristic of the better covenant is that because of the forgiveness of sins which it makes possible, all of its subjects shall know God (Jer. 31:31-34). Such knowledge requires the personal identification with Him occasioned by His indwelling of the individual. And that indwelling, for the present, constitutes the person's inheritance of God.
Such is the accented representation of the new-covenant writings. "Ye are the temple of the living God," says Paul to the church. "As God hath said [Ex. 29:45], I will dwell in them, and walk in them; and I will be their God, and they shall be My people" (II Cor. 6:16; cf. Rev. 21:3). So are the saints "an holy temple in the Lord"; in whom they are "builded together for an habitation of God through the Spirit" (Eph. 2:21-22; cf. I Cor. 3:16-17; I Pet. 2:4-5).
What is true of the church in its corporate capacity is also true with the individual member. His body is "the temple of the Holy Spirit," by whom both the Father and the Son indwell him (I Cor. 6:19-20; cf. Jn. 14:23). Thus, Stephen's declaration: "The Most High dwelleth not in temples made with hands" (Acts 7:48). He inhabits hearts that have been purified by faith and sprinkled by the blood of His dear Son, and spirits that have been renewed by their union with Christ.
Our deistic contemporaries, who deny the reality of this circumstance, thereby manifest their alienation from God. That is just because His acceptance of a person is attested by that indwelling, as He says (Rom. 8:15-16; Gal. 4:6; Eph. 1:13-14; I Jn. 5:10). The word from God is, If "the Spirit of God" does not dwell in one, or if he have not "the Spirit of Christ," he is "none of His"—none of God's, that is (Rom. 8:8-9).
The Scriptural Representations. The experience of God Himself as the crowning benefit for His people is recognized and articulated even in the old-covenant writings. The tribe of Levi, typical of the new-covenant priesthood, set forth the situation in shadow. "The Lord is his inheritance, according as the Lord" his God "promised him," it was declared (Deut. 10:8-9; cf. Num. 18:20-24).
It remained for David and Jeremiah to elaborate on this situation. "The Lord is the portion of mine inheritance and of my cup," exclaimed the former: "Thou maintainest my lot. The lines are fallen unto me in pleasant places; yea, I have a goodly heritage" (Ps. 16:5-6). "The Lord is my portion, saith my soul, declared Jeremiah; "therefore will I rejoice in Him" (Lam. 3:24; cf. Hab. 3:17-19).
David's counsel certainly is applicable to us to whom God's fuller grace has come (I Pet. 1:10). "Delight thyself also in the Lord; and He shall give thee the desires of thine heart" (Ps. 37:4). That is to say, in light of the new-covenant situation, He will give you Himself. Hence, Paul's representation of the case with us, Having been "reconciled to God by the death of His Son," we joy, or rejoice, in Him "through our Lord Jesus Christ" (Rom. 5:10-11). That is the "joy of the Holy Spirit," which the Thessalonians are said to have experienced (I Th. 1:6, ASV), or the "joy of faith" recognized as possessed by the Philippians (Phil. 1:25: cf. Rom. 15:13).
The Involved Sufficiency. God being who and what He is, the result of our possession of Him is evident. We are fully supplied with all the necessities for time and eternity. That "is" the underlying premise of Scripture. It is a circumstance of which today's materialistically-minded church desperately needs to be aware and practically recognize. So Paul's statement of the case: "Our sufficiency is of God." Certainly it is not "of ourselves," as he observes (II Cor. 3:5).
"Thanks be unto God!" the Apostle exclaimed, that is, because He "always causeth us to triumph in Christ, and maketh manifest the savor of His knowledge by us in every place" (II Cor. 2:14). Would God that the contemporary would so submit itself to God that the latter part of that declaration could be made of it. "The Lord is my shepherd; I shall not want," declared David (Ps. 23:1). And so may all say who have received Him into their hearts and lives. "The Lord is a sun and a shield, acknowledged another psalmist: "the Lord will give grace and glory: no good thing will the Lord withhold from them that walk uprightly" (Ps. 84:11). That is, under the new-covenant state of things, no good thing will be withheld from those who walk in faith and in continuing devotion to God.
Paul's counsel to those in union with Christ can serve as a fitting resume of the situation for those who are "heirs of God." "Be ye free from the love of money; content with such things as ye have: for Himself hath said, I will in no wise fail thee, neither in any wise forsake thee. So with good courage we say, The Lord is my helper; I will not fear. What shall man do unto me?" (Heb. 13:5-6; cf. Gen. 28:10-16; Jn. 19:10-11).
The Logical Response. Such being the case concerning God, our logical response thereto is evident. We should readily and gladly make all the sacrifices that are necessary for our possession of Him. And there are sacrifices to be made—those of everything that militates against our knowledge of Him and His indwelling of us.
But, as Paul asserts, the things thus sacrificed are "not worthy to be compared" with the benefits to be had (Rom. 8:18). He himself counted them "but_dung," that he might "win Christ" and through Him have the Father also (Phil. 3:7-11).
As "the man of God said to King Amaziah of Judah, "God is able to give thee much more" than what He requires you to give up in order to the possession of Himself. Indeed, He "is able to make all grace abound toward you," providing you with "all sufficiency in all things" (II Cor. 9:8; cf. II Chr. 25:9).