How easy it is to lose or squander an inheritance. If you type the words “squandered inheritance” into Google a series of stories come up, one sadder than another:
“Woman inherits a fortune, squanders it all and ends up living on the street.”
“My brother squandered my mother’s money and now he won’t even contribute to the funeral expenses.”
“She spent 92,000 euros a month. The squandered inheritance of Lisa Marie Presley – daughter of Elvis.”
This year at the Festa GBU we thought about the legacy of the disciple of Christ, of what awaits the believer in the future. For those who live by faith in Christ today, the best is to come. It is not here in the present, it is in the future; and the disciple simply has to look up to contemplate it.
We studied 3 passages to meditate on this secure future: 1 Peter 1:3-5, Hebrews 12:1-3 and 2 Timothy 4:1-5.
The characteristics of this inheritance
Peter urged us to rejoice in the fact that we are a guarded people for a guarded inheritance, all because of the Lord’s great mercy. Three words are used to describe this inheritance: incorruptible, spotless and unchangeable.
Incorruptible – Isaiah describes our existence as covered by a veil – a veil that covers the face of all peoples (Isaiah 25:6). Death. Any organism living in this world today is subject to the corruption of death that consumes and defiles everything. Except the believer’s inheritance. It is incorruptible!
Spotless – blemishes, impurity, darkness. It is perfect in every sense; it is the definition of beauty and can never be infected by our sin. It is spotless.
Unalterable – it is protected from death, and protected from wickedness and is also protected from time. It is an inheritance that does not grow old. The woodworm, the moth cannot destroy it. The rust, the sun will have no effect on it.
An inheritance guarded in heaven by the Lord for a people guarded by the power of God – the power that created the sun, the stars, the black holes, the Himalayas, the Mariana Trench. The power that raised Jesus from the dead! That same power is functioning as a shield around the heirs to bring them to the end of their journey. Let us celebrate the certainty of our inheritance!
The gaze fixed on the champion!
Instead, the author of the letter to the Hebrews explains that God’s children are a people who persevere to the end by fixing their gaze on Jesus. They run with perseverance, convinced of the possibility of finishing the race, throwing off every distraction and destroying every sin that would like to deceive the heir. They persevere with their eyes on Christ, the model, the means and the medal of faith.
The model, the example of how to run with perseverance. Look at his courage: he did not give up. Observe his conviction, focused on the goal. Reflect on his submission to the Father’s will, and note the chronology of faith: suffering now, joy in the future, cross first, crown later.
The means, because of his running, because of his perseverance, the believer today can run in the race of faith, confident that the road is no longer blocked by his sin. He can go all the way to the presence of the Father, thanks to Jesus!
The medal is what awaits the athlete of faith at the end of his run. Jesus himself is the prize of faith; he is the inheritance. The believer does not run to win a gold medal, or a yellow shirt, or the shield, or the world cup. The believer will receive at the end of this race, a much, much more precious thing-Jesus himself, incorruptible, spotless and unchangeable! We win him and he wins us!
Passing the baton
Paul with his last words implores his son in the faith, Timothy, to pass on the message of inheritance to the next generation. The heir is sure of his inheritance, sure that he will make it to the end of the race through God’s power and through his perseverance, is called to preach the word of inheritance to his and the next generation. And he is called to do so with urgency, with patience and with suffering.
Discouragements, disappointments, frustrations, obstacles, attacks and opposition are part of the believer’s life. Shame in the present, glory in the future. Cross today, crown on that day. Suffering now, yet our inheritance is incorruptible, unblemished and unalterable at Christ’s return. This is the living hope of Christ’s disciple! God will bring us through faith to that day and so let us run with perseverance, eyes fixed on the prize, on Jesus, proclaiming the Word to all.