When we are saved, God gives us eternal life. “The gift of God is eternal life through Jesus Christ our Lord,” Rom 6:23. After we are raptured to be with God in heaven, he will also give us an inheritance. “The Spirit itself beareth witness with our spirit that we are the children of God: And if children, then heirs; heirs of God, and joint-heirs with Christ,” Rom 8:16-17.
The gift of eternal life is unconditional, immediate, and everlasting. When God gives us Jesus Christ, he gives us eternal life, forever. Our inheritance, on the other hand, is not immediate and it is conditioned upon four factors in our lives after we are saved. There are four major factors God will judge in determining our inheritance.
Today, we’ll study these four factors that will determine our inheritance:
Sin – Eph 5:5 – Our inheritance is something that we have to wait to get. That’s why Christians often forfeit it. They want something now; they don’t want to wait. They can’t see the value of what they are forfeiting, Eph 1:18, “the riches of the glory of his inheritance in the saints.” So they give into the works of the flesh instead of walking with the Spirit, Gal 5:16-23. And thereby, they have no inheritance in the kingdom of God. Like the prodigal son, they spend it up on the flesh. We are supposed to walk in the Spirit. When we walk in the flesh, we can forfeit our inheritance.
Suffering – Rom 8:17-18 – we are “joint-heirs with Christ; if so be that we suffer with him, that we may be also glorified together.” Paul said that the glory which shall be revealed in us is beyond comparison to the sufferings of this present time. The glory is so far better that you wouldn’t even speak of it in comparison to the suffering. Many of us perhaps experienced a little suffering when we bore reproach with our families or friends. Some of them cut us off when we told them we are saved and that we want them to be saved. In times past, it is amazing how much God’s people suffered. The stories of the martyrs are both frightful and inspiring. In Rev 2:10, martyrs during the Tribulation will be rewarded with the crown of life. God rewards suffering.
Sacrifice – Heb 13:15-16; Phil 4:15; Lk 12:31-34 – in these three passages, you can see that giving is a spiritual sacrifice that accumulates in heaven as treasure. The spiritual sacrifice of giving results in treasure in heaven. If you are young, you should develop the good habit of giving regularly to the Lord and the Lord’s work. That way, should the rapture still be years away, you’ll have more on the other side in heaven than you do down here. And even if the Lord is coming soon, it’s a good time to lay up some treasure in heaven.
Service – Col 3:22-25 – as a servant to others, like an employee to an employer, you have the opportunity to increase your inheritance when you serve as unto the Lord. “Knowing that of the Lord ye shall receive the reward of the inheritance: for ye serve the Lord Christ.” In any capacity of service, we should serve the Lord and do our very best for him. How you serve affects your inheritance, whether you’re serving in church or in your job.
Conclusion: if you have one of these works of the flesh that you’ve been dealing with in your life that the Holy Spirit has been trying to get you to quit, remember that he is much stronger than your flesh. Stop it now. Walk in the Spirit, instead. If you have been hiding the fact that you’re saved to avoid reproach, remember that suffering for the Lord partly determines your inheritance. Don’t be afraid of the spiritual sacrifice of giving. That’s how you lay up treasure in heaven. And as an employee or a servant, serve as unto the Lord. These factors determine your inheritance.