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5. The Hope of Glory (Ephesians 1:11-14)

3 Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, who has blessed us with every spiritual blessing in the heavenly places in Christ, 4 just as He chose us in Him before the foundation of the world, that we should be holy and blameless before Him. In love 5 He predestined us to adoption as sons through Jesus Christ to Himself, according to the kind intention of His will, 6 to the praise of the glory of His grace, which He freely bestowed on us in the Beloved.

7 In Him we have redemption through His blood, the forgiveness of our trespasses, according to the riches of His grace, 8 which He lavished upon us.

In all wisdom and insight 9 He made known to us the mystery of His will, according to His kind intention which He purposed in Him 10 with a view to an administration suitable to the fulness of the times, that is, the summing up of all things in Christ, things in the heavens and things upon the earth.

In Him 11 also we have obtained an inheritance, having been predestined according to His purpose who works all things after the counsel of His will, 12 to the end that we who were the first to hope in Christ should be to the praise of His glory. 13 In Him, you also, after listening to the message of truth, the gospel of your salvation—having also believed, you were sealed in Him with the Holy Spirit of promise, 14 who is given as a pledge of our inheritance, with a view to the redemption of God’s own possession, to the praise of His glory.

Introduction

At the conclusion of World War I, a period of optimism swept the country. It was a war, they said, which would end all wars. The future looked bright. Even the Christian community was caught up in the spirit of expectation. It became popular among some Christians to hold that the kingdom of God would be ushered in by the church, which would transform society to the point where the Lord would come to establish His reign upon the earth. Needless to say, this optimism did not last long. It certainly ended with onset of World War II.

Ours is not an age of optimism, but rather one of pessimism and despair. The somber mood of our culture is perhaps most evident in the youth culture. The specter of disaster looms large in the minds of all men, but especially among the young. There is the death and destruction of war, which poses danger for civilians as well as combatants. I am told that during the civil war, 90% of the casualties were combatants. Now, 90% of the casualties are civilians.

Our environment seems to be unstoppably and irreversibly changing, and not for the better. The atomic bomb, biological weapons and other instruments of mass destruction are not only being produced at an alarming rate, but are being acquired in large quantities by mad men. Now, the size of a country has little to do with its threat to others. All a nation needs is a large enough store of nuclear and chemical weapons to destroy the civilized world.

There were always some things we thought we could count on, like a steady job, a comfortable retirement, and a sound economy. Not any longer. Those who have invested the better part of their productive lives working for one company now cannot count on long-term employment. Technology is changing so fast that many jobs cease to exist. More companies are failing, and so jobs die with the company. Retirement accounts run dry and the banking system seems to teeter on the brink of disaster. Overseas competition nibbles away at our competitive edge. World-wide recession is not an infrequent topic of conversation.

And then there are the diseases, like aids, which no longer pose a threat for a small minority, or for those whose lifestyle is immoral. Now, aids is a threat to our entire society. In a small country that I visited in East Africa a few years ago, aids was hardly known. Now, in that same country, they cannot bury those who have died of aids fast enough. Funeral homes are multiplying, in order to handle a business that is bigger than existing facilities can handle. A number of funeral ceremonies now are conducted for groups, not for one individual. Babies born to mothers addicted to crack are now at school age, and educational system is struggling with the massive problems they pose to school systems.

Our youth culture is well aware of the dangers which lie before us. There is no longer the idealism among our youth which was evident in the 60’s. Teens cling together in gangs for protection. Premarital sex is now becoming the norm, and those who remain pure feel the same kind of social stigma that the immoral once felt. Part of the reason for premarital sex is that there is no sense of certainty that there is a future. And so this generation wants to have what we waited for because they are skeptical about the future.

While a large percentage of our youth are trying to enjoy whatever pleasures life offers now, they are finding no joy in life. More and more teens are convinced that life has nothing to offer them, and are trying to escape the trials of the present by committing suicide. Never before have so many found so little to live for.

Apart from the Word of God and its offer of a bright future, men have no basis for hope at all. It is my opinion that in the end times, when things become exceedingly difficult, unbelieving men and women will turn to the antichrist to save them, placing their faith and hope in him, to their own destruction. In the present, there are various forms of “false hope” being peddled, most of which should be spelled HYPE, not HOPE.

The text which we are studying today is one of many passages which focuses on the hope which the gospel offers to all who trust in Christ for salvation. The Christian’s hope is the “hope of glory,” a hope which enables us to endure the sufferings and groanings of this life with confidence and genuine optimism.

The Context of our Text

In our text, verses 3-14 constitute a single paragraph. In the original text it would appear that these verses actually constitute one sentence. The entire paragraph is Paul’s summary of the blessings which God has graciously bestowed on the believer, in order to manifest His glory. Just as our blessings are summed up “in Christ,” the purposes of God are summed up in Him. The purpose of history is to bring all things under the headship of Jesus Christ, and thereby glorify the Father.

The blessings of the believer are described in the most summary fashion. Paul assumes that his readers will understand the terms and concepts he refers to, both from his own teaching in the past28 and that of others. Paul’s summary includes the work of the Father, Son, and Holy Spirit. It considers eternity past, history, and eternity future. The Christian’s future hope is not limited to verses 11-14. All through verses 3-14 Paul has pointed us to the future. Our blessings are “in the heavenlies in Christ” (1:3). His purpose, determined in eternity past, is that we should be “holy and blameless before Him” (1:4), and that we should be “adopted as sons” (1:5). These are all to be fully realized in the future.

The faith and hope of the Christian has always looked forward, to the blessings which are not presently seen, but which God has promised:

24 For in hope we have been saved, but hope that is seen is not hope; for why does one also hope for what he sees? 25 But if we hope for what we do not see, with perseverance we wait eagerly for it (Romans 8:24-25).

1 Now faith is the assurance of things hoped for, the conviction of things not seen. 2 For by it the men of old gained approval. … 13 All these died in faith, without receiving the promises, but having seen them and having welcomed them from a distance, and having confessed that they were strangers and exiles on the earth. … 39 And all these, having gained approval through their faith, did not receive what was promised, 40 because God had provided something better for us, so that apart from us they should not be made perfect (Hebrews 11:1-2, 13, 39).

The Structure of our Text

It is not always the case, but there are times when an analysis of the structure of a text can greatly enhance our understanding of its meaning and message. Such is the case with our passage. Notice its structure, with very little rearranging:

      IN HIM ALSO WE HAVE OBTAINED AN INHERITANCE,

        having been predestined according to His purpose

          Who works all things after the counsel of His will

            to the end that we who were the first to hope in Christ should be

        TO THE PRAISE OF HIS GLORY

      IN HIM, YOU ALSO WERE SEALED IN HIM WITH THE HOLY SPIRIT OF PROMISE

        who is given as a pledge of our inheritance

          after listening to the message of truth, the gospel of your salvation having also believed,

            with a view to the redemption of God’s own possession

        TO THE PRAISE OF HIS GLORY

A number of observations should be noted from the structure of our text:

(1) The text falls into two major divisions, verses 11 and 12, and verses 13 and 14.

(2) Verses 11-14 describe one inheritance (verses 11 and 14) in Christ, shared by both Jews and Gentiles, which is the basis of the believer’s hope.

(3) Verses 11 and 12 focus on the inheritance of the Jews, the “first to hope in Christ.”

(4) Verses 13 and 14 focus on the inheritance of the Gentiles, who have listened to the gospel and believed in Christ.

(5) Both the Jewish saints and the Gentile believers share the same hope and the same inheritance.

(6) The salvation of both groups is “to the praise of His glory” (verses 12 and 14).

(7) The text emphasizes both divine sovereignty (verse 11) and human responsibility (verse 13). God predestined those who would be saved (verse 11), and then sealed them with His spirit (verse 13). Those who were saved believed, both Jews (verse 12) and Gentiles (verse 13).

A Survey of the Inheritance of the Saints in the Bible

The concept of an inheritance is not a new one in the Book of Ephesians. It is a concept which is introduced early in the first book of the Bible (Genesis), and which is consummated in the last (Revelation). The concept is progressively revealed in the Bible, so that we can now look back on its development and see it in its full dimensions.

The concept of an inheritance began with the expectation of the inheritance of a land. Stephen spoke of Abraham’s hope of an inheritance: “And He gave him no inheritance in it, not even a foot of ground; and yet, even when he had no child, He promised that He would give it to him as a possession, and to his offspring after him” (Acts 7:5).

When the Israelites came out of the land of Egypt, they anticipated entering into the promised land, which would be their inheritance:

“Thou wilt bring them and plant them in the mountain of Thine inheritance, The place, O Lord, which Thou hast made for Thy dwelling, The sanctuary, O Lord, which Thy hands have established” (Exodus 15:17).

“Remember Abraham, Isaac, and Israel, Thy servants to whom Thou didst swear by Thyself, and didst say to them, ‘I will multiply your descendants as the stars of the heavens, and all this land of which I have spoken I will give to your descendants, and they shall inherit it forever’” (Exodus 32:13).

Driving out from before you nations greater and mightier than you, to bring you in and to give you their land for an inheritance, as it is today (Deuteronomy 4:38).

When Israel sinned, God drove them from the land of their inheritance. They would return to this land, but even after this, the prophets spoke of an eternal inheritance in the land:

“And I will bring forth offspring from Jacob, And an heir of My mountains from Judah; Even My chosen ones shall inherit it, And My servants shall dwell there” (Isaiah 65:9).

“‘For there will be peace for the seed: the vine will yield its fruit, the land will yield its produce, and the heavens will give their dew; and I will cause the remnant of this people to inherit all these things’” (Zechariah 8:12).

Israel’s inheritance was more than just a piece of land. When Jacob had deceived his father and sinfully obtained his blessing, he fled from his brother Esau, leaving the land of his inheritance. I believe that he never intended to return, at least while his brother remained alive. But Jacob had a most unusual dream just before he left the land of promise:

10 Then Jacob departed from Beersheba and went toward Haran. 11 And he came to a certain place and spent the night there, because the sun had set; and he took one of the stones of the place and put it under his head, and lay down in that place. 12 And he had a dream, and behold, a ladder was set on the earth with its top reaching to heaven; and behold, the angels of God were ascending and descending on it. 13 And behold, the LORD stood above it and said, “I am the LORD, the God of your father Abraham and the God of Isaac; the land on which you lie, I will give it to you and to your descendants. 14 “Your descendants shall also be like the dust of the earth, and you shall spread out to the west and to the east and to the north and to the south; and in you and in your descendants shall all the families of the earth be blessed. 15 “And behold, I am with you, and will keep you wherever you go, and will bring you back to this land; for I will not leave you until I have done what I have promised you.” 16 Then Jacob awoke from his sleep and said, “Surely the LORD is in this place, and I did not know it.” 17 And he was afraid and said, “How awesome is this place! This is none other than the house of God, and this is the gate of heaven” (Genesis 28:10-17).

Jacob’s dream caused him to view this land differently. It was the land on which the ladder of his dream was set. Somehow, this land was special, it was the place where God met with men. It would not be until much later that the significance of this dream would be spelled out in relationship to Jesus Christ.

43 The next day He purposed to go forth into Galilee, and He found Philip. And Jesus said to him, “Follow Me.” 44 Now Philip was from Bethsaida, of the city of Andrew and Peter. 45 Philip found Nathanael and said to him, “We have found Him of whom Moses in the Law and also the Prophets wrote, Jesus of Nazareth, the son of Joseph.” 46 And Nathanael said to him, “Can any good thing come out of Nazareth?” Philip said to him,” Come and see. “ 47 Jesus saw Nathanael coming to Him, and said of him, “Behold, an Israelite indeed, in whom is no guile!” 48 Nathanael said to Him, “How do You know me?” Jesus answered and said to him, “Before Philip called you, when you were under the fig tree, I saw you.” 49 Nathanael answered Him, “Rabbi, You are the Son of God; You are the King of Israel.” 50 Jesus answered and said to him, “Because I said to you that I saw you under the fig tree, do you believe? You shall see greater things than these.” 51 And He said to him, “Truly, truly, I say to you, you shall see the heavens opened, and the angels of God ascending and descending on the Son of Man” (John 1:43-51).

If Jacob’s ladder was placed on the land of Israel, his inheritance and later that of his descendants the Israelites, the ladder itself was the Messiah, the Lord Jesus Christ. He was to become the mediator between men and God, the one means of access between earth and heaven.

Up until the time of the coming of Jesus, the Christ, the place of worship was critical, because God had appointed one place where His presence would abide, and where men could worship Him. Now, after the coming of Christ, the place is not critical, but the person of our Lord is:

19 The woman said to Him, “Sir, I perceive that You are a prophet. 20 “Our fathers worshiped in this mountain, and you people say that in Jerusalem is the place where men ought to worship.” 21 Jesus said to her, “Woman, believe Me, an hour is coming when neither in this mountain, nor in Jerusalem, shall you worship the Father. 22 “You worship that which you do not know; we worship that which we know, for salvation is from the Jews. 23 “But an hour is coming, and now is, when the true worshipers shall worship the Father in spirit and truth; for such people the Father seeks to be His worshipers. 24 “God is spirit, and those who worship Him must worship in spirit and truth.” 25 The woman said to Him, “I know that Messiah is coming He who is called Christ; when that One comes, He will declare all things to us.” 26 Jesus said to her, “I who speak to you am He” (John 4:19-26).

The place of worship was important in Israel’s past, and will be in her future, only because that is the place where God’s presence will abide, and thus it is the place where men can worship God. But in eternity future, the place is not the location to which Jesus will come, it is the “place” which our Lord is presently preparing, and which He will bring with Him:

2 “In My Father’s house are many dwelling places; if it were not so, I would have told you; for I go to prepare a place for you. 3 “And if I go and prepare a place for you, I will come again, and receive you to Myself; that where I am, there you may be also (John 14:2-3).

1 And I saw a new heaven and a new earth; for the first heaven and the first earth passed away, and there is no longer any sea. 2 And I saw the holy city, new Jerusalem, coming down out of heaven from God, made ready as a bride adorned for her husband. 3 And I heard a loud voice from the throne, saying, “Behold, the tabernacle of God is among men, and He shall dwell among them, and they shall be His people, and God Himself shall be among them (Revelation 21:1-3).

Even the Old Testament saint came to realize that their inheritance, their “land” was not the physical land of their day and time, but rather a heavenly place:

13 All these died in faith, without receiving the promises, but having seen them and having welcomed them from a distance, and having confessed that they were strangers and exiles on the earth. 14 For those who say such things make it clear that they are seeking a country of their own. 15 And indeed if they had been thinking of that country from which they went out, they would have had opportunity to return. 16 But as it is, they desire a better country, that is a heavenly one. Therefore God is not ashamed to be called their God; for He has prepared a city for them (Hebrews 11:13-16).

Israel’s inheritance was a spiritual one. And so it can be seen in the Old Testament that Israel’s real inheritance was God Himself, not just a piece of land where He would manifest His presence. So it was for the Levites, and so it was for David:

Then the Lord said to Aaron, “You shall have no inheritance in their land, nor own any portion among them; I am your portion and your inheritance among the sons of Israel” (Numbers 18:20).

The Lord is the portion of my inheritance and my cup; Thou dost support my lot. The lines have fallen to me in pleasant places; Indeed, my heritage is beautiful to me (Psalm 16:5-6).

My flesh and my heart may fail, But God is the strength of my heart and my portion forever (Psalm 73:26).

I cried out to Thee, O Lord; I said, “Thou art my refuge, My portion in the land of the living” (Psalm 142:5).

“The Lord is my portion,” says my soul, “Therefore I have hope in Him” (Lamentations 3:24).

From the Old Testament to the New, God made it plain to us that those who would find Him to be their inheritance would not be just Israelites, but those who trusted in Him from among the Gentiles as well:

“And it will come about that you shall divide it by lot for an inheritance among yourselves and among the aliens who stay in your midst, who bring forth sons in your midst. And they shall be to you as the native-born among the sons of Israel; they shall be allotted an inheritance with you among the tribes of Israel. And it will come about that in the tribe with which the alien stays, there you shall give him his inheritance,” declares the Lord God (Ezekiel 47:22-23).

“And now I commend you to God and to the word of His grace, which is able to build you up and to give you the inheritance among all those who are sanctified” (Acts 20:32, note all of verses 22-32).29

“‘To open their eyes so that they may turn from darkness to light and from the dominion of Satan to God, in order that they may receive forgiveness of sins and an inheritance among those who have been sanctified by faith in Me’” (Acts 26:18).3031

Giving thanks to the Father, who has qualified us to share in the inheritance of the saints in light (Colossians 1:12).

Not returning evil for evil, or insult for insult, but giving a blessing instead; for you were called for the very purpose that you might inherit a blessing (1 Peter 3:9).

This inheritance, shared by believing Jews and Gentiles, is the inheritance of the promised blessings of God, culminating (coming to a head) in the salvation which was accomplished by the death, burial, and resurrection of Jesus Christ:

And for this reason He [Christ] is the mediator of a new covenant, in order that since a death has taken place for the redemption of the transgressions that were committed under the first covenant, those who have been called may receive the promise of the eternal inheritance (Hebrews 9:15).

What may be even more amazing is this: that God has chosen to make His people His inheritance. If God is our inheritance, we also are His:

“And I prayed to the Lord, and said, ‘O Lord God, do not destroy Thy people, even Thine inheritance, whom Thou hast redeemed through Thy greatness, whom Thou hast brought out of Egypt with a mighty hand” (Deuteronomy 9:26).

Save Thy people, and bless Thine inheritance; Be their shepherd also, and carry them forever (Psalm 28:9).

Blessed is the nation whose God is the Lord, The people whom He has chosen for His own inheritance (Psalm 33:12).

Remember Thy congregation, which Thou hast purchased of old, Which Thou hast redeemed to be the tribe of Thine inheritance; And this Mount Zion, where Thou hast dwelt (Psalm 74:2).

For the Lord will not abandon His people, Nor will He forsake His inheritance (Psalm 94:14).

The people of God’s inheritance are also the people of Christ’s inheritance:

“‘Ask of Me, and I will surely give the nations as Thine inheritance, And the very ends of the earth as Thy possession’” (Psalm 2:8).

For Thou hast heard my vows, O God; Thou hast given me the inheritance of those who fear Thy name (Psalm 61:5).

In the final analysis, the church is God’s inheritance, those redeemed people made up of saints from among the Jews and the Gentiles:

I pray that the eyes of your heart may be enlightened, so that you may know what is the hope of His calling, what are the riches of the glory of His inheritance in the saints (Ephesians 1:18).

Characteristics Of Our Inheritance

Paul’s words in Ephesians 1:11-14 speak of the inheritance of the saints. This inheritance, as we have seen, is not a new one, but that for which the saints of old looked forward. Let us seek to sum up what Paul is saying about the characteristics of our inheritance in the text before us, and as described elsewhere in the New Testament.

(1) All those who trust in Christ for salvation have an inheritance. The blessings of this inheritance are for those who are “in Christ” because they have believed in Him.

3 Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, who according to His great mercy has caused us to be born again to a living hope through the resurrection of Jesus Christ from the dead, 4 to obtain an inheritance which is imperishable and undefiled and will not fade away, reserved in heaven for you, 5 who are protected by the power of God through faith for a salvation ready to be revealed in the last time (1 Peter 1:3-5).

11 also we have obtained an inheritance, having been predestined according to His purpose who works all things after the counsel of His will, … 14 who is given as a pledge of our inheritance, with a view to the redemption of God’s own possession, to the praise of His glory (Ephesians 1:11-14).

(2) The Christian’s inheritance is the believer’s unseen hope, looked for by faith.

For in hope we have been saved, but hope that is seen is not hope; for why does one also hope for what he sees? But if we hope for what we do not see, with perseverance we wait eagerly for it (Romans 8:24-25).

For we through the Spirit, by faith, are waiting for the hope of righteousness (Galatians 5:5).

Now faith is the assurance of things hoped for, the conviction of things not seen (Hebrews 11:1).

(3) This inheritance was purposed by God the Father in eternity past, to display His glory through the salvation of men by the death of His Son.

In Him also we have obtained an inheritance, having been predestined according to His purpose who works all things after the counsel of His will (Ephesians 1:10c, 11).

Through whom also we have obtained our introduction by faith into this grace in which we stand; and we exult in hope of the glory of God (Romans 5:2).

To whom God willed to make known what is the riches of the glory of this mystery among the Gentiles, which is Christ in you, the hope of glory (Colossians 1:27).

Looking for the blessed hope and the appearing of the glory of our great God and Savior, Christ Jesus (Titus 2:13).

(4) Our inheritance is a future blessing, one which is to be fully realized at the second coming of Christ when He establishes His kingdom on earth. Our blessings are “in the heavenly places in Christ” (Ephesians 1:3), the culmination of which comes at the second coming of Christ, when all things are “summed up in Him” (1:10). God’s purpose is that we shall someday stand “holy and blameless before Him” (1:4).

Because of the hope laid up for you in heaven, of which you previously heard in the word of truth, the gospel (Colossians 1:5).

24 For in hope we have been saved, but hope that is seen is not hope; for why does one also hope for what he sees? 25 But if we hope for what we do not see, with perseverance we wait eagerly for it (Romans 8:24-25).

13 All these died in faith, without receiving the promises, but having seen them and having welcomed them from a distance, and having confessed that they were strangers and exiles on the earth. 14 For those who say such things make it clear that they are seeking a country of their own. 15 And indeed if they had been thinking of that country from which they went out, they would have had opportunity to return. 16 But as it is, they desire a better country, that is a heavenly one. Therefore God is not ashamed to be called their God; for He has prepared a city for them (Hebrews 11:13-16).

39 And all these, having gained approval through their faith, did not receive what was promised, 40 because God had provided something better for us, so that apart from us they should not be made perfect (Hebrews 11:39-40).

(5) Our inheritance is a sure and certain hope. The full future possession of our inheritance is as sure as God’s Word is true, His purposes are certain, and His sovereignty is complete. Our inheritance is provided by God, promised by His Word, testified to by His Spirit, and believed in by faith.

And hope does not disappoint, because the love of God has been poured out within our hearts through the Holy Spirit who was given to us (Romans 5:5).

For whatever was written in earlier times was written for our instruction, that through perseverance and the encouragement of the Scriptures we might have hope (Romans 15:4).

Now may the God of hope fill you with all joy and peace in believing, that you may abound in hope by the power of the Holy Spirit (Romans 15:13).

In the hope of eternal life, which God, who cannot lie, promised long ages ago (Titus 1:2).

In order that by two unchangeable things, in which it is impossible for God to lie, we may have strong encouragement, we who have fled for refuge in laying hold of the hope set before us. This hope we have as an anchor of the soul, a hope both sure and steadfast and one which enters within the veil (Hebrews 6:18-19).

Let us hold fast the confession of our hope without wavering, for He who promised is faithful (Hebrews 10:23).

Who through Him are believers in God, who raised Him from the dead and gave Him glory, so that your faith and hope are in God (1 Peter 1:21).

(6) Our inheritance is one which believing Gentiles share with believing Jews.

“And in His name the Gentiles will hope” (Matthew 12:21).32

There is one body and one Spirit, just as also you were called in one hope of your calling (Ephesians 4:4).

12 giving thanks to the Father, who has qualified us to share in the inheritance of the saints in light (Col. 1:12).33

(7) The inheritance is one which is beyond the grave. The best that the world can say is, “Where there’s life, there’s hope.” The Bible assures us that we have hope, even in the face of death.

Indeed, we had the sentence of death within ourselves in order that we should not trust in ourselves, but in God who raises the dead; who delivered us from so great a peril of death, and will deliver us, He on whom we have set our hope. And He will yet deliver us (2 Corinthians 1:9-10).

13 But we do not want you to be uninformed, brethren, about those who are asleep, that you may not grieve, as do the rest who have no hope. 14 For if we believe that Jesus died and rose again, even so God will bring with Him those who have fallen asleep in Jesus. 15 For this we say to you by the word of the Lord, that we who are alive, and remain until the coming of the Lord, shall not precede those who have fallen asleep. 16 For the Lord Himself will descend from heaven with a shout, with the voice of the archangel, and with the trumpet of God; and the dead in Christ shall rise first. 17 Then we who are alive and remain shall be caught up together with them in the clouds to meet the Lord in the air, and thus we shall always be with the Lord. 18 Therefore comfort one another with these words (1 Thessalonians 4:13-18).

15 having a hope in God, which these men cherish themselves, that there shall certainly be a resurrection of both the righteous and the wicked (Acts 24:15)

(8) It is possible to turn from our hope in Christ, and to put our trust in other things, usually things which are seen.

If indeed you continue in the faith firmly established and steadfast, and not moved away from the hope of the gospel that you have heard, which was proclaimed in all creation under heaven, and of which I, Paul, was made a minister (Colossians 1:23).

Instruct those who are rich in this present world not to be conceited or to fix their hope on the uncertainty of riches, but on God, who richly supplies us with all things to enjoy (1 Timothy 6:17).

And we desire that each one of you show the same diligence so as to realize the full assurance of hope until the end (Hebrews 6:11).

Therefore, gird your minds for action, keep sober in spirit, fix your hope completely on the grace to be brought to you at the revelation of Jesus Christ (1 Peter 1:13).

The Implications of our Inheritance

While some of the benefits and implications of our inheritance may have been stated or alluded to previously, let me briefly summarize some of the ways that our hope should affect our daily lives.

Our inheritance, our hope of glory, gives us joy, confidence and boldness, even in the face of opposition and affliction.

1 Therefore having been justified by faith, we have peace with God through our Lord Jesus Christ, 2 through whom also we have obtained our introduction by faith into this grace in which we stand; and we exult in hope of the glory of God. 3 And not only this, but we also exult in our tribulations, knowing that tribulation brings about perseverance; 4 and perseverance, proven character; and proven character, hope; 5 and hope does not disappoint, because the love of God has been poured out within our hearts through the Holy Spirit who was given to us (Romans 5:1-5)

Rejoicing in hope, persevering in tribulation, devoted to prayer (Romans 12:12).

Having therefore such a hope, we use great boldness in our speech (2 Corinthians 3:12).

16 Therefore we do not lose heart, but though our outer man is decaying, yet our inner man is being renewed day by day. 17 For momentary, light affliction is producing for us an eternal weight of glory far beyond all comparison, 18 while we look not at the things which are seen, but at the things which are not seen; for the things which are seen are temporal, but the things which are not seen are eternal (2 Corinthians 4:16-18).

Constantly bearing in mind your work of faith and labor of love and steadfastness of hope in our Lord Jesus Christ in the presence of our God and Father (1 Thessalonians 1:3).

Now may our Lord Jesus Christ Himself and God our Father, who has loved us and given us eternal comfort and good hope by grace, comfort and strengthen your hearts in every good work and word (2 Thessalonians 2:16-17).

For it is for this we labor and strive, because we have fixed our hope on the living God, who is the Savior of all men, especially of believers (1 Timothy 4:10).

The confidence and joy we have as a result of our inheritance sets us apart from all others. It sets us apart from unbelievers, who have no hope:

11 Therefore remember, that formerly you, the Gentiles in the flesh, who are called “Uncircumcision” by the so-called “Circumcision,” which is performed in the flesh by human hands—12 remember that you were at that time separate from Christ, excluded from the commonwealth of Israel, and strangers to the covenants of promise, having no hope and without God in the world (Ephesians 2:11-12).

As those without hope observer the hope which we have in Christ, it presents us with opportunities to share with them the hope of the gospel:

14 But even if you should suffer for the sake of righteousness, you are blessed. And do not fear their intimidation, and do not be troubled, 15 but sanctify Christ as Lord in your hearts, always being ready to make a defense to everyone who asks you to give an account for the hope that is in you, yet with gentleness and reverence (1 Peter 3:14-15)

The hope which we have in Christ also sets the true believer apart from those who are false teachers and religious hucksters.

In the epistles of 2 Timothy (chapter 3 and 4), Jude, and 2 Peter there is much said of false teachers. In general, we can say that false teachers promise prosperity, happiness, and freedom from adversity in the present, while those who adhere to the gospel and to the Word of God promise present trials and adversity, with the assurance of perfect peace and tranquility in eternity. The hope of the gospel sets genuine Christians apart from the rest.

Finally, the Christian hope promotes holiness and purity in this life.

And everyone who has this hope fixed on Him purifies himself, just as He is pure (1 John 3:3).

Conclusion

Do you possess this kind of hope? Do you feel that you have to cram all of your expectations and aspirations into the present, or that you have an eternal hope, in Christ? Does your hope end at the grave, or does it extend beyond it into eternity? Is your hope in God, and especially in the death and resurrection of Jesus Christ, or is it in material things, or in your own efforts?

In this age of despair, there is but one solution: Jesus Christ. He is the One who has provided the forgiveness of sins, and the hope of eternal life. He is the One who will return to this earth, to judge the wicked and to eternally bless His own. His is the only hope which God offers to a sinful, fallen world, a world without hope.

Have you trusted in Him? Is He your hope? That is the message of the gospel. And this is the believers confidence and joy. May God give you an assurance of this hope, as you trust in Jesus Christ alone.


28 Including what he has written to them previously. See Ephesians 3:3.

29 These are Paul’s last spoken words to the Ephesian elders, before his arrival at Jerusalem, his arrest, and his imprisonment in Rome, from which he penned Ephesians.

30 See also 1 Kings 8:46-53.

31 See also Acts 26:15-17.

32 See also Romans 15:12.

33 See also Acts 28:20.

Related Topics: Ecclesiology (The Church), Glory