“The Reading of the Will” is always a solemn occasion.
In theatre and cinema, this scene is a staple of mysteries, comedies, high dramas, and stories of families in generational strife. Someone has left someone an inheritance and the details are about to be given.
Attorneys are present, not just the one who handled the will, but others whose clients might be blessed or cheated, depending on what is in the will. High drama, low comedy, clouds of hate and envy, pipe dreams and evil schemes fill the air:
- If the one whose will this is was hateful and mean, there is great fear.
- If the benefactor was kind and loving, anticipation quickens every heart.
- If the departed one was neglected by those who should have cared, taunt faces and wary eyes seem ready for an ambush.
- If a stranger has befriended the neglected party, suspicions lace every look and remark aimed at the outsider.
- Plays and films feed on stuff like this.
As Christ-followers we have an inheritance laid up for us on the other side of life.
Like the scenes described above, there are details of our inheritance that we will not know until we are in heaven. We see tantalizing hints in the Scriptures:
- “At Thy right hand are pleasures forevermore;”
- “We shall be like Him for we shall see Him as He is;”
- “…the riches of his glorious inheritance in the saints…;”
- “…For the trumpet will sound, the dead will be raised imperishable…”
- “In my Father’s house are many mansions…”
To put it in high theological terms: This going to be fun!
Until then, we have what the Bible calls the “earnest of our inheritance.”
Modern translations call this the “guarantee” of the inheritance. The Amplified Bible gives others shades of meaning: “…the firstfruits, the pledge and foretaste…”of our inheritance in glory. We have wonderful things “over there” and we have the Spirit of God on this side of heaven.
Of this portion of our inheritance we know much. We have:
- The forgiveness of sins through faith in the Blood of Christ,
- The abiding presence of the Holy Spirit,
- The constant covenantal care of the Heavenly Father,
- The family of God for fellowship and spiritual enterprise,
- The private altar where the Refiner’s Fire burns and the Launderer’s soap sanctifies,
- Public worship where Jesus walks among us in healing, restoring power and mercy, and
- Deliverance from addictions and diseases and depression and any other chain hell has forged.
We could go on and on.
We can read the will for ourselves; no attorneys needed.
No drama, no tension, no doubts, no schemes, no interlopers, can be found to cloud the air with uncertainty. The Spirit is our Guarantee, today and for all our tomorrows.
Do not fret because of evil men or be envious of those who do wrong; for like the grass they will soon wither, like green plants they will soon die away. Trust in the Lord and do good; dwell in the land and enjoy safe pasture. Delight yourself in the Lord and he will give you the desires of your heart. Commit your way to the Lord; trust in him and he will do this: He will make your righteousness shine like the dawn, the justice of your cause like the noonday sun. Be still before the Lord and wait patiently for him; do not fret when men succeed in their ways, when they carry out their wicked schemes. Refrain from anger and turn from wrath; do not fret — it leads only to evil. For evil men will be cut off, but those who hope in the Lord will inherit the land. A little while, and the wicked will be no more; though you look for them, they will not be found. But the meek will inherit the land and enjoy great peace. …. The days of the blameless are known to the Lord, and their inheritance will endure forever. In times of disaster they will not wither; in days of famine they will enjoy plenty. But the wicked will perish:…The wicked borrow and do not repay, but the righteous give generously; those the Lord blesses will inherit the land, but those he curses will be cut off. If the Lord delights in a man’s way, he makes his steps firm; though he stumble, he will not fall, for the Lord upholds him with his hand. I was young and now I am old, yet I have never seen the righteous forsake nor their children begging bread. They are always generous and lend freely; their children will be blessed. Turn from evil and do good; then you will dwell in the land forever. For the Lord loves the just and will not forsake his faithful ones. They will be protected forever, but the offspring of the wicked will be cut off; the righteous will inherit the land and dwell in it forever. The mouth of the righteous man utters wisdom, and his tongue speaks what is just. The law of his God is in his heart; his feet do not slip. … The salvation of the righteous comes from the Lord; he is their stronghold in time of trouble. The Lord helps them and delivers them; he delivers them from the wicked and saves them, because they take refuge in him.
Ephesians 1:18-19 NIV
I pray also that the eyes of your heart may be enlightened in order that you may know the hope to which he has called you, the riches of his glorious inheritance in the saints, and his incomparably great power for us who believe.
1 Corinthians 15:52-54 NIV
For the trumpet will sound, the dead will be raised imperishable, and we will be changed. For the perishable must clothe itself with the imperishable, and the mortal with immortality.
Ephesians 1:13-14 AMP
In Him you also who have heard the Word of Truth, the glad tidings (Gospel) of your salvation, and have believed in and adhered to and relied on Him, were stamped with the seal of the long-promised Holy Spirit. That [Spirit] is the guarantee of our inheritance [the firstfruits, the pledge and foretaste, the down payment on our heritage], in anticipation of its full redemption and our acquiring [complete] possession of it–to the praise of His glory.
Lord Jesus, You are my portion in this life and the next. I rest in Your covenantal faithfulness. The Bible says You are coming and Your reward is with You. I believe. One day all sacrifices will be washed away from the memory by the presence of the reward—the inheritance. I will sow seeds in obedience today that will yield fruit both now on earth and then in heaven. My inheritance in You is one of time and eternity. Lord, You are my portion in this life and the next. Thank You, Lord! Amen.
Oh I want to See Him
Words and Music: R.H. Cornelius
1.As I journey through the land, singing as I go,
Pointing souls to Calvary—to the crimson flow,
Many arrows pierce my soul from without, within;
But my Lord leads me on, through Him I must win.
Oh, I want to see Him, look upon His face,
There to sing forever of His saving grace;
On the streets of glory let me lift my voice,
Cares all past, home at last, ever to rejoice.
2. When in service for my Lord dark may be the night,
But I’ll cling more close to Him, He will give me light;
Satan’s snares may vex my soul, turn my thoughts aside;
But my Lord goes ahead, leads whate’er betide.
3. When in valleys low I look toward the mountain height,
And behold my Savior there, leading in the fight,
With a tender hand outstretched toward the valley low,
Guiding me, I can see, as I onward go.
4. When before me billows rise from the mighty deep,
Then my Lord directs my bark; He doth safely keep,
And He leads me gently on through this world below;
He’s a real Friend to me, oh, I love Him so.
© 2017 Stephen R. Phifer All Rights Reserved