Ephesians 1:11 In Christ we have also obtained an inheritance, having been destined according to the purpose of him who accomplishes all things according to his counsel and will, 12 so that we, who were the first to set our hope on Christ, might live for the praise of his glory. 13 In him you also, when you had heard the word of truth, the gospel of your salvation, and had believed in him, were marked with the seal of the promised Holy Spirit; 14 this is the pledge of our inheritance toward redemption as God's own people, to the praise of his glory.
Our first impression is that an inheritance is a very good thing. Though this can indeed be the case, it surely is far from always so. We can inherit bad genes that lead to cancer or heart disease or mental illness. Even if someone leaves us something good in a will, its blessing is overshadowed by the grief of having lost one who cared enough to bequeath something to us. I must also say that one of the biggest recurring sources of family division that I have witnessed is indignant jealousy over what someone else inherited that should have gone to…well, ME!
Why would we begrudge someone else’s inheritance? In a word, entitlement. We are sure that we are the most deserving, the most worthy. What is intended as a gift of love morphs into a contest of playing favorites. It’s no longer a gift at all; it’s something I have coming to me.
Not so with the inheritance of chapter 1 in Ephesians assigned for this coming Sunday! This inheritance is pure grace: free, unmerited, undeserved. It is our redemption that is purely God’s work. Verse 11 is also clear that it is “we” who have received an inheritance, not just “I.” The purpose of this inheritance is, as we’re twice told, that we might live “to the praise of his glory.” No competition, no worthiness, no entitlement; only absolute gift that empowers us to live as God would have us live.
That’s the freedom of the Gospel! Free from having to earn our own hope and way, we’re now also free to choose to live as God intends!
PRAYER: We give you thanks for choosing us and loving us well beyond our deserving; indeed, despite our unworthiness. As your adopted sons and daughters, teach us to treasure our inheritance by living lives that follow your will and give you praise. We ask this in the name of Christ, our brother, who shares his inheritance with us. Amen.