How to Handle Inheritances

The Lord God took the man and put him in the garden of Eden to work it and keep it. And [He] commanded [him], saying, ‘You may surely eat of every tree of the garden, but of the tree of the knowledge of good and evil you shall not eat, for in the day that you eat of it you shall surely die’… [The serpent] said to the woman, ‘Did God actually say, “You shall not eat of any tree in the garden”?’ And the woman said to the serpent, ‘We may eat of the fruit of the trees in the garden, but God said, “You shall not eat of the fruit of the tree that is in the midst of the garden,.. lest you die.”‘ But the serpent said to the woman, ‘You will not surely die…’ So the woman… took of its fruit and ate, and she also gave some to her husband and he ate… To Adam [God] said, ‘Because you have.. eaten of the tree,.. you are dust, and to dust you shall return.’” Genesis 2:15-17;3:1-4,6,17,19

“It is my eager expectation and hope that… with full courage now as always Christ will be honored in my body, whether by life or by death. For to me to live is Christ, and to die is gain. If I am to live in the flesh, that means fruitful labor for me. Yet which I shall choose I cannot tell… My desire is to depart and be with Christ, for that is far better.” Philippians 1:20-23

The taste and immediate fallout of death entered the world when Eve believed the Tempter over God. First shame, then fear, then separation enveloped human experience. Since the fall, we have all inherited death. It is inescapable, often cruel, sometimes a mercy, always final. The terrible reality of Eden lingers today: the fear of death grips us when we believe lies over God’s great promises. (Genesis 3:24; Hebrews 9:27)

But for those of us in Christ, life is different. We have also, by faith in Jesus, been born again to a living hope through the resurrection of Jesus Christ from the dead, to an inheritance that is imperishable, undefiled, and unfading, kept in heaven for us and guaranteed by the indwelling Holy Spirit as our deposit. The shadow of the first inheritance disappears in light of the second, glorious one. Eternal death is swallowed in victory. (1 Corinthians 15:53-54,57; Ephesians 1:13-14; 1 Peter 1:3-4)

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And it is in this hope we are spurred, like Paul, to ‘live Christ,’ to zealously do the works He has prepared for us in the time we’ve been given. God ordains our purposes and numbers our days, and we are accountable for them. We need not be anxious about the future; our glorious inheritance is secured. (Psalm 139:16; Jeremiah 29:11; Ephesians 2:10; Colossians 3:23; 1 Thessalonians 4:13)

Where is the enemy stealing today’s fruit by dangling worry over a tomorrow we cannot control? What earthly thinking, what lies from the world, prevent us from living to the full today without fear? Where does our outlook on death need adjusting in light of truth? (John 3:16; 15:16; 1 Corinthians 15:55)

Lord, for today, give me a heart of wisdom. May I be steadfast, immovable, always abounding in Your work, and courageously inviting others to receive the joyful hope of a promised inheritance with You. (Psalm 90:12; 1 Corinthians 15:58)

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