I have an acquaintance who has the same first name as his dad. When he reached a certain age, his dad gave him access to his bank cards. This was before the introduction of contactless payments, so you had to insert the card at a pay point or sign a receipt. This acquaintance was from an affluent family, which made his circumstance all the more desirable. Yet, he never took undue advantage of his father’s benevolence. He exhibited a degree of maturity and responsibility which validated his father’s decision to trust him with his wealth. As an heir, he had graduated from a child to a son. Therefore, he was ready to handle his inheritance.
When we believe in Jesus and confess Him as Lord, He gives us the right to become children of God [John 1:12, Romans 10:9]. However, that’s the beginning of the journey, not the end. Time and again, Paul, in particular, exhorted believers not to remain neophytes but to strive for maturityGalatians 4:3-7, Philippians 2:12]. Paul taught that as children of God, we’re also co-heirs with Jesus to His inheritance [Romans 8:17, Titus 3:7]. Paul also taught that Jesus became poor for our sake so we might become rich [2 Corinthians 8:9]. He did that because His Father predestined us for adoption as sons through Jesus according to the purpose of His will [Ephesians 1:4]. So, when God said: “I know the plans I have for you…plans for your prosperity…to give you a future and a hope” [Jeremiah 29:11], He had something in mind which was much better than anyone in Jeremiah’s day could imagine [Ephesians 3:4-6].
The Bible is categorical about the believer’s inheritance accessible by grace through faith in Jesus [Ephesians 2:8] and that the Holy Spirit is the seal and down payment of our heritage until we possess it [Ephesians 1:13-14]. However, it’s also unequivocal that access to the inheritance – walking in its reality in this life, is for sons, not children [Galatians 4:1-2]. Most of the Bible was written in the context of a patriarchal culture where the sons inherited a man’s estate after his death unless he had no sons [Numbers 27:8-11]. So, there might be an inclination to interpret Paul’s usage of son through the lens of gender. Yet, male and female are equal in God’s eyes [Galatians 3:28], and God promised to pour out His Spirit on all flesh – men and women [Acts 2:17]. So, I believe we could faithfully interpret son in the context of inheritance in the New Testament as a status or a title rather than a gender.
I wrote previously about choosing our primary identity wisely. If your identity is rooted in Jesus, are you a child or a son? The author of Hebrews helps us understand the distinction, highlighting that a child feeds on milk and is unskilled in God’s word. While one who is mature – a son – feeds on solid food and possesses the powers of discernment developed through constant practice. Such a person is Christ-like and can distinguish between good and evil [Ephesians 4:13-14, Hebrews 5:13-14]. In other words, a son knows his Father’s will – His word and competently exercises authority on behalf of his Father [Psalm 82:6, Romans 12:2, 2 Timothy 2:15]. God’s original intent was for man (both male and female) to have dominion over creation on earth [Genesis 1:26, Psalm 115:16]. Although the devil and sin interfered with that agenda, God never changed His mind. Consequently, one of the rights of a believer, freed from the power of sin, is the authority over the devil and his schemes to thwart God’s will [Luke 10:19]. That’s the birthright of every believer, and sons manifest that reality.
Jesus freed us from sin through His blood to be kings and priests unto our God [Revelation 1:5-6]. A king has a domain over which he reigns unhindered by the powers of darkness, and a priest re-presents God to the people. That’s the destiny of every believer, and it’s how sons glorify God and fulfil the purpose for which He created them [Isaiah 43:7]. However, that isn’t the lived experience of every believer. Too many of us are yet to be partakers of the divine nature as God intended [2 Peter 1:4]. Like Esau, we have given up our birthright for things of lesser worth – like money, the applause of men, earthly power and so on. By doing so, we despise our inheritance and allow the devil to take undue advantage [Genesis 25:34]. However, it isn’t too late to change course because as long as there is breath in our lungs, we possess the capacity to become skilled in God’s word.
Reflecting on my life, I can’t say I’m functioning as a king and a priest in my sphere of influence. Several areas in my life don’t unequivocally showcase the manifestation of God’s precious and very great promises [2 Peter 1:4]. Unbelievers are yet to be astounded by my life. They aren’t yet in awe of my God. However, within me resides the same power which raised Jesus from the dead [Romans 8:9-11]. I’m determined to harness that power to live the life God ordained for me for His glory. So, I’ll prioritise studying God’s word and continually pray for the Holy Spirit to grant understanding and revelation, with the grace to obey it with childlike faith. Then, I’ll trust the God who watches over His word to perform it, to fulfil His promises [Joshua 23:14, Jeremiah 1:12]. I invite you to do the same; the great cloud of witnesses is beckoning us onward to become all that Jesus died for us to be because our inheritance is worth it [Hebrews 12:1-3].