A good friend of mine has just been through revising his will due to his wife’s death. They had a type of joint will because of their assets and them being married in community of property. Jenny and I are married like this too. Drawing up a will can be a painful and difficult experience, or it can be very easy depending upon how you want to divide your estate. You might recall the parable about the prodigal son:
Lk 15:11 Jesus continued: “There was a man who had two sons. 12 The younger one said to his father, ‘Father, give me my share of the estate.’ So he divided his property between them.
Without getting into the dynamics–the younger son living it high and wasting all his inheritance–I want to focus on “my share of the estate”.
In both Jewish and Roman law, the father did not have arbitrary disposal of his estate. By law, his estate had to be passed on to his sons and not the daughters, unless there were no sons. What happened in Luke 15 was contrary to the law, but it did happen from time to time where a son would demand his father to divide up his property during his lifetime.
The division of an estate (an inheritance) varies from culture to culture. In many cultures, the eldest son is the sole inheritor or simply inherits the larger portion of the estate. In other cultures, the youngest son inherits … and being the beneficiary of the estate, it is his duty to look after his aging parents. There are cultures where the sister’s line (son) inherits, whilst in other cultures the estate is past from mother to daughter(s).
In my culture, unless the husband and wife are married outside of community of property, the estate is divided equally amongst the children. It is possible that alternative “allocations” are included, such as a brother or sister, a friend or a domestic worker or gardener.
I must, however, admit that during my life time, when it comes to sorting out an estate, even when there is a will, jealousy, greed and fighting are common. This is extremely sad, because families fragment and relationships end … all because of “inheritance” … money and possessions. Everyone has heard stories about a family that was torn apart because of fighting over possessions from the parent or parents’ estate. Where there is no will … the problems could escalate.
There is one inheritance that cannot be contested though! Jesus, when referring to God’s Eternal Kingdom, says:
Mt 25:34 “Then the King will say to those on his right, ‘Come, you who are blessed by my Father; take your inheritance, the kingdom prepared for you since the creation of the world.’”
I am certain you observed it … the inheritance is equal for all those ushered into the Kingdom! One could say that God wrote His will before creation, because the inheritance is His Kingdom and He prepared this Kingdom for you before the creation of this world.
The context of the parable of the sheep and goats is Jesus’ Second Coming as Judge of all the world. Those who “qualify” for His Kingdom are the ones He chose from before the creation of the world, yet saved during the course of the Gospel Age … going to the four corners of the world:
Col 1:12 Giving thanks to the Father, who has qualified you to share in the inheritance of the saints in the kingdom of light. 13 For he has rescued us from the dominion of darkness and brought us into the kingdom of the Son he loves, 14 in whom we have redemption, the forgiveness of sins.
The qualification of being included in the inheritance of the saints … is through God’s rescue plan … Jesus’ shed blood for redemption and pardon. The glory of this inheritance is twofold. First, it is God’s Heavenly Kingdom. There are no stages of glory … salvation (inheritance) is full and final without any fighting. Second, everyone inheriting inherits the same … heaven … to be with God forever!
Now there are two wonderful truths for all true believers to cherish. First, Your eternal inheritance is guaranteed! Your earthly inheritance could easily fail … as the economy fails or the stock markets fall … yet:
Eph 1:13 And you also were included in Christ when you heard the word of truth, the gospel of your salvation. Having believed, you were marked in him with a seal, the promised Holy Spirit, 14 who is a deposit guaranteeing our inheritance until the redemption of those who are God’s possession—to the praise of his glory.
Every person who responds to the Gospel and receives Jesus as Lord through confessing sin, repentance and faith is brought to new birth through God’s Spirit.
Jn 3:5 Jesus answered, “I tell you the truth, no one can enter the kingdom of God unless he is born of water and the Spirit. 6 Flesh gives birth to flesh, but the Spirit gives birth to spirit. 7 You should not be surprised at my saying, ‘You must be born again.’”
Once this transition has taken place (and it’s immediate), God’s Spirit takes residence … He becomes as it were God’s engagement ring … “a deposit guaranteeing our inheritance until the redemption of those who are God’s possession”. This is gloriously comforting, because He who births you into God’s Kingdom ensures you will ‘reach’ God’s Kingdom on the other side of the grave. Did Jesus not say:
Joh 10:27 “My sheep listen to my voice; I know them, and they follow me. 28 I give them eternal life, and they shall never perish; no one can snatch them out of my hand. 29 My Father, who has given them to me, is greater than all; no one can snatch them out of my Father’s hand.”
Second, your eternal inheritance is unchangeable. From the writing of a will to its execution, the shape of your inheritance could be reduced and lose value due to many factors … yet we read:
1Pe 1:3 Praise be to the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ! In his great mercy he has given us new birth into a living hope through the resurrection of Jesus Christ from the dead, 4 and into an inheritance that can never perish, spoil or fade—kept in heaven for you, 5 who through faith are shielded by God’s power until the coming of the salvation that is ready to be revealed in the last time.
Because your inheritance is kept in the perfect place it remains perfect … your inheritance … “can never perish, spoil or fade”.
Dear Lord God Almighty, our glorious Father who has designed an inheritance, equally shaped and proportioned for each one of us who are born again. We praise and thank You for the security we have in Jesus Christ. Amen.