– by Nicola Middleton, founder and president of GodBrands
Christians often hear about our heritage in Christ, what we receive when we give our lives to the Lord. Most of us believe our heritage rests in our salvation by the grace of God by which we are “justified freely by his grace through the redemption that came by Christ Jesus” (Ro 3:24, all quotes from NIV except where noted). And the result of our salvation is our expectation of eternal life in heaven with our Lord and Saviour after our life on earth is done. As Paul said, “but the gift of God is eternal life in Christ Jesus our Lord” (Ro 6:23).
But is that all there is? Not that this isn’t more than enough and more than we deserve. But we should never underestimate God, there is more to our heritage than something we get in the next life.
The Oxford Dictionary defines heritage as “property that is or may be inherited; an inheritance”. If we search the Word of God, we find numerous references to both heritage and inheritance. Exodus 6:8 (KJV) says “And I will bring you in unto the land, concerning that which I did swear to give it to Abraham, to Isaac, and to Jacob; and I will give it you for a heritage: I am the LORD.” And the psalmist also noted: “The boundary lines have fallen for me in pleasant places; surely I have a delightful inheritance” (Ps 16:6).
So what have we inherited that is relevant to us today, in this life? I believe there are many benefits we have received, but we need to understand them before we can reach out and take them from the generous hand of our Lord. And this is important, our inheritance doesn’t just appear, we have to take hold of it. “Not that I have already obtained all this, or have already arrived at my goal, but I press on to take hold of that for which Christ Jesus took hold of me” (Phil 3:12).
Our identity in Christ
The first thing we need to look at is our new identity and what it is based upon. 2 Cor 5:17 explains, “if anyone is in Christ, the new creation has come: The old has gone, the new is here!” Or as the New Life Version phrases the same verse: “For if a man belongs to Christ, he is a new person. The old life is gone. New life has begun.”
So we know that we are now a new creation in Christ. This means we have access to benefits that were out of reach before the miracle of salvation was given to us.
Starting out, our identity is based on freedom: “It is for freedom that Christ has set us free. Stand firm, then, and do not let yourselves be burdened again by a yoke of slavery” (Gal 5:1).
We are free to experience all that God has for us, free from sin and free from the restrictions and expectations society places on us. We have an “inheritance that can never perish, spoil or fade” (1 Pe 1:4). Our lives should, reflect this freedom by being the people and living the lives in the way God designed. In other words, we should be the living examples of the fruit of the Spirit: “love, joy, peace, forbearance [patient self-control], kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness and self-control” (Gal 5: 22-23).
The Kingdom of God
These fruits are demonstrations of our salvation and our lives within Christ. They are the foundations of the Kingdom of God, the Kingdom we inherited and live in right now, and which will reach its ultimate fulfilment in Christ in the future.
Our identity and the Kingdom are inextricably entwined. When we understand and have the one, we understand and have the other. Jesus Himself said in Matt 6:33, “seek first his kingdom and his righteousness, and all these things will be given to you as well”. In other words, while we strive to become our real identity in Christ, we obtain the kingdom, and as we attain the kingdom, we are also blessed in that we are given all the other “things”.
As I mentioned above, we need to take hold of our inheritance to make it a reality in our lives. The steps we need to take to achieve this Kingdom living are fairly well known.
- Receive Jesus.
- Receive the Holy Spirit.
- Receive healing and cleansing in your spirit.
- Receive deliverance from your old identity.
- Receive and experience the victory of your inheritance (character, gratitude, patience and more).
- Live your destiny, the extraordinary life you were destined to live.
And an extraordinary life is what God has planned for us, planned from long before we were born. Ps 139:16 says, “… all the days ordained for me were written in your book before one of them came to be”. And the prophet Jeremiah adds, “For I know the plans I have for you,” declares the Lord, “plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future” (Jer 29:11).
The Kingdom is here. The time is now. We need to accept all God has for us in Christ and live our destiny and the fulfilled life we are called to by our Saviour and our Father through the empowering work of the Holy Spirit.