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"For the Lord's portion is his people; Jacob is the lot of his inheritance" (Deuteronomy 32:9)
This verse brings before us a most blessed and wonderful line of truth, so wonderful that no human mind could possibly have invented it. It speaks of the mighty God having an "inheritance," and it tells us that this inheritance is in His own people! God refused to take this world for His inheritance-it will yet be burnt up. Nor did heaven, peopled with angels, satisfy His heart. In eternity past Jehovah said, by way of anticipation, "My delights were with the sons of men" (Prov. 8:31).
This is by no means the only scripture which teaches that God's inheritance is in His saints. In Psalm l35:4 we read, "For the Lord hath chosen Jacob unto Himself, and Israel for His peculiar treasure." In Mal. 3:17 the Lord speaks of His people as His "special treasure" (see margin)-so "special" that the highest manifestations of His love are made to them, the richest gifts of His hand are bestowed on them, the mansions on High are prepared and reserved for them! The same wondrous truth is taught in the New Testament. In Ephesians 1 we behold the apostle Paul praying that God would give unto His people the spirit of wisdom and revelation in the knowledge of Him: the eyes of their understanding being enlightened that they might know "what is the hope of His calling, and what the riches of the glory of His inheritance in the saints" (v. 18). This is a truly amazing expression; not only do the saints obtain an inheritance in God, but He also secures an inheritance in them! How overwhelming the thought that the great God should deem Himself the richer because of our faith, our love and worship! Surely this is one of the most marvellous truths revealed in Holy Writ-that God should pick up poor sinners and make them His "inheritance"! Yet so it is.
But what need has God of us? How can we possibly enrich Him? Does He not have everything-wisdom, power, grace and glory? All true, yet there is something that He needs, yes, needs, namely, vessels. Just as the sun needs the earth to shine upon, so God needs vessels to fill, vessels through which His glory may be reflected, vessels on which the riches of His grace may be lavished. Mark that God's people are not only called His "portion," His "special treasure, but also His "inheritance. ' This suggests three things. First, an "inheritance is obtained through death: so God's inheritance is secured to Him through the death of His beloved Son. Second, an "inheritance" denotes perpetuity-"to a man and his heirs forever" are the terms often used. Third, an "inheritance" is for possession, it is something which is entered into, lived upon, enjoyed. Let us now consider five things about God's inheritance:
1.God purposed to have such an inheritance: "Blessed is the nation whose God is the Lord; and the people whom he hath chosen for his own inheritance" (Psa. 33:12). The "nation" here is identical with the holy nation," the "chosen generation, royal priesthood, peculiar people" of I Peter 2:9. This favoured people was chosen by God to be His inheritance: it was not an afterthought with Him, but decreed by Him in eternity past. Ere the foundation of the world God fixed His heart upon having them for Himself.
2.God has purchased His people for an inheritance. In Ephesians 1:14 we are told that the Holy Spirit is the earnest of our inheritance until the redemption of the purchased possession, unto the praise of His glory." So again in Acts 20:28 we read of "the Church of God which He hath purchased with His own blood." God has not only redeemed His people from bondage and death but for Himself.
3.God comes and dwells in the midst of His inheritance: "For the Lord will not cast off his people, neither will he forsake his inheritance" (Psa. 94:14) -a clear proof that these scriptures are not referring to the nation of Israel after the flesh. Just as Jehovah tabernacled in the midst of the redeemed Hebrews, so He now indwells His church, both collectively and individually. "Know ye not that ye (plural) are the temple of God, and that the Spirit of God dwelleth in you?" (I Cor. 3:16). "Know ye not that your body (singular) is the temple of the Holy Spirit?" (I Cor. 6:19).
4.God beautifies His inheritance: Just as a man who has inherited a house or an estate takes possession of it and then makes improvements, so God is now fitting His people for Himself. He who has begun a good work within His own is now performing it until the day of Jesus Christ (Phil. 1:6). He is now conforming us to the image of His Son: each Christian can say with the Psalmist, "the Lord will perfect that which concerneth me" (Psa. 138:8). Nor will God be satisfied until we have been glorified. The Lord Jesus Christ "shall change our vile body, that it may be fashioned like unto His glorious body, according to the working whereby he is able even to subdue all things unto himself" (Phil. 3:21). "When he shall appear, we shall be like him" (I John 3:2).
5. And what of the future? God will yet possess, live upon, enjoy His inheritance. In the unending ages yet to be, God will make known the "riches of his glory" on the vessels of His mercy (Rom. 9:23). The glory which God shall ever live upon-as upon an inheritance-shall rise out of His people. What a marvellous statement is that which is found at the close of Ephesians 2, where the saints are likened unto a building "fitly framed together (which) 36 groweth unto an holy temple in the Lord," of whom it is said, "in whom ye also are builded together for an habitation of God through the Spirit." Wonderful and glorious is the picture presented before us in Rev. 21: "And I saw a new heaven and a new earth: for the first heaven and the first earth were passed away; and there was no more sea. And I, John, saw the holy city, the new Jerusalem, coming down from God out of heaven, prepared as a bride adorned for her husband. And I heard a great voice out of heaven saying, Behold, the tabernacle of God is with men, and he will rest in his love, he will joy over thee with singing; and God himself shall be with them, and be their God" (vv. 1-3).
What a marvellous statement is that in Zephaniah 3:17: "The Lord thy God in the midst of thee is mighty; he will save, he will rejoice over thee with joy; he will rest in his love, he will joy over thee with singing." The great God will yet say, "I am satisfied: here will I rest. This is Mine inheritance that I will live upon forever, even the glory which I have bestowed on redeemed sinners." Surely we have to say with the Psalmist, "Such knowledge is too wonderful for me; it is high, I cannot attain unto it" (139:6). May Divine grace enable us to walk worthy of the vocation wherewith we are called.
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