The Lord’s people are endowed with a possession which belongs not to this world, it is the gift from our heavenly Father, by and through which we are made joint-heirs with our Lord Jesus Christ in an inheritance of priceless value, which is eternal life. This inheritance embraces first the love of God, which he hath vouchsafed unto the children whom he hath chosen in his Son Jesus Christ. It is declared, “For God so loved the world, that he gave his only begotten Son, that whosoever believeth in him should not perish, but have everlasting life.” It embraces also all of the riches of the wisdom and knowledge of God. The apostle speaks in wonder and astonishment when he says, “O the depth of the riches both of the wisdom and knowledge of God!” We also partake of the mystery of the divine nature, which mystery is wrought out and made manifest in us through an experience of the grace of God, as we are exercised by the Spirit of holiness and righteousness unto all good works; this is the divine nature. The apostle Peter speaks of the inheritance on this wise: “Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, which according to his abundant mercy hath begotten us again unto a lively hope by the resurrection of Jesus Christ from the dead, to an inheritance incorruptible, and undefiled, and that fadeth not away, reserved in heaven for you, who are kept by the power of God through faith unto salvation, ready to be revealed in the last time.” Therefore the inheritance is secure for time and eternity.
The foundation which establishes our claim to the sure mercies of David, is our relationship to the Father through our Lord Jesus Christ; we are heirs of God and joint-heirs with his Son Jesus Christ because we are his children. These who claim to be children of God because they have established certain reforms in their daily life, are sadly mistaken in their reckonings. One cannot make himself a child of God by anything that he can do, any more than one can make himself the child of a natural father. A natural father may disinherit his child, but the act makes him no less a child. Our inheritance does not depend upon the uncertainties of a finite mind, or of the faulty temperament of an unwise father. “For all the promises of God in him are yea, and in him Amen, unto the glory of God by us.” His love toward us is an everlasting love, and like his promises, cannot be changed. In nature we are creatures of time, and all time things and time conditions are subject to change and decay; but when the promise of the Father that we shall inherit eternal life, has been fulfilled in the Son, then with us time shall be no longer. Our inheritance is secure, it is founded upon the wills and shalls of our covenant-keeping God. “Yet he hath made with me an everlasting covenant, ordered in all things, and sure.” The most important chattel in the inheritance which comes to us is the love of God which is bestowed abundantly upon each one of the heirs. If by reason of weakness in the flesh, the lusts thereof temporarily superabound, then do we die, and as the salt which has lost his savor, “It is neither fit for the land, nor yet for the dunghill; but men cast it out.” This is the beginning of great tribulation; the poor Soul is lost to all the comfort and consolations of the gospel, he cannot go back into the world, he is trodden under foot of men: therefore is he stranded and stands alone, desolate and in despair; yet he is still a child, and the loving Father still loves him and is faithful in his love, and has provided some good thing for him. As the man who was traveling from Jerusalem to Jericho fell among thieves, and was left half dead, was visited by the good Samaritan, (as he journeyed) and who helped him on his way, so to this poor, desolate, suffering child the Father sends the Spirit of his Son in answer to his despairing cry; oil is poured into his gaping wounds, and now where sin abounded grace doth much more abound, and the dear little one is ushered back into the family circle with his heart filled to overflowing with the love of God. Upon one occasion during the ministry of our Lord, a certain lawyer of the Pharisees in order to tempt him, said: “Master, which is the great commandment in the law? Jesus said unto him, Thou shalt love the Lord thy God with all thy heart, and with all thy Soul, and with all thy mind. This is the first and great commandment. And the second is like unto it, Thou shalt love thy neighbor as thyself. On these two commandments hang all the law and the prophets.” But now that we have entered richly into our inheritance, these two commandments are engraven upon our hearts; this precious love is the incentive and the principle by which we walk in the fear of the Lord. It is also the rule of our deportment in life, the subject and inspiration of our conversation, and a lamp to our feet. All the riches of our inheritance, the wisdom and knowledge of God are entwined about with the endless chain of God’s boundless love. The children of the Most High also inherit the earth, for “The earth is the Lord’s, and the fullness thereof; the world, and they that dwell therein.” As joint-heirs with Jesus Christ, the earth is also ours and all its fullness, the world and all that therein is. All things in the earth and in the world work harmoniously together for the fulfillment of the whole way of salvation according as the Lord has appointed before the mountains were brought forth. Again, we inherit the earth, inasmuch as our natural bodies are of the earth, and are nourished and sustained thereby. Again, we inherit the earth in the sense that the church of Christ was planted in the wilderness place of this world, and in that wilderness does she travel throughout all time; for did not the Lord say unto Jacob when he arose from his pillow of stones in the wilderness, where he saw the heavens opened, “The land whereon thou liest, to thee will I give it, and to thy seed”! Our inheritance therefore embraces all things, both the heavens and the earth. The experience of the saints which includes the travel both in the light and in the darkness. Tribulation is an essential part of the inheritance, persecutions also are our portion in this life. Jesus said, “Verily I say unto you, there is no man that hath left house, or brethren, or sisters, or father, or mother, or wife, or children, or lands, for my sake, and the gospel’s, but he shall receive an hundred fold now in this time, houses, and brethren, and sisters, and mothers, and children, and lands, with persecutions; and in the world to come eternal life.” Notwithstanding the fact that trials and afflictions and persecutions are a part of the pilgrimage life of the saints, yet they gladly and willingly endure all things for the joy that is set before them.
Let us now concentrate our minds upon the Source and fountain of our precious inheritance. Jesus, the beloved Son of God, is the gift of the Father unto his children; he is the author and finisher of our faith; he is our life; he gave his precious life-blood that we might enter upon the inheritance of the elect of God; he is the Mediator of the new covenant, by which we are made kings and priests unto God; he is the High Priest of our profession, by which we enter into the holy of holies by a new and living way, with whom we are bound together in the most holy bonds of husband and wife, and jointly possessing the inheritance. May we all sweetly enter into the earnest of our inheritance while here in these low grounds of sorrow.
B. F. COULTER.
PHILADELPHIA, Pa., Feb. 13, 1905.
Signs Of The Times
Volume 73., No. 6.
MARCH 15, 1905.