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It is fascinating to me to think that we are invited into this life with Jesus not with a view to what we will get through our efforts and good works but with a view toward what will be ours on the basis of grace. We are not invited to “work for” our salvation–that is ruled out by the gift of life that comes through grace (Ephesians 2:8-9; Romans 4:5). But in responding to the offer of life in through Jesus, we do receive great gifts from God.

Paul at times uses the language of inheritance to speak of all that is and will be ours because of what Jesus has done.

In [Jesus Christ], you also, after listening to the message of truth, the gospel of your salvation—having also believed, you were sealed in Him with the Holy Spirit of promise, who is given as a pledge of our inheritance, with a view to the redemption of God’s own possession, to the praise of His glory. (Ephesians 113-14)

I pray that the eyes of your heart may be enlightened, so that you will know what is the hope of His calling, what are the riches of the glory of His inheritance in the saints. (Ephesians 1:18)

So that being justified by His grace we would be made heirs according to the hope of eternal life. (Titus 3:7)

What this means is that, in one sense, there is yet more in store for those who have a relationship with Jesus. Yes, we are brought into a rich and wonderful and vibrant experiential life with Jesus now. But what we are experiencing presently is not all that has become ours in and through Jesus. It is not that God is holding out on us, but there are things yet reserved in heaven for us to enjoy and experience that will only further enrich our life with him.

Peter mentions this in his first epistle.

Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, who according to His great mercy has caused us to be born again to a living hope through the resurrection of Jesus Christ from the dead, to obtain an inheritance which is imperishable and undefiled and will not fade away, reserved in heaven for you. (1 Peter 1:3-4)

It is the richness of that future inheritance that Paul holds out before the eyes of our souls in calling us to labor faithfully in what it is that the Lord has given us to do.

Whatever you do, do your work heartily, as for the Lord rather than for men, knowing that from the Lord you will receive the reward of the inheritance. (Colossians 3:23-24)

And how could a glance toward that future inheritance become the proper motivation to “working heartily, as for the Lord”? Perhaps it is simply this.

We all labor with a view to the return on our investment. We work with the expectation and hope that our labor is not in vain. Our labor means something; it matters. But we do not always see the outcome or impact of our labor as we live out kingdom life here on planet earth. But one day we will see. One day we will receive the reward of the inheritance. One day it will be clear that our labor in the Lord is not vain (1 Corinthians 15:58).


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