(January 9, 2017) Robert and Maureen McQuillan reflect on the inheritance we have in Christ …
Every good parent desires to leave an inheritance to their children.
Back in 1994 I (Robert) editorially covered a great Pentecostal conference in Seoul, Korea – I had the privilege and delight of being on the large high platform in the vast Yoida Plaza to view over a million Christians who had gathered from around the world to celebrate their Assemblies of God denomination’s worldwide 80th anniversary.
That trip I learned many things about Korea and its people but a most important principle was discovered not in church but in the marketplaces!
I had been observing how hardworking the venders were. And delivery agents – young bikers carrying rolls of material on their shoulders as they zoomed through not only traffic but stall crowds.
Then I noticed an older Korean riding an ancient bicycle powered by a noisy, fume emitting little petrol engine. Encumbered around him were more, heavier rolls and cargo than any of the younger, stronger youths carried!
When I commented on this, I was told, ‘Committed people such as that old man, who survived the Korean War, are strenuously and uncomplainingly working not for themselves or even for their children, the next generation, but for their fifth and sixth generation.
That blew me away! Especially as I was of a generation where I could never dream of ever having anything to leave as an inheritance for our kids.
By God’s grace we have been able to change that negative! Over the past 20 years we have been able to ensure that our kids will receive a good inheritance from us when we hear the master’s welcomed ‘Well done’ call.
Not that parenthood is all about providing a worldly inheritance – we have ensured that our family knows the reality of a living God whom we trust completely and that they can depend on too.
Actually this introduction is leading to this – every Christian has already received an inheritance from our heavenly parent, Father God! But a major problem today is that so many haven’t yet discovered its reality nor applied it!
Depending on Jesus is for real – it works!
The Bible holds many promises and assurances of who we are, what we are and what we have in Christ – that we lack nothing, that we can work though even seeming disasters by trusting and hoping in him.
Now, scriptures such as Colossians 2:10KJV – ‘You are complete in him’ are often quoted as a reminder that we have everything we need in Jesus. Yet as we move further into 2017, a lot of followers of Christ are unaware of who they are, what their future is, where they’re heading, what they’re meant to be doing and so on.
It’s discovery time for many – not just through secular education but discovering and holding onto truths from God’s word! One of the greatest things every Christian needs to discover – if they haven’t already – is who and what we are as God’s new creation.
Paul wrote in Galatians 6:15NLT, ‘What counts is whether we have been transformed into a new creation.’ And in 2 Corinthians 5:17NLT, he confirmed that believers in Jesus are indeed a new race – ‘This means that anyone who belongs to Christ has become a new person. The old life is gone; a new life has begun! (See Dr Jim McClure‘s https://connectingwithyou.net/2017/01/11/understanding-the-new-creation/)
One of the major things we need to know is that no matter what we may be going through, no matter what curve life throws at us, God is the great heavenly Father who loves us so much that it must hurt him if we are unaware of what we have inherited in Christ!
‘Inheritance’ in the New Testament is kleronomia – meaning possession. Peggy Kannaday in her article The Power of Hope points out that everything in life that we need to trust God for begins with our understanding this possession begins with our salvation.
Christmas is over! Already some stores are promoting traditional Easter hot cross buns! Hey – Easter is the Christian celebration of all that our Saviour Jesus achieved for us on the cross. What a Saviour! What an inheritance that is safely locked away just for us – ‘an inheritance that can never perish, spoil or fade… kept in heaven for you’ (1 Peter 1:4).
But we need to know it’s a possession with an outworking now of provision, healings, protection, deliverances, shelter under his wings, promises kept, a blessed life, freedom from vain religion, and more. Through Christ we’re free to enjoy these God-given favours!
In his article this month on the meaning of the word Jubilee (Yobel), Dr Jim McClure reminds us that Jesus himself promised in John 8:36 that when he sets us free, we are really set free! That Jesus’ manifesto was to set captives free (Luke 4:18 GNB), that the year of Jubilee was one of freedom and through Jesus we are now in the year of God’s favour (Luke 4:19).
October 31 celebrates the 500th year since Martin Luther declared great truths that he had discovered in God’s word, particularly that a repentant sinner is justified by faith in Christ alone. He nailed his renowned 95 theses to the Wittenberg University’s chapel door and the Protestant Reformation was born! He had discovered great truths in scripture about who he was in Christ!
Are you free in Christ? Do you know beyond doubt who are in Christ, that you are complete in him? Or are there great liberating truths you need to discover this year to really enjoy life?
That Colossians 2:10 word ‘complete’
‘Complete’ is a great NT word! It’s pleroo – with several English meanings, the major one as far as born-again Christians are concerned is ‘full.’ And not only full but crammed full!
Others translations speak of ‘filled’, ‘fulness’, ‘made full’, ‘brought to fulness.’ And it’s a positive actuality – not something that is going to happen but has already happened! The word ‘are’ is a ‘second person plural indicative’ term – but don’t get thrown by this terminology! It simple infers that Paul is stating this as a matter of fact about an actual occurrence!
We need to realise that this ‘actual occurrence’ has happened on our behalf – we are, not will be, might be, or hopefully may be filled full! Genuinely repentant, born again Christians are already complete, crammed full in Christ! It’s not something we have to wait around for – it’s happened already.
The Message Bible says it clearly: ‘When you come to him, that fulness comes together for you too.’
Going back to the beginning of this chapter, it’s clear that Paul wants all Christians to know this for a fact and to grow in our knowledge of Christ and his treasures of God’s ways, wisdom and knowledge. And that we are not deceived or led astray by false teachings or self-doubts.
Take a fresh and refreshing read of Colossians 2! Without commenting on every eye-opening, enlightening verse, here’s a brief extracted exposition of some verses (from the Message version) …
- Verse 6 – ‘Just go ahead with what you’ve been given’
- Verse 7 – ‘You’re deeply rooted in him … School’s out… start living it!’
- Verse 8 – ‘Watch out for people who try to dazzle you … They want to drag you off’
- Verse 9 – ‘You don’t need a telescope, a microscope, or a horoscope to realise the fulness’
- Verse 10 – ‘His power extends over everything’
- Verse 11 – ‘You’re already in – insiders.’
Overall Paul calls for us to be with it! To know what Jesus has accomplished on our behalf – we are safe and secure in him, the power of sin has been broken, we are overcomers, we must be aware of all we have in him, that our God is in control no matter if we don’t understand everything that’s going down.
Whiteboard full of answers
Of course, discovering all that God has done for us, given to us in Christ requires daringly stepping out in faith! And trust, personal Bible meditation and balanced teaching by ministers who have discovered such great truths themselves!
The great old hymns rang with such scriptural truths – such as In the Word of old, we are Clearly Told. Lyrics were adapted but the music was by Professor Johnson Showalter composer of such classics as the popular Leaning on the Everlasting Arms (this was even used in the movie True Grit).
Here’s an excerpt from this communion-centred In the Word…
All good knowledge only puffeth up.
But he came, he said, as a feast instead,
Not to analyse, but only sup.
Take him, take him,
Wholly satisfying, glorious. Jesus is the tree of life to us…
We must clearly see God’s recovery – Christ is not religion, but a feast.
Eat him, eat him, Christ as life is all the food we need…
He who eateth him shall live indeed.
A clear encouragement to focus and feast on the Lord Jesus Christ and his teachings and all he offers!
Reflecting on the above reminded us of one morning decades ago we had quoted this ‘You are complete in Christ’ scripture to a ladies group and then, using a whiteboard, had asked them to tell us some of the things ‘we are in Christ.’
To our delight after only a few minutes the whiteboard was almost filled as the ladies enthusiastically reeled off many things that they knew in their hearts they had gained in committing to our Saviour. And every lady backed up her declaration with a scripture!
It seems today that there is a definite lack of scripture knowledge among churchgoers, a lacking in knowing who we are in Christ, a big blank when it comes to understanding and applying what we have in God through the finished work of Jesus.
Maybe it’s time for many of us to take out, not a whiteboard, but paper and pen and open God’s word and, asking the Holy Spirit for guidance, discover reassuring scriptures that will encourage us to live life to the full and serve Jesus fruitfully.
Here’s but one such scripture – Maureen’s favourite in respect to attitude – Romans 15:13: ‘May the God of hope fill (plerooo) you with all joy and peace as you trust in him, so that you may overflow with hope by the power of the Holy Spirit.’
Showalter composed many other great, positive hymns. One, What a Blessed Fact, was based on words by the renowned Chinese Bible teacher Witness Lee who believed strongly the church is ‘the body’ not an organisation. The chorus of which challenges:
Act now! Act now!
Act on this fact by living faith;
Act now! act now!
Act on this accomplished fact by faith.
Hey… let’s discover the truth of our inheritance and possess it! And let’s act as directed and led by Jesus to enjoy the gift of life and to strengthen his church!
It’s a joy to learn from certain young Christians and church leaders that, confident in their Lord, they have already committed to moving into new areas of service, careers and life itself in 2017. We too, as many readers know, are boldly venturing forth in 2017 into new ventures and ministry under the Spirit’s leading and confirmations.
You too can make this new year and exciting one. As Stuart Reynolds challenges in his punchy don’t-to waste-time article this month – You Can’t Just Sit There!
Let’s all move ahead and make 2017 a year for discovery of the Christian’s inheritance in Jesus. May you too be a ‘Christian Star Trekker’ – discovering and daring to boldly go where you haven’t gone before!
(Scripture emphases ours). Links: Peggy Kannaday’s https://connectingwithyou.net/2017/01/09/the-power-of-hope / Jim McClure’s https://connectingwithyou.net/2017/01/09/words-of-life-6-jubilee-yobel and https://connectingwithyou.net/2017/01/11/understanding-the-new-creation / Stuart Reynolds’ https://connectingwithyou.net/2017/01/10/you-cant-just-sit-there /Maureen McQuillan’s https://connectingwithyou.net/2017/01/09/attitude