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“In Him”… and it Only Gets Better

In Him also we have obtained an inheritance…
Ephesians 1:11a

In this passage, we see more of the blessings that are ours because we are “in Him” or “in Christ.”  Again, I suggest you spend a little time with Blue Letter Bible or another Bible software program of your choice and search the phrases “in Him” and “in Christ” for yourself.  After all, we all learn better by doing rather than just watching someone else do it.  So jump on in and get your feet wet.  And when you do, begin with “in Christ” and scan the verses to see how the theology of these two words permeates almost all of Paul’s writings.  He obviously understood the significance of being “in Him,” and it would do each of us good if we understood it as well.


What it Says

We have been studying the first chapter of Ephesians and are focusing on verse 11, where it says:

In Him also we have obtained an inheritance, being predestined according to the purpose of Him who works all things according to the counsel of His will.

So let’s look at each word and phrase in the first part of this verse to see exactly what God is saying so we can determine exactly what He means by what He says (we are only going to look at the first eight words today; we’ll cover more next time).

In Him – We have discussed this at length in a prior post.  Basically, this phrase reveals to us that, apart from Christ, the only thing we can expect from God is condemnation for our sins.  But, because of Christ and because we are now found “in Him” (which is all a gift from God lavished upon us), we can rejoice in all circumstances for:

There is therefore now (present tense) no condemnation to those (put your name here to make it personal) who are (what) in Christ Jesus, (described as those) who do not walk according to the flesh, but according to the Spirit – Romans 8:1.

We Have Obtained an Inheritance – This phrase is a translation of a single compound Greek word, eklērōthēmen, which has two renderings.  In other words, this word can be translated in two different ways.  And each of these translations, even though they mean something entirely different in English, are correct both grammatically and theologically.  Plus, this word is in the aorist active indicative tense, which means it is so certain to happen, that it can be spoken of as having already taken place.  We see this also in Ephesians 2:6, where the same tense is used when it states God, “raised us up together, and made us sit together in the heavenly places in Christ Jesus.”  The certainty of this is so secure that the Holy Spirit speaks of it as having already happened.  And the same applies to our obtaining an inheritance in Him.

But there are two correct renderings of the Greek word in question.  The first, and the one that seems to fit the context best, means “we have obtained an inheritance” in Him.  Or, we have received an inheritance from God as adopted sons whom He predestined or predetermined from eternity past (Eph. 1:4-5).  And the inheritance we have received in Him is just part of how God “has blessed us with every spiritual blessing in the heavenly places in Christ” (Eph. 1:3).  This is why Romans 8:15-17 makes the point of revealing we are not only “children of God,” but “heirs”— those who receive an inheritance.  But it continues, we are “heirs of God and joint heirs with Christ.”  So, it would appear the first rendering of this passage, of our receiving or obtaining an inheritance from God, is accurate and supported by Scripture.

But what about the second rendering?  Ah, this is where it gets interesting.

We Were Made an Inheritance – The second rendering of the word reads, “we were made an inheritance.”  Now that’s something else altogether, isn’t it?  Now, instead of us receiving an inheritance, we are the inheritance God gives His Son.  We are Christ’s possession, His bride, and a gift from His Father.  We see this truth of us belonging to Christ all throughout Scripture.¹  Check it out for yourself.

So, one rendering speaks of our salvation, where we have received eternal life, intimacy with God, and the indwelling of the Holy Spirit, all summed up in our inheritance in Him.  And the other speaks of our sanctification, where we are to live in accordance with Christ and “to walk (or live) as He (Jesus) walked” (1 John 2:6).  Or, more simply, to be “conformed to the image of His Son” (Rom. 8:29).

And if that wasn’t enough, 1 Corinthians 3:21-23 speaks of both renderings.  Consider the following and be amazed:

Therefore let no one boast in men.  For all things are yours: whether Paul or Apollos or Cephas, or the world or life or death, or things present or things to come— all are yours (having obtained an inheritance).  And you are Christ’s (were made an inheritance), and Christ is God’s.

So what have we learned?


Some Key Points

God has chosen to give us all things in Christ, because we are His children and, as children, heirs, even joint heirs with His only begotten Son (Rom. 8:17).  And He did this for no other reason than His good pleasure, or because it made Him happy (Eph. 1:5).  This should put a smile on your face no matter how bleak your circumstances may seem.

God has also chosen to present us, as His church made up of redeemed individuals like you and me, to His Son as His inheritance.  We, as the bride of Christ, are the gift the Father has chosen to bless His Son with.  Therefore, if you think about it, every blessing we receive is a residual blessing coming from the Father to His Son, and since we are “in Christ,” passed to us.  Boy, that will take your pride down a peg or two, won’t it?  Clearly, it’s not about us (never has been), it’s all about Him.


So Let’s Pray

Since we have everything in Christ, what is there to worry about?  Exactly. Let Philippians 4:6-7 guide your prayer of thanksgiving to Him today.

And if we are to be presented to Christ as His inheritance, don’t you think we should reflect the glory of Christ a bit more than we do?  Maybe it’s time we bring “every thought into captivity to the obedience of Christ” (2 Cor. 10:5) or diligently try to “walk in the Spirit, and you shall not fulfill the lust of the flesh” (Gal. 5:16).  Or, in other words, be holy as He is holy (1 Pet. 1:15-16).  This is what sanctification is all about and how we glorify Him the most.

So now it’s your turn.  What has God said to you through these first eight words of Ephesians 1:11?  How have they affected your life?  How does He want you to turn them back into prayer to Him?  And how will they change you from this moment forward?

I look forward to hearing how our Lord will speak to you during your prayer and study time.  What you share will be a blessing to all.

And we will talk again soon.


Notes:

1. For example, in just the Gospel of John: John 6:37, 39; 10:29; 17:2, 24, etc.


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