HEIRS OF GOD
"Heirs of God." Romans 8:17
This is a wonderful relationship. An heir hopes for an inheritance which he has not yet received. Or he has received an inheritance from some friend who has already departed. Every earthly inheritance is connected with a consciousness of sorrow. Though we have gained in property, we have lost a friend. But the Christian's inheritance has no sorrow connected with it. God is the portion of his inheritance. He is so in this life. He will be so forever in the life to come. This heavenly inheritance is bestowed upon us when we are truly born into the family of God as his dear children. We gain its complete enjoyment when an earthly life has passed away, and we have an abundant entrance into his glorious kingdom. An heir of God, is a title full of encouragement and instruction. It describes the glorious prospect and privilege of the children of God. If children, then heirs. Am I an heir of God?
1. Then I have a glorious home, and I ought to be perfectly contented with my earthly lot. Wherever I am in my present condition, I am just where God my Father has placed me. I have all that he has thought best to give me. It is enough. I have a right daily to improve my condition, if I can do so, in perfect accordance with his will. But I have no right to be discontented with it. Why should I be? It is but a temporary arrangement for me. Contentment and submission differ. Submission refers to the authority under which I am placed, and yields to that. Contentment refers to the possession which I have, and is satisfied with that, during the time of its appointment, and for the purpose of its appointment. What happiness and peace contentment brings to the mind! If I look upward from my present condition I may well be satisfied, for I have a home in the heavens that passes not away. If I look downward, I may well be satisfied; for what evils have I escaped! from what sorrows have I been delivered! If I look around, how few I see whose present condition is more desirable! As an heir of God, let me not be vainly disturbed with earthly trials. All is good, if I have God for my portion.
2. Then I ought to have a very low esteem of mere earthly goods. How wrong it would be in me to speak of the self-denial of my condition; or of any sacrifices which I can have made; as if my relationships to God were painful, or involved the endurance of sorrow for me! If I belong to God, I am enriched indeed. How can I be more so? He himself is my portion. All that he can do, then, belongs to me. I ought to be always happy, entirely happy. Yet how often do I hear of the pleasures of the world, as if the joys of man were there; and of the trials of a religious life, as if the service of God in the gospel were a task and duty! How absurd and sinful is it for an heir of God to fly to gay and vain assemblies, to participate in mere worldly giddiness and vanity, to obtain personal gratifications, and secure mere worldly delight! Cannot I be happy in God for my portion? Is not his service perfect freedom? Is there not everything in his favor and love, which the soul of man can ask? Why should I go down to Egypt for a satisfaction, which the land of promise alone can surely give?
3. Then I ought to cultivate a heavenly mind, both in its objects and in its tempers. An heir should have an education suited to his inheritance--a mind proportional to his condition. I must be educated for my home. If God is my inheritance, I should think of him, I should prize him, I should desire him, I should love to seek him, and to walk in fellowship with him. He is willing to educate me for my exalted prospect. He is willing to give me this heavenly temper, and to guide me in this profitable meditation and study. Let me constantly seek it. Let me gain a positive and manifest character in my religion, and my course of life. Thus shall I honor him by valuing him truly, by being happy in him, and showing that I can be happy in him. Surely Christ is a precious Savior; and if I am an heir with him, I have a most precious inheritance. All my desires may be, and ought to be, satisfied there.
4. Then I ought to be finally ready for my inheritance. The day will soon come, when the heirs of God will enter into their possession. As that blessed day approaches, I should be growing ready to meet it; and to meet it with pleasure and delight. I ought never to look at it with alarm or fear. It will be a glorious day. How I ought to be growing in that character which is to live forever! Daily drawing more near to the image, as well as to the presence of God. I pray against sudden death; but only if means unprepared death. No departure is sudden to the soul that is always ready. If I am ready to go home--to be with Christ--to enter into glory and joy eternal--then the sooner it comes the better. I may be more useful to others by still abiding in the flesh; but I never should think of it as happier for myself. Let me live in faith, and in the enjoyment of this lively hope at all times. Then it is well. Happy here--and happy in everything hereafter.
5. These are the proper characters of an heir of God. Contentment here. Elevation of mind above earthly vanities. An increasing heavenly mind. A constant readiness for the possession of his glorious inheritance. If I am an heir of God, let me press onward to obtain these characters. Let me display them more and more. This is happiness enough. To live as a child and an heir of God. All this the Savior gives. For all this, the Holy Spirit prepares me. In the attainment and possession of it all, I shall be completely happy and unspeakably blessed.
When shall the day, dear Lord, appear,
That I shall mount to dwell above;
And stand and bow among them there,
And view your face, and sing your love?