"For as many of you as have been baptized into Christ have put on Christ. There is neither Jew nor Greek, there is neither bond nor free, there is neither male nor female: for ye are all one in Christ Jesus. And if ye be Christís, then are ye Abrahamís seed, and heirs according to the promise." (Galatians 3:27-29).
This passage in Galatians tells us that those who are in Christ Jesus are "heirs according to the promise". The first thing that we need to establish is what it means to be in Jesus Christ. Verse 27 tells us that we are baptized "into" Jesus. Therefore, in order to be in Christ we must be baptized according to the Scriptures. Notice also, "And now, brethren, I commend you to God, and to the word of his grace, which is able to build you up, and to give you an inheritance among all them which are sanctified". (Acts 20:32). Those who are sanctified, or set apart, are heirs.
If we are heirs, that means that we must have an inheritance. What is the inheritance for those who have obeyed the gospel? Our passage in Galatians tells us that we are "heirs according to the promise". The promise being referred to is the Abrahamic Promise; "Now the LORD had said unto Abram, Get thee out of thy country, and from thy kindred, and from thy fatherís house, unto a land that I will shew thee: And I will make of thee a great nation, and I will bless thee, and make thy name great; and thou shalt be a blessing: And I will bless them that bless thee, and curse him that curseth thee: and in thee shall all families of the earth be blessed." (Genesis 12:1-3). It was promised to Abraham that through him, all families of the earth would be blessed. This is talking about the fact that Christ would come through Abraham and bless the world. The fact that we are heirs of that promise means that we receive the blessings that were promised through Abraham.
Peter puts it this way; "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." (1 Peter 1:3-4). The inheritance that the Christian has to look forward to is a place in heaven. Unlike an earthly inheritance, this one will never pass away or become tarnished. It is eternal and it is reserved in heaven for those who are heirs.
"The Spirit itself beareth witness with our spirit, that we are the children of God: And if children, then heirs; heirs of God, and joint-heirs with Christ; if so be that we suffer with him, that we may be also glorified together." (Romans 8:16-17). What a blessing it is to think that we are joint-heirs with Christ. There is also a responsibility that goes with being an heir. This passage tells us that we must suffer with Christ. We must be willing to undergo hardship just as Christ did. It is only then that we can be glorified with Him.
-- Ralph Price (Streetsboro Church of Christ), January 2002 --