“Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, who hath blessed us with all spiritual blessings in heavenly places in Christ; according as He hath chosen us in Him before the foundation of the world, that we should be holy and without blame before Him in love; having predestinated us unto the adoption of children by Jesus Christ to Himself, according to the good pleasure of His will, to the praise of the glory of His grace, wherein He hath made us accepted in the Beloved. In whom we have redemption through His blood, the forgiveness of sins, according to the riches of His grace; wherein He hath abounded toward us in all wisdom and prudence; having made known unto us the mystery of His will, according to the good pleasure which He hath purposed in Himself; that in the dispensation* of the fullness of times He might gather together in one all things in Christ, both which are in heaven, and which are on earth; even in Him whom we have obtained an inheritance, being predestinated according to the purpose of Him who worketh all things after the counsel of His own will; that we should be to the praise of His glory, who first trusted in Christ; in whom ye also trusted, after that ye heard the word of truth, the Gospel of your salvation; in whom also after that ye believed ye were sealed with that Holy Spirit of promise, which is the earnest of our inheritance until the redemption of the purchased possession, unto the praise of His glory. Wherefore I … cease not to give thanks for you, making mention of you in my prayers; that the God of our Lord Jesus Christ, the Father of glory, may give unto you the Spirit of wisdom and revelation in the knowledge of Him; the eyes of your understanding being enlightened; that ye may know what is the hope of His calling, and what the riches of the glory of His inheritance in the saints, and what is the exceeding greatness of His power to us who believe, according to the working of His mighty power which He wrought in Christ when He raised Him from the dead, and set Him at His own right hand in the heavenly places.”
Now we will note the different points of this statement:
1. All blessings are given to us in Christ. “He that spared not His own Son, but delivered Him up for us all, how shall He not with Him also freely give us all things” (Rom. 8:32).
2. This gift of all things in Christ is in accordance with the fact that He has chosen us in Him before the foundation of the world, that in Him we might obtain holiness. “For God hath not appointed us unto wrath, but to obtain salvation by our Lord Jesus Christ” (1 Thess. 5:9).
3. In that choice the destiny determined for us was that we should be sons.
4. Accordingly He accepted us in the Beloved.
5. In the Beloved we have redemption through His blood.
6. All this is the making known to us of the mystery, namely, that in the fullness of times He will gather together in one household all things in Jesus Christ, both things in the heaven and things on the earth.
7. This being the fixed purpose of God, it follows that in Christ we have already obtained an inheritance; for God makes all things work out the purpose of His own will.
8. All who believe in Christ are sealed with the Holy Spirit, which is called the Holy Spirit of promise, because it is the surety of the promised inheritance.
9. This seal of the Holy Spirit is the pledge of our inheritance until the redemption of the purchased possession. “Grieve not the Holy Spirit of God, whereby ye are sealed unto the day of redemption” (Eph. 4:30).
10. Those who have the Spirit as the seal, know what is the riches of the glory of the inheritance; that is, the glory of the future inheritance becomes theirs now, through the Spirit.
In this we see that the Gospel involves an inheritance; in fact, the mystery of the Gospel is really the possession of the inheritance, because in Him we have obtained an inheritance. Now let us see how the matter is stated in the eighth of Romans. We shall not quote the scripture entire, but simply summarize it.
Those who have the Holy Spirit of promise are sons of God; “for as many as are led by the Spirit of God, they are the sons of God.” But if we are children we are necessarily heirs; heirs of God because sons of God. And if heirs of God, we are joint heirs with Jesus Christ. The one thing above all others that Christ is desirous that we should know is that the Father has loved us even as He loved Him.
But of what are we heirs together with Christ? —Why, of all creation, because the Father has constituted Him “heir of all things” (Heb. 1:2), and has said that “He that overcometh shall inherit all things” (Rev. 21:7). And this is shown by what follows in the eighth of Romans. We are now sons of God, but the glory of the sons of God doth not yet appear. Christ was the Son of God, yet He was not recognized as such by the world; “therefore the world knoweth us not, because it knew Him not” (1 John 3:1). In possessing the Spirit we are in possession of “the riches of the glory of the inheritance;” and that glory will in due time be revealed in us, in a measure far exceeding all present sufferings.
“For the earnest expectation of the creation waits for the revealing of the sons of God. For the creation was subjected to vanity, not of its own will, but by reason of Him who subjected it in hope that the creation itself shall be delivered from the bondage of corruption into the liberty of the glory of the children of God. For we know that the whole creation groans and travails in pain together until now. And not only so, but ourselves also, which have the firstfruits of the Spirit, even we ourselves groan within ourselves, waiting for our adoption, to wit, the redemption of our body” (Rom. 8:19-23).
Man by creation was a son of God; but through sin he became a child of wrath, even a child of Satan, to whom he rendered obedience, instead of to God. But through the grace of God in Christ those who believe are made sons of God, and receive the Holy Spirit. Thus they are sealed as heirs until the redemption of the purchased possession, that is, the whole creation, which is waiting for its redemption when the glory shall be revealed in the sons of God.