The following is excerpted from my book, Wednesdays Were Pretty Normal: A Boy, Cancer, and God:
The gospel is about wholeness. It’s about fractured, broken people being the gift of life through the life of another. In Christ we become complete and whole people—people who are in want for nothing.
Consider the amazing truth Paul expressed in Ephesians 1 when he said that we have been blessed in Christ with every spiritual blessing. Or again in Romans 8 that we will be given all things in Christ. Or back to Ephesians when he talked about the truly mind-boggling concept of inheritance.
In Ephesians 1:13–19, Paul used the word “inheritance” twice. The first occurs in verse 14: “He is the down payment of our inheritance, for the redemption of the possession, to the praise of His glory.”
Paul talked about the Holy Spirit as earnest money. If you’ve ever bought a house, you know that you have to put down some earnest money as part of the contract. The earnest money isn’t the full amount, but it’s the amount of money you have to forfeit if you back out of the contract. To Paul, the Holy Spirit’s indwelling presence is like earnest money. It’s a deposit given to us by God that makes us sure He will uphold His end of the deal. It makes us sure that He will carry us onto completion, and we will receive our whole inheritance.
So what is that inheritance? We could say it’s heaven, eternity, mansions, streets of gold, no more tears, and all the other stuff heaven brings along with it. But ultimately, I think you have to say the inheritance is the thing which makes heaven so heavenly—our inheritance is God. It’s knowing Him fully and completely. That’s what makes heaven so good, and that is what’s waiting for us. The fact that God is giving us the greatest of all gifts, namely Himself, should bring us closer and closer to that sense of completeness.
But Paul wasn’t done.
If we skip down to verse 18, this is what we find: “I pray that the perception of your mind may be enlightened so you may know what is the hope of His calling, what are the glorious riches of His inheritance among the saints, and what is the immeasurable greatness of His power to us who believe.”
Do you see the difference? In this verse “inheritance” isn’t talking about God or heaven; it’s talking about us. We are the inheritance. So who is inheriting us? Who is waiting for us? Who considers us so valuable? God. We are God’s inheritance.
It’s unfathomable to think about what Christ did on the cross, that He bought something for us, but He also bought something for God. Jesus secured both our inheritances, and now God waits in expectation to fully inherit His. And God’s inheritance? That’s us.
Not only do we have an inheritance stored up for us, but we are of such value to the Creator that we are stored up for Him to the praise of His glory. This is a good reminder to me as gas prices are high, the economy is down, and jobs are in question; . . . but we are nonetheless rich in God. And maybe He’s rich in us, too. The gospel reminds us that we are absolutely and completely whole. Complete. In Christ.
Is it any wonder, then, that in virtually all of his letters, Paul’s greetings to the followers of Jesus consisted of two words: “grace” and “peace.” Perhaps he chose those two words because they represent the gospel well. We are the beneficiaries of the lavish grace of God in Christ. And because of the gospel of Jesus, we are whole. We are complete. We lack nothing in Him. Now that’s shalom.