Inheritance fraud is one of the most common scams perpetrated today. You receive notification that someone with your same last name (perhaps a distant relative?) has died without heirs. The so-called lawyers who sent the letter say that for a small fee to process some paperwork, the vast inheritance can be yours! But they keep requesting fees and bank transfer details and no inheritance ever arrives.
Thankfully, our identity as heirs of God is secure! We are heirs not because of how impressive our accomplishments are or because we have the right genetic profile—we are heirs because we belong to Christ (3:29).
Our passage today is filled with some of the most beautiful and profound statements about our identity. Through faith in Jesus, we are children of God (3:26). This familial relationship is more than just emotional connections of love and care. It also has legal implications; as God’s children, we stand to gain His inheritance (4:7). We have the Spirit of God within our hearts as confirmation of our status as heirs (4:8). Unlike the inheritance fraudsters who just want to take your money, God gives us the Spirit as a down payment on our inheritance. We have the Spirit dwelling within us now, and one day we will dwell with God fully, worshiping in His presence.
We often focus on ethnicity and gender and social status as the starting point for our identity. But notice how Scripture describes us. We are children of God, one in Christ Jesus, heirs (3:26–29). We are free, redeemed, and adopted as God’s children (4:3–5). The categories we’ve used to judge others as the wrong race or wrong class must be thrown out. We are free from the burden and bondage of trying to make ourselves worthy. Jesus has redeemed us and God has adopted us (4:4).
Apply the Word
Our inheritance of eternal life in God’s presence awaits us. For now, while we wait, we have the Holy Spirit within our hearts. How does it change what you do and how you think of yourself if you focus on your identity as an heir of God? What becomes most important? If you are going to inherit eternity with God, what will you do in this life now to prepare?