In these verses, Paul elaborates on the spiritual perspective he longs for the disciples in Ephesus/Asia Minor to have. He prays that their hearts would be enlightened to know the hope to which they are called, the riches of his (God’s) glorious inheritance, and the incomparably great power of God for us who believe.
Why do you think Paul wants us to know these things? How might knowing, believing, and keeping our eyes on these spiritual realities inspire and impact our lives as disciples?
What is “HIS GLORIOUS INHERITANCE” this passage speaks of? There is debate about the meaning. Is the passage talking about “his inheritance” as in something God, himself, is receiving; or, is the passage talking about an inheritance we receive from the Lord. There is evidence in the scriptures that both are valid understandings.
What God “inherits” in his holy people (his saints): Here the term “inherit” is used figuratively. After all, when you inherit something you are receiving it from someone else. From whom would God receive anything? Still, there are passages where this language is used to describe God’s people as his inheritance. What does God inherit? A body of believers and a holy nation which draws the nations to him, revealing his wisdom and glorifying his name. (EPHESIANS 3:10-21)
The prophecy speaks of how “many nations” will be joined with the Lord and become his people, and the Lord will “inherit Judah” as his portion. Clearly, we are God’s “inheritance” as his holy nation today.
But the passage also proclaims something that we, as God’s people, receive/inherit from the Lord. The Lord comes and “will live among you.” Our God lives among us as his holy people. He is with us, aware, engaged, cares, carries us, and empowers us! As the letters to the 7 churches in Revelation state, “he knows.” How does it (or should it) affect your faith and sense of security, peace, & joy to know that God lives among you?
What else do we inherit from God as his holy people? Read the scriptures below and take note of some of what we stand to inherit in following Jesus.
PSALM 37:1-22 (note the sense of security we are to inherit)
1 PETER 1:3-9
2 TIMOTHY 2:11-12
Read PSALM 2:6-9. This is a passage originally written about David but prophetically applied to the Messiah. In it, the Father describes what he intends to give to his anointed one.
Now, read REVELATION 2:26-29. In this passage, Jesus is proclaiming what he intends to give to his faithful ones. What might we infer from the fact that he quotes Psalm 2? What is Jesus planning to give? What do his faithful ones stand to inherit?
Who is the INHERITANCE for?
The inheritance is for a people group, not individuals. In the Old Testament, the promise of inheritance concerned the Promised Land and was for God’s holy nation: Israel. In the New Testament, the promise of inheritance in Christ is for God’s holy nation: the Church.
Not every individual Israelite who started out as part of the Sinai community inherited the land; in fact, most did not. Due to their faithlessness, they fell in the wilderness. In the same way, we, as disciples, must live our lives faithfully in order to make sure we remain part of the holy community and inherit the promises of salvation, fullness in Christ, and reigning with Christ.
Read 1 CORINTHIANS 10:1-2 and the Letters to the 7 churches in Revelation 2-3. What do we learn from these scriptures regarding who will inherit the promised salvation of God?