For this reason, because I have heard of your faith in the Lord Jesus and your love toward all the saints, 16 I do not cease to give thanks for you, remembering you in my prayers, 17 that the God of our Lord Jesus Christ, the Father of glory, may give you the Spirit of wisdom and of revelation in the knowledge of him,18 having the eyes of your hearts enlightened, that you may know what is the hope to which he has called you, what are the riches of his glorious inheritance in the saints, 19 and what is the immeasurable greatness of his power toward us who believe, according to the working of his great might 20 that he worked in Christ when he raised him from the dead and seated him at his right hand in the heavenly places, 21 far above all rule and authority and power and dominion, and above every name that is named, not only in this age but also in the one to come. 22 And he put all things under his feet and gave him as head over all things to the church,23 which is his body, the fullness of him who fills all in all. – Ephesians 1:15-23
Most of the time when the Scriptures speak of inheritance they are referring to what we humans inherit from our families and our work. In these cases, we are the inheritors. However, in our passage in Ephesians, Jesus is the inheritor, and it states that his inheritance is a glorious inheritance. Paul prays that we will receive the Holy Spirit of wisdom and revelation in the knowledge of him, having the eyes of our hearts enlightened that we may know…what are the riches of his glorious inheritance in the saints.
First point: the inheritance is his. Jesus will inherit all things.
He is the firstborn of all creation (Colossians 1:15) which refers not to the idea that he was born, but that he has preeminence as the inheritor of all things. Under the Old Covenant, the firstborn son had superior rights of inheritance. That is the point here. All things were created for him (Colossians 1:17).
Second point: the riches of his inheritance is in the saints, believers from all the ages, and that inheritance is glorious.
We who were dead in our trespasses and sins have been made alive in Christ “so that in the coming ages he might show the immeasurable riches of his grace in kindness toward us in Christ Jesus.” (Ephesians 2:7) “Christ loved the church and gave himself up for her, 26 that he might sanctify her, having cleansed her by the washing of water with the word, 27 so that he might present the church to himself in splendor, without spot or wrinkle or any such thing, that she might be holy and without blemish.” (Ephesians 5:25-27)
When Jesus receives us as his inheritance in the New Heaven and New Earth, we will be a glorious inheritance for him. The amazing thing is that he will have made us glorious, we won’t have done it ourselves. His work of grace will prepare us so that he will present to himself a church that is splendorous, without spot or wrinkle or any such thing but will be holy and without blemish.
And you, who once were alienated and hostile in mind, doing evil deeds, 22 he has now reconciled in his body of flesh by his death, in order to present you holy and blameless and above reproach before him. (Colossians 1:21-22)
We, having been born again, recreated in Christ, sinners made righteous through his blood are the riches of his glorious inheritance. Oh, he will inherit more than us. He will inherit all things since all things were created for him. But he only made humans as being in his image and likeness. We were created as the crown jewel of creation, and we ruined it. Adam and Eve were the first to blow it and then came the promise. (Genesis 3:15) Things went downhill from there until every thought of every person was wicked, and so God chose Noah, wiped out the earth with the flood and began again. A re-creation of sorts. Human history is a story of hearts growing more and more wicked until God sets things right, at least to some extent. He gave the Canaanites 400 years to get their act together before they were decimated and their land was given to Israel. Then chosen Israel eventually lost the land due to their wickedness. We humans don’t appear to be a glorious inheritance for Jesus do we?
But he has a long-range plan. It is this constant human failure that makes his grace so glorious. I repeat, “We who were dead in our trespasses and sins have been made alive in Christ so that in the coming ages he might show the immeasurable riches of his grace in kindness toward us in Christ Jesus.’ (Ephesians 2:7)”