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Rays of Light Bible Lessons by Keith Holder

THE EARNEST OF OUR INHERITANCE

Eph 1:13-14 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.

Through His kingdom, God offers all people of the world His plan of salvation, which He established before time began. God gave His Son, Jesus Christ sovereignty over this kingdom, which He is to rule from His throne in heaven. In order to establish His kingdom, through which salvation is offered, it was necessary to send Jesus to earth to fulfill the Old Law, and replace it with a New Covenant between God and all mankind. It was through the death, burial, and resurrection of Jesus that atonement was made for the sins of the world. This was the act that was to reconcile sinful, unrighteous man with sinless, righteous God.

Unless redemption through this reconciling act is made, one does not have access to eternal salvation in heaven. The kingdom of God on earth is the church of Christ, which is the body of His Son, Christ Jesus. Entry into His church can only be made through Christ, and this only by repenting of past sins, belief in, and the confession of Jesus as the Son of God, culminating in baptism for the remission of sins. Through these initial acts of obedience one becomes a child of God, and, in order to inherit the blessing of salvation, one must continue to live obediently to God's will. This is God's plan of salvation.

A real estate transaction is a good example to use, that will help understand the lesson text more fully. A prospective homebuyer first hears of a property that is appealing to his or her desire. This could be from a newspaper advertisement or directly from the seller or their agent. Trusting the information received, the buyer would make an appointment to visit the property for a more thorough examination. With this visit confirming the information first received, they believe in it enough to purchase the property. An offer is made directly to the seller or through a real estate agent. The offer represents the buyer's promise to purchase the property under the conditions of the offer. If these conditions were acceptable to the seller, they could "seal" the contract with their signature. The transaction is not completed until it is properly closed. The buyer gives the seller the assurance that they have intentions of completing the purchase of the property, by making an "earnest" money deposit to secure the purchase contract. With the completion of the agreement, the property is purchased, or "redeemed", by the buyer.

Notice the similarities between the purchase of real estate noted above, and securing salvation in heaven. Writing to the saints which are at Ephesus, and to the faithful in Christ Jesus,Paul told them that they had already heard the word of truth, the gospel of your salvation.They had, not only heard the word of truth,but they had also trustedin Christ, just as Paul had done (Vs. 12), and believed it to be God's plan of salvation. The message they heard, was that revealed to Paul by the Holy Spirit, the same Holy Spirit promised by Christ to His apostles (John 14:26). It is evident that the Ephesians, after hearing Paul's inspired message, desired the salvation offered by God though Christ. From other references of Christian conversions we learn God's complete list of conditions He requires for one to have the hope of eternal salvation. This we know: after hearing God's plan of salvation, it is necessary to believe it to be true, be willing to repent and turn away from past sins, and begin a new life walking in God's ways. Having made this commitment, one must also believe and confess Jesus Christ to be the Son of God, and, being baptized into his body for the remission of sins. With baptism being the final act of obedience, one "seals" the promise made, through the Holy Spirit, with the complete acceptance of God's conditions of salvation.

Although the "earnest money" is paid (the earnest of our inheritance), by these initial acts of obedience, the newborn Christian has not received the purchased possession. Their heavenly home will not be secured until the redemption is completed. The "contract" with God is for the lifetime of the Christian - a lifetime of love and devotion to God and the cause of Christ, both of which are demonstrated by the sincere love for the spiritual and physical well being of all mankind. Heaven is like the precious pearl worth all one has to purchase it (Matt. 13:45-46). Salvation does not come cheap. To secure heaven, you must give up the world. The cost of a home in heaven is great, but it is the best real estate investment you will ever make. God's contract has been prepared. It is ready for you to sign today!