When speaking about spiritual and eternal inheritance, it is difficult to get a one-to-one correspondence with the material world. I can’t think of any sort of illustration that captures these biblical truths. Family estates can be very dicey things. Lawyers will tell you to be very specific about heirs and percentages and that sort of thing.
Complicating human estates and inheritance planning is that family difficulties are not uncommon. There are unjust parents or those who squander their wealth with nothing to leave behind. On the other hand, the parent-child relationships in a family are often very uneven. Brokenness may lead to estrangement, partially or fully; and hence some heirs may receive less than others, or even be specifically disinherited.
But this does not happen with God and His heirs. Of course, God is good and faithful; and His resources are unlimited and certain. And God’s heirs are certain to receive immense benefits. Although there are greater or lesser rewards spoken of due to faithfulness and Godly labors, none will be disinherited, and every bit of any inheritance is the result of great grace.
Most of us at TSF are Gentile peoples, and we were not specifically included in the work of God as the Old Testament developed and God’s plan through Israel and the coming Messiah was unfolding. Yes, there is a universal promise in the Abrahamic Covenant, and there are several references of Gentiles also being blessed in the future is some nondescript fashion. But it was not a big, front-burner idea and expectation.
Certainly none were expecting the incredible inclusion of Gentiles into the early church, to the extent that they were outnumbering the earliest Jewish believers in many places. Paul says here in Ephesians 3:1 that he was especially called to this ministry and was in fact in prison largely because of it and the opposition it unleashed. The clarity and details of this new teaching of God’s “administration” (the word for a dispensation – a stewardship) was given to Paul by revelation. And he calls it a “mystery” – by definition: something previously unknown and now revealed.
And this summary of the first five verses leads to the definition of this mystery defined in verse 6 – “This mystery is that through the gospel the Gentiles are heirs together with Israel, members together of one body, and sharers together in the promise in Christ Jesus.
It is not simply a matter that the Gentiles now are also included as an additional and extra category of grace extended … the Jews in one place and category, and now the Gentiles “over there” somewhere as another. No, they were now a part of one new body. So it is not merely a matter now that the family of Abraham is in line to inherit eternal blessings, but rather that the Gentiles have now been adopted together with the believing Jews into a new family as joint heirs.
Together, there are joint rights of family identification and legal standing to inherit all that God has prepared for His own family to enjoy for eternity. This is amazing truth! It cannot fail or fade away or be lost. That is surely different than any earthly estate.
Ephesians 3:1 – For this reason I, Paul, the prisoner of Christ Jesus for the sake of you Gentiles—
2 Surely you have heard about the administration of God’s grace that was given to me for you, 3 that is, the mystery made known to me by revelation, as I have already written briefly. 4 In reading this, then, you will be able to understand my insight into the mystery of Christ, 5 which was not made known to people in other generations as it has now been revealed by the Spirit to God’s holy apostles and prophets. 6 This mystery is that through the gospel the Gentiles are heirs together with Israel, members together of one body, and sharers together in the promise in Christ Jesus.