7-8-15 - Inheritance

I’ve always wondered what it would be like to be a “trust fund baby,” to have wealth sufficient to buy anything I want, to know I will receive a steady stream of income my whole life. Would it be freeing? Deadening? Enabling of dysfunction or generosity or both?

I don’t think I’ll ever know that in the financial sense. But I’m told I’m the recipient of a pretty huge trust fund spiritually, one that I can access any time I want:

In Christ we have also obtained an inheritance, having been destined according to the purpose of him who accomplishes all things according to his counsel and will, so that we, who were the first to set our hope on Christ, might live for the praise of his glory. In him you also, when you had heard the word of truth, the gospel of your salvation, and had believed in him, were marked with the seal of the promised Holy Spirit; this is the pledge of our inheritance toward redemption as God’s own people, to the praise of his glory.  (The whole passage from Ephesians 1 is here.)

This inheritance, which gives us access to the power that made the heavens, that can heal the sick and revive the soul, is already ours: “We have obtained” it. Paul lays out some steps to taking hold of it – hearing the word of truth, the Good News of access to the love of God; believing in Jesus Christ; being sealed in the Holy Spirit as a pledge on the inheritance to come. This “marked with the seal" is a reference to the chrismation in baptism, that moment when the newly baptized is anointed with oil. In our Episcopal rite, this is accompanied by the words, “You are sealed by the Holy Spirit in baptism and marked as Christ’s own forever.”

In that moment, we receive the gift of the Spirit in our lives, the Spirit of Christ with whom we are united in baptism. All the riches in that trust fund become available to us – the faith to believe in what cannot be seen, the power to heal what seems hopeless, the grace to forgive the unforgivable, the capacity to love beyond our own ability. That sealing, Paul says, is a pledge, a down payment, on the fullness of life in the Spirit that we will know in eternity, which we begin to live into in this life.

The question for us is: will we draw on the funds already available to us, or leave that trust fund sitting? There is no benefit to leaving it alone – unlike some bank accounts, this fund grows as it is drawn on; it accrues interest by being used. It will never run out, and there is no limit to how many times we can withdraw from it. God’s power is not rationed or constrained – we can pray for bad colds as well as world peace, and never exhaust the power and love there for us.

What would you like to draw on that trust fund for? Where around you do you perceive the need for healing, hope, forgiveness, peace, grace and love? Go ahead – take it out. The fund will not diminish.

We have heard the truth of the Gospel. We are invited to believe and to be baptized. We have received the promised Holy Spirit, and been given the bank card to use the funds. The password is Maranatha, “Come, Lord Jesus.”

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