Useful Bible Studies > Colossians Commentary > chapter 3
Today, we think about an inheritance as the property that people receive after someone’s death. In the Bible, it may be better to describe it as the property that a son receives from his father. Usually, the son must wait for some future time to receive it.
Until that time, the son must work in much the same way as a slave does (Galatians 4:1). Like the son in Luke 15:28-31, he may complain that he is not getting a proper reward for his efforts. However, the son who complains is only thinking about his present wages, and not his future inheritance.
God’s people have long understood God’s promises to be a wonderful inheritance (Hebrews 11:8-10). To the nation called Israel (called ‘God’s son’ in Hosea 11:1), God gave their land as an inheritance, or permanent possession (Numbers 34:2). However, until Christ establishes his rule of perfect peace (Isaiah 11:1-9), Israel and all God’s people must wait for God to complete their inheritance (Hebrews 11:13-16; Revelation 21:1-7).
Paul was writing to Christians who really were slaves. They worked very hard through their lives on earth, and their masters did not pay them properly. Usually they received no wages, and only just enough food. So Paul reminded them that, in their relationship to God, they were not slaves, but sons (John 1:12; Romans 8:14-18; 1 Corinthians 7:21-22). A slave belongs to another person, his master – but as Christians, they belonged to Christ, their king. So, such Christians need to think about the inheritance that Christ has promised to them. They are poor now, but they will have a wonderful home with Christ in heaven and the New Jerusalem (John 14:1-3).
Next part: Whether we are rich or poor, we must all obey God (Colossians 3:25)
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© 2019, Keith Simons.