Lesson Six – The Inheritance of God’s Kingdom

The Inheritance of God’s Kingdom

Lesson Aim:  To show how faithful Christians will have the rule of God for our own, only after all distractions are removed from our lives by our death, resurrection and Judgment.


I pray that the eyes of your heart may be enlightened, so that you may know what is the hope of His calling, what are the riches of the glory of His inheritance in the saints, and what is the surpassing greatness of His power toward us who believe.  These are in accordance with the working of the strength of His might.  Eph. 1:18, 19

The riches of the glory of God’s inheritance in the saints is closely related to our own inheritance of His kingdom.  In order for us to be better enlightened about our inheritance the following are some Greek words and their English counterparts used in this lesson.  Their definitions are from W. E. Vine’s Expository Dictionary of New Testament Words along with some scriptures where they are used.

A.  Inherit – KLERONOMEO (verb).  It means to obtain by lot.
Matt. 19:29; 25:34; Mark 10:17; I Cor. 6:9; 15:50; Rev. 21:7.

B.  Inheritance – KLEROS.  What is obtained by lot, of what God has in grace assigned to the sanctified.  Acts 26:18.

C.  Inheritance – KLERONOMIA (noun).  A lot, properly an inherited property, an inheritance thus, what is obtained by lot.  A possession.  Matt. 21:38; Acts 7:5; 20:32; Eph. 1:14, 18; 5:5; Col. 3:24; Heb. 9:15; I Pet. 1:4.

D.  Heir – KLERONOMOS (noun).   One who obtains a lot or portion.  Matt. 21:38; Rom. 8:17; Gal. 3:29; 4:7; Jas. 2:5; Tit. 3:7.

E.  Heir – KLERONOMEO (verb).  To be an heir.  Gal. 4:30; Heb. 1:14.

F.  Kingdom – BASILEIA.  Denotes sovereignty, royal power, dominion.  Matt. 3:2; 16:19; 25:34; Rom. 14:17; Jas. 2:5.

In this lesson we will study the faithful Christians’ inheritance of the kingdom of God.  In the next lesson we will investigate our inheritance of eternal life.  Both make up our inheritance because those who inherited the kingdom in Matt. 25:34 were the righteous people that went into eternal life in Matt. 25:46.  James said those who love God are promised a crown of life.  They are also heirs of the kingdom (Jas. 1:12; 2:5).  However, the difference in what we obtain at Judgment when we inherit the kingdom and what we get when we inherit eternal life is diverse enough to demand two approaches for our study; consequently, there will be two lessons on our inheritance.


Then the King will say to those on His right, “Come, you who are blessed of My Father, inherit the kingdom prepared for you from the foundation of the world.”   Matt. 25:34

Listen, my beloved brethren:  did not God choose the poor of this world to be rich in faith and heirs of the kingdom which He promised to those who love Him?  James. 2:5

The Greek words from which the English words inherit and heir has been translated in the foregoing scriptures are used in about the same way they are used in our judicial system today.  In other words, if we, as an heir, inherit our grandfather’s property upon his death, we get it for our own.  We may not be able to fully comprehend all we get for our own when we inherit God’s kingdom; however, we can appreciate at least one aspect of our inheritance.  Since the Greek word basileia, translated kingdom, has a root meaning of sovereignty, dominion or rule, we can understand this aspect of what it means for us to inherit God’s kingdom.  We get God’s rule for our own.  Since “a man’s way is not in himself,” we will need to inherit God’s kingdom when we enter heaven; otherwise, we would sometimes get a little out of control as we do here on earth (Jer. 10:23).

First, let us address ourselves to this question:  What is the difference in our citizenship in God’s kingdom now “in Christ” and our citizenship in this same kingdom after we receive our inheritance at Judgment?  The people who have lived on earth since Jesus became “Prince and Savior,” who will inherit God’s kingdom, will have been born again (John 3:3-8).  Those of us who have been born again are the ones who had our souls purified for a sincere love of the brethren when we were obedient to the truth (I Pet. 1:22, 23).  We, like the Colossian Christians, have already been transferred to the kingdom of God’s beloved Son, Jesus Christ.  This all happened after we heard the word of truth, developed faith and repentance in what we heard about our hope of sonship in God’s kingdom and were baptized for the remission of our sins (Col. 2:9-13).  Jesus has not given teachers and preachers a commission to promise this inheritance to anyone who has not been born again; however, neither has He ordained us as judges.  Jesus is now king over God’s kingdom.  When the end of time comes, and after Jesus judges the church, He will deliver it up to God, our Father.  However, He will not present the church as we know it.  The church after Judgment will be the citizens of the eternal kingdom of God (I Cor. 15:24).

Christians are citizens of a kingdom we hope to inherit.  We will not inherit it unless we let the Holy Spirit help us add to our faith, moral excellence, knowledge, self-control, perseverance, godliness, brotherly kindness and Christian love (II Pet. 1:5-7).  Peter said, “For in this way the entrance into the eternal kingdom of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ will be abundantly supplied to you.”  II Pet. 1:11.  In this context, membership in the church of God in Christ is the entrance into God’s eternal kingdom.  We are, at the same time, fellow-citizens with all saints and God’s household (Eph. 2:19).  Because we are citizens of Jesus’ kingdom, we, like Thomas, can say to Jesus, “My Lord, My God.”  John 20:28. 

We are in the process of destroying speculations and every lofty thing “raised up” against the knowledge of God.  We are taking every thought captive to the obedience of Christ (II Cor. 10:5).  We are not being conformed to the world.  We are being transformed by the renewing of our minds, that we may “prove what the will of God is, that which is good and acceptable and perfect.”  As we accomplish this mind change we present our bodies as living sacrifices in our service to God (Rom. 12:1, 2).  In this way God’s will is being done on earth as it is in heaven; therefore, His kingdom has come on earth in Christians (Matt. 6:10).  We are in the kingdom of God because the kingdom is within us.  God’s rule and life qualities dominate our lives.  This is what Jesus said in the following scripture.

Now having been questioned by the Pharisees as to when the kingdom of God was coming, He answered them and said, “The kingdom of God is not coming with signs to be observed; nor will they say, “Look, here it is!” or, “There it is!  For behold, the kingdom of God is in your midst.”   Luke 17:20, 21

As Paul said, “Our citizenship is in heaven, from which also we eagerly wait for a Savior, the Lord Jesus Christ; who will transform the body of your humble state into conformity with the body of His glory, by the exertion of the power that He has even to subject all things to Himself.”  Phil. 3:20, 21.  Although we are citizens of God’s kingdom we cannot inherit it because we are in a flesh and blood body with the knowledge of good and evil (I Cor. 15:50).  We are citizens of God’s kingdom.  We cannot inherit it because we cannot have His total rule for our own while in our “in Adam” bodies.  Our bodies are a distraction for our minds being able to control our individual “will to act.”  I Cor. 7:37.

When those of us who are now Christians first heard about God’s kingdom, we were impressed with its value for ourselves.  When we understood the impact on our future, if we would let Jesus direct our lives, we decided to let Him be our Lord.  We accepted the new covenant in our repentance (II Cor. 7:10; Heb. 8:10).  We decided to be conformed in our inner-man to the image of Jesus and practice righteousness (Rom. 8:29; I John 3:7).  However, most of us will admit there are distractions hindering us from letting Jesus completely dominate our “selves” and our behavior.  Of course, we admit things would go better if we let Jesus completely rule us, but under the present situation we cannot let God’s kingdom come into our lives as we fully desire.  Truly, one great difference between our citizenship now and our citizenship after we receive our inheritance will be the type of body in which we are housed.  Our physical body is a legitimate distraction from our letting Jesus rule our lives in every aspect.

This does not surprise us because there was nothing that hindered God’s will from being carried out in the lives of Adam and Eve before they got the knowledge of good and evil.  From our lesson on the “Blessings of Physical Death” we learned how our bodies became a distraction after mankind got the ability to discern good and evil.  The acquiring of this knowledge was reason enough for God to separate mankind from the “tree of life” so mankind could have the blessing of physical death (Gen. 3:22-24).  We have a tendency to lust; consequently, we have to be very careful we do not make provisions for our lust.  However, since we do not always know when we are making provisions for our lust, we sometimes find ourselves caught up in sin.  Read Rom. 8:21-25; 13:14 and Jas. 1:13-15.

It was Jesus who said, “Keep watching and praying, that you may not enter into temptation; the spirit is willing, but the flesh is weak.”  Matt. 26:41.  Some people quote this verse as an excuse to sin but let us beware of that type thinking.  The Christian life while on earth is a series of struggles in order to put to death the deeds of our body by the help of the Holy Spirit (Rom. 8:12, 13).  We will need to answer for the deeds done in our bodies.  We recognize our need to inherit God’s kingdom, that is, to have His rule for our own; however, since our flesh and blood body is one of the distractions, we will have to wait for our physical death and our resurrection in order to inherit God’s kingdom.  The following scripture presents the only solution for the eliminating of our present body as a distraction.

But when this perishable will have put on the imperishable, and this mortal will have put on immortality, then will come about the saying that is written, ‘Death is swallowed up in victory.’  I Cor. 15:54

In addition to our physical bodies there are three other legitimate distractions relating to our submissiveness to Jesus’ rule.  They are Satan, sinners in the world and the lawless and stumbling blocks in the church.  Let us now see how each of these will be removed when Jesus comes again.  It is because of the removal of these four distractions, and others, if there be more, that we will be free to do what we will to do in heaven.  Assuming our will is correct now and remains so until the end of our “earthy lives” we will have God’s rule for our own eternally.  Since inherit means “to have for our own” and kingdom suggests a rule, we can say we will inherit God’s kingdom.  According to the following scripture when Jesus comes again He will eliminate Satan and his forces as a distraction from our letting God rule our lives eternally (Rev. 20:10).

And then that lawless one will be revealed whom the Lord will slay with the breath of His mouth and bring to an end by the appearance of His coming; that is, the one whose coming is in accord with the activity of Satan, with all power and signs and false wonders.  II Thess. 2:8, 9

Christians can resist Satan firm in our faith as he “prowls about like a roaring lion, seeking someone to devour.”  I Pet. 5:8, 9.  If our faith is weak in some areas, then Satan and his schemes become a distraction that prevents us from having the kingdom completely.  Since Satan has been expelled from heaven and has no place to go but hell, he will be “hanging around” us until Jesus comes to put him away for good.  Faithful Christians look for the return of Jesus to remove all of our distractions so we can inherit the kingdom of God.

Another distraction which the return of Jesus and Judgment will remove will be the sinners in the world.  We try to make our world a better place in which to live; however, it will never be very good very long.  Paul said we would need to go out of the world in order to get away from the immoral, the covetous, the swindlers and the idolaters (I Cor. 5:10).  He even recognized our court system is administered by unjust judges (I Cor. 6:1).  Christians must not use the worlds’ unrighteousness as an excuse to do evil.  Paul said, “do all things without grumbling or disputing; that you may prove yourselves to be blameless and innocent, children of God above reproach in the midst of a crooked and perverse generation, among whom you appear as lights in the world.”  Phil. 2:14, 15.

Sometime we may feel a need to withdraw from society as religious people have at certain periods in history.  Buddhists have practiced asceticism and Catholics have retreated to their monasteries in order to get away from the sinners in the world.  But Christians must be lights to the people of the world even though they may be a distraction to our letting Jesus rule over us.  This too will end when Jesus comes.  Until Jesus comes both the sinners and the children of the kingdom must live together.  According to Jesus’ parable of the tares, He will remove sinners as a distraction from the faithful Christians’ lives forever upon His return (Matt. 13:30; 25:32, 33).  The tares, which represent all sinners outside the church, will be gathered up and sent to hell (Matt. 13:40).

Let us consider one more legitimate distraction that may keep us from the full guidance and rule of God.  They are the “stumbling blocks and those who commit lawlessness” in the church (Matt. 13:41).  Various New Testament writers identified them thusly:  “These are springs without water, and mists driven by a storm, for whom the black darkness has been reserved.”  II Pet. 2:17.  “Reject a factious man.”  Tit. 3:10, 11.  They “cause dissensions and hindrances contrary to the teaching which you have learned.”  They are slaves of their own appetites; “and by their smooth and flattering speech they deceive the hearts of the unsuspecting.”  Rom. 16:17, 18.  Immoral people also may claim membership in the body of Christ (I Cor. 5:1).  The church must discipline wilful sinners even to the point of removing them from the fellowship for their and the church’s sake (I Cor. 5:4-7).  They are a great distraction to our Christian living.  Other Christians put a stumbling block in their brother’s way because they assume the role of judge of the church (Rom. 14:13).  All of these stumbling blocks and lawless people will be removed from the kingdom and cast into the furnace of fire unless they repent, and “in that place there shall be weeping and gnashing of teeth.”  Matt. 13:41, 42.  The Apostle Peter made the following statement.

For it is time for judgment to begin with the household of God; and if it begins with us first, what will be the outcome for those who do not obey the gospel of God?  And if it is with difficulty that the righteous is saved, what will become of the godless man and the sinner?  I Pet. 4:17, 18

When Jesus comes again He will resurrect us in a body that will be willing to cooperate with our spirits.  He will blow Satan and his associates away into hell with the breath of His mouth.  Jesus will judge the world and send all sinners to hell forever.  He will remove all of the stumbling blocks and lawless from the church.  If our will is right there will be no further distractions from letting God rule our lives.  This is one very practical way in which we inherit the kingdom of God.

The scriptures plainly reveal faithful Christians will inherit God’s kingdom.  To inherit means to have for our own.  The root of the word kingdom suggests a sovereign rule.  If all of our legitimate distractions are removed by Jesus upon His return through our resurrection and His Judgment, what will hinder us from having God’s will completely accomplished in our lives eternally?  What this means to us in one practical way is that we will have God’s rule for our own forever.  This will be accomplished for us when Jesus comes again and removes all of our legitimate distractions.  Of course, if our will is not right then this is an obstacle that will not be removed for us; therefore, we will not inherit God’s kingdom.  In that case we too will be removed from God’s kingdom along with the other lawless and stumbling blocks.  We trust our will is right now and we will keep it right until Jesus comes to take care of the other distractions.

Then the righteous will shine forth as the sun in the kingdom of their Father.  He who has ears, let him hear.  Matt. 13:43

 Questions for Discussion

  1. How are the Greek words used in the Bible that have been translated inherit and heir?
  2. What is the root meaning of the Greek word translated kingdom?
  3. What is the difference in our citizenship in God’s kingdom now in Christ and after we inherit it?
  4. Who only can hope to inherit God’s kingdom?
  5. In what sense is the church of Christ the entrance into God’s kingdom?
  6. How has God’s kingdom come upon people on earth?
  7. List four legitimate distractions that may keep Christians from letting Jesus completely rule our lives all of the time?  Can you think of others?
  8. What happened that caused our own bodies to be a distraction?
  9. What is the solution to our body’s distractive power?
  10. When will Jesus eliminate Satan and his forces as a distraction to our letting God rule our lives?
  11. Why must Christians not withdraw to a monastery?
  12. When will Jesus eliminate the sinners of the world as a distraction?
  13. How do the stumbling blocks and lawless in the church sometimes distract us from letting Jesus rule us?
  14. Where did Peter say Judgment begins?
  15. If it is our will that God rule our lives how will the elimination of all legitimate distractions affect us?
  16. Explain the relationship between the removing of our distractions and our inheritance of God’s kingdom.

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