August 29, 2018 • Life for Leaders
Those who are victorious will inherit all this, and I will be their God and they will be my children.
In Revelation 21:7, we are promised an inheritance from the Lord. Literally, this passage says that “those who are victorious” will receive the inheritance. Those of us who remain faithful to the Lord, in spite of life’s challenges and battles, will one day share in God’s victory through Christ. We will be numbered among “those who are victorious” and will receive an astounding inheritance.
What is this inheritance? The text says, “Those who are victorious will inherit all this.” The Greek phrase underlying this translation could be translated more literally, “The one who is victorious will inherit these things.”
What are “these things”? The most obvious answer depends on an understanding of Greek grammar. (If you’re not a grammar fan, hang on. This will only take a minute.) The word translated as “all this” is the neuter plural pronoun tauta, which literally means “these things.” When we look for a neuter plural noun to which tauta refers, we find one in verse 5. There, God says, “I am making everything new!” “Everything” in Greek is panta, a neuter plural noun, which could be rendered “all things.” Therefore, from a grammatical point of view, it is likely that “all this” in verse 7 points back to “all things” in verse 5. If so, then this passage reveals both that God is making all things new and that we will one day inherit all things.
Why is this so important? Because it suggests that our future inheritance isn’t composed simply of “spiritual blessings,” as many commentators on this passage claim. Yes, there will be plenty of these. But, as the text affirms, we will also inherit all things, tangible things, and earthly things. We will become co-owners and co-stewards with God of the new heaven and new earth (see Revelation 2:26; 3:21). We will have delegated responsibility and authority in the new creation, even as we were once given responsibility and authority in the first creation.
As we envision our future in the new heaven and earth, we must beware of the tendency to view our future inheritance only in terms of “spiritual”—read, non-physical, non-earthly—blessings. This leads to an unbiblical view that physical things and what we do with them really don’t matter. But, if our future inheritance includes the things of this world, if we will share with Christ in wielding authority over the nations (Revelation 2:26, 3:21), then we would rightly conclude that this world and what we do in it matter greatly. If our future involves exercising leadership in God’s new creation, then what we do as leaders in this present creation makes a difference, not only to us, but also to God.
Something to Think About:
Have you ever thought about the fact that, one day, you will be among those who inherit “all things”? What difference does this fact make in your life today?
Why would God entrust human beings with the stewardship of all things?
What has God entrusted to you to steward well for his purposes?
Gracious God, thank you for the astounding inheritance you have prepared for us. Thank you for choosing to include us in your work, both in this age and in the age to come. Help us, Lord, to live each day in light of the future. Help us to care about the things of this world, stewarding them well for your purposes. May all we do in life honor you. Amen.
This post was originally published on April 20, 2016.
Explore more at The High Calling archive, hosted by the Theology of Work Project:
All Things New: God’s Bringing Creation to Its Glorious Destiny
Dr. Mark D. Roberts is a Senior Strategist for Fuller’s Max De Pree Center for Leadership, where he focuses on the spiritual development and thriving of leaders. He is the principal writer of the daily devotional, Life for Leaders, and the founder of the De Pree Center’s Flourishing in the Third Third of Life Initiative. Previously, Mark was the Executive Director of the De Pree Center, the lead pastor of a church in Southern California, and the Senior Director of Laity Lodge in Texas. He has written eight books, dozens of articles, and over 2,500 devotions that help people discover the difference God makes in their daily life and leadership. With a Ph.D. in New Testament from Harvard, Mark teaches at Fuller Seminary, most recently in his D.Min. cohort on “Faith, Work, Economics, and Vocation.” Mark is married to Linda, a marriage and family counselor, spiritual director, and executive coach. Their two grown children are educators on the high school and college level.