Jesus has given us the right to become children of God (John 1:12, Romans 8:14, Galatians 3:26). When we believe in Jesus as our Saviour we are born into a new family. Jesus spoke of this new birth to Nicodemus explaining that just as we have a physical birth into our earthly family, so we must have a spiritual birth to become a child of our Heavenly Father (John 3:3-6) who is the Father of our spirits (Hebrews 12:9). Children have a birthright, which entitles them to certain rights, privileges and possessions in their family by virtue of their birth – and similarly when we are born anew into our Heavenly Father’s family we receive a birthright, which entitles us to all the rights, privileges and possessions of the children of God! Wow how wonderful to be children of the King of all kings and the Lord of all lords with all the benefits that entails! But what is even more amazing is that the benefits can be accessed immediately- we don’t have to wait until we get to heaven, God wants us to begin to take possession of our inheritance now.
So what is our inheritance? Well here is a brief list of our most important entitlements as beloved children:
– forgiveness for all our sins and the gift of eternal life (John 3:16)
– healing from every disease (Isaiah 53:5, Matthew 8:17, 1 Peter 2:24, Psalm 103:3)
– the favour of the Lord (Luke 4:19)
– authority to overcome all the power of the enemy (Luke 10:19)
– an inheritance with Christ (Romans 8:17)
– union with Christ- we are one in spirit with Him (1 Corinthians 6:17)
– the right to come boldly before His throne of grace (Hebrews 4:16, Ephesians 3:12)
– an abundance of grace, the gift of righteousness and the power to reign in life (Romans 5:17)
– rich provision of everything we need for our enjoyment (1 Timothy 6:17)
Just as Abraham (and his offspring) received the promise of an inheritance through the righteousness that comes by faith (Romans 4:13) so we obtain our inheritance through the gift of righteousness. Abraham “believed God and it was credited to him as righteousness (Romans 4:3)” and in the same way we receive the gift of righteousness by believing God; by faith in Christ we are the offspring of Abraham (Galatians 3:29) and heirs to the promises. The key is that because of the abundance of grace (undeserved favour) and the gift of righteousness, which we receive through faith in Christ, we can take hold of every promise.
Now that we have understood our position as children of God, I want us to realise that we are not just any children, but we have the right of the firstborn son and thus we have a “double portion” inheritance!
Jesus, the Son of God is described as the Firstborn of God:
For those God foreknew he also predestined to be conformed to the image of his Son, that he might be the firstborn among many brothers and sisters.
And again, when God brings his firstborn into the world, he says, “Let all God’s angels worship him.”
In the book of Exodus, God also referred to Israel as his firstborn son:
Then say to Pharaoh, ‘This is what the LORD says: Israel is my firstborn son,”
The book of Matthew explains that Israel as God’s firstborn son is a picture of Christ. After the Magi had visited Jesus in Bethlehem some time after His birth, an angel appeared to Joseph in a dream and told him to escape with Mary and Jesus to Egypt and stay there until God told him it was time to leave because Herod was going to search for Jesus to kill him.
Matthew then continues:
14So he got up, took the child and his mother during the night and left for Egypt, 15where he stayed until the death of Herod. And so was fulfilled what the Lord had said through the prophet: “Out of Egypt I called my son.”
Matthew is quoting the Old Testament prophet Hosea and so confirming that Israel’s slavery and deliverance from Egypt was in fact a prophetic picture of Jesus’ stay in Egypt as a child and his being called out by God to return to Israel.
“When Israel was a child, I loved him, and out of Egypt I called my son.
But Israel is also representative of God’s bride:
31“The days are coming,” declares the Lord,
“when I will make a new covenant
with the people of Israel
and with the people of Judah.
32It will not be like the covenant
I made with their ancestors
when I took them by the hand
to lead them out of Egypt,
because they broke my covenant,
though I was a husband to them,”
And thus Israel also represents us, the church, who are referred to as the bride of Christ in the New Testament:
31“For this reason a man will leave his father and mother and be united to his wife, and the two will become one flesh.” 32This is a profound mystery—but I am talking about Christ and the church.
In the Law of Moses, God instituted the right of the firstborn son. According to Deuteronomy 21:17 (see below), the firstborn son was the “first-sign of his father’s strength” and would receive a double-share of the inheritance as compared to the other sons.
15If a man has two wives, and he loves one but not the other, and both bear him sons but the firstborn is the son of the wife he does not love, 16when he wills his property to his sons, he must not give the rights of the firstborn to the son of the wife he loves in preference to his actual firstborn, the son of the wife he does not love. 17He must acknowledge the son of his unloved wife as the firstborn by giving him a double share of all he has. That son is the first sign of his father’s strength. The right of the firstborn belongs to him.
So as Firstborn Son, Jesus has the right of the firstborn- the right to the double share. And as His bride, we also share His rights.
But not only do we share His right as firstborn by virtue of our union with Him as His bride, but in Christ we are also God’s firstborn ourselves:
22But you have come to Mount Zion, to the city of the living God, the heavenly Jerusalem. You have come to thousands upon thousands of angels in joyful assembly, 23to the church of the firstborn, whose names are written in heaven. You have come to God, the Judge of all, to the spirits of the righteous made perfect, 24to Jesus the mediator of a new covenant, and to the sprinkled blood that speaks a better word than the blood of Abel.
As believers in Christ we receive Jesus’ status as firstborn and we are therefore the church of the firstborn. This word firstborn in Hebrews 12:23 is prototokon (πρωτοτόκων) which is the plural version of the adjective prototokos (πρωτότοκος), i.e. it is the church of many firstborns!
So we have a right to an abundant inheritance- a double portion inheritance!
As the firstborn of the Lord we are also the Lord’s possession, consecrated to Him:
“Consecrate to me every firstborn male. The first offspring of every womb among the Israelites belongs to me, whether human or animal.”
And He considers us His glorious inheritance:
I pray that the eyes of your heart may be enlightened in order that you may know the hope to which he has called you, the riches of his glorious inheritance in his holy people,
Now let’s look at some other verses, which confirm this double portion inheritance.
Luke 4 records when Jesus read from Isaiah 61 and declared that He was the fulfilment of the prophecy:
18“The Spirit of the Lord is on me, because he has anointed me to proclaim good news to the poor.
He has sent me to proclaim freedom for the prisoners and recovery of sight for the blind,
to set the oppressed free, 19to proclaim the year of the Lord’s favour.”
20Then he rolled up the scroll, gave it back to the attendant and sat down. The eyes of everyone in the synagogue were fastened on him. 21He began by saying to them, “Today this scripture is fulfilled in your hearing.”
Jesus ushered in the year of the Lord’s favour. The word translated year in Luke 4:19, eniautos (ἐνιαυτός) could also be translated a “cycle of time”. In other words the year of the Lord’s favour, which Jesus inaugurated, is a cycle of time, not just one year and that cycle of time is ongoing. If we continue to read the rest of Isaiah’s prophecy in chapter 61 we see that Jesus was ushering in a time when all who trusted in Him would be called priests of the Lord and ministers of God and 1 Peter 2:9 confirms that we are indeed a royal priesthood of God. Furthermore instead of our shame, which Jesus took upon himself (Hebrews 12:2), we now receive a double portion inheritance. This is consistent with our position as firstborn and bride!
6And you will be called priests of the Lord, you will be named ministers of our God.
You will feed on the wealth of nations, and in their riches you will boast.
7Instead of your shame you will receive a double portion, and instead of disgrace you will rejoice in your inheritance.
And so you will inherit a double portion in your land, and everlasting joy will be yours.
Another picture of our double portion inheritance is found in First Samuel chapter 1.
1 Samuel 1:1-11
1Now there was a certain man from Ramathaim-zophim from the hill country of Ephraim, and his name was Elkanah the son of Jeroham, the son of Elihu, the son of Tohu, the son of Zuph, an Ephraimite. 2He had two wives: the name of one was Hannah and the name of the other Peninnah; and Peninnah had children, but Hannah had no children.
3Now this man would go up from his city yearly to worship and to sacrifice to the LORD of hosts in Shiloh. And the two sons of Eli, Hophni and Phinehas, were priests to the LORD there. 4When the day came that Elkanah sacrificed, he would give portions to Peninnah his wife and to all her sons and her daughters; 5but to Hannah he would give a double portion, for he loved Hannah, but the LORD had closed her womb. 6Her rival, however, would provoke her bitterly to irritate her, because the LORD had closed her womb. 7It happened year after year, as often as she went up to the house of the LORD, she would provoke her; so she wept and would not eat. 8Then Elkanah her husband said to her, “Hannah, why do you weep and why do you not eat and why is your heart sad? Am I not better to you than ten sons?”
9Then Hannah rose after eating and drinking in Shiloh. Now Eli the priest was sitting on the seat by the doorpost of the temple of the LORD. 10She, greatly distressed, prayed to the LORD and wept bitterly. 11She made a vow and said, “O LORD of hosts, if You will indeed look on the affliction of Your maidservant and remember me, and not forget Your maidservant, but will give Your maidservant a son, then I will give him to the LORD all the days of his life, and a razor shall never come on his head.”
In this story Elkanah (whose name means “God has taken possession”) represents Christ and Hannah (whose name means “favoured”), represents us as His bride under the New Covenant. Penninah (which means “pearl” or “ruby”) represents the Old Covenant Law and Israel, married to God under the Old Covenant. Every year Peninnah would provoke Hannah to tears about her barrenness but finally one year, Hannah arose and cried out to the Lord to give her a son who she would give to the Lord. Well the Lord heard her prayer and some time later Samuel (which means “Heard by God”) was born. We can relate to this story because we are often provoked to misery when the Law (which was glorious though that glory has been surpassed by the New Covenant) reminds us of our failures but just as Elkanah favoured Hannah and gave her a double portion because he loved her, so God, in His love, has favoured us with a double portion.
I find it interesting that Elkanah says to Hannah “Don’t I mean more to you than ten sons?” Sometimes when we are awaiting the fruition of a promise from the Lord it is good to remember that He is enough for us. For years Hannah remained in her barrenness under the constant provocation of Penninah and was always too upset to eat even though Elkannah would give her a double portion but one year enough was enough and after eating and drinking she rose up and prayed to the Lord. That particular year, she partook of the sacrificial meal (which represents Christ’s sacrifice for us) and then rose up and prayed. So if we are to enjoy our double portion, then we must shake off the condemnation of the Law, feed on the sacrifice of Jesus, and rise up and enter into our firstborn inheritance.
Beloved child of God, because of His grace you have a gloriously abundant “double portion” inheritance from the Lord. You are the beautiful spotless bride (Ephesians 5:27) married to His Firstborn Son; you are His firstborn, consecrated to the Lord, His special possession (Deuteronomy 7:6, 1 Peter 2:9) and His glorious inheritance (Ephesians 1:18)! Don’t let your failures hold you back. Feed on Christ, rise up and take what’s yours!