The relation between adoption and inheritance in Paul’s epistles

In his epistles, Paul talked a lot about how we are adopted into Christ’s family and that we will receive an inheritance because of it. In Paul’s epistle to the Galatians, he instructed them to stop listening to those who told Christians that they had to be subject to the law of Moses. He told them that we are not saved by works, but by faith. He argued further that Abraham, one of the ancestors of Israel, was not justified by good works, but by faith.

Paul said that all who have faith in Christ are heirs of the promises God made to Abraham. The Mosaic law, Paul argued, was written 430 years later and can not overrule the covenant God made to Abraham. Paul also said that if we are Christ’s, then we are Abraham’s children and thus the heirs of the inheritance according to God’s promise to him.

In the 3rd and 4th chapter of Galatians, he presented an analogy. He said that the law was a schoolmaster to bring us to Christ. It would show us that we are sinners in need of a savior. Thus the law would bring us to Christ so that we would be cleansed of our sins through faith. But when faith has come, he says, we don’t need the schoolmaster any longer.

Regarding this inheritance, he said that the heir of his father’s wealth, while he is still a child, is not a whole lot different than a slave. He is cared for by caretakers appointed by his father until the time he appoints. Applying that to us, he said that as children spiritually we were in bondage to the elements of the world. But, when the time came, God sent his son Jesus to redeem us that we could be adopted into his family and become children of God. If we are sons of God, then we are heirs of God. The inheritance is the ultimate salvation of our souls through Jesus Christ.

Because we were adopted into Christ’s family, we are heirs to the inheritance, which is salvation from our sins. When we became God’s sons, we received the Holy Spirit, which is the guarantee of our inheritance till we receive it.

But, who is eligible to receive this inheritance? In short: Every man or woman alive. In the first years of the church, many people thought that salvation was only for the Jews or for those who followed the Mosaic law. But, in Paul’s epistle to the Ephesians, he talks about something called “the mystery”. The mystery is that the Gentiles (those who are not Jews) will be included as heirs with the Jews of Christ’s promise to redeem our souls. God had not revealed this to mankind previously, but had revealed it after Jesus’ death and resurrection to his apostles and prophets. Paul claims that God had given him the job of preaching to the Gentiles about Jesus Christ.

Paul says in Galatians 3:28 :

28 There is neither Jew nor Greek, there is neither bond nor free, there is neither male nor female: for ye are all one in Christ Jesus.

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