In him we have obtained an inheritance, having been predestined according to the purpose of him who works all things according to the counsel of his will, so that we who were the first to hope in Christ might be to the praise of his glory. In him you also, when you heard the word of truth, the gospel of your salvation, and believed in him, were sealed with the promised Holy Spirit, who is the guarantee of our inheritance until we acquire possession of it, to the praise of his glory” (Ephesians 1:11-14 – ESV).
It has been many years since I slept in a tent. If my memory is correct, my last tent adventure was on my sister and brother-in-law’s farm in Whitwell, Tennessee when my son and his two cousins decided to camp out down by the pond. Camping however, was a big part of my childhood as we regularly went on scenic and adventurous camping safaris on the Serengeti Plains, by the beach in Mombasa, and at the foot of Mt. Kilimanjaro. Trust me, we had some crazy adventures that involved everything from flesh eating army ants (siafu), to elephants, to intense rain storms that come with the start of the rainy season. Part of the reason these trips were so fun was because our tent was not our permanent residence. Despite how crazy it got, we could always go home. And more than once we were forced to do so.
Sadly, there are many in our world who are homeless and consider themselves fortunate if they even have a tent to live in. The circumstances of life have resulted in the loss of job, home and family. They literally have no place to go. Though they desire a home where there is warmth, protection from the elements, and a comfortable bed to sleep in, for many, it is only a dream. The difference between their camping and mine is that I always had the promise of a warm dry bed to go home too.
In 2 Corinthians 5 the Apostle Paul compares our human bodies to a tent as we long for the “building from God, a house not made with hands, eternal in the heavens” (v.2). This is the inheritance that Paul speaks of here in Ephesians. It is one that comes through faith in Jesus Christ. We who are God’s inheritance look forward to the day when we will receive our own inheritance. That is our hope!
Unfortunately, we tend to be a hopeless bunch of people, as we get distracted by the ups and downs of life and therefore have a tendency to doubt God’s promises, looking to this inheritance as if it were the lottery. However when Scripture speaks of hope it is based on a reality rooted in God’s sovereignty. Despite the fact that we are “prone to wander” and prone to doubt, Paul encourages the Believer by reminding us that God the Holy Spirit lives in every Believer and has been given to us as both a seal and a guarantee of the promised inheritance – “whom you were sealed for the day of redemption”(Ephesians 4:30). In addition the Holy Spirit “bears witness with our spirit that we are children of God” (Romans 8:16).
In being a guarantee of our future inheritance, the Holy Spirit is the deposit, down payment, or earnest money where God has made a binding contract that His promises are true. Notice how Paul bring this together in 2 Corinthians 2:21-22, “And it is God who establishes us with you in Christ, and has anointed s, and who has also put his seal on us and given us his Spirit in our hearts as a guarantee”. Now that is a promise you can count on, one you can have a genuine hope in!
So if this camping trip we call life is not going well for you, or just a little too adventurous for your liking, remember that the God of all grace who called you, will get you home! That is guaranteed!