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Today's Little Lift

    by Jim Bullington

Heir of the World (Romans 4:13)
Date Posted: January 18, 2022

“She means the world to me!” Have you ever heard anyone make this or a similar statement. Of course, this is not to be taken literally, just that the person speaking highly values the one of whom he/she is speaking. Today's devotional will consider an inspired statement containing similar language and make an application of that statement to the ordinary believer's situation.

First we will consider the biblical quotation: “For the promise that he [Abraham] would be the heir of the world was not to Abraham or to his seed through the law, but through the righteousness of faith. For if those who are of the law are heirs, faith is made void and the promise made of no effect, because the law brings about wrath; for where there is no law there is no transgression. Therefore it is of faith that it might be according to grace, so that the promise might be sure to all the seed, not only to those who are of the law, but also to those who are of the faith of Abraham, who is the father of us all” (Romans 4.13-16).

Paul who authored this statement spoke of “the promise” which God made to Abraham that he would be heir of the world. Actually, there are many promises which God made to Abraham, but none of them mentions the specific reward of his becoming heir of the world. Perhaps, there is an explanation that arises out of the idiom we introduced in today's opening paragraph. Perhaps rather than taking the statement literally, it ought to be seen similar to the statement, “She means the world to me.” If that is the case, it simply means that Abraham was to become recipient of promises that were of extreme and unequaled value.

Note some of the promises made to Abraham. God promised to make of him a great nation and to make his name great (Genesis 12.2). God also promised him that all families of the earth would be blessed in him (Genesis 12.3). As to the multitudes that would make up his descendents, Abraham was promised that they would be as numerous as the stars of heaven (Genesis 15.5). Not only would their number be great, so would the nations which would spring from them (Genesis 17.5). These promises were extended in the New Testament to include the promised Messiah and the blessings that would accrue through Him (Galatians 3.16). There were other “lesser” promises, but these are the major ones recorded in the inspired record.

When one looks at these promises from an overview perspective, God did indeed promise Abraham the world! There were mundane promises regarding earthly things and there were more lofty promises involving spiritual things. The latter type of promises implies redemption from sin as well as eternal bliss. So great was the name of Abraham and so esteemed was he that the place of departed righteous spirits was referred to as the “bosom of Abraham” (see Luke 16.22). It is hard to imagine how any mortal man could have been more exalted than Abraham!

Now to an application of similar language to the ordinary believer. “Therefore let no one boast in men. For all things are yours: whether Paul or Apollos or Cephas, or the world or life or death, or things present or things to come — all are yours. And you are Christ’s, and Christ is God’s.” (1 Corinthians 3.21-23). The believers to whom Paul was writing had fallen heir to all things! Much as Abraham had become heir of the world, the believers in Corinth had come to possess all things!

Did you notice the prior use of the term ordinary believer in this article. It was intentional There is no such thing as an ordinary believer! We all mean the world to God and He means everything to us!

Questions:

1. The word idiom appears in the third paragraph of this article. What does the word mean? What specific idiom was used in the first paragraph of this article?

2. How and in whom were all families (nations) of the earth blessed in Abraham (see Galatians 3.16)?

3. What things, according to 1 Corinthians 3, belong to the believer? To whom does the believer belong?

4. Why is there no such thing as an ordinary believer?

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Biography Information:
Jim Bullington - A Christian writer whose insight into the scriptures is reflected in practical application lessons in every article. The reader will find that the Bible speaks directly to him/her through these articles. God is always exalted and His word is treated with the utmost respect in this column.
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