Paul prayed that the Ephesians would be enlightened so that they would understand the hope of God’s calling (Eph. 1:18). Paul wanted the Ephesians to understand the potential “riches of the glory” associated with receiving God’s inheritance (Eph. 1:18). God wants to share His glory with us in profound and spectacular ways (Eph. 1:18). Peter taught that our inheritance is reserved and waiting for us in Heaven (1 Pet. 1:4), but our inheritance also includes things we receive from God in this life (Ps. 16:6). Additionally, our inheritance will include a resurrection body with unique gifts, capacities, and abilities. God chooses our inheritance for us (Ps. 47:4).
Unfortunately, even until today, most Christians do not understand the hope of God’s calling. We do not understand the riches associated with receiving our inheritance. Only obedient Christians will share in the ownership and rulership of God’s creation. If we persevere in our faith, we will reign with Christ (1 Tim. 2:12). We are called to inherit a blessing and be a blessing (Gen. 12:2; 1 Pet. 3:9). Most importantly, God’s inheritance is promised to those who love God (Jas. 2:5). Through faith and endurance, we inherit the promises (Heb. 6:12). The wealth of the sinner is stored up for the righteous (Prov. 13:22).
As stated before, the Dictionary of Biblical Imagery is a very helpful resource for digging into Biblical Imagery, like the idea of the inheritance. In the Old Testament, most of the references to the inheritance referred to an Israelite receiving his share of the Promised Land of Canaan. The Israelites were warned to not do whatever is right in his or her own eyes (Deut. 12:8). The Israelites were warned to not follow the religious practices of the nations dispossessed from the Promised Land (Deut. 12:29-32). David wrote that ultimately the humble and righteous will inherit the land and delight themselves in abundant prosperity (Ps. 37:11, 29).
However, it is also important to note that the idea of the inheritance expanded to things beyond just land. At Deuteronomy 32:9, we learn that Israel was God’s inheritance, and at Jeremiah 10:16, we learn the God was Israel’s inheritance. In Proverbs, we read that the wise will inherit honor, but those who trouble their own house will inherit the wind (Prov. 3:35; 11:29). We also read that the naive will inherit foolishness (Prov. 14:18), but the blameless will inherit good (Prov. 28:10).
In Paul’s letter to the Ephesians, we learn that there is no longer a barrier between Jew and Gentile. Of great significance, we Gentiles can also share in the inheritance. Paul wrote:
[R]emember that you at that time were separate from Christ, excluded from the people of Israel, and strangers to the covenants of promise, having no hope, and without God in the world. But now in Christ Jesus you who were previously far away have been brought near by the blood of Christ. For He Himself is our peace, who made both groups into one and broke down the barrier of the dividing wall….
There is no longer any type of division between Jew and Gentile. All believers are one in Christ. Additionally, our inheritance has been expanded to something far beyond a sliver of land in the Middle East. Our potential inheritance includes the Kingdom of God (1 Cor. 6:9-10), eternal life (Mark. 10:17), salvation (Heb. 1:14), a blessing (1 Pet. 3:9), and the New Heavens and Earth (Rev. 21:7). Jesus said, “And everyone who has left houses or brothers or sisters or father or mother or children or farms on account of My name, will receive many times as much, and will inherit eternal life” (Matt. 19:29).
Every believer is qualified to share in the inheritance (Col. 1:12-13). However, in his letter to the Ephesians, Paul made it clear that there is an ethical component and criteria associated with sharing in God’s inheritance. In order to share in the inheritance, we must practice obedience. Paul wrote,
For this you know with certainty, that no sexually immoral or impure or greedy person, which amounts to an idolater, has an inheritance in the kingdom of Christ and God.
At Galatians 5:19-21, we are warned that in order to inherit the Kingdom of God we should not “practice” sexual immorality, impurity, indecent behavior, idolatry, witchcraft, hostilities, strife, jealousy, outbursts of anger, selfish ambition, dissensions, factions, envy, drunkenness, carousing, and other similar things. The Greek word prasso means “to perform repeatedly or habitually.” Our life or lifestyle should not be characterized by the foregoing list of immoralities. Our promised inheritance should motivate us to live a righteous lifestyle, pleasing to God. However, it is important to remember that all of us have sinned and will occasionally sin. Every believer is required to acknowledge his sins to God. If we acknowledge our sins to God, “He is faithful and righteous” to “forgive us our sins and cleanse us from all unrighteousness” (1 John 1:9).
God promised, “For there will be the seed of peace: the vine will yield its fruit, the land will yield its produce, and the heavens will provide their dew; and I will give to the remnant of this people all these things as an inheritance” (Zech. 8:12). The indwelling of the Holy Spirit is proof to every believer that we have a fantastic inheritance awaiting us in Heaven (Eph. 1:13-14). However, only obedient believers are the remnant, and only obedient believers will receive their full inheritance. As Paul wrote, “I pray that the eyes of your heart may be enlightened, so that you will know the hope of His calling, what are the riches of the glory of His inheritance in the saints, and what is the boundless greatness of His power toward us who believe (Eph 1:18-19).
 Dictionary of Biblical Imagery, edited by Leland Ryken, et al, InterVarsity Press, 1998.
 “G4238 – prassō – Strong’s Greek Lexicon (nasb20).” Blue Letter Bible. Web. 3 Jul, 2023. <https://www.blueletterbible.org/lexicon/g4238/nasb20/mgnt/0-1/>.