Monday, February 5, 2018

Heir of All Things!

If we say, Frank owned him in that debate, we mean not only that Frank won and the other guy lost, but we imply that Frank dominated and the other guy was humiliated. Same with “she owned the former champion on the tennis court today.” The former champion didn’t just lose a close match. She was beaten like a drum.

So to start off this reflection by saying, Christ owns us may provoke unpleasant feelings. And of course saying you own someone could remind people of the ugliness of human slavery.With those disclaimers aside, it is still true: you and I belong to Jesus even if we don’t follow Him. He owns us. And for that matter He owns all of creation.

The opening sentences of the book of Hebrews give us seven great descriptions of Jesus Christ. But this time I’ll talk only about this one: Jesus Christ is heir of all things. We’re given that truth in the second verse of the first chapter:  in these last days he has spoken to us by his Son, whom he appointed the heir of all things.

“Heir” means everything belongs to Christ – everything – and He can do with it whatever He wants. Every planet and star, molecule and sub-atomic particle, every mountain and valley, every drop in the ocean, every grain of sand and blade of grass – it’s all His. He owns every creature – millions of birds and fish, insects and mammals– He is heir of them all.

And so too every person, old or young, rich or poor, whatever race or ethnicity or language or country – Jesus owns every one of us. You and I belong to Jesus even if we don’t follow Him.

Our self-centered, prideful, safe-space-demanding, personal-rights-insisting culture hates this truth. Many people today insist they are totally autonomous, that rights and values and gender, and even reality itself, are entirely up to them. But this verse unflinchingly says, No, all things belong to Christ, and everyone is accountable to Him.

Notice the verse says God appointed Him as heir. But didn’t Jesus already have these things? How is He appointed? Answer: Christ’s appointment as heir of all things is inextricably tied to the fulfillment of His redemptive mission. Jesus Himself prophesied this truth ten centuries before Bethlehem or Calvary.

You can see it in Psalm 2, vv. 7-9: I will tell of the decree: The Lord said to me, “You are my Son; today I have begotten you. Ask of me, and I will make the nations your heritage, and the ends of the earth your possession. You shall break them with a rod of iron and dash them in pieces like a potter’s vessel.” (My highlights)

Who’s speaking? God the Son, and He is reporting a conversation with God the Father.  I [pre-incarnate Christ] will tell of the decree: The Lord [the Father] said to me [the Son], “You are my Son; today I have begotten you. Ask of me, and I will make the nations your heritage, and the ends of the earth your possession.” The Father promises the nations as His Son’s heritage and all the earth as His possession.

Yes, God the Son was always heir as Creator of all things. But Hebrews 1:2 is reporting His appointment based on His completed redemptive mission. The plan that had been in the heart and mind of God since before time began was to send Christ down into His own creation as the atoning sacrifice for His people. “Today I have begotten you” in Psalm 2:7 is actually speaking of Christ’s resurrection, not His birth. How do we know?

The Apostle Paul explained the connection in a sermon: And we bring you the good news that what God promised to the fathers, this he has fulfilled to us their children by raising Jesus, as also it is written in the second Psalm, “‘You are my Son, today I have begotten you.’" (Acts 13:32-33, my highlights).

Being appointed as heir is the culmination of His mission. Just as He promised (in Psalm 2), the Father rewarded and honored the Son because He died for His people and rose again.

Jesus owns us – both as the Creator and the Redeemer. Paul explains it this way in Philippians 2:8-11: And being found in human form, he humbled himself by becoming obedient to the point of death, even death on a cross.Therefore God has highly exalted him and bestowed on him the name that is above every name, so that at the name of Jesus every knee should bow, in heaven and on earth and under the earth, and every tongue confess that Jesus Christ is Lord, to the glory of God the Father.

Here's the point: You are not your own; you were bought at a price. Therefore honor God with your bodies (1 Corinthians 6:19-20).