“Giving thanks to the Father who has qualified us to be partakers of the inheritance of the saints in the light. He has delivered us from the power of darkness and conveyed us into the kingdom of the Son of His love, in whom we have redemption through His blood, the forgiveness of sins.” Colossians 1:12–14

I have always been fascinated by the work of the surveyor. His task is to work from documents identifying a parcel of property and then transfer that information to the tangible world. He verifies what you own—actual real estate, soil, property, location, and definable boundary. If you are fortunate enough to own a portion of this earth it is good to have it verified for yourself and for everyone else.

If it is so important to know what you have here on earth does it not stand to reason that we ought to be assured of what we have in the great beyond? After all, our Lord does say in John 14:2ff, “In My Father’s house are many mansions (dwelling places); if it were not so, I would have told you. I go to prepare a place for you. And if I go and prepare a place for you, I will come again and receive you to Myself; that where I am, there you may be also.” With this kind of promise it is wise to plan accordingly.

In the Old Testament the Children of Israel treasured the fact that the Land of Promise was given to them by Jehovah Himself (Numbers 34, Deuteronomy 4:21). Every tribe but Levi was given a portion (Deuteronomy 10:9). Every family was given their boundaries. Even if the family had to sell off part of their parcel because of debt, God still required that on the Jubilee the land returned to the original grant (Leviticus 25). Just as each Israelite was given his portion, the nation of Israel was claimed by our Lord as His inheritance (Deuteronomy 4:20)! Inheritance was important to both the Israelite and his God.

It was not just the Jewish nation that was concerned with property, but also Gentiles. The Greek word for inheritance is kleronomeo, to receive by lot (kleros—a lot, nemomai—to possess). It is property received rather than property gained by purchase, just as the Israelites received the land from the Lord.

John 14:6 tells us the only way to the Father is through faith in Jesus Christ. Hebrews 11:1–3 has an interesting way of describing faith that has a bearing on our subject of inheritance. “Now faith is the substance (lit. that which stands under, foundation, express image) of things hoped for, the evidence (assurance, proof by which a thing is tested) of things not seen.” Faith is our title, our deed in eternity. This salvation, and the faith that claims it, is something given by God (Ephesians 2:8–10). It is this truth that helps explain the meaning of Paul’s commission from Christ in Acts 26:18, “to open their eyes, in order to turn them from darkness to light, and from the power of Satan to God, that they may receive forgiveness of sins and an inheritance among those who are sanctified by faith in Me.”

We have seen the Provider of our inheritance (John 14), the deed of the inheritance (Hebrews 11), and the claim the inheritance has on us (Acts 26). Hebrews 9:15 gives the duration of this inheritance: “And for this reason He is the Mediator of the new covenant, by means of death…that those who are called may receive the promise of the eternal inheritance.” Ephesians 1:13f reveals that there is the promise of this inheritance all saints receive, “In Him you also trusted, after you heard the Word of Truth, the Gospel of your salvation; in whom also, having believed, you were sealed with the Holy Spirit of promise, who is the guarantee of our inheritance, until the redemption of the purchased possession, to the praise of His glory.”

Our text from Colossians 1 reveals the privilege of this inheritance. All genuine believers are thankful people. The saint’s thanksgiving is for being granted, not just the offer of inheritance, but the right to the inheritance (lit. to make sufficient, competent, to qualify). The worthiness of character, and the fitness for the condition of standing, to inherit a lot among the saints is what is in view (Pulpit Commentary). Jesus Christ has graciously made each saint forgiven, adopted, and entitled to receive the blessings of the kingdom (verse 13).

Do not let the phrase “partakers of the inheritance of the saints in light” escape your notice. The real estate that our Lord referred to in John 14:2 is something built this very day. The only description of something built and eternal in the heavens is the New Jerusalem of Revelation 22. Verses 22–27 say, “The city had no need of sun or moon to shine in it, for the glory of God illuminated it. The Lamb is its light. And the nations of those who are saved shall walk in its light…only those who are written in the Lamb’s Book of Life.”

You may not have the box number and the street name just yet, but if you are a believer you have the title deed of faith to the only real estate that matters! 1 Peter 1:3–4 says that Jesus Christ has begotten us again to a lively hope “to an inheritance incorruptible and undefiled and that does not fade away, reserved in heaven for you.” Trust and obey.