March 17, 2024

Our Eternal Inheritance

Written by:
Rev (Dr) Prabhudas Koshy

God’s Word tells us that we are called “to an inheritance incorruptible, and undefiled, and that fadeth not away, reserved in heaven for you” (1 Peter 1:4). We are saved to obtain an “inheritance”. The word “inheritance”, in its Greek origin (kleronomia), refers to “a sanctioned possession”, much like when a father’s possession is assigned to the son. When we become God’s children, we receive an inheritance from the Father. “And if children,” says Paul, “then heirs; heirs of God, and joint-heirs with Christ” (Romans 8:17a).

The New Testament clearly speaks of things that we will inherit as believers. Some of the things we will inherit as a result of our salvation are mentioned in the following verses:

  • “inherit everlasting life” (Matthew 19:29—“And every one that hath forsaken houses, or brethren, or sisters, or father, or mother, or wife, or children, or lands, for my name’s sake, shall receive an hundredfold, and shall inherit everlasting life.”)
  • “inherit the promises” (Hebrews 6:12—“That ye be not slothful, but followers of them who through faith and patience inherit the promises.”)
  • “inherit a blessing” (1 Peter 3:9b—“…knowing that ye are thereunto called, that ye should inherit a blessing.”)
  • “inherit the kingdom prepared for you from the foundation of the world” (Matthew 25:34—“Then shall the King say unto them on his right hand, Come, ye blessed of my Father, inherit the kingdom prepared for you from the foundation of the world” [cf. 1 Corinthians 6:9-10; Galatians 5:21].)
  • “inherit all things” (Revelation 21:7—“He that overcometh shall inherit all things; and I will be his God, and he shall be my son.”) This verse points to all the spiritual and eternal inheritances that God has promised.

Peter uses three adjectives to describe the inheritance of a believer, namely “incorruptible”, “undefiled”, and “that fadeth not away”. No earthly inheritance is worthy of those three adjectives. These adjectives can match only a spiritual or heavenly inheritance. These adjectives are at times used to refer to rewards awaiting the believers. For example, the adjective “incorruptible” (aphtharton) is used for crowns of reward in 1 Corinthians 9:25. Likewise, “that fadeth not away” (amarantinon) is also used of the crowns designated for the ‘under-shepherds’ (1 Peter 5:4). This must be the reason why the writer of Hebrews calls the believers’ inheritance, the “eternal inheritance” (9:15).

In general, “incorruptible” (aphtharton) refers to freedom from death and decay, “undefiled” (amianton) to freedom from uncleanness or moral impurity, and “that fadeth not away” (amaranton) to freedom from the natural ravages of time (like in the fading of flowers). The believers’ inheritance is safe from all damage, defilement and decay, because it is “reserved in heaven for you”. The verb “reserved” (teteremenen) points to God’s act of preserving the inheritance for the believers in heaven. The word has the idea of keeping something unharmed. God preserves His people’s inheritance for their everlasting enjoyment.

“Believers inherit a greater inheritance than all that are on earth.” The inheritance that we have in Christ is not kept on earth. If it is an earthly inheritance, then its purity and glory would easily perish. The purity of our inheritance reserved in heaven will not be sullied. Its brightness will not be dimmed.

Therefore, let us rejoice, even in poverty, because of all our imperishable inheritances reserved for us in heaven.

Report on the 24th Bible Witness Retreat

Report from Seah Tze Hin

We thank God for a blessed 24th Bible Witness Retreat held at Vizag and Shillong (2-9 March 2024), to hear God’s Word and to visit several churches in India. The theme of the retreat is “Unblameable in Holiness”. We landed in Vizag in the night, and passed through immigration and customs without much scrutiny. A few local brothers gladly received us and saw us safely to the hotel for a quick dinner and a night of rest.

The next day was the Lord’s Day, and we were introduced to the church staff and GBI students by Rev. Sujith. We joined the local congregation in worship and were reminded of the “meaning, mode and subjects” of baptism. The message was translated into Telugu by Pastor Bhagavath. Pastor Koshy baptised a few youths and infants born to believing parents. We thank God for a Telugu song presentation by local youths, as well as a rendering of the hymn – “More Holiness Give Me” – by an octet from the Singapore mission team. We then had a blessed time of fellowship with the local brethren over lunch. After dinner that evening, we had our first theme message. It set the stage for the rest of the messages and highlighted the gravity of “holiness”. Holiness is God’s nature, but we are defiled and corrupt. Yet we are called to be holy as God is holy.

The next day, we continued studying about God’s holiness. God Himself is the standard of holiness and the Judge. We spent some time meditating on the description of God’s Word in Psalm 19, seeing that it is holy and only by it are we taught to be holy. We also glimpsed at the holiness of worship in heaven, and pondered over salvation’s relation to God’s holiness (cf. Eph 2:8-10). We then took the opportunity to visit BPC Vizag and the bookroom below it. Rev. Sujith told us about a brief history of the work started in 2018, and the growth over the years. How blessed is every Gospel seed sown abroad that many more may come to know of Christ! The rest of the afternoon was spent in admiring God’s creation – on Kailasagiri Hill and at Tenneti Beach. We witnessed the crashing waves and saw a stranded ship, and were reminded of God’s mighty power over men and His creation. Later that day, Pastor further expounded on salvation. We were reminded that “salvation is an inheritance of God”, and “a true Christian hungers for only one thing - the eternal and divine righteousness.” Justification and sanctification are inseparable. Justification is a positional sanctification, an imputation of God’s righteousness, with Christ as the Priest, and thus a merit of Christ’s work. Sanctification itself is a progressive process, an impartation of God’s holiness, with Christ as the King, and signifies the efficacy of Christ’s work.

We continued our retreat study the following morning, where the messages took a chastising turn. We learnt of the necessity of sanctification (cf. Heb 11:6, 24). Just as God is “glorious in holiness” and “fearful in praises”, the Church as Christ’s Bride must be also. Christ hates every church that is not walking in holiness. Christ’s letter to the Laodicean Christians (Rev 3:16-17) and Christ’s criticism of the Pharisees (Matt 23:25-28) are very relevant to us and reflective of us. Miserable, blinded, naked, full of hypocrisy and iniquity. The only way ahead is to be cleansed; personal sanctification is as important as justification. Sanctification is our chief business, and holiness is our main pursuit. “Teach me to do thy will; for thou art my God: thy spirit is good; lead me into the land of uprightness” (Psalm 143:10).

Later that afternoon, we visited the campus at Kotapadu, in the countryside. It was a large campus, with a classroom, a library, dormitories and a kitchen. Thank God for the sufficient size to host students from all over the country, and a conducive environment to learn God’s Word in the building. Thank God for the teachers and supporting staff, ensuring a smooth operation of the campus. We pray that GBI will continue to have such an environment to educate students according to God’s will, even as the lease agreement expires next year.

On Wednesday (6 March), we left Vizag early for Shillong. First, we took a flight to New Delhi, the capital of India, and then another flight to Guwahati. Pastor Jied and a few local brethren welcomed us at the airport. A 3-hour-long bus ride brought us to Shillong. We were all exhausted and thanked God for a sufficient rest that night.

Local brethren in Shillong joined in for the retreat theme messages on the next day (Thursday), where Pastor Koshy revisited the topics he had covered in Vizag. We continued learning the importance of purity and cleanliness in a believer’s life. The reality of sin bothers a true Christian (cf. Isa 6:5). Although we have learnt about doctrines of salvation, personal holiness is much more important. The new life that God has given is for constant purification. “Now the end of the commandment is charity out of a pure heart, and of a good conscience, and of faith unfeigned” (1 Timothy 1:5; cf. Romans 13:9). The next message elaborated on Ephesians 4:17-22. We looked at the curses of sin, which creep in when we are not careful. We were reminded to learn of Christ and follow Him, and not the world; to put off the old man, and be renewed daily in the spirit of our minds.

We visited Laitlum Canyon after lunch, and once again were captivated by the beauty of God’s creation. We felt small in that vast landscape and amid the tall mountains. The retreat messages concluded with Pastor touching on the Word’s cleansing and the Word’s promises. We are not to grow in mere knowledge but to be purified by His Word, thereby also to know His will for us. “If any of you lack wisdom, let him ask of God, that giveth to all men liberally, and upbraideth not; and it shall be given him” (James 1:5). We also looked at cleansing through chastisement (Heb 12:8-11). God will never afflict unnecessarily, but only so that He would sanctify us of sins and His will would be fulfilled. God also afflicts to prevent one from sin, as Paul highlighted his own experience in his second letter to the Corinthians. Saints fight sins every day to follow the Saviour.

On Friday (8 March), we travelled along mountainous roads for 2 hours to reach Cherrapunji. Pastor Jied warmly received us with great joy, showing us the way to the new church building, which houses Christ-Centered Reformed Church and Soli Deo Gloria Reformed Bible Academy. For the official opening of the building, Pastor was asked to pray and cut the ribbon together with Elder Mah. After being served some local snacks (made by the brethren) and Masala ginger tea, we were then ushered into the main hall, and the service began. Several important figures gave their speeches. They included Sir Titos Chyne (the local Member of the District Council), Sir W. Diengdoh (the principal of Sohra Academy Higher Secondary School), Mr B. Diengdoh (from the Village Council), and Elder Mah (on behalf of Gethsemane BPC). Members of the Singapore mission team choir presented song items, praising God for His work in spreading the Gospel all over the world.

Pastor then preached the thanksgiving message, taken from 1 Corinthians 3:7-9. He emphasised 3 points:

  1. The gathering of God’s people is His work. All who serve in the church are nothing; God is everything. It is all God’s work.
  2. We are labourers. Serve God through the toughest of times, being unashamed of the Gospel, and God will bless this labour. It is a privilege to labour for God the King of Heaven.
  3. We are labourers together. Doing God’s work is not a competition; we only work because He works.

Pastor ended the message with an encouragement to everyone, especially the ministers of God’s Word. God is with us always, even in the most needy of circumstances. Our duty is to give this one life we have to Christ and the Gospel, knowing that there is not much time left. Pastor Jied then gave his testimony about the LORD’s grace and mercy to him. Tears rolled down his cheeks, as he recalled painful and joyous moments. Tears were shared by many who were present as well. We heard of God’s providence in every step of his life, through local brethren and his family and the leaders of Gethsemane BPC. Indeed, the LORD is very good to those who trust in Him.

We then visited several locations around Cherrapunji. Nongsawlia Presbyterian Church is the first church in the region, started by Rev. and Mrs Thomas Jones. (It was Rev. Jones who recorded the Khasi language in Roman script. John Roberts subsequently continued the work and completed the translation of the Bible into the Khasi language. Since then, the church grew and 75% of the state, Meghalaya, are said to be Christian. However, many churches, including Nongsawlia Presbyterian Church, have become liberal over the years and introduced unsound doctrines.) Our next stop was the Mawsmai Limestone Cave, where we were captivated by the rock formations. We ended with a farewell dinner at a nearby restaurant.

Knowing we’d almost come to the end of our trip gave us mixed feelings. While we thank God for the church building, yet we were sad that we had to leave, especially after just getting to know the local brethren. Come early next morning, we were driven to the airport. We parted ways with the local brethren, and flew back to Singapore safely.

“O give thanks unto the LORD; for he is good: for his mercy endureth for ever” (Psalm 136:1). All glory to God for the 24th Bible Witness Retreat. We thank God for all the efforts by His servants who have worked tirelessly behind the scenes to make this retreat a fruitful, smooth and memorable one.

Gethsemane Bible-Presbyterian Church adheres to the system of faith commonly known as the “Reformed Faith” as expressed in the Westminster Confession of Faith together with the Larger and Shorter Catechisms.
Our Worship Address
SingPost Centre
Level 5 Auditorium
10 Eunos Road 8, Singapore 408600
(next to Paya Lebar MRT station)
Our mailing address
Gethsemane Media Centre
33 Ubi Crescent
Singapore 408584
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