Inheritance or Loss

I say then, walk by the Spirit and you will not carry out the desire of the flesh. For the flesh desires what is against the Spirit, and the Spirit desires what is against the flesh; these are opposed to each other, so that you don’t do what you want. But if you are led by the Spirit, you are not under the law.

Now the works of the flesh are obvious: sexual immorality, moral impurity, promiscuity, idolatry, sorcery, hatreds, strife, jealousy, outbursts of anger, selfish ambitions, dissensions, factions, envy, drunkenness, carousing, and anything similar, about which I tell you in advance—as I told you before—that those who practice such things will not inherit the kingdom of God.
(Galatians 5:16-21 Holman Christian Standard Bible® ©)

If “inherit the Kingdom” means “go to Heaven when you die,” then this section of Paul’s letter to churches in Galatia means “whether you have been born of God (born again) or not, if you have selfish ambition, or jealousy, or envy, you are going to the lake of fire when you die.”

That is not what it means, though. It means that whether you have been born of God or not, if you are living with these bad influences as your values, you are not walking in obedience to the King, and you will not gain benefits of being a citizen of His Kingdom since you are living outside of it.

We don’t really see in the word “inherit” what we better understand of its meaning if we contrast it with the word “disinherit.” Disinherit means to cut off from position or relationship or estate. Inherit, as the opposite of that idea, means to administer the passing on of position or relationship or estate. Early use of the word meant to “make an heir.”  Lawyers shifted the use of it into “get money.”

The “lazy and evil slave” Jesus taught about in the parable of the talents distribution in Matthew 25, was the chap who did not properly value what he had been entrusted with as opportunity. He did not incorporate the talent he received into his life and work, and instead of having something to return on his master’s investment, had just the talent that he had buried.

The master’s response to him was to disinherit him – to cut him off from the type of benefits the other servants had received. They were given authority as their inheritance for having served well with responsibility.