In modern America, we don’t usually think much about birthrights or inherited blessings. The vast majority of us do not expect to inherit from our relatives anything of significant value. Occasionally one of us will inherit an item of sentimental value, important to the beneficiary but usually a trinket or tool or book of little value to anyone else. We don’t think about an inheritance that we can use as leverage or exchange for something else of value to us.
Genesis tells us about Jacob and Esau, and Esau’s infamous barter of his birthright for a bowl of stew.
“…and Esau said to Jacob, ‘Please let me have a swallow of that red stuff there, for I am famished.’ Therefore his name was called Edom. But Jacob said, ‘First sell me your birthright.’ Esau said, ‘Behold, I am about to die; so of what use then is the birthright to me?’ And Jacob said, ‘First swear to me’; so he swore to him, and sold his birthright to Jacob.” Genesis 25:30-33
The Hebrew birthright in the Patriarchal age was a right of tremendous importance. Usually given to the firstborn son, the birthright consisted of a double portion of the father’s personal property; designation as head of the family entailing responsibility for all common family property and for all remaining members of the household such as widows, younger brothers and unmarried sisters; and, authority over extended family members. The birthright also included receiving the blessing which put the beneficiary in close covenant relationship with Yahweh Himself.
This makes me wonder what my birthright in Christ is. I received the blessing of covenant relationship with God Himself when I was baptized into the body of Christ. I was born again of the Spirit and such a birth brings me a birthright.
“He saved us, not on the basis of deeds which we have done in righteousness, but according to His mercy, by the washing of regeneration and renewing by the Holy Spirit, whom He poured out upon us, richly through Jesus Christ our Savior, so that being justified by His grace we would be made heirs according to the hope of eternal life.” Titus 3:5-7
“…we would be made heirs…” My right of birth into God’s family is to be an heir to eternal life. I don’t have to stand in line for it, I don’t have to wait for an older sibling to die to acquire it, I cannot buy it. It was conferred on me when I was born of the Spirit. My birthright.
“Jesus answered, ‘Truly, truly, I say to you, unless one is born of water and the Spirit he cannot enter into the kingdom of God.’ ” John 3:5
“For you are all sons of God through faith in Christ Jesus. For all of you who were baptized into Christ have clothed yourselves with Christ. …And if you belong to Christ, then you are Abraham’s descendants, heirs according to promise.” Galatians 3:26, 27, 29
If I am an heir to the riches of heaven, what does that mean to me here and now? Are the only benefits of being a child of God relegated to the spiritual realm I will live in after I leave behind the bag of bones I currently carry around?
Only in Christ, I have this birthright today and forever:
Peace with God–I am reconciled to Him. My debt to Him is paid in full by the blood of His Son. I stand as a citizen of Heaven, now, today. Ephesians 2:13-16
Justification before God–On my record, there is no mark of deficiency. In God’s eyes this day, He sees me as His child of promise. I pass the test. I win the race. Today. Romans 5:18, 19
Complete and enduring forgiveness–There is no record of my wrongs. No sin can be attributed to me. Once forgiven, He has no memory of my offenses. Ever. No matter what. Ephesians 1:7-9
Acceptance into God’s family–I am His child, sister to the Son of God. I am no more AND NO LESS important than any of my siblings. No matter where I come from, where I have been or what I have done. Complete and total acceptance through Jesus’ cleansing blood. Ephesians 2:19-22
Freedom from the slavery to sin and self—No longer my will, but only His will. I am no longer driven by a lifestyle that leads only to destruction. I know the futility of living life without promise, of trying to see what is real through a haze of distractions. In Christ I hold ownership to blessed outcomes and a meaningful journey. By the end, He will make everything right, nothing will be wasted. Romans 6:11
Resurrection–Yes, resurrection when Jesus returns, but also resurrection every day. Each day is a new day. Forgiveness through His grace allows me to start over, again and again, as many times as I need, cleansed and whole, each and every time. God’s forgiveness is limited only by my repentance. God’s supply of forgiveness is limitless. Whatever I need, no matter how much I need. I get to start over, always, until this life ends. Romans 6:1-7
Direct access to God–God is MY Father. I pray to Him. I serve Him. His Spirit indwells ME. His begotten Son pleads MY case before Him. MY relationship to Him is personal, intimate and priceless. Ephesians 2:17, 18
Genesis 25:34 says that Esau despised his birthright, counted it as nothing of importance, when he sold it to Jacob for a meal.
Do I ever despise my birthright? Do I ever trade it for what makes me feel happy, excited, loved, satiated, or proud in any given moment? Do I ever treat my inheritance in Christ as if it were of no importance to me? Do I listen to Satan’s whispers that tell me God didn’t really mean what He said when He said I would surely die? When he tells me God doesn’t really love me? Do I trade God’s truth that brings me blessings now and forever for lies that only rob me of what is rightfully mine in Christ?
“Therefore we do not lose heart, but though our outer man is decaying, yet our inner man is being renewed day by day. For momentary, light affliction is producing for us an eternal weight of glory far beyond all comparison, while we look not at the things which are seen, but at the things which are not seen; for the things which are seen are temporal, but the things which are not seen are eternal.” 2 Corinthians 4:16-18
All Bible quotes are from Zondervan’s Classic Reference Bible, New American Standard Bible–Updated Edition copyright 1999 by Zondervan
NEW AMERICAN STANDARD BIBLE, copyright 1960, 1962, 1963, 1968, 1971, 1972, 1973, 1975, 1977, 1995 by the Lockman Foundation. Used by permission.