Down payment now, full community inheritance to come
Ephesians 1: 12-14
12 We are called to honor the glory of God because we were the first to hope in Christ. 13 You also have heard the word of truth in Christ, which is the good news of your salvation. You were sealed with the promised Holy Ghost because you believed on Christ. 14 The Holy Spirit is the down payment on our inheritance, which is applied to our redemption as the people of God, resulting in the honor of the glory of God.
Revelation 21: 1-5
1 Then I saw a new heaven and a new earth, for the old heaven and the old earth had passed away, and the sea was no more. 2 I have seen the holy city, New Jerusalem, come down from heaven on behalf of God, prepared as a beautifully clothed bride for her husband. 3 I heard a loud voice from the throne say, “Look! God’s home is here with mankind. He will dwell with them, and they will be his peoples. God himself will be with them as their God. 4 He will wipe away every tear from their eyes. Death will be no more. There will be no more mourning, crying or pain, for the first things are gone. 5 Then the one who was seated on the throne said, “Look! I make all things new. He also said, “Write this down, for these words are trustworthy and true. “
Questions for reflection
Jesus was not with us for a few years of the first century. He swore to be with us every day in the Holy Spirit (cf. John 14: 16-18). Ephesians 1:14 used the Greek word arrabon (“advance payment”). Scholar William Barclay said: “There are still many Greek business documents in which the word appears. A woman sells a cow and receives as many drachmas as arrabōn. Some dancers are hired for public entertainment and are paid so much in advance. Paul says that the experience of the Holy Spirit that we have in this world is a foretaste of heaven; and it is the guarantee that one day we will come into full possession of the beatitude of God. * The end of Revelation says that Jesus made the presence of God with us an eternal reality. As a Christian community, we are convinced that HERE is where history goes: “He will dwell with them, and they will be his people. God himself will be with them as their God. He will wipe any tears from their eyes.
- Jesus told his disciples to “go and make disciples of all the nations” (Matthew 28:19), even in the hostile Roman Empire. And they did. Paul wrote that Christians weep, but not like those “who have no hope” (1 Thessalonians 4:13). Ephesians said that the best times of worship, praise, service, or attention the Holy Spirit gives us are God’s “down payment”, signs that a complete renewal will come. In what ways do you experience the down payment of life in the Spirit? Are you freer and less enslaved today than before you met Jesus? How can you join with other Christians in making our community an engaging glimpse of the everlasting love, joy, and grace that awaits us? The apostle in exile John wrote a vision that promises God’s people a splendid future with God. He invites everyone to choose this future: “Let him who is thirsty come! May he who wishes receive life-giving water as a gift ”(Revelation 22:17). Did you say yes to this invitation?
O Lord, how I long for that day when “death will be no more.” There will be no mourning, crying or pain. In the words at the end of Revelation, I pray: “Come anyway, Lord Jesus. Amen.
* William Barclay, Letters to the Galatians and Ephesians (Revised edition). Louisville: Westminster John Knox Press, 1976, p. 87.