Anticipating Your Inheritance

As a member of God’s family, you have obtained a future inheritance that has many present benefits.

An inheritance is something received by an heir as a result of a will or legal process. It’s a legacy one receives from family connections.
As a member of God’s family, you are an heir of God and fellow heir with Christ (Rom. 8:17). As such you have obtained an inheritance that Peter called “imperishable and undefiled . . . reserved in heaven for you” (1 Pet. 1:4). It cannot perish, fade away, or be defiled because heaven is timeless and sinless. It is a secure inheritance.


In Ephesians 1:11 Paul refers to it in the past tense (“have obtained”). That’s significant because the fullness of your inheritance won’t be revealed until you are glorified in God’s presence (1 John 3:2). But your inheritance is so sure, Paul refers to it as if it was already in hand.


Although its fullness is yet future, your inheritance has present benefits as well. In addition to inheriting Christ and the Holy Spirit, you also inherit peace, love, grace, wisdom, joy, victory, strength, guidance, mercy, forgiveness, righteousness, discernment, and every other spiritual benefit. Paul sums it all up in 1 Corinthians 3:22-23: “All things belong to you, and you belong to Christ; and Christ belongs to God.”


Nowadays many Christians are so preoccupied with acquiring material goods that they miss many of the present benefits of their spiritual inheritance and the joy of anticipating its future fulfillment. Don’t fall into that trap!


Looking forward to your eternal inheritance will help you maintain a proper perspective on temporal things and motivate you to praise and adore God.


Suggestions for Prayer
• Praise the Lord for the incredible inheritance that awaits you in heaven.
• Thank Him for the present benefits of your inheritance, which are yours to enjoy daily.


For Further Study
One precious aspect of your eternal inheritance is God’s mercy. Psalm 136 reflects on the mercy God demonstrated toward Israel. Read that psalm, noting the manifestations of mercy that relate to your life.


From Drawing Near by John MacArthur Copyright © 1993

Resting In God’s Sovereignty

God is intimately involved in the flow of human history and is directing its course toward a specific, predetermined climax.

For centuries men of various philosophical schools have debated the cause, course, and climax of human history. Some deny God and therefore deny any divine involvement in history. Others believe that God set everything in motion, then withdrew to let it progress on its own. Still others believe that God is intimately involved in the flow of human history and is directing its course toward a specific, predetermined climax.


In Ephesians 1:9-10 Paul settles that debate by reminding us that Jesus Himself is the goal of human history. In Him all things will be summed up—all human history will be resolved and united to the Father through the work of the Son.


As Paul said elsewhere, “It was the Father’s good pleasure for all the fulness [of deity] to dwell in [Christ], and through Him to reconcile all things to Himself, having made peace through the blood of His cross” (Col. 1:19-20). The culmination of Christ’s reconciling work will come during His millennial kingdom (Rev. 20). Following that, He will usher in the eternal state with a new heaven and earth (Rev. 21).

Despite the political uncertainty and military unrest in the world today, be assured that God is in control. He governs the world (Isa. 40:22-24), the nations (Isa. 40:15- 17), and individuals as well (Prov. 16:9). God’s timetable is right on schedule. Nothing takes Him by surprise and nothing thwarts His purposes. Ultimately He will vanquish evil and make everything right in Christ.


Suggestions for Prayer
• Thank God for the wisdom and insight He gives you to see beyond your temporal circumstances to His eternal purposes.
• Live today with that perspective in mind.


For Further Study
Read Revelation 20.
• What happens to Satan prior to the millennial kingdom?
• How does Satan meet his final doom?
• What happens at the great white throne judgment?


From Drawing Near by John MacArthur Copyright © 1993.

Pursuing God’s Will

Even if you haven’t obtained academic degrees, you have wisdom that far surpasses the most educated unbeliever.

When God redeemed you, He not only forgave your trespasses and removed the guilt and penalty of sin, but He also gave you spiritual wisdom and insight—two essential elements for godly living. Together they speak of the ability to understand God’s will and apply it to your life in practical ways.


As a believer you understand the most sublime truths of all. For example, you know that God created the world and controls the course of history. You know that mankind’s reason for existence is to know and glorify Him. You have goals and priorities that transcend earthly circumstances and limitations.


Such wisdom and insight escapes unbelievers because they tend to view the things of God with disdain (1 Cor. 2:14). But you “have the mind of Christ” (v. 16). His Word reveals His will and His spirit gives you the desire and ability to understand and obey it.


Today is another opportunity to cultivate that desire through diligent prayer and Bible study. Let the psalmist’s commitment be yours: “O how I love Thy law! It is my meditation all the day. Thy commandments make me wiser than my enemies. . . . I have more insight than all my teachers. . . . I understand more than the aged . . . I have restrained my feet from every evil way, that I may keep Thy word” (Ps. 119:97-101).


Suggestions for Prayer
• Thank God for the wisdom and insight He gives you through His Word.
• If you have neglected the Word, ask His forgiveness and begin once again to refresh your spirit with its truths.
• Ask for wisdom to respond biblically to every situation you face today.


For Further Study
Many Christians think God’s will is vague or hidden from them. But Scripture mentions several specific aspects of His will. Once you align yourself with those specifics, the Spirit will direct you in the other areas of your life.
• List six elements of God’s will from these passages: 2 Peter 3:9; Ephesians 5:17-18; 1 Thessalonians 4:3; 1 Peter 2:13-15; 1 Peter 3:17; 1 Thessalonians 5:18.
• Are you following God’s will in those areas? If not, what steps can you take today to do so?


From Drawing Near by John MacArthur Copyright © 1993.

Enjoying God’s Forgivness

In Christ we have infinite forgiveness for every sin—past, present, and future.

On Israel’s Day of Atonement (Yom Kippur) the high priest selected two goats. One was sacrificed; the other set free. Before releasing the second goat, the high priest symbolically placed the sins of the people on it by laying his hands on its head. This “scapegoat” was then taken a great distance from camp and released—never to return again (Lev. 16:7-10).


The Greek word translated “forgiveness” in Ephesians 1:7 means “to send away.” It speaks of cancelling a debt or granting a pardon. Like the scapegoat, Christ carried away our sins on the cross.
In Christ, God cancelled your debt and pardoned your transgressions, and He did so “according to the riches of His grace, which He lavished upon [you]” (v. 8). That means you have infinite forgiveness because God’s grace is infinite. You cannot sin beyond God’s grace because where sin abounds, grace super-abounds (Rom. 5:20).


God delights in lavishing His grace upon you. Such grace is overflowing and cannot be contained. You are forgiven for every sin—past, present, and future. You will never be condemned by God or separated from Him (Rom. 8:1-2, 31-39). Even when you fail, God doesn’t hold your sins against you. Christ bore them all so that you might know the joy and peace that freedom from sin and guilt brings.
Let the reality of God’s grace fill your heart with joy and assurance. Let the responsibility of glorifying Him fill you with awe and reverence. Let this day be a sacrifice of praise and service to Him.


Suggestions for Prayer
• Thank God for His infinite grace and forgiveness.
• Look for opportunities to extend forgiveness to others.


For Further Study
Read Matthew 18:21-35.
• What characteristic marked the wicked slave?
• What was the king’s response to the wicked slave’s actions?
• What point was Jesus making? How does it apply to you?


From Drawing Near by John MacArthur Copyright © 1993.

The High Cost Of Free Grace

Redeeming grace is free to us, but its cost to God is inestimable.

Sin is not a serious issue to most people. Our culture flaunts and peddles it in countless forms. Even Christians who would never think of committing certain sins will often allow themselves to be entertained by them through television, movies, music, and other media.


We sometimes flirt with sin but God hates it. The price He paid to redeem us from it speaks of the seriousness with which He views it. After all, we “were not redeemed with perishable things like silver or gold . . . but with precious blood, as of a lamb unblemished and spotless, the blood of Christ” (1 Pet. 1:18-19).
In Scripture the shedding of blood refers to violent physical death—whether of a sacrificial animal or of Christ Himself. Sin is so serious that without bloodshed, there is no forgiveness of sin in God’s sight (Heb. 9:22).


The sacrificial animals in the Old Testament pictured Christ’s sacrifice on the cross. That’s why John the Baptist called Jesus “the Lamb of God who takes away the sin of the world” (John 1:29). The Old Testament sacrifices were necessary but incomplete. Christ’s sacrifice was perfect, complete, and once for all (Heb. 10:10). No further sacrifices are needed other than the “sacrifice of praise to God” for what He has done (Heb. 13:15) and our very lives in service to Him as “a living and holy sacrifice” (Rom. 12:1).


By His sacrifice Christ demonstrated not only God’s hatred for sin, but also His great love for sinners. You could never redeem yourself, but Christ willingly paid the price with His own precious blood. He “gave Himself up for [you], an offering and a sacrifice to God as a fragrant aroma” (Eph. 5:2). His sacrifice was acceptable to the Father, so your redemption was paid in full. What magnanimous love and incredible grace!


Suggestions for Prayer
• Worship God for His wonderful plan of salvation.
• Worship Christ for the enormous sacrifice He made on your behalf.
• Worship the Holy Spirit for applying Christ’s sacrifice to your life and drawing you to Christ in saving faith.
• Ask God to help you guard your heart from flirting with sin.


For Further Study
Read 2 Samuel 11.
• What circumstances led to David’s sin with Bathsheba?
• How did David attempt to cover his sin?
• How did David finally deal with his sin (see Ps. 51)?


From Drawing Near by John MacArthur Copyright © 1993.

The Slavery That Frees

Slavery to sin is bondage; slavery to God is freedom.

Freedom is a precious thing. People throughout history have prayed, fought, and even died for it. Our Declaration of Independence upholds it as one of our inalienable rights.


But the truth is, no matter what one’s political situation might be, everyone is a slave—either to sin or to God. Jesus said that “everyone who commits sin is the slave of sin” (John 8:34). Paul added that all of creation is in slavery to corruption (Rom. 8:21). However, believers have “been freed from sin and enslaved to God” (Rom. 6:22).
The Roman Empire had as many as twenty million slaves; slave trade was a major industry. For a slave to gain his or her freedom, a redemption price had to be paid. The Greek word for such a transaction is lutroō, which Paul uses in Ephesians 1:7 to speak of our “redemption” from sin’s bondage.


Slavery to sin is bondage; slavery to God is freedom. That sounds paradoxical, but God is the Sovereign King, and true freedom means having the ability to bend your will to His and thereby become all He created you to be. Even though you will fail at times, your greatest desire and highest pursuit as a believer is to be like Christ (1 John 2:5-6). Those enslaved to sin cannot do that, nor do they want to.
Today you will have many opportunities to demonstrate your submission to Christ. Let your attitudes and actions speak clearly of your love for the Master.


Suggestions for Prayer
Thank the Lord that He is a faithful and just Master who always does what is best for His servants. A self-seeking slave is a contradiction in terms. Ask the Lord to guard you from thoughts and actions that are contrary to His will.


For Further Study
According to 1 Corinthians 4:1-2 what key characteristic is required of a servant of Christ? Read Matthew 24:42-51. How does Jesus describe a wise servant? Read Philippians 2:5-11. How did Jesus demonstrate the heart of a servant? What implications does His example have for your life?


From Drawing Near by John MacArthur Copyright © 1993.

Living To The Glory Of God

You were created to glorify God.

Englishman Henry Martyn served as a missionary in India and Persia in the late eighteenth and early nineteenth centuries. Upon his arrival in Calcutta, he cried out “Let me burn out for God.” As he watched the people prostrating themselves before their pagan idols and heard blasphemy uttered against Christ, he wrote, “This excited more horror in me than I can well express. . . . I could not endure existence if Jesus was not glorified; it would be hell to me, if He were to be always thus dishonored” (John Stott, Our Guilty Silence [InterVarsity, 1967], pp. 21-22).


Martyn had a passion for God’s glory—and he was in good company. Angels glorify God (Luke 2:14), as do the heavens (Ps. 19:1) and even animals (Isa. 43:20). But as a believer, you glorify God in a unique way because you are a testimony to His redeeming grace.


You were created for the purpose of glorifying God—even in the most mundane activities of life, such as eating and drinking (1 Cor. 10:31). You are to flee immorality so you can glorify God in your body (1 Cor. 6:19- 20). You are to walk worthy of your calling “that the name of our Lord Jesus may be glorified” (2 Thess. 1:12).


Glorifying God is an enormous privilege and an awesome responsibility. When others see His character on display in your life, it reminds them of His power, goodness, and grace. But when they don’t, it dishonors God and calls His character into question.
Aim your life at God’s glory and make it the standard by which you evaluate everything you do.


Suggestions for Prayer
• Thank the Lord for the privilege of glorifying Him.
• Ask Him to show you any areas of your life that do not honor Him.
• Find a trusted Christian friend who will pray with you and hold you accountable for the areas you know need to change.

For Further Study
Read Exodus 33:12-34:8.
• What did Moses request?
• What was God’s response and what does it teach us about His glory?

From Drawing Near by John MacArthur Copyright © 1993.

Living Out Your Royal Heritage

Because God loves you, He adopted you as His child and grants you all the rights and privileges of family membership.

Moses told Israel that God didn’t choose them because of their great numbers or any inherent goodness on their part, but as an expression of God’s sovereign will and sacrificial love (Deut. 7:7-8). That’s true of you as well if you’re a Christian.


The Greek word translated “love” in Ephesians 1:4 speaks not of emotional or sentimental love but of love that seeks God’s best for others at any cost. It is marked by sacrifice rather than selfishness—giving rather than receiving. It seeks to forgive rather than condemn—to dismiss offenses rather than count them.


Such love is epitomized in God Himself, who loved you so much that He sacrificed His Son on your behalf, who willingly laid down His own life for you (John 3:16; 15:13).


While false gods are worshiped out of fear and ignorance, the true God—your Heavenly Father—has eliminated all fear so that you can confidently enter into His presence (Heb. 10:19; 1 John 4:18). You have received a spirit of adoption and can address Him as “Abba! Father!” (Rom. 8:15), the Aramaic equivalent of Daddy or Papa.

Your Heavenly Father delights in your praise and glories in your obedience. Be a faithful child. Make this day count for Him. Live out your royal heritage. Seek His wisdom in all you do. Go to His Word and follow its counsel. Demonstrate His love to others in practical ways.

Suggestions for Prayer
• Thank God for granting you the privilege of being a member of His family.
• Thank Him for the many manifestations of His love that you enjoy each day.
• Ask Him to lead you to someone to whom you can demonstrate His love in a practical and sacrificial way.

For Further Study
Read 1 Corinthians 13.
• List the characteristics of godly love.
• How does the quality of your love for others compare to God’s standard? What steps can you take today to bring your love into greater conformity to His?

From Drawing Near by John MacArthur Copyright © 1993.

Matching Your Practice To Your Position

The challenge of Christian living is to increasingly match your practice to your position.


God chose you in Christ to make you holy and blameless in His sight. To be “holy” is to be separated from sin and devoted to righteousness. To be “blameless” is to be pure without spot or blemish—like Jesus, the Lamb of God (1 Pet. 1:19).


Ephesians 1:4 is a positional statement. That is, Paul describes how God views us “in Christ.” He sees us as holy and blameless because Christ our Savior is holy and blameless. His purity is credited to our spiritual bank account. That’s because God made Christ “who knew no sin to be sin on our behalf, that we might become the righteousness of God in Him” (2 Cor. 5:21).


Despite our exalted position in God’s sight, our practice often falls far short of His holy standard. Therefore the challenge of Christian living is to increasingly match our practice to our position, realizing that sinless perfection won’t come until we are in heaven fully glorified (Rom. 8:23).


How do you meet that challenge? By prayer, Bible study, and yielding your life to the Spirit’s control. Commit yourself to those priorities today as you seek to fulfill the great purpose to which you’ve been called: “good works, which God prepared beforehand, that you should walk in them” (Eph. 2:10).


Suggestions for Prayer
• Thank God that He does not expect you to earn your own righteousness but has provided it in His Son.
• Ask His Spirit to search your heart and reveal any sin that might hinder your growth in holiness. Confess that sin and take any steps necessary to eliminate it from your life.

For Further Study
Read Philippians 1:9-11.
• What ingredients must be added to Christian love to produce sincerity and blamelessness?
• What is the primary source of those ingredients (see Ps. 119:97-105)?
• What specific steps are you going to take to add or increase those ingredients in your life?

From Drawing Near by John MacArthur Copyright © 1993.

Avoiding A Spiritual Identity Crisis

A true sense of identity comes from knowing that God Himself personally selected you to be His child.


Many people in our society are on a seemingly endless and often frantic quest for personal identity and self-worth. Identity crises are common at almost every age level. Superficial love and fractured relationships are but symptoms of our failure to resolve the fundamental issues of who we are, why we exist, and where we’re going. Sadly, most people will live and die without ever understanding God’s purpose for their lives.


That is tragic, yet understandable. God created man to bear His image and enjoy His fellowship forever. But when Adam and Eve disobeyed God, they violated that purpose and plunged the human race into sin. That created within man a spiritual void and an identity crisis of unimaginable proportions.


Throughout the ages ungodly people have tried to fill that void with a myriad of substitutes but ultimately all is lost to death and despair.

Despite that bleak picture, a true sense of identity is available to every Christian. It comes from knowing that God Himself personally selected you to be His child. Before the world began, God set his love upon you and according to His plan Christ died for you (1 Pet. 1:20). That’s why you responded in faith to the gospel (2 Thess. 2:13). Also, that’s why you can never lose your salvation. The same God who drew you to Himself will hold you there securely (John 10:29).


Don’t allow sin, Satan, or circumstances to rob your sense of identity in Christ. Make it the focus of everything you do. Remember who you are: God’s child; why you are here: to serve and glorify Him; and where you are going: to spend eternity in His presence.

Suggestions for Prayer
• Thank God for choosing you to be His child and for drawing you to Himself in saving faith.
• Praise Him for His promise never to let you go.

For Further Study
Read John 6:35-44; 10:27-30; Romans 8:31-39.
• According to Jesus, how many believers will lose their salvation? What was his reasoning?
• What did Paul base his certainty on?
From Drawing Near by John MacArthur Copyright © 1993.

Identifying With Christ

To encourage you on your journey, Heart2Heart is pleased to announce that we will now be bringing you daily study devotions on weekends as well as weekdays days.


Christianity isn’t simply a belief system—it’s a whole new identity.

Many people mistakenly believe that one’s religious preference is irrelevant because all religions eventually lead to the same spiritual destination.


Such thinking is sheer folly, however, because Scripture declares that no one comes to God apart from Jesus (John 14:6). He is the only source of salvation (Acts 4:12) and the only One powerful enough to redeem us and hold us secure forever (John 10:28).


Every Christian shares a common supernatural union with Christ. Paul said, “The one who joins himself to the Lord is one spirit with Him)” (1 Cor. 6:17). We are in Him and He is in us. His life flows through us by His Spirit, who indwells us (Rom. 8:9).


As a non-Christian, you were in bondage to evil (Rom. 3:10-12), enslaved to the will of Satan (1 John 5:19), under divine wrath (Rom. 1:18), spiritually dead (Eph. 4:17-18), and without hope (Eph. 2:12). But at the moment of your salvation a dramatic change took place. You became a new creation in Christ (2 Cor. 5:17), alive in Him (Eph. 2:5), enslaved to God (Rom. 6:22), and a recipient of divine grace (Eph. 2:8). You were delivered out of the domain of darkness and transferred into the kingdom of God’s beloved Son (Col. 1:13). You now possess His righteousness (2 Cor. 5:21) and share in His eternal inheritance (Rom. 8:16-17).


All those blessings—and many more—are yours because you are in Christ. What a staggering reality! In a sense what He is, you are. What He has, you have. Where He is, you are.
When the Father sees you, He sees you in Christ and blesses you accordingly. When others see you, do they see Christ in you? “Let your light shine before men in such a way that they may see your good works, and glorify your Father who is in heaven” (Matt. 5:16).


Suggestions for Prayer
• Thank God for His marvelous grace in taking you from spiritual death to spiritual life in Christ.
• Ask Him for wisdom and discernment to live this day for His good pleasure.


For Further Study
Read the book of Ephesians, noting every occurrence of the phrase “in Christ.”
• What has God accomplished in Christ?
• What blessings are yours in Christ?

From Drawing Near by John MacArthur Copyright © 1993.

Cultivating A Heavenly Perspective

Christians hold a dual citizenship. We are citizens of earth, but, more importantly, we are also citizens of Heaven.

It’s been said that some Christians are so heavenly minded, they’re no earthly good. But usually the opposite is true. Many Christians are so enamored with this present world that they no longer look forward to heaven. They have everything they want right here. The health, wealth, and prosperity doctrine has convinced them that Christians can have it all, and they pursue “the good life” with a vengeance.
Despite the prevalence of such thinking, the old Negro spiritual well says, “This world is not my home. I’m just a passin’ through.”


Paul reminds us of that truth in Philippians 3:20: “Our citizenship is in heaven, from which also we eagerly wait for a Savior, the Lord Jesus Christ.” That’s why we must set our minds on heavenly, not on earthly things (Col. 3:1- 2). Our deepest affections and highest aspirations should center there. Our actions and decisions should reflect heavenly priorities, not earthly indulgences.


Even though we live in a sin-stained world and must constantly fight against its corrupting influences, God hasn’t left us stranded. He extends to us all the rights and privileges of our heavenly citizenship. Let that assurance encourage you today to live to His glory and rely on His heavenly provisions. Take care not to let impure aspirations or trivial pursuits distract you from your heavenly priorities.


Suggestions for Prayer
• Tell Jesus how thankful and full of praise you are because of the place He is preparing for you in heaven (John 14:1-3).
• Pray for a greater awareness of the fleeting value of this world and the surpassing value of the world to come (1 John 2:17).


For Further Study
Read Revelation 4-5, 21.
• What primary activity are the inhabitants of heaven engaged in?
• List some of heaven’s blessings.
From Drawing Near by John MacArthur Copyright © 1993.