1. THE FIRST HERITAGE
a. What was our divine heritage at creation? Genesis 1:26, 27; Isaiah 43:7.
“When Adam came from the Creator’s hand, he bore, in his physical, mental, and spiritual nature, a likeness to his Maker. ‘God created man in His own image’ (Genesis 1:27), and it was His purpose that the longer man lived the more fully he should reveal this image—the more fully reflect the glory of the Creator.”—Education, p. 15.
b. What was also included in our first heritage? Genesis 2:8.
“The Creator gave [the holy pair] still another token of His love, by preparing a garden especially for their home. . . . In the midst of the garden stood the tree of life, surpassing in glory all other trees. Its fruit appeared like apples of gold and silver, and had the power to perpetuate life. . . . Adam and Eve had free access to the tree of life. No taint of sin or shadow of death marred the fair creation.”—Patriarchs and Prophets, pp. 46, 47.
2. THE PROMISED SEED
a. What were the consequences of sin, and what promise of grace did God make to redeem us? Romans 3:23; 8:7, 22; Genesis 3:15.
“Among the lower creatures Adam had stood as king, and so long as he remained loyal to God, all nature acknowledged his rule; but when he transgressed, this dominion was forfeited. The spirit of rebellion, to which he himself had given entrance, extended throughout the animal creation. Thus not only the life of man, but the nature of the beasts, the trees of the forest, the grass of the field, the very air he breathed, all told the sad lesson of the knowledge of evil.”—Education, pp. 26, 27.
“Through sin the divine likeness was marred, and well-nigh obliterated. Man’s physical powers were weakened, his mental capacity was lessened, his spiritual vision dimmed. He had become subject to death.”—Ibid., p. 15.
“When man transgressed the divine law, his nature became evil.
. . . Had not God specially interposed, Satan and man would have entered into an alliance against Heaven; and instead of cherishing enmity against Satan, the whole human family would have been united in opposition to God.”—The Great Controversy, p. 505.
b. Who is the promised seed (descendant) that would redeem mankind and recover our lost dominion? Galatians 3:16; Romans 6:23.
“Christ, by His sacrifice paying the penalty of sin, would not only redeem man, but recover the dominion which he had forfeited. All that was lost by the first Adam will be restored by the second.”—Patriarchs and Prophets, p. 67.
c. How did the promised seed redeem humanity? Galatians 4:4–6; Hebrews 2:14.
“Christ did not make believe take human nature; He did verily take it. He did in reality possess human nature. ‘As the children are partakers of flesh and blood, He also Himself likewise took part of the same.’ He was the son of Mary; He was of the seed of David according to human descent.”—The Review and Herald, April 5, 1906.
3. THE PROMISED INHERITANCE
a. What shows that the inheritance promised to Abraham and his descendants was to be an eternal one? Genesis 17:8; Hebrews 11:9, 10; 2 Peter 3:13.
“Language fails to express the value of the immortal inheritance.”—Testimonies, vol. 2, p. 40.
b. What shows that the inheritance includes the entire earth made new? Romans 4:13 (first part); Psalm 37:29.
“The beautiful new earth, with all its glory, was the eternal inheritance of the saints. The kingdom and dominion, and the greatness of the kingdom under the whole heaven, was then given to the saints of the Most High, who were to possess it forever, even forever and ever.”—Early Writings, p. 295.
c. Through whom alone may we claim this inheritance and how? Galatians 3:29; Romans 4:13 (last part); 1 Peter 1:3–5.
“Christ must be the ground of our hope; for only through Him can we be heirs to eternal life. An immortal inheritance is presented to us on certain conditions. We cannot inherit a possession in this world unless we have a title that is without a flaw, and our right to an inheritance in the world to come, must also be clearly proved through a faultless title. The line through which the heavenly inheritance is to come is plainly revealed in the Word of God. We must come under the provisions of the Abrahamic covenant, and the requirements are, ‘If ye be Christ’s, then are ye Abraham’s seed, and heirs according to the promise.’ If we are Christ’s, our title to the heavenly inheritance is without a flaw, and in harmony with the provisions of the covenant of grace. Through grace we shall be able to make our calling and election sure, putting on the excellency of Christ in spirit and character. No one will be entitled to the heavenly inheritance who has not been purified, refined, ennobled, and sanctified. Then let us be diligent to make our calling and election sure, that an entrance may be administered unto us abundantly into the everlasting kingdom of our Lord and Saviour Jesus Christ.”—The Messenger, May 10, 1893.
4. THE PLEDGE OF OUR ETERNAL INHERITANCE
a. How is the Holy Spirit a pledge of our eternal inheritance? Ephesians 1:13 (last part), 14; 2 Corinthians 1:22.
“[Ephesians 1:13 quoted.] What is the seal of the living God, which is placed in the foreheads of His people? It is a mark which angels, but not human eyes, can read; for the destroying angel must see this mark of redemption. The intelligent mind has seen the sign of the cross of Calvary in the Lord’s adopted sons and daughters. The sin of the transgression of the law of God is taken away. They have on the wedding garment, and are obedient and faithful to all God’s commands.”—Manuscript Releases, vol. 21, p. 52.
“The apostle Paul points forward to the ‘redemption of the purchased possession.’ Ephesians 1:14. God created the earth to be the abode of holy, happy beings. . . .That purpose will be fulfilled, when, renewed by the power of God, and freed from sin and sorrow, it shall become the eternal abode of the redeemed.”—Patriarchs and Prophets, p. 67.
b. What is to be restored today in preparation for the eternal inheritance? Romans 8:29.
“In assuming human nature that He might reach to the very depths of human woe and misery, and lift man up, Christ has shown what estimate He places upon the human race. . . . It was only by most desperate conflict with the powers of Satan that Christ could accomplish his purpose of restoring the almost obliterated image of God in man, and place his own signature upon his forehead.”—The Paulson Collection, p. 164.
“As wax takes the impression of the seal, so the soul is to take the impression of the Spirit of God and retain the image of Christ.”—Maranatha, p. 227.
“Through the gospel, souls that are degraded and enslaved by Satan are to be redeemed to share the glorious liberty of the sons of God. God’s purpose is not merely to deliver from the suffering that is the inevitable result of sin, but to save from sin itself. The soul, corrupted and deformed, is to be purified, transformed, that it may be clothed in ‘the beauty of the Lord our God,’ ‘conformed to the image of his Son.’ (Psalm 90:17; Romans 8:29).”—Reflecting Christ, p. 377.
5. THE INHERITANCE RECEIVED
a. What will God and Christ do if we allow the Holy Spirit to dwell within us? Romans 8:11; John 6:40.
“Christ became one flesh with us, in order that we might become one spirit with Him. It is by virtue of this union that we are to come forth from the grave—not merely as a manifestation of the power of Christ, but because, through faith, His life has become ours. Those who see Christ in His true character, and receive Him into the heart, have everlasting life. It is through the Spirit that Christ dwells in us; and the Spirit of God, received into the heart by faith, is the beginning of the life eternal.”—The Desire of Ages, p. 388.
b. When will the redemption of our body from mortal to immortal take place? Romans 8:23; Luke 21:28.
“[Christ] will change our vile bodies and fashion them like unto His glorious body. The mortal, corruptible form, devoid of comeliness, once polluted with sin, becomes perfect, beautiful, and immortal. All blemishes and deformities are left in the grave. Restored to the tree of life in the long-lost Eden, the redeemed will ‘grow up’ (Malachi 4:2) to the full stature of the race in its primeval glory. The last lingering traces of the curse of sin will be removed, and Christ’s faithful ones will appear in ‘the beauty of the Lord our God,’ in mind and soul and body reflecting the perfect image of their Lord. Oh, wonderful redemption! long talked of, long hoped for, contemplated with eager anticipation, but never fully understood.”—The Great Controversy, p. 645.
PERSONAL REVIEW QUESTIONS
1. In whose image were we first created, and what was our heritage?
2. Describe God’s plan to redeem mankind.
3. Through whom alone can we receive the immortal inheritance? How?
4. How is the Holy Spirit a pledge of our eternal inheritance?
5. What does the restoration of our inheritance include?