Dr. Couch, is our inheritance in salvation something we now have or is it only an inheritance that we finally get when we go home to heaven?
ANSWER: In Ephesians 1:14 we are told the Holy Spirit presently (Present Tense) is the "earnest" or Guarantor of our inheritance. He IS (Present Tense of the "to be" verb) right now the Earnest of our redemption. He will be so until our final redemption comes about, and takes place.
In Ephesians 1:18 Paul says he wants the eyes of the believer to "be enlightened" to the fact of knowing "the riches of the glory of God's inheritance (for) the saints." Paul uses a Perfect Tense with the words "enlightened" and "may know." He wants for the child of God this enlightenment and knowledge to have begun in the past and then come up to the present in his experiential knowledge. "I want you to have gone through a process of enlightenment, and to have gone through the process of learning (knowing) ..."
While there is a present awareness of our inheritance, there is also a future inheritance that will bring to fulfillment and completion our salvation. The writer of Hebrews in 1:14 says "the angels are ministering spirits ... for the sake of those who are 'to be inheriting' salvation."
"To be inheriting" is a Present Infinitive. We are going forward in "inheriting" salvation that will be brought to completion in the future. While this is a Present Infinitive it has a future component to it. This inheritance is presently going forward and will be completed with our salvation in the future.
Even though "inheritance" is a Present Infinitive it has a "resultant" thought to it, or a future thought behind it. And the translators caught this and translate the Present Infinitive in the NASB in a future sense. "For the sake of those who WILL INHERIT salvation [in the future] ..."
In my commentary series, Ger in Hebrews caught this future idea in the inheritance in Hebrews 1:14, with the Present Tense, when he wrote "the ministering spirits, the angels, are still hard at work on behalf of those who WILL INHERIT salvation (the ultimate salvation in the future), the Son is pictured as seated and at rest, awaiting His FUTURE reign following the Father's final conquest of the Son's enemies."
Conclusion: In timing, we now have a Present Tense in our inheritance but we also have a future component of completion. Our inheritance will be fulfilled and brought to completion someday in the future when we're in glory! We have the inheritance now and it will be consummated in the future!
Thanks for asking.
Dr. Mal Couch (7/10)