What does it mean that the Holy Spirit guarantees our future inheritance?

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The early Christians understood something that sometimes modern Christians have forgotten, and that is that the kingdom is not only future, but because the king who is yet to come has already come, the future has invaded history. And that's why you have passages in the New Testament, for example 1 Corinthians 2:9, 10 where Paul says, "Eye has not seen nor ear heard, neither has it entered the human heart what God has prepared for those who love him, but God has revealed them to us by his Spirit." Or in 2 Corinthians and in Ephesians 1, he uses a term that often appears in business documents for a down payment. He says that we have received the first installment of our future inheritance by receiving the Spirit. We have received a foretaste of the future world, because we're not just expecting a future resurrection and a future Messiah, a future king, but we're expecting a king who has already come, who has already been raised from the dead and, therefore for us, we have a foretaste, and we need to live like the people of the future age. We need to live for the future in this present age to let the world have a foretaste of what heaven is going to be like.

Answer by Dr. Craig S. Keener

Dr. Craig Keener teaches New Testament studies at Asbury Theological Seminary.