The birth of the Prince of Cambridge on 22 July brought intense, worldwide media coverage. The Duke and Duchess of Cambridge, William and Catherine, had a son who is third in line to the British throne.
The prince was born at 16.25 hrs, and the announcement was made about four hours later. The next day saw his first public appearance, and a day or so later his name was revealed as George Alexander Louis.
The royal baby, wrapped in a shawl in his mother’s arms, looked peaceably asleep and had that mix of cuteness and vulnerability common to all newborn babies. Yet here was no ordinary baby.
Outward appearances are not always what they seem. Christians, united as they are to Christ by saving faith, on the outside seem unremarkable. They are not immune from stresses and strains and not exempt from physical and mental vulnerability. Yet the Bible describes them as heirs.
They are heirs not of an earthly throne, which only lasts for a limited period of time, but of the eternal kingdom of God. This prospect can only be explained by the sheer grace of God in the Lord Jesus Christ.
Adoption is one of the Bible’s synonyms for salvation. And Christians have, by the grace of God, been adopted into God’s family, through Christ his Son. ‘When we cry “Abba! Father!” it is the Spirit himself bearing witness with our spirit that we are children of God, and if children then heirs, heirs of God and fellow heirs with Christ’ (Romans 8:15-17).
Prince George, of course, was born to be a king. Christians, however, receive the right to their inheritance, not automatically, by merely being born, but supernaturally, by being born again.
God effects a work of grace for us, convicting us of our sin and drawing us to Christ. He enables us to trust him as our Saviour and become heirs of the eternal blessing of salvation.
Here is cause for constant wonder and heartfelt gratitude! Peter opens his first letter, ‘Blessed by the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ! By his great mercy we have been born anew to a living hope through the resurrection of Jesus Christ from the dead and to an inheritance which is imperishable, undefiled and unfading, kept in heaven for you’ (1 Peter 1:3-4).
Christians are royalty! Perhaps we should treat our fellow believers better than we do; we have been adopted into the divine family; we are ‘a chosen race, a royal priesthood, a holy nation, God’s own people’ (1 Peter 2:9).
Here is a source of joy and contentment. We could not be more blessed than we are in Christ. Being the children and heirs of God puts our present difficulties and trials into perspective. They will pass; things will be infinitely different in 100 years time, if not before then. For the Christian, the best is yet to be.
Our present sufferings will be drowned out by our eternal salvation one day. ‘I consider that the sufferings of the present time are not worth comparing with the glory that is to be revealed to us’ (Romans 8:18).
What will our eternal inheritance be like? Greater than words can tell!
John Calvin wrote: ‘We will have true and complete perfection of life, light and righteousness, seeing that we will be inseparably united to the Lord, who, like a spring that cannot run dry, contains within himself all fullness.
‘This blessedness will be the kingdom of God, that kingdom which is filled with all light, joy, power and happiness’.
So give thanks to God for the safe arrival of the future heir to the throne of our United Kingdom and pray for the royal family as Scripture enjoins us to do (1 Timothy 2:1-2). And, if you are a Christian, never cease to thank God for his grace in adopting you into his family and bestowing on you a royal status.