“The territory of the people of Ephraim, by their clans, was as follows …” – Joshua 16:5
To understand eternal life as an “inheritance” means we accept it as a gift, something we did not earn. We inherited it through Christ (1 Peter 1:3-4). Meanwhile, to understand eternal life as a “territory” means we understand it has boundaries. And within those boundaries is every good thing God has planned for us.
This latter idea brings two risks with it. First, we can step outside the boundaries of eternal life. We can leave it behind. Some have done that and proved they never wanted to be there in the first place – “for if they had been of us, they would have continued with us” (1 John 2:19).
Second, we may fail to drive evil out of the territory. It is not merely a matter of receiving the gift. We must live into it. “However, they did not drive out the Canaanites who lived in Gezer.” We can fail in this way, too. And if we do, we may be driven out ourselves (Matthew 18:15-17).
This can give us an ominous feeling. Are we doing enough as we live in the territory that’s been allotted to us by the gift of God? But if you feel the ominous feeling, you surely are living in the inheritance. The fear of God is the beginning of wisdom, and the Holy Spirit convicts us of sin (Proverbs 9:10; John 16:8).
In other words, when you see the boundaries, you’ll know you are in.