READ: Joshua 13-15, Psalm 69, John 1, 2 Corinthians 9
Heaven rights do not match up with human rights. When we consider what the Scripture says about our rights, we find very little that aligns with what we currently hold precious. There really are only two primary rights we can cling to biblically: The right to be called a child of God and the right to be filled with the Holy Spirit.
The right to be called a Child of God. John 1:12 puts it succinctly: “But as many as received Him, to them He gave the right to become the Children of God.” When we pick up the cross to follow Jesus, we forfeit many other rights. We give up the right to be liked and respected. We give up the right to be rich and comfortable. We give up the right to be safe and secure. We give up the right to be praised and paraded. We give up the right to our own will and preferences. We give up the right to be free from ridicule, shame, suffering, torture, abuse, indignity, and death. We have no right to this life. We have no right to pain-free service. We don’t even have a right to victory or success. We stand with Caleb in faith on one hand and request “give us this mountain” (Joshua 14:12) for “it may be that the Lord will be with me” and help me conquer. Or maybe His will is that I die trying.
The right to be filled with the Holy Spirit. John the Baptist understood completely his limited rights and role. He knew he was to bear witness to Jesus and lead people to baptism: “I baptize with water, but He will baptize you with the Holy Spirit” (John 1:33, Mark 1:8). Jesus himself said in Luke 11:13, “If you being evil know how to give good gifts to your children, how much more will your heavenly Father give the Holy Spirit to those who ask Him!” We have the right to ask the Father for the Holy Spirit. This right is linked to Fatherhood and thus to the right to be called His child. As our Father He delights to give us the Holy Spirit. The Scripture is very clear that the Spirit is given multiple times. Paul tells us in Ephesians that we are to “be ye being filled” with the Holy Spirit – present continuous (Eph. 5:18). The same collection of disciples that were filled with the Holy Spirit in Acts 2:4 are all filled again with the Spirit in Acts 4:31. Subsequent fillings of the Holy Spirit are both our right and our necessity. We desperately need to be filled and re-filled with the Holy Spirit, and thanks be to Jesus, He grants us this right.
The limitation of our Heavenly rights to these two (being the children of God and being filled with the Holy Spirit) are in no way confining. As children of God, as a recipient of His Spirit in fresh outpourings, all things – all eternal things, all things of value – are ours. Shame, sickness, poverty, suffering, and death are not eternal, and I have no right to escape them in their temporary forms. Yet as my eternal rights give me the ultimate reality of no tears, no sin, no crying, no pain, no night, I can navigate the loss of human rights in heavenly hope.