From a legal standpoint an inheritance is clear. From the Jewish viewpoint it's even clearer!
"Inherit" has numerous definitions. The first one which comes to mind is an the legal definition regarding an estate. When a person dies, traditionally in some fashion, the wealth of the deceased is divided among the heirs. Heirs are usually considered family members, but they can be anyone who has legal rights to an estate. The estate doesn't have to be divided equally. Indeed, especially in the Jewish culture the eldest was the primary heir. The legitimate first born son gets the estate, debts and all. This passing along an inheritance is called "primogeniture" because it's to the benefit of the first born. Usually, the other heirs became dependent on the eldest son and the secondary line drifted into poverty over the generations.
From the rich lawyer's standpoint because he knows law, he thought of an inheritance in the legal sense. Because of his wealth it is likely that he had wealthy parents. My GUESS is that he inherited an estate and likely it was by primogeniture. When speaking with Jesus, he did show lawyerly respect with "Master". That is to be commended. He has learned not to bite hands which feed him!
Under primogeniture the eldest is accustomed to being given things. He likely got free stuff all his life because he surely was the eldest. Knowing the Law, he probably knew that there was no way he could send himself to heaven. He may have looked at heaven as "something I deserve" because he did "good" things commanded of him by God. He was surely an obedient son to his benefactor father, and since it worked for him with his father, he tried to be good for his benefactor Father in heaven. He worked hard because he was given much!
He had several problems. Of course he deceived himself into believing that doing "good" things made him deserve eternal reward. Also, he expected his share in heaven for his works. Because he got an inheritance here, he expected one from there!
The rich lawyer failed to inherit heaven because he failed to please the Benefactor. It wasn't obedience that God wanted from him, but LOVE, for faith without works is dead, according to the Book of James. The rich man failed to inherit anything from the Father because his love was for money. Mammon (wealth) had become his love and he was to die in love with his money because he failed to give it to the poor as suggested by Jesus. You see he obeyed all the other commandments, but failed on just one. He as well have failed on them all! (James 2:10).
The rich lawyer looked at the inheritance as his due, just as primogeniture. He lost his part in the estate in God's kingdom. His room in the mansion which the Father had prepared for him went to another.
Another definition of "inherit" is genetic. Because of the person' s parents they automatically get their biological traits. Most people in the western world today have an inherited type of Christianity. They declare their faith because their parents were Christians.
The inclination to sin is an inherited trait. However, accepting Jesus is not! Christian parents may increase the likelihood that a person comes to Christ, but it is still a personal decision given the free choice not to reject or accept the free gift of salvation.
Being born is not saving. Being "born-again" is. The first birth is by water. The second birth is by the blood! Only by accepting Jesus' sacrifice for one's own sins is effectual for the new birth.
1 John 2:2 "And he is the propitiation for our sins: and not for ours only, but also for the sins of the whole world."The lawyer had always accepted things free, but he rejected the most free thing he was ever offered. He rejected the gift of salvation and turned it down because his god was his wealth! That's never enough payment for eternal damnation. It doesn't seem fair, for he obeyed, but Christ wanted him, not his actions! His heart was with the world, not with Jesus. Jesus had not yet shed that sacrificial blood, but the rich lawyer rejected Jesus and lost his "spiritual inheritance".
A "spiritual inheritance" is what scripture teaches! Jesus said:
Matthew 19:29 "And every one that hath forsaken houses, or brethren, or sisters, or father, or mother, or wife, or children, or lands, for my name's sake, shall receive an hundredfold, and shall inherit everlasting life."Wills have preconceived conditions. If the eldest son was is in rebellion to the will of the father, then the second son became the "eldest", the older one losing his birthright. An example of this is Esaw the son of Abram. Isaac, the second son got his birthright for a pittance.
The precondition which the rich man had was the same as everyone! They must be willing to give up everything for Jesus Christ to inherit eternal life. Jesus knew the rich man's heart! He knew that wouldn't happen. In effect to inherit eternal life one must sacrifice this life. They present themselves as a living sacrifice (Romans 12:1). You see the rich lawyer was the epitome of wealth. He wasn't willing to trade the rich young man for a poor young man because his love was wealth (and prestige which comes with it). His god was in effect him, and his god expected to be pleasured!
We all are candidates to be heirs of God. His share for us is not by primogeniture, but by our willingness to cut off the flesh. The rich man's "flesh" was his idol of wealth. He didn't want to sacrifice that flesh and hence was not willing to make a living sacrifice for his soul. We do have to do things to inherit eternal life. We must have a willingness to change. It's not the act of giving paper money or coins which rewards, but the degree of love of Jesus and our fellow man to be willing to do it!
Part of being "born again" is change. Jesus expects change from an old person to a new one when we are born of the blood. New creations have a new personality. Their soul which once contained sin is cleansed and is the cup for a new spirit; the Holy Spirit! That new person doesn't need sin for happiness; that person has the hope of eternal life. What wealth we have is a great trade to live forever in prosperity. Any other of our idols which we are willing to sacrifice is as good a trade!
Note that it wasn't his wealth that doomed the rich lawyer. It was it's importance to him!
1 Timothy 6:10 For the love of money is the root of all evil: which while some coveted after, they have erred from the faith, and pierced themselves through with many sorrows.That's what the rich man did! It was his love of wealth which did him in regardless of his obedience to other commands! In effect, he did serve God, but he had another love:
Matthew 6:24 "No man can serve two masters: for either he will hate the one, and love the other; or else he will hold to the one, and despise the other. Ye cannot serve God and mammon."God realized that although men believed in him, they still had a perceived "need" to serve another god BESIDES him because God seems to be insufficient. Our problem is not atheism per se, but syncretism, the serving of "other gods in addition to God"! The rich lawyers other god was wealth!
God doesn't make individual deals. It's the same deal for anyone, wealth aside! If the rich man had been willing to give up what he had it would have been credited to him as faith, just like it was for Abraham!
Hebrews 11:8 "By faith Abraham, when he was called to go out into a place which he should after receive for an inheritance, obeyed; and he went out, not knowing whither he went."It was Abraham's willingness to sacrifice his "only son" as a living sacrifice which was credited to him as faith. God recalled the command at the last moment and Abraham prospered. I believe that even if the rich man had obeyed as Abraham did, God would have still prospered him. Maybe not extreme wealth, but meeting all his needs. Also he would have had the bonus eternal life!
You are your own god besides God. Your flesh demands appeasement. What type of idol worship does it take to pleasure your god? If anything, it's not worth losing your inheritance from your adoptive Father. When we are born again, God adopts us as his own and we are heirs to his kingdom. It's a spiritual inheritance, and it's not by primogeniture!