The idea of a piece of paper which officially recognizes ownership of a piece of property is an ancient one.
Archeologists recently discovered in the desert sands of North Africa the charred remains of an inn which had been destroyed by fire nearly two thousand years ago. In an interior room were found human remains and a stone box. Inside the stone box were documents which revealed an ancient legal transaction.
The human remains were those of a slave who was sent on a mission by his mistress, a lady called Dionysia.
She was described as a woman of “set jaw and grim determination” and had recently lost a judgement in a local court concerning a dispute over a piece of land that she claimed was rightfully hers. She was not about to take this defeat lying down, so she dispatched her slave, carrying the stone box, to Alexandria to a higher court to plead her case on appeal. The stone box preserved its contents from being destroyed in the fire, allowing us to examine its contents. In it was a letter addressed to the judge accompanied by another document.
Translated, the letter said,
“In order that my lord the judge may know that my appeal is just, I attach my hypostasis”.
In effect, what she had sent — the “ hypostasis” was the title deed to the land proving that it rightfully should be her possession. Hopefully she had another notarized copy to present since we now know that the one in the box never reached its destination!
Today we still rely on similar documents when we buy or sell valuable property such as land, or a house, or even a car.
We also find the word hypostasis in the New Testament written in the letter to the Hebrews. We cannot be sure who the writer was, but he is quite emphatic in pointing out that “Faith is the substance of things hoped for…” [Hebrews 11:1 KJV emphasis mine]
The word translated as “substance” is that same greek word “hypostasis” and thus sheds much light on the purpose of faith in our lives. It means that our faith is our "title deed", our legal claim to possession, of those things which may be still in God’s hands, but are rightfully ours to be taken hold of at some later time.
So when we exercise faith in praying for what God has promised we will inherit, we are presenting, in a sense, the evidence that what we are asking for legally and rightfully belongs to us, even though it is not yet in our possession. No matter what our current circumstances, we can pray in faith with the certainty that God will recognize our claim to inheritance.
Of course, we can only make those claims because we have become co-inheritors of the Kingdom through the agency of Jesus. In effect He has legally “deeded" the riches of heaven to us, so we can be confident we have a good and valid title.
As the former General of The Salvation Army, Albert Orsborn, so eloquently wrote:
I have no claim on grace; I have no right to plead; I stand before my maker's face Condemned in thought and deed. But since there died a Lamb Who, guiltless, my guilt bore, I lay fast hold on Jesus' name, And sin is mine no more.
SASB #290 v1
So, don’t be afraid to claim your inheritance when you pray. You have every legal right to do so. Your faith is your title deed!
Blessings on you and yours, Jim Black