August 20, 2014.
“So then, brothers, we are debtors, not to the flesh, to live according to the flesh. For if you live according to the flesh you will die, but if by the Spirit you put to death the deeds of the body, you will live. For all who are led by the Spirit of God are sons of God. For you did not receive the spirit of slavery to fall back into fear, but you have received the Spirit of adoption as sons, by whom we cry,“Abba! Father!” The Spirit himself bears witness with our spirit that we are children of God, and if children, then heirs—heirs of God and fellow heirs with Christ, provided we suffer with him in order that we may also be glorified with him.”
I was studying with a couple of friends a few years ago and we were reading through the book of Romans, where we came across this passage where Paul writes that we are fellow heirs with Christ. We read it and it kind of set me aback. Coheirs with Christ? What? How is that even possible? It is truly an amazing thing to me to know that once we have submitted to God and accepted his grace to become sons of God, that we get such an amazing gift. A gift that we are not worthy to have. Or at least we weren’t at one time. When you think of Christ and all the glory He is to receive, to you ever think of yourself as a coheir to be glorified with Him? Probably not. I know I don’t, and perhaps that is not what we should focus on as Christians. Or may it is. For once we were unworthy, fallen short of the glory of God (Rom. 3:23), but now we are made worthy by the washing of his blood (Rom. 6) and are alive in Christ to receive his blessings. Isn’t that wonderful? We are sons of God!
“I mean that the heir, as long as he is a child, is no different from a slave, though he is the owner of everything, but he is under guardians and managers until the date set by his father. 3 In the same way we also, when we were children, were enslaved to the elementary principles of the world. But when the fullness of time had come, God sent forth his Son, born of woman, born under the law, to redeem those who were under the law, so that we might receive adoption as sons. And because you are sons, God has sent the Spirit of his Son into our hearts, crying, “Abba! Father!” So you are no longer a slave, but a son, and if a son, then an heir through God.”
The terms son of God and son of man are used in a wide variety and sense throughout the pages of scripture (this would be an interesting study, maybe one I will comment on someday… note to self). But they both seem to indicate a very real relationship with the Father. When God gave the promise to Abraham to bless all nations of the world through his seed, He chose his offspring to be called the children of Israel (Jacob, who’s name was changed to Israel, being the grandson of Abraham), indicating the relationship they had, or were supposed to have, with the Father to bless the nations. To be a light on a hill top, if you will. But the Israelites went through times of good and bad, ultimately falling away from God, going into captivity and eventually rejecting the very Messiah that came to save them. Not all of the Jews rejected Jesus, of course, for there was a remnant to be saved, as prophesied. But then the great promise to Abraham was fulfilled, when Christ came to this world, God on Earth, to seek and to save the lost, ultimately giving his life as a random for mankind. Through Christ, we are all offered salvation, Jew or Greek, male or female, slave or free. This was the promise fulfilled. That we may become sons of God.
And if sons, fellow heirs, Paul says. This is the good news, the gospel. I know I use that phrase a lot, but it really is good news. And that’s why it is so shocking to hear that we are fellow heirs with Christ. Because we should’t be. We are not worthy. This is a hard realization to come to, especially for Americans who consider ourselves to be “pretty good.” Pretty good when compared to the righteousness of God does not hold a teaspoon of water. Harsh? Maybe so. But I don’t mean it that way. When you understand the glory of the Father, what he has done and is continuing to do, then you come to a new appreciation for who He is and who you are. Which is next to nothing, or so it would seem. I had someone put it this way: How many ants did you notice on your way to work today? I would doubt any (unless you currently have a reason to be looking for ants at the moment, but that’s not the point). The point is, compared to God, the Almighty, we are less than ants. That is why we are saved by grace.
Though we are (were) nothing, we have been made something by the blood of Christ.
“We were buried therefore with him by baptism into death, in order that, just as Christ was raised from the dead by the glory of the Father, we too might walk in newness of life. For if we have been united with him in a death like his, we shall certainly be united with him in a resurrection like his. We know that our old self was crucified with him in order that the body of sin might be brought to nothing, so that we would no longer be enslaved to sin. For one who has died has been set free from sin. 8 Now if we have died with Christ, we believe that we will also live with him.”
We were once alive to sin, but now we are dead to sin. We were once alienated from Christ, but now we are made alive in him. This demands a lifestyle change (repentance) and a change of view. We now need to see everything through the eyes of Christ. This is a daunting task, indeed, but remember, we are sons of God.
“If then you have been raised with Christ, seek the things that are above, where Christ is, seated at the right hand of God. Set your minds on things that are above, not on things that are on earth. For you have died, and your life is hidden with Christ in God. When Christ who is your life appears, then you also will appear with him in glory.”
We seek the things above because we are fellow heirs with Christ. We will receive the inheritance that has been promised, for God is faithful, and we will be untied together with Christ for all ages to come. The Hebrew writer makes it clear that there remains a sabbath rest for those who believe, coming when we meet our Lord in the sky. There will be a new heaven, and a new earth, and the sons of God will be in continual fellowship with their fellow heir and Lord, Jesus Christ. The glory of the godhead will forever shine as the light, and there will be no darkness there. No tears, no pain, no sorrow and no parting. The former things have passed and the eternal have been set in place (Rev. 21). We will enter in to the glory of the Father and of the Lamb, never more to roam in wearisome stress. We are fellow heirs with Christ, for we have been made sons of God.
If you are reading this and have not made the commitment to Christ, you too can become a son of God. He wants all to be saved. Will you accept his gift?
Suggested Daily Reading: Romans 6-8, Revelation 21.
The Lord bless you and keep you.