Friday, 22 March 2013

Romans 8:17 - Co-heirs with Christ

Romans 8:17
Now if we are children, then we are heirs--heirs of God and co-heirs with Christ, if indeed we share in his sufferings in order that we may also share in his glory.

Recently I've been quite stressed (and this will continue until school holidays), but God is constantly proving himself faithful, and he has timed me reading through Romans 8 perfectly. At the moment I'm pretty tired, so I'm not feeling the joy of this verse too deeply, but it is a verse full of hope and joy, and our hearts should be 'singing' as we read it. 

"If we are children" - Paul has established in the last verse that the Holy Spirit lets us know if we are truly God's children. Everyone who has the Holy Spirit in them is adopted as a Child of God. Some revision: Who has the holy Spirit? Only Christians, and all Christians do. How can God, the Holy Spirit, dwell in us when we are sinful? Jesus came into the world. suffered in our place. We have all sinned, disobeyed God and therefore deserve his wrath. No amount of good works can save us - it's like if someone was charged with Murder, and at court they appealed to the judge, saying they helped an old woman walk across the road, it would still be unjust for the judge to acquit him. Likewise with us, no amount of good works can remove the fact that we have sinned, and our good works are also bad, since (unless Christians) they are no done to glorify God. Yet in Jesus there is forgiveness - he takes our sin and we take his perfection, he took God's just and perfect wrath against our sin (for which we deserved hell) and he paid it in full, dying in our place. He then rose again, proving he had fully dealt with sin. How are we saved? We repent (turn from sin) and believe (Trust in Jesus as the only way to be saved).

"Then we are Heirs - heirs of God" - We are not only adopted as God's children, not only saved when we deserve hell, not only shown mercy when we murdered God's only son, not only given the Holy Spirit in this life, with comfort, joy and God's strength, not only granted eternal life, not only united with Christ in his death and resurrection, but also we are heirs. God is so gracious! So merciful! I cannot fathom the depths of his love and grace toward us. I cannot even begin to fathom or understand it. What does Heirs of God mean? Adam Clarke says it refers to the fact that God is our reward. We were created to glorify God and enjoy him forever, and heaven by definition is being in the presence of God (In the Garden, God walked with Adam and eve and in heaven we will be in the presence of God - Rev 21). Aside from eternal life, we will be in God's direct presence, and it will be greater then we can ever imagine. That's our blessing. Which raises the point: If you reject God here, or don't want to obey him, how will you be able to enjoy him in heaven? Non-christians will get what they wanted - rejection by God. Christians, we need to be desiring to be like God and we need to love him more and more. Pray for his help in that!

"Co-heirs with Christ". We are united with Jesus in his death and resurrection (Romans 6), he takes our sin, we take his righteousness, we died to sin with him and therefore shouldn't be living in it any longer and he ros to life and we rose with him to new life - in service to him, as living sacrifices (Galatians 2:20). We are then adopted as God's children, united with Christ in that. The church is the bride of Christ - united to him like husband and wife. He is the head of the church. And we are united with Christ as heirs with him. Jesus came to save us, depraved, helpless sinners, and we had nothing desirable in us. Nt only did he give his life for us, suffer and die, but he shares his eternal and infinite glories with us - when we are still weak and frail after being saved. Then we have the nerve to not forgive others, or to not share the gospel? What a glorious and wonderful saviour! And what sinful, frail humans we are! Pray for his help to change and work on it!

"If indeed we share in his sufferings". Throughout the bible we are told that as Christians we will suffer. 2 Timothy 3:12 says "In fact, everyone who wants to live a godly life in Christ Jesus will be persecuted". We should count the cost and be ready, but it's way worth it isn't it? A short amount of persecutions and sufferings here, and eternal life with God, heirs of his glory with Christ our saviour. It is well worth it. But why do we have to suffer? Does it have anything to do with "Filling up the afflictions of Christ" which Paul talks about in Colossians? I have no idea. But I do know why God lets us suffer. James 1:2-4
 Consider it pure joy, my brothers and sisters, whenever you face trials of many kinds, because you know that the testing of your faith produces perseverance. Let perseverance finish its work so that you may be matureand complete, not lacking anything.
1 Peter 1:6-9
 In all this you greatly rejoice, though now for a little while you may have had to suffer grief in all kinds of trials. These have come so that the proven genuineness of your faith—of greater worth than gold, which perishes even though refined by fire—may result in praise, glory and honor when Jesus Christ is revealed. Though you have not seen him, you love him; and even though you do not see him now, you believe in himand are filled with an inexpressible and glorious joy, for you are receiving the end result of your faith, the salvation of your souls.
We suffer because by it God grows us and causes us to trust in him. Because by it we learn to be more like him, we are refines and our sin is cut off. By sufferings we become more like Jesus and thus more able to worship God fully. More ready for heaven. We also suffer so we can help others who are suffering and share the gospel with them, and so we love this world less and desire heaven and God more. It's hard, but even in suffering there is grace and mercy!

And again, it's well worth it. We suffer so that we may "share in his glory" - we will be glorified with Chist at the end, eternity in God's presence, in heaven. It's a hard, but true contrast to non-christians. They will spend eternity without God and in eternal shame. We will spend eternity with God and eternal glory and joy. Share the gospel! It is entirely selfish not to!

God Bless!

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