Joint-heirs With Christ
For as many as are led by the Spirit of God, they are the sons of God. For ye have not received the spirit of bondage again to fear; but ye have received the Spirit of adoption, whereby we cry, Abba, Father. The Spirit itself beareth witness with our spirit, that we are the children of God: And if children, then heirs; heirs of God, and joint-heirs with Christ; if so be that we suffer with him, that we may be also glorified together.
— Romans 8:14–17
There is such a wonderful place that the Christian occupies under God’s grace and it is such a shame that so few of us do so in our experience. Israel, under the Old Covenant, was in bondage under the curse of the law. Yes, there were blessings in walking with the Lord while under that covenant, but there were curses as well. The nation did not live up to its end of the covenant, so the curse is what is what remained. It was an awful curse, such that their sins left the nation under overlordship of the Gentiles, frankly, even until now.
Under grace, however, the spirit of bondage to fear is not our place. We have the spirit of adoption. Not the spirit of being parolees, but the spirit of being sons1. We do not need to look over our shoulders in concern that God is looking to drop the hammer if we don’t measure up. That is taken care of at the cross. We are justified freely by God’s grace, because all have sinned, and the only remedy is God’s gift of righteousness through Jesus Christ our Lord.
We would do well not to argue with the scriptures to say that the law was not bondage. The law was certainly “holy, and the commandment holy, just and good” (Romans 7:12), but the problem is that the people under it, representatives of all people, could not measure up. The law under the old covenant, while holy, just, and good, was corralling the children of Israel — the children of Isaac — the children of Abraham — the children of Shem — the children of Noah — the children of Adam.
Adam’s children, while created to have dominion over God’s created earth (Genesis 1:26–31), was now under bondage to sin, and under the power of darkness (Colossians 1:13), that is the power of Satan (Acts 26:18).
Abraham’s children, while separated and protected, did not fare any better. They too were under power of darkness and partakers of Adam’s death. Through fear of death they were subject to bondage (Hebrews 2:15). To be God’s people, they were to be wrangled by the law. But Adam’s rebellion showed itself in them, as is in their nature (both collectively and individually), “till there was no remedy”2 (2 Chronicles 36:16).
The law proved to be the curse that it promised.
Galatians 3:10–12 — “For as many as are of the works of the law are under the curse: for it is written, Cursed is every one that continueth not in all things which are written in the book of the law to do them. But that no man is justified by the law in the sight of God, it is evident: for, The just shall live by faith. And the law is not of faith: but, The man that doeth them shall live in them.”
God’s grace does not leave mankind under that curse, as the Apostle Paul continues:
Galatians 3:13–14 — “Christ hath redeemed us from the curse of the law, being made a curse for us: for it is written, Cursed is every one that hangeth on a tree: That the blessing of Abraham might come on the Gentiles through Jesus Christ; that we might receive the promise of the Spirit through faith.”
It is completely opposed to the spirit of adoption, to being a full member of God’s family with all the rights and privileges associated with it, to go back under the law:
Galatians 4:1–7 — “Now I say, That the heir, as long as he is a child, differeth nothing from a servant, though he be lord of all; But is under tutors and governors until the time appointed of the father. Even so we, when we were children, were in bondage under the elements of the world: But when the fulness of the time was come, God sent forth his Son, made of a woman, made under the law, To redeem them that were under the law, that we might receive the adoption of sons.
“And because ye are sons, God hath sent forth the Spirit of his Son into your hearts, crying, Abba, Father. Wherefore thou art no more a servant, but a son; and if a son, then an heir of God through Christ.”
To argue against this is not to argue with me, I’m nobody. It is to argue with God’s Word through His Spirit-inspired apostle, continuing from above:
Galatians 4:8–11 — “Howbeit then, when ye knew not God, ye did service unto them which by nature are no gods. But now, after that ye have known God, or rather are known of God, how turn ye again to the weak and beggarly elements, whereunto ye desire again to be in bondage? Ye observe days, and months, and times, and years. I am afraid of you, lest I have bestowed upon you labour in vain.”
In Christ, God is our Father. He is still our God, but He is our Father. That is our relationship to Him, in Christ3.
This brings us to that place we occupy with Christ. Christ is the Son of God, and we are sons of God by adoption — being in Christ. Therefore, because of that place, we are joint-heirs with Christ. All that Christ is owed by inheritance is shared with us. We are seated with Him in the heavenly places (Ephesians 2:6), and this is not just a future promise. As far as God is now concerned, we are already there! That is our place:
Philippians 3:20 — “For our conversation is in heaven; from whence also we look for the Saviour, the Lord Jesus Christ…”
Yes, we are not home yet, but that is our home, much as even when I am not physically at my earthly home, it is still my home.
This is also much of the answer that we need as to why we suffer now as we do. We are privileged to suffer with Christ for His sake4. He is no longer taking any beatings from the world that hates and rejected Him. It is not easy, it is not pleasant, but it does carry a promise:
“…if so be that we suffer with him, that we may be also glorified together.” (Romans 8:17)
As the Apostle says in the verses under consideration, the Spirit bears witness with our spirit. That is the Spirit of Christ that is dwelling in the believer speaks to the believer. An even greater witness, when we cannot distinguish the voice of God’s Spirit speaking to us among all of the voices in our heads, is His Spirit speaking to us through His written Word which bears the witness that all who believe on the Lord Jesus Christ are the children of God.
Can you be counted among the children of God? You can be if you will believe the gospel of Christ, how that He died for your sins and rose from the dead, 1 Corinthians 15:3–4. The gospel of Christ is the power of God unto salvation to everyone that believes, and God wants to save you and put you in the place of full sonship in Christ. The work is done, finished. The redemption is paid in full. All that is left is for you to believe God.
Put your faith in the Lord Jesus Christ as your all-sufficient and victorious Savior!
- Sons, not limited “to the boys”, but to all who have received the spirit of adoption, that is, all that are placed into God’s family in a place of full right and privilege.
- Interestingly, in Jewish Bibles, 2 Chronicles 36 is the last chapter. Ending with “no remedy”. How sad, for the first page of Matthew’s gospel reads “The book of the generation of Jesus Christ, the son of David, the son of Abraham… and thou shalt call His name JESUS, for He shall save His people from their sins” (Matthew 1:1, 21). To reject God’s Savior is to reject all hope, and leave the end of the story as “no remedy”.
- Galatians 3:26 — “For ye are all the children of God by faith in Christ Jesus.” While many would speak of everyone as the children of God, this is simply not the case. We are, as the apostle told the heathen philosophers in Athens, “the offspring of God”, which is a creation relationship, it is not the same as being His children.
- Philippians 1:29 — “For unto you it is given in the behalf of Christ, not only to believe on him, but also to suffer for his sake…” Far from the thought that only to some it is given to believe, and by exclusion, some just have not been given this. Paul is telling us that when we believe we have also been given the privilege to suffer for His name, and for His sake.
It has been quite some time since I have felt in the right place to focus my mind on writing these Bible studies. There have been many subjects in which I have been thinking to address, but I think that the best place to begin is where I left off in Romans at the beginning of this year and to let the Word of God guide my thoughts. Any of those things in which I think I need to address can certainly take second place and if they are to come up because the scriptures address them, great. If not, the exhortation is to preach the Word. That is why I just picked up here as though I did not skip a beat. I do hope to be writing regularly again.
Charles Miller View All
Husband, father, engineer...Enjoys fishing, archery, guitar, running, and lifting, but most of all reading and studying God's Word.
May God Bless You Mightily for Your Postings. Each time I receive a post from Distinguishing Truth it always is exactly what I need to be reminded of and the message lifts me up, renews my faith and gives me peace! Thank You so much for your clarity of expression and highlighting the gospel in such a simple way that even the simplest of us can understand and believe. SG, Coquitlam BC Canada.
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Thank you for your encouragement. I’m glad to hear from you!