Jun 4, 2023
Yesterday, I had the privilege of sitting under the teachings of God's Word. My cherished friend and fellow brother in Christ, who will soon join us for our pastoral residency at the end of summer, faithfully expounded on the profound verses of Romans 8:16-17. He delivered the sermon with unwavering faithfulness, skillfully unraveling the profound realities of Christian suffering and inheritance. The sermon contained an abundance of thought-provoking insights that I wholeheartedly recommend you to listen to.
In the realm of Christian theology, the concept of inheritance holds great significance. It speaks to the reality that believers in Christ are not only redeemed and saved from their sins but also inheritors of a glorious and eternal heritage. This doctrine of inheritance, as outlined in the Scriptures, has a profound impact on the everyday lives of Christians. It provides them with hope, comfort, and a perspective that transcends the trials and tribulations of this world. Romans 8:17 beautifully encapsulates this truth, declaring, "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."
Understanding the doctrine of inheritance in Christ begins with recognizing our position as children of God. Through faith in Jesus Christ, we are adopted into God's family, becoming His beloved sons and daughters. As members of this divine family, we are granted the privilege of inheriting the blessings and promises that God has prepared for His children.
The apostle Paul, in his letter to the Romans, emphasizes that believers are not only heirs but also co-heirs with Christ. This astounding truth highlights the intimate union between the believer and the Lord Jesus. It means that we partake in the inheritance Christ received as the Son of God. This inheritance encompasses the richness of God's grace, His eternal kingdom, and the glory that awaits us in the life to come.
However, this doctrine of inheritance does not exist in isolation from the reality of suffering. Romans 8:17 reminds us that as heirs with Christ, we must also share in His sufferings. Suffering is an inevitable part of the Christian journey, for just as Christ endured trials and persecution, we too are called to walk the path of self-denial and cross-bearing. Yet, our suffering takes on a redemptive purpose and is inseparable from our inheritance in Christ.
The quote by John Newton offers a vivid illustration of this truth.
"Suppose a man was going to New York to take possession of a large estate, and his [carriage] should break down a mile before he got to the city, which obliged him to walk the rest of the way; what a fool we should think him, if we saw him ringing his hands, and blubbering out all the remaining mile, “My [carriage] is broken! My [carriage] is broken!”
(Richard Cecil, Memoirs of the Rev. John Newton, in The Works of the Rev. John Newton, 108)
Suppose a man is traveling to New York to claim a vast estate but encounters a broken carriage a mile before reaching the city. It would be foolish for him to lament and focus solely on the broken carriage, ignoring the imminent possession of his inheritance. Similarly, as believers, we must not be consumed by the suffering and trials we encounter in this present age. Our focus should be fixed on the inheritance awaiting us, the glory that surpasses any temporary affliction.
Suffering is an inevitable part of the Christian journey, for just as Christ endured trials and persecution, we too are called to walk the path of self-denial and cross-bearing.
Understanding the doctrine of inheritance in Christ transforms our perspective on suffering. It reminds us that our present trials are temporary, and they pale in comparison to the eternal weight of glory that awaits us. This knowledge empowers us to endure hardships with steadfastness and joy, knowing that our suffering is not in vain. Instead, it serves to refine and mold us into the image of Christ, preparing us to fully experience and appreciate our inheritance in Him.
In the everyday life of the Christian, this understanding of inheritance brings a profound sense of hope and purpose. It shapes how we respond to adversity, as we find solace in the knowledge that our suffering is intimately connected to our ultimate inheritance. It encourages us to persevere, to walk faithfully, and to fix our gaze on the eternal treasures that God has promised to His children.
Moreover, the doctrine of inheritance fosters gratitude and humility within the Christian heart. We recognize that our inheritance is not earned or deserved but is solely a result of God's lavish grace. This understanding cultivates a deep sense of gratitude and drives us to worship and serve our Heavenly Father with all that we are.
Understanding the doctrine of inheritance in Christ transforms our perspective on suffering. It reminds us that our present trials are temporary, and they pale in comparison to the eternal weight of glory that awaits us.
In conclusion, the Christian doctrine of inheritance in Christ, as revealed in Romans 8:17, holds immense significance for believers. It assures us of our position as heirs of God and co-heirs with Christ. Through this understanding, we find hope, purpose, and endurance in the midst of suffering. Let us hold fast to this truth, fixing our eyes on the eternal inheritance that awaits us, and rejoicing in the privilege of being children of the Most High God.