“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” (Romans 8:16-17). “In all these things we are more than conquerors through him who loved us” (Romans 8:37).
The two passages quoted above carry an incredible amount of theological depth and practical implication as followers of Christ. Yet somehow, for many, the power of these passages have become practically cliché for us. Of course I know that I am a child of God! Of course I know that I’m an heir of God, a fellow heir with Christ! Of course I know the passage where Paul tells me that God is working all things for my good, and that I am more than a conqueror through him who loved us. For many, these ideas have become cliché to us, to the point that the significance of them is gone.
Consider how these realities should propel us forward in this life if we are a follower of Christ. I am a child of God. God is my heavenly Father. Not my mystical father, or pretend father, or a variation of my earthly father; God is my heavenly Father and I am his child. As a father looks after his own children, God the Father looks after me. As a father provides for his children, so does my heavenly Father provide for me. As a good earthly Father keeps his earthly promises to his children, so does my heavenly Father perfectly fulfill all his earthly and heavenly promises for me.
Not only am I a child of God, but I am therefore an heir of God as well and a fellow heir with Christ. According to the Google dictionary, an heir is “a person legally entitled to the property or rank on that person’s death.” To be an heir of God, according to Paul, is to be someone who has been “appointed to receive an inheritance.” For me to be a “co-heir with Christ” means that I will share in Christ’s inheritance. In the same way that he died, my flesh died with him. In the same way he was buried, I was buried with him. In the same way he rose from the grave, so will I rise up from the grave. According to the Bible, our inheritance includes salvation, eternal life, and according to Revelation 3:21, the ability to sit on Christ’s throne with Jesus!
But not only am I a child of God and co-heir with Christ, but I’m also a conqueror with him. Nothing can separate me from the love of God in Christ Jesus. No sin truly has me in its grip any longer. Satan has no dominion over me. “Though the earth gives way, though the mountains be moved into the heart of the sea, though its waters roar and foam, though the mountains tremble at its swelling… we will not fear, for the Lord of hosts is with us; the God of Jacob is our fortress” (Psalm 46:1-3).
In light of all these truths, think about the lunacy of living for the approval of men; living for the praise of men and women, while God is the only one truly worthy of praise; living to please men and fearing their rejection, while we’ve been eternally welcomed into the family of God; living in fear of how people might view us, when the Creator of the Universe saw sacrificial worth and value in us.
May God fill us up with an understanding of who we are in His eyes. And may that understanding drive us to live with reckless abandon for Him alone!