“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 8:16, 17
As surrender to the Holy Spirit increases in the Christian life, the reality and certainty of this adoption is strengthened within us.
“The Spirit itself beareth witness with our spirit, that we are the children of God” (Romans 8:16). We hear the Spirit’s voice more clearly through the open pages of God’s revealed and infallible Word. The more this truth is manifested in our day to day lives, the greater the increasing witness of that truth will be within us, empowering us to surrender even further to the Spirit’s leading. In this way, we begin acting more like sons, with whom God is well pleased, as opposed to acting like sinners who can hardly approach the throne of grace.
Another witness of our spirits having received from the Holy Spirit is the truth of what we have been learning concerning our own sanctification— what we have been learning here in Romans 8. The Holy Spirit testifies of our CONDITION in sanctification, as we have seen earlier, that we “walk after the Spirit” (Romans 8:1-10). The Holy Spirit also testifies of our POSITION by sanctification, as we are seeing now in this portion (Romans 8:11-17) in our “surrendering to the Spirit.” The Holy Spirit will additionally testify to our EXPECTATION through sanctification, which we will examine in the portion to come (Romans 8:18-27) in our “Hoping in the Spirit.”
“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 8:17). We have been told that we are heirs of God and joint-heirs with Christ. This is a certainty in the Word of God because our inheritance is not based upon what we do to attain this inheritance, but instead, is based upon what Christ has done to secure this inheritance for us. Yet, there is often confusion in the words of this verse, “if so be that we suffer with Him…” It is at times taken by some to mean that there is something we must do or provide in order to receive our inheritance… or even, as some say, the fullness of our inheritance. Yet, this doesn’t make sense because it would suggest two erroneous perspectives: (1) it would add to grace, confounding it; and (2) it would add to Christ, corrupting Him and suggesting He is insufficient.
Christ is our inheritance. His glory is our reward. It is written in 1 John 3:2,
“Beloved, now are we the sons of God, and it doth not yet appear what we shall be: but we know that, when He shall appear, we shall be like Him; for we shall see Him as He is.”
Dear ones, we are ultimately glorified in body in order to receive, without hindrance from our mortal flesh a more magnificent, more exalted revelation of our Savior, face to face!
Then what does it mean when it says, “if so be that we suffer with Him?” Jesus came by His glory through the cross and so must we. What does this do? Does it increase our inheritance? Not in the sense that we can get something more than Christ. But when we suffer with Him, when we deny self and take up our crosses and follow Him, we are surrendering to the Spirit in order that the truth that we are indeed joint-heirs with Christ may be made manifest in our lives.
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Read the previous article in this series, “Perfect Adoption as God’s Children“ (Romans 8:14-15).