Reading: Romans 8: 12-25
Verse 17: We are heirs with God and co-heirs with Christ, if indeed we share in His sufferings in order that we may also share in His glory.
Paul began life as Saul. His faith was rooted in being one of the “chosen people” and there was a certain exclusiveness to this. As he studied and came to know more he became a Pharisee. He became part of a very exclusive group within an exclusive faith. His view of faith was based on lineage and a long list of rules to keep to maintain good standing with God. But then Saul met Jesus.
Jesus got ahold of him and, as Paul, he came to understand God and our relationship with God from a whole new perspective. Instead of the God of the Old Testament, Paul came to know and preach the God embodied in Jesus. He came to see Jesus as the fuller revelation of God’s presence and being. Just as the Old Testament continued to develop the relationship between God and His people, so too does the New Testament – through the love and witness of Christ and then through the continued development of the church.
Paul came to understand that all people are God’s people. He saw a universal love instead of a limited or select love. Paul also came to understand that grace and love were universal and free to all. To access this love and grace, to become part of this family of God, all one had to do was accept Jesus Christ as Lord and Savior. It was Paul’s route and he lived to help all he met to make the same decision. He came to live out the indwelling Holy Spirit that led and guided him as he shared the good news of Jesus with all he met.
Paul also grew to understand that it was a complete relationship. It was an all-in, all day, for better or worse type of a relationship. In verse 17 Paul writes, “We are heirs with God and co-heirs with Christ, if indeed we share in His sufferings in order that we may also share in His glory”. Yes, once we join the family we are heirs with God and co-heirs with Christ – heirs to salvation and eternity in a glorious heaven. But Paul was writing to the church in Rome. They were facing suffering and Paul wanted to encourage them in and through this as well. The early followers of Jesus, especially the disciples and apostles, rejoiced when they suffered for Christ. They felt like Jesus in His suffering. They also knew that suffering would lead to a time in glory. Like the groanings of birth, Paul knew that the trials and suffering would lead to new life. It is a good reminder to us as well. Like Paul, may we be encouraged and remain in God’s love, openly accepting the free gift of mercy, grace, forgiveness, and new life. For this great love we join the saints in saying, thanks be to God!