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Adoption and Heirship - Part 2
Open your Bibles tonight to Romans 8 where we're going to look into some interesting things in this passage. But before we get into the section that we're focusing on, Romans 8: 13-17, which focuses both on the doctrines of adoption and heirship that are crucial to understand, I just thought I would lighten the mood a little bit and point out some historically humorous mistranslations of Scripture.
1 Peter 3:7 is a verse that should be translated, "Likewise, you husbands, dwell with them with understanding, giving honor to the wife, as to the weaker vessel, and as being heirs together of the grace of life, that your prayers may not be hindered." Now in Matthews Bible which was an early translation made of the Greek New Testament in 1537, this verse was mistranslated in the notes that were included in the Matthew Bible in 1537 so it became known as the wife beaters Bible. That footnote read, "And if she be not obedient and helpful unto him, endeavor to beat the fear of God into her head that thereby she may be compelled to learn her duty and do it." That's one reason this is not a very well-known translation today.
Another example is from Matthew 5:9, "Blessed are the peacemakers for they shall be called sons of God." Once again this fits our topic tonight, dealing with the sons of God, a term for mature believers, not just a term for those who are children of God by faith alone in Christ alone. This is a verse for all of the homemakers listening. It was translated in the Geneva Bible in 1562 as "Blessed are the place makers for they shall be called the sons of God." So for those who set the table, this is their verse in the Bible.
Psalm 119:161, because of the mistranslation there was called the Printers Bible. It should be translated, "Princes persecute me without a cause, But my heart stands in awe of Your word." The Geneva Bible translated that "Printers persecute me without a cause, but my heart stands in awe of your word." So that was another mistranslation. One of the most famous Bibles with a printers error was called the Adulterers Bible. Exodus 20:14 says, "You shall not commit adultery." The printer dropped out the word "not" and in the King James version published in 1631, it read, "Thou shalt commit adultery." The printers were fined 300 pounds for their error. Most of the copies were gathered up and destroyed, only eleven are known to exist today.
Another verse we should probably get to this evening is 1 Corinthians 6:9, "Do you not know that the unrighteous will not inherit the kingdom of God? Do not be deceived, neither fornicators, nor idolaters, nor adulterers, nor homosexuals, nor sodomites..." But in the Unrighteous Bible, a King James translation printed in 1653, they dropped the word "not" again. That's one of those troublesome little words and it reads, "Know ye not that the unrighteous shall inherit the kingdom of God.." So these are kind of fun little tidbits of history.
In John 7:50, this mistranslation of this passage led to one King James Version, translated in 1716 being called the sinners Bible when Jesus is interviewing the woman caught in adultery. "He said to the woman, "Does anyone condemn you? No one, Lord, she answered. So he said to her, Go your way and sin no more." But the sinners Bible translated is as, "Go and sin on more." See you have to make sure you get those letters in the right order or it can just cause all kinds of problems.
Then there's the fool's Bible which was a King James Version printed in 1763 which reads, "The fool has said in his heart, there is no God." Once again, they dropped out that troublesome little word "no" and it said, "The fool has said in his heart, there is a God." The printers were fined 3000 pounds and all the copies destroyed. So that shows the importance of getting it right. One of the things I'm going to point out tonight is that error can creep in, not just by switching the letters in a word, like "no" to "on" or dropping out a word like "not" but it can lead to a problem just by inserting a comma in the wrong place.
So let's turn to Romans 8:15. This whole section here is talking about the contrast between those who are living according to the flesh, which is talking about believers. As I pointed out in the past, believers who are living according to the flesh, walking according to the sin nature, are the same category as Paul warns the Galatians about in Galatians 5:16 and following. He states there's a war between the flesh and the Spirit, and if you're not walking according to the Spirit, you're walking according to the flesh. So believers do live and walk according to the flesh, as I pointed out in the last class, and the warning here is that there will be death. Not eternal condemnation death but a death that is the result of a death-like existence because we're not living on the basis of God's Word and the grace of God's Word.
By the time we get to verse 14, it reads, "For as many as are led by the Spirit of God, these are sons of God." I pointed out last time that the term here is important. It's not children of God, teknon [teknon]. It is the sons of God, huios [u(ioj], which is a term for an adult son, not just a child. So those who are led, actually follow the Spirit, and walk according to the Spirit grow to spiritual maturity. Then in explanation, verse 15 comes along and Paul says, "For you did not receive the spirit of bondage again to fear, but you received the Spirit of adoption by whom we cry out, Abba, Father."
Bondage or slavery was the whole focus of Romans 6 because at the instant of salvation we are identified with Christ in his death, burial, and resurrection.
Therefore we become a new creature in Christ and we're no longer slaves to the sin nature but we are slaves to righteousness positionally, in terms of our new family, our new identity. So he says "You did not receive the spirit of bondage again to fear [which is what characterized you as an unbeliever] but you received the Spirit of adoption by whom we cry out, Abba, Father." This indicates close intimacy, becoming a family member of the family of God.
So the contrast is between those who are sons of God, huios, growing to maturity versus those who are mere children of God who have been redeemed and adopted into the family of God. So that brought us to the doctrine of adoption which I covered partially last time looking at the cultural and historical background. I pointed out that in Greek adoption the focus was on family relationship and emphasized the one who was adopted coming into the family and accepting all the legal obligations and religious duties of a genuine son in the family. So Paul used these aspects of Greek adoption when he's emphasizing the fellowship and family responsibilities of the believer.
In contrast the Roman concept of adoption was much more rigorous and demanding on the one who was adopted. This was partially based on their strong emphasis on the authority of the father. The Roman law was called the patria potestas or the power of the father. In the Roman system a son is no better than a slave until he reaches maturity or adulthood at about the age of 14. Until then he's treated like a slave, has no rights, no privileges. The father can even turn him out to slavery, turn anyone in the family out to slavery, if he so desires. He had complete control.
I pointed out several other facets of that last time. What I want to do tonight is go on looking at the spiritual significance of adoption in the Scripture. Based on the Roman concept of adoption the child is placed under the complete authority of the tutor or the Greek pedagogue who had all the authority. The child had none. This is the analogy Paul uses in Galatians and he develops this emphasizing that he's drawing a focus on believers under the Law as being similar to a child that is under a pedagogue. He just has no freedom whatsoever; he's completely under the authority of that pedagogue. So this is developed by Paul in Galatians3:26 and following.
There, he talks about "you are all sons of God through faith" and ties that to the baptism by the Holy Spirit which occurs to all and then later on, he develops the whole analogy in relation to the pedagogue. Essentially what he is doing is showing that in the history of the human race, Israel under the pedagogue is limited and they don't have freedom and the pedagogue dictates every aspect of their existence. The pedagogue is the Mosaic Law. At adulthood, which comes at the time of Christ, when Christ pays the penalty for sin, the role of the pedagogue is over and the child now becomes an adult son with all the rights and privileges which God gives them.
The church age believer is compared to that mature son who has reached maturity and now has freedom and now has the position and responsibilities given to an adult son. This is related to the fact that the believer is identified and placed in Christ who is the adult Son, the huios of God. Because of our position and identification with Christ we have these privileges positionally. There is now freedom for the believer. That gives us that background of understanding adoption so we are adopted into God's family.
As part of adoption and being a member of the family, this leads to another important aspect of our spiritual life which is inheritance. If you are a child, then you are usually considered to be in a position where you can inherit property from your parents. In our understanding of inheritance someone has to die and then whatever they owned is passed on to the next generation. That is not the main idea in the Jewish Old Testament concept of inheritance. I've gone through lengthy studies of that and basically the core meaning of the word inheritance is possession. Someone can have an allotment of land in the promised land and it is their inheritance. They own it but no one died and left it to them. That is their possession.
The main idea we have in the word inheritance is really this idea of ownership and possession. That same idea does come across into the New Testament. I want to review this doctrine of inheritance or heirship. This is really important because a lot of confusion comes up when people read certain passages in the New Testament because they have a preconceived idea of what inheritance consists of they misread and misinterpret the passage.
((CHART)) Three questions we need to address are listed here on the screen. First, is the concept of inheritance a synonym for receiving eternal life? For example, in Galatians 5: 19 and 20 we have a list of the works of the flesh. They are adultery, fornication, lewdness, idolatry, envy, murder, drunkenness, revelries, and the like and when Paul finishes he says that those who practice such things will not inherit the kingdom of God.
Now many people read "inheriting the kingdom of God" as receiving eternal life. Under that interpretation, if one commits these sins or commits them on a frequent basis then they can't have eternal life. That is a problem because that makes salvation appear to be based on works or overcoming sin in our life. When people read these lists they usually focus on adultery, fornication, murder but they overlook the outbursts of anger, hatred, jealousy, the mental attitude sins of envy and these sins are manifest by every believer. It's easy to see someone's overt sins sometimes but it's not so easy to see the arrogance and the hatred and the resentment and the bitterness that may be going on inside of their soul. This seems to indicate that if inheriting the kingdom means getting eternal life then we have to earn it by getting rid of sin in our life. That is a conflict with many passages that talk about salvation being a free gift.
Second question we have to address in relation to that is: Is an inheritance earned? Is it given? Or aspects of both true? In other words, are some aspects freely given and other aspects of the inheritance earned?
Third, we need to determine the exact meaning of this concept of inheritance. Now where that comes to play in our immediate passage in Romans 8 has to do with Romans 8:16 and 17. Romans 8:16 says, "The Spirit Himself bears witness with our spirit that we are children of God." That's teknon. "And if children then heirs..[so we are heirs]" Then if you have a passage like most, such as my New King James which has a dash which sets off the next part of this as sort of a parenthetical explanation of heirs and it's punctuated as "—heirs of God and joint heirs with Christ,..." Notice the comma is placed after Christ. According to that punctuation, heirs of God and fellow heirs of Christ are viewed as being identical or synonymous terms. In other words if you are a believer you are an heir of God and you are also a joint heir with Christ. They would be identical based on that punctuation.
Remember there were no commas, periods, semi-colons or colons or anything like that in the original Greek. All the letters just ran together with no spacing between them. The problem we have with this punctuation is that if we are all equally heirs or God and fellow heirs or joint heirs with Christ, then that would make those categories of inheritance dependent upon the last conditional clause there, the "if" clause. We would be heirs of God and heirs of Christ, not if we believe in Christ but "...if indeed we suffer with Him that we may also be glorified together."
See that last "if" clause explains that if you want to be an heir of God and fellow heir with Christ then you have to suffer with him. What does that mean?
That caused a lot of problems down through the centuries in Christianity because of the misunderstanding and mispunctuation of that verse. Most of your Bibles punctuate it the way the New American Standard does so this bases heirship on suffering. If you don't suffer, you won't be an heir. The problem here is that one reading of Galatians 5, if you don't get rid of these sins in your life, you can't inherit eternal life and if you don't suffer with Christ, then you won't be a joint-heir with Christ. The problem with that is that Ephesians 2: 8 and 9 says that we're saved by grace and not by works. It seems like those two passages are talking about a works-based salvation. Punctuation is very important.
I love this example I've used for years. ((CHART)) Here we have a sentence, "A woman without her man is nothing." I want you to think about that for a minute. Where would you put the comma? If you are a woman, you will probably put the commas like this. A woman, without her, man is nothing. However if you're a man, you will probably punctuate it like this. A woman, without her man, is nothing. This states that the woman, alone, just can't quite make it. So where you put those commas radically changes the meaning of the sentence.
We can look at Romans 8:17, and put a comma after also and after Christ. That punctuation combines the terms, "heirs of God" and "fellow-heirs with Christ" as the same thing. However. If we move a comma so that we place it after God ..." If children, heirs also of God ..." Then "joint-heirs with Christ if we indeed suffer with Him." So that being an heir of God is related to being a child of God and that is part of the grace package received at the instant of salvation. But to be considered a join-heir with Christ in which there is additional reward on the basis of suffering. That would be a second category.
This really becomes the issue. Remember this, that salvation is a free gift but rewards are earned. There's a big difference between something being given and something being earned. When something is given there are no strings attached and there's no condition or basis that's the foundation for receiving the gift but a reward is based on what we attained, what we worked for, what we achieve. So that is the foundation for this. What I'm saying very simply is this. Salvation is a free gift but rewards are earned. Every believer get salvation as a free gift by simply trusting in Christ and we all have certain things in common. We're justified, we're redeemed, we have new life in Christ, we're baptized by the Holy Spirit. Every believer has those things in common.
But there are some believers who pursue spiritual growth and spiritual maturity who realize in their experience both in time and in eternity, a certain number of blessings. God promises in Scripture a certain number of rewards because of that believer's responsibility and the way he has pursued and lived his spiritual life. Whereas, the one who hasn't, is not going to receive his blessings and rewards because he has not grown to maturity or developed the capacity to handle them. Let's look at what the Bible teaches about inheritance. Just in terms of New Testament concept, the basic word is kleronomia [klhronomia] which is related to the law of heirship or the law of inheritance and its basic meaning of the noun as listed in the lexicons as inheritance, possession, or property.
When we read that word inheritance in the New Testament, don't simply think about someone dying and leaving something to you in a will. It is a property, something an individual owns, or something that is their possession. The verb has the basic idea to possess, to receive something as one's possession, or to obtain it. So the very verbal concept there, to obtain something has a works connotation. All I want to do here is lay out that the basic meaning is going to emphasize possession, and receiving something as possession.
The second thing I want to point out is a verse in Hebrews 1:2 which states that Jesus Christ is the heir of all things. That doesn't mean the Father died and He inherited it. I think this helps illustrate that principle, that the concept of heirship is ownership. Jesus Christ is the heir or possessor or owner of all things. Now what qualified Jesus to become the owner of all things? Did He do something to earn it and qualify for it or was it something that was freely given to Him? It wasn't freely given to Him like in salvation where we simply believe in the gospel and we're given salvation. Jesus Christ qualified by going to the Cross, dying on the Cross, and by being obedient to the Father. He is elevated to this position over all creation, where He is the heir of all creation. So Christ is the heir of all things because of what He did, because He fulfilled the plan of God for his life.
Now a third thing we note is that heirship is based on adoption, that is our sonship, our relationship to God. Therefore, in one sense, we have passages that make it very clear that inheritance is related to positional truth. It's related to our position in Christ. Very simply, at the moment we trust in Christ as Savior the Holy Spirit identifies with Christ in His death, burial and resurrection and we are placed "in Christ." That's our new position. We were "in Adam"; now we're "in Christ." So we call that positional truth, our new position. So we are "in Christ", that is related to our phase one salvation, our justification, where we enter into that new life with Christ.
We need to understand that some passages emphasize inheritance in relation to what is given to us when we first trust in Christ as Savior. Passages like Galatians 3:29 and 4:1, "And if you are Christ's, [and you are, 1st class condition], then you are Abraham's seed..." What Paul meant in context there is that Abraham believed God and it was accredited to him as righteousness. [Gal. 15:6]. Now in Galatians, chapter 3, Paul develops this whole analogy related to Abraham. Those who are truly Abraham's seed are those who follow him by faith in God's promise. "… And if you are Christ's then you are also Abraham's seed" because as he pointed out earlier in the passage, this word 'seed' is related to Christ [Galatians 3:16 which states, "Now to Abraham and his seed were the promises made and He, God, does not say And to seeds as of many but as of one and to your seed who is Christ."
So Christ is the seed, then we are also Abraham's seed and. "heirs according to the promise." So Paul goes on in Gal. 4:1, Now I say that the heir as long as he is a child does not differ at all from a slave though he is master of all." See this is where he develops the idea of the pedagogue. He goes on in the next verse, "But is under guardians and steward..." Then in 4:3, "Even so we, when we were children, were in bondage under the elements of the world." So he's talking about the fact that—using the time line of history, before the Cross—Jews were under the Law and they did not have the privileges and rights of an adult son at that point. Even though they are a child, their rights don't differ from that of a slave. Then he develops that. The only point I'm making here is that heirship is based on adoption. The Roman concept, you get adopted, you're in the family, but if you're under the age of majority, 14, then you're just treated like a slave.
Fourth observation, still in Galatians 3:29 that heirship in one category is based on the grace promise of the Abrahamic covenant. It's a promise not based on earning it. It says if we have faith in the promise of God in the Old Testament then, just like Abraham, righteousness is credited to the individual. Now to be an heir of the Father, Who is eternal, the heir must also have eternal life. That's the fifth point. Heirship demands eternal life because the son must have the same life as the father. We will continue to live in the family of God in Heaven. So in Titus 3:5, "Not by works of righteousness which we have done but according to His mercy He saved us through the washing of regeneration and renewing of the Holy Spirit." So we're saved not on the basis of deeds we have done.
It's not on the basis of giving up certain sins or not committing them as much. It's not on the basis of suffering with Christ. Salvation is a free gift. It's not on the basis of things we've done in righteousness but according to His mercy by the washing of regeneration and renewal of the Holy Spirit. The next verse goes on the say, "Whom [the Holy Spirit] He poured out on us abundantly through Jesus Christ Our Savior." This happens at the instant of salvation. Verse 7 says, "That having been justified by His grace we should become heirs according to the hope of eternal life." Now, notice, justification is the foundation for making us heirs in relation to the hope of eternal life. This is a phase one aspect of the inheritance, eternal life, life without end in heaven.
Sixth point is that heirship also means to share the destiny of Christ. Christ's destiny has been set from eternity past to rule and reign and we are to rule and reign with Him. Christ has an eternal destiny and we will share it with Him as we share His election. Also we have obtained an inheritance having been predestined according to His purpose who works all things after the counsel of His will. Now sharing the destiny of Christ, according to Romans 8, is based upon suffering with Christ, not just being positionally "in Christ". 1 Peter1:3 connects Titus 3:5, "Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, who according to His abundant mercy has begotten us again to a living hope..." Okay, so birth at salvation, when we first trust in Christ, we're born again to this living hope.
The seventh point here is that inheritance is both a present reality and a future possession. Ephesians 1:11, "In whom also we have obtained an inheritance..." But this is reserved in heaven for us. 1 Peter 1: 4 and 5, "to an inheritance incorruptible and undefiled, and that fadeth not away, reserved in heaven for you who are kept by the power of God, through faith unto salvation ready to be revealed in the last time." So the point in all of this, what I'm simply saying is, that there are two aspects to that inheritance. One is related to what we are given at the instant we believe in Jesus Christ as Savior. At that instant, part of that package is that we are adopted into the royal family of God and we become heirs of God. Heirs of God in relation to eternal life, heirs of God in relation to hope.
But there's a second aspect to inheritance that requires spiritual growth and as we grow, then these blessings which we already have received become distributed to us. It's as if you as a father, give a gift of something valuable, a car, land, a home, to an infant child, he doesn't have actual ownership rights or possession to it yet because he hasn't developed the maturity to handle it. Once he grows to maturity, then that is given to him from a trustee or someone of that nature and he can enjoy it. It's his potentially but it's not his actually until he grows to maturity and develops the capacity to handle it.
This whole concept of inheritance is directly related to the ministry of God the Holy Spirit. So our whole spiritual life in this church age is dependent upon these ministries of the Holy Spirit: the baptism by the Holy Spirit, walking by the Spirit, the filling of the Spirit, the indwelling of the Spirit, and now we see the sealing of the Spirit. Ephesians 1:13 says, "In Whom you also trusted, after you heard the word of truth, the gospel of your salvation: in whom also after you believed you were sealed with the Holy Spirit of promise." The Holy Spirit is given to us as a down payment for a future realization of that inheritance. That's verse 14, "Which is the earnest [pledge] of our inheritance until the redemption of the purchased possession, unto the praise of His glory." So the Holy Spirit is given as a down payment indicating something greater that will come in the future. So heirship also includes something related to eternal security. This inheritance that is undefiled and imperishable and will not fade away and is reserved for us in Heaven.
What protects us is the power of God, not our obedience. God protects us, not our obedience and this is done through faith unto salvation to be revealed in the last time. When we're children of God, He has sent forth His Spirit into our hearts crying Abba, Father, indicating a sign of that adoption, that intimacy with the Father. Ephesians 1:4 is a pledge of our inheritance. Those are the first nine points.
We've gone through that before. For some of you that's new. For some of you that's review. It's very simple. Let me boil it down. Inheritance has two aspects. Number one, an aspect that's true for every believer as a child of God and a member of the family of God, adopted into the family of God at the instant of salvation. But for the children who press on to become huios, the sons of God, there are additional blessings and rewards that are qualified for through obedience, through faithful living, walking by God the Holy Spirit.
The problem we have today is that people don't make this distinction in terms of theology. They mush it all together and end up with a works kind of salvation or a kind of salvation that is only known on the basis of one's works. So if you don't have the right kinds of works, well you weren't really saved. Under point ten, this confuses the two images of salvation being a free gift but a free gift is free. It's something that is free. It's given with no strings attached, not on the basis of any condition, whereas a reward is earned. This inheritance is clearly spoken of as something that is earned through behavior.
I'll give you some passages to show those distinctions. For example, in Ephesians 5:5 as well as Galatians 5:19-21, we have these lists of people who commit certain sins: covetous, idolatry, immoral, adultery, whatever they are. In Ephesians 5:5, the one who commits these things "does not have any inheritance in the kingdom of Christ and of God."
Wait a minute, if salvation is a free gift then why don't I have an inheritance in the kingdom of God? Well if we equate inheritance in the kingdom of God with getting eternal life then we have a problem. But if inheritance has to do with additional rewards and blessings and roles and responsibilities in the kingdom, then that's predicated on doing well now. Another illustration I've used is someone who goes into the military and goes through boot camp. This life is like boot camp and there are those who are going to do very well in boot camp and those who may not do so well in boot camp. When they come out of boot camp, they're all still in the army, but those who have performed well may have and will have opportunities to go to additional training schools and have greater advancement and promotion opportunities because they performed well and developed their skills during the period of basic training.
This life is analogous in that example to basic training. We're all going through basic training. Some of us are excelling. Others of us aren't doing so well.
Those who excel develop capacity for leadership. They learn wisdom and skill at living, which is what we're studying in Proverbs, so that when we go to the judgment seat of Christ, they're going to have a capacity, a maturity, a level of spiritual responsibility and leadership for which they are rewarded and they will be given positions of responsibilities in the kingdom, in the future Millennial kingdom, that relates to their level of maturity. But those who have frittered away their time on the earth or in Biblical language, "have not redeemed the time" have just wasted the time and they haven't matured spiritually.
They've lived the life of the fool. They've been conformed to the world. They haven't been too concerned about what God is doing in their life today in preparation for eternity, then, at the judgment seat of Christ, most of what they have produced in this life is going to be burned up like wood, hay, and straw. There's not going to be much left that qualifies them for any kind of responsibility or leadership in the coming kingdom. This is because they didn't develop the capacity for leadership and responsibility for dealing with this life and all the problems of the cosmic system, dealing with Satan, and dealing with personal sin.
So those who practice these sins because they fail to walk by the Holy Spirit [Galatians 5:19-21] will not inherit the kingdom of God. Will they be there?
Yes, they will. Will they have positions of responsibility and leadership? No, they won't. They will be present but they won't have various privileges.
Colossians 3:24 states, "Knowing that of the Lord you shall receive the reward of the inheritance for you serve the Lord Christ."
A reward is something that is given for a job well done. Another way of looking at this is like a sports contract where a player is guaranteed a certain amount of income but then he has various incentive clauses for performing well. He may be guaranteed an income of three hundred or four hundred or five hundred thousand dollars no matter what happens but if he plays well, and that would be spelled out as to what that meant, if he makes it to certain post-season games and the team does well, then he will get additional bonuses that could number in the millions and millions of dollars.
That's analogous to the believer. Every believer gets the same contract. We're all going to get eternal life. We're all going to be paid a base salary which means we're going to spend eternity in heaven. But there's an incentive clause in the Scripture. That means if you do well, if you pursue maturity, if you live out on the basis of the Word of God and you grow and study, then because there are qualities that are produced in your life through walking by the Holy Spirit which is analogous to gold, silver and precious stones that survive the judgment seat of Christ, then there will be additional blessings and privileges and responsibilities.
The Bible doesn't talk about the future kingdom in a Marxist-Leninist framework. We're not all going to have the same thing. We're not all going to be given the same thing. There are going to be distinctions based on ability and performance. That's why some will be in certain positions of influence and leadership and others will not. So we see, in terms of a conclusion, there are two categories of inheritance. The first is inheriting the kingdom. This is mentioned in Ephesians 5:5 and in 1 Corinthians 6: 9-10. The second is inheriting salvation. We all inherit salvation. We're all heirs of God. But not all will inherit the kingdom. Not all will be a joint-heir with Christ.
Romans 8:17 says, "and if children, then heirs—heirs of God, and joint heirs with Christ if indeed we suffer with Him, that we may also be glorified together." So if we want to be a joint heir with Christ we have to suffer with Him. Now what does that mean? Does that mean we are going to go out and be martyrs? No, that's not what that means. What it means is that if you and I, while living in the devil's world, are pursuing spiritual maturity, we are going to suffer. You don't have to go look for it. It will find you. It will find you frequently because you will be running and living in contradiction to the zeitgeist, the heartbeat, the desires of the people around you.
As a result of living in the devil's world, you're going to encounter a lot of suffering. You're going to encounter a lot of adversity. I'm going to come back and cover that when we get into the next section of Romans because this is really where Paul segues into that next section because he recognizes this. In verse 17 he introduces the concept of suffering, "if indeed we suffer with him." Then in verse 18 he says, "For I consider the sufferings of this present time are not worthy to be compared with the glory which shall be revealed in us." And so we're going to get into that doctrine of suffering and adversity when we get into the next verse.
Now, point 12, Christ inherits the kingdom as described in Psalm 2:8-9 which talks about Him being elevated, being given the kingdoms of the world at the time when there's that great revolt at the end times. Christ inherits the kingdom due to His loyalty to God the Father. So He becomes the heir of all things because He advanced to spiritual maturity and fulfilled God's plan for His life. The same is true for us as joint-heirs with Christ. We pursue the plan of God in our life, grow to spiritual maturity, and there will be rewards for us. Hebrews 1:8-9 says, "But to the Son he says, Your throne, O God, is forever and ever, a scepter of righteousness is the scepter of your kingdom. You have loved righteousness and hated lawlessness." That what qualified Him to be the heir of all things. "Therefore God, your God, has anointed you with the oil of gladness more than your companions." He's elevated because of His perfect obedience.
Now another thing I should note is that there's a difference between living with Christ and reigning with Christ just as there's a difference between being an heir of God and a joint-heir of Christ. 2 Timothy 2:11 lays this out. "It is a trustworthy saying: For if we died with Him..." When did we die with Christ? The instant of faith alone in Christ alone we received the baptism by the Holy Spirit which is identification with Christ in His death, burial, and resurrection. "For if we died with Him, we shall live with Him." That is true for every single believer. If you died with Christ, it's because you trusted in Him as your Savior and you're identified with His death, burial and resurrection. The result will be that we will live with Him.
"If we endure...." Ah, now that's works. Enduring, persevering, that's works. "If we endure, we also..." Notice that. Not just living with Him but also, there's something more. "If we endure, we shall also reign with Him." So enduring is related to suffering and means additional rewards. "But if we deny Him...."
That means if you live your life and you're more concerned about your personal pleasures and personal issues in life than you are studying the Word and growing to maturity.
"If we deny Him, He will deny us." Not denial of eternal salvation. That's covered in the next verse, but denial of rewards at the judgment seat of Christ. If you deny Him, if you live your life apart from Christ as a believer, then you will be denied privilege, position, responsibility, leadership in the coming kingdom. 2 Timothy 2:13 then says, "If we are faithless..." The "we" means believers. Faithless doesn't mean we were unbelievers. It means as believers we just didn't trust Christ; we just didn't trust God; we just didn't grow to maturity. Even though we're faithless, He remains faithful. That means we will still be saved because we are preserved by His faithfulness.
"If we are faithless, He remains faithful, for He cannot deny Himself." We are in Christ, we are His. He can't deny us. Even though we're faithless, He's not going to kick us out. We can't lose salvation. But the kingdom of God has been promised to those who love God but not all believers love God. Love for God is expressed through obedience to God and those who are obedient to Him and grow to spiritual maturity will receive an inheritance in the kingdom.
Just to wrap up there's a great illustration of Esau in the Old Testament. Esau was still Isaac's son. Remember, Abraham couldn't have any children and God promised him that he would have a son and through his son there would be many nations. Then Sarah, his wife, gave birth to Isaac. Isaac married Rebecca and Rebecca had twins, Esau and Jacob and Esau sold his inheritance, traded it out. He came home from a hunting trip, tired, worn out, hungry and Jacob had fixed a nice meal of lentil soup. Esau said, "If I die, my inheritance isn't going to do me any good." He treated his inheritance cavalierly and with disrespect and he traded it off to Jacob for a mess of pottage, just for a bowl of soup. That's the issue.
That passage isn't talking about Esau and his eternal destiny. It's talking about the fact that he willingly gave up the potential of his inheritance for just a bowl of soup. He traded out eternal rewards for immediate personal gratification. That's what we do all the time. We constantly choose to sin in some area, rather than walking by the Spirit. What we're doing is trading out eternal rewards, gold, silver, and precious stones, for immediate gratification. So Esau is the example of that. The writer of Hebrews says, "See that there be no immoral or godless person like Esau who sold his own birthright for a single meal. For you know that even afterward, when he desired to inherit the blessing..." He had a change of heart. He repented. He changed his mind. He said, "You know, that was really valuable. I made a mistake." But there are some things we can't go back and recapture. "When he desired to inherit the blessing he was rejected [not for salvation] for he found no place for repentance even though he sought it with tears."
He truly changed his mind but you can't go back and remake decisions you failed with in the past. You may get other opportunities to make other decisions but you can't go back and do it over again. When I was a public school teacher, I used to say to my students, "No do overs. One shot. That's it. Okay?"
Esau did get a blessing. Genesis 28: 27-39, "Esau said to his father, "Do you have only one blessing, my father. Bless me, even me also, my father. Then Isaac his father said, "Away from the fertility of the earth shall be your dwelling and away from the dew of heaven from above and by your sword you shall live and your brother you shall serve but it shall come about that when you become restless that you shall break his yoke from your neck." So Esau still received a little bit of a blessing but he doesn't get the main inheritance which went to the Abrahamic seed and the line of the Abrahamic covenant. Esau lost his inheritance blessing but not his position as Isaac's son. So we may lose inheritance blessing but we don't lose our position in the family of God. That wraps that up. I want to come back next time and deal with some of those tough passages before we move on to looking at a little more details of some of the inheritance issues.