‘Joint heirs with Christ.’ Romans 8:17
Suggested Further Reading: Galatians 3:23–4:7
The apostle has proceeded through a simple but exceedingly forcible train of reasoning till he gains this glorious point—‘Joint heirs with Christ.’ He begins thus—‘Ye have not received the spirit of bondage again to fear; but ye have received the Spirit of adoption, whereby we cry, Abba, Father.’ This is a fact which he takes for granted because he has perceived it in the hearts of believers. We do cry, ‘Abba, Father.’ From this he infers that if God has given us the Spirit whereby we call him ‘Father,’ then we are his children, which is plain, fair, and clear reasoning. Then he adds—‘If children, then heirs’—though this does not hold true in all families, because all children are not heirs; frequently the first-born may take all the estate; but with God so long as they are children they have equal rights—‘If children then heirs.’
He goes on to say, ‘Heirs of God;’ for if they are heirs they inherit their Father’s property. God is their Father; they are therefore God’s heirs! Well, but God has another Son, one who is the first-born of every creature. Exactly so, therefore if we be heirs, as Christ Jesus is the heir of all things, we are ‘joint heirs with Christ.’ I think you will see that, like links in a chain, these different truths draw each other on—the spirit of adoption proves the fact of adoption; by the act of adoption we are children; if children then heirs; if heirs, heirs of God; but since there is another heir, we must therefore be joint heirs with Christ Jesus. Blessed is the man to whom this reasoning is not abstract, but experimental. Happy is he who can follow the apostle step by step.
For meditation: Christ has been appointed ‘heir of all things’ (Hebrews 1:2). His joint-heirs inherit, among other things, the earth (Matthew 5:5), everlasting life (Matthew 19:29), the kingdom (Matthew 25:34; James 2:5), salvation (Hebrews 1:14), the promises (Hebrews 6:12), righteousness by faith (Hebrews 11:7), and the grace of life (1 Peter 3:7). Are all things yours in Christ (1 Corinthians 3:21–23)?
Sermon no. 402
28 July (1861)