and I will be his God and he shall be My son


Book of ROMANS
A Study of Chapter 8

Part 11

Romans 8:16-18

Inheritance & Suffering

Suffering. All reading this, I’m sure, can relate in some way. We’ve all experienced some sort of physical or emotional pain. We may have lost a loved one, or had a relationship fall apart. We’ve been wronged or taken advantage of. These things are a part of this life. Much of the Bible speaks of suffering: of mankind, of God’s elect, of Christ Himself. As we head into this portion of our study, let us remember always that our God will work all for good for those who love Him, even the most challenging struggles and hardest suffering in our life.

Let us begin here again with a familiar passage we’ve been studying -

“It is the Spirit himself bearing witness with our spirit that we are children of God, 17 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. 18 I consider that the sufferings of this present time are not worth comparing with the glory that is to be revealed to us.”
– Rom 8:16-18 RSV

Why must we suffer at all? Surely a good God would want His people to enjoy life and health and prosperity, wouldn’t He? I’ve heard such questions asked. I believe as we look deep into God’s Word, and set aside our preconceived notions concerning the Scripture - notions which in part may have been formed by some of our modern messages, “Christian” songs and Bible Book Store fiction – we will find that God has ordained suffering for His people in order that, as we read above, “we may be glorified with Christ.”

And while it may be hard to do, especially under very difficult circumstances… rather than focus on the trial, the persecution, or the pain, and wonder where God is in our tribulation, “let those who suffer according to God's will entrust their souls to a faithful Creator while doing good.” (1Pet 4:9 ESV). I pray that each of us will run with endurance the race that is set before us, looking to Jesus, the founder and perfecter of our faith, who for the joy that was set before Him endured the cross, despising the shame, and is seated at the right hand of the throne of God.” (Heb 12:1b-2 ESV)

Jesus our Savior suffered greatly, beyond what any of us will ever experience. Suffering that was ordained by His Father. In fact, the Scripture states that it was the Lord’s (God’s) will to crush Him (Messiah) and cause Him to suffer” (Isaiah 53:10 NIV)

This may be hard for us to understand, and I know it’ll probably go against much of what we’ve been taught about Jesus over past several decades at least, but Jesus had to learn things when He came to this earth and walked as a man, and in those things - those testing’s and lessons - He was perfected. The Word declares of Jesus, that “though He was a Son, yet He learned obedience by the things which He suffered. And having been perfected, He became the Author of eternal salvation to all who obey Him.” (Heb 5:8-9 NKJV)

Could Jesus be our Savior, and the One who offers Eternal Life to us, if He had not remained obedient to God through every trial and suffering He faced? No. Remember the written Word also teaches us that because of His sacrifice, and because Jesus bore His Cross, “God has made Him both Lord and Christ.” (Acts 2:36). As the scholar J.B. Phillips translated, “when He had been proved the perfect Son, He became the source of eternal salvation to all who should obey Him.” (Heb 5:9)

His faithfulness had to be proven before “all authority” could be given to Jesus. He declared this Truth only after His Resurrection. All power, including the authority on earth that the devil had been given after Adam’s fall (Luke 4:6), was now transferred to the Firstborn from the dead.

Jesus inherited all from His Father. Salvation comes through Him.
Let’s take a look at this passage from the Psalms and meditate on its Truth -

“For the Lord has chosen Zion;
He has desired it for His dwelling place:
14 “This is My resting place forever;
Here I will dwell, for I have desired it.
15 I will abundantly bless her provision;
I will satisfy her poor with bread.
16 I will also clothe her priests with salvation,
And her saints shall shout aloud for joy.”

- Psalm 132:13-16

Before I get sidetracked with this, one of my favorite passages, in which I see Eternity, let me emphasis verse 16… I believe that just as Jesus became the “source of eternal salvation” so too, those who overcome, and become that “Kingdom of priests” we read about in Revelation, will be a source of eternal salvation to those of the sheep nations. The salvation these priests will be clothed with is not for them, but to bring salvation to the ones they will inherit. 

Yes, saints, our inheritance is people. Remember the promise to Christ was – “I will give You the nations for Your inheritance, and the ends of the earth for Your possession." (Psalm 2:8), and that God would make Him “a light to the nations” (Isaiah 49:6). Is not the lot of the children of God to be “fellow heirs with Christ”? His inheritance will also be the inheritance of those who have been conformed into His image. Those who have overcome, who are rooted in Christ, and who loved not their lives unto death, just as Jesus, will be those priests who are clothed with garments of salvation. They are the branches rooted in the Tree of Life, clothed with leaves as a garment for “healing for the nations.” (Rev 22:1-2)

So we have the opportunity to be His “co-heirs”, provided we “suffer with Him” and allow ourselves to be “led by the Spirit of God.” Those who will “reign with Christ” (Rev 20:4) will “judge the world” (1Cor 6:2) and rule over the sheep nations of Matthew 25. The promises to those who overcome and keep His works to the end include the right to sit with Jesus on His throne (Rev 3:21) and have “authority over the nations” (Rev 2:26). When the New Jerusalem descends from heaven and the Kingdom is established on earth - God now dwelling among men - we hear “the Spirit and the bride say, “Come!” (Rev 22:17). This is the bride of the Lamb, the body of Christ, the saints who have overcome. (Rev 19:7-8, Rev 21:9, Rev 3:12, Eph 5:32)

I want to be among this group. I believe God has called me to be an overcomer. Am I willing to accept the cost? Many reading this know there is much more to Christianity than we have known. Some have felt that call to press in and actually overcome. Have you counted the cost?
The modern “Christian” religion tells us how easy it is to become a Christian, and have the assurance of heaven when we die. Oh, if preachers & teachers would only read the Word and believe it. Jesus, Himself, taught, “whoever does not carry their cross and follow Me cannot be My disciple.” (Luke 14:27 NIV), and “whoever of you does not forsake all that he has cannot be My disciple.” (Luke 14:33 NKJV). There is indeed a cost. A very great personal cost: the death of our Adamic nature, and crucifixion to the world. And at least Biblically, one cannot become a “Christian” (one who is Christ-like) unless they first are His “disciple.”
The building of our life in Christ is compared to building a dwelling in the natural: “For which of you, desiring to build a tower, does not first sit down and count the cost, whether he has enough to complete it?” (Luke 14:28 RSV). Of those who begin but become lazy or allowed themselves to become distracted by other ventures, the Word says - “when he has laid a foundation, and is not able to finish, all who see it begin to mock him, 30 saying, ‘This man began to build, and was not able to finish.’’” (Luke 14:29-30 RSV)

This may seem harsh, having people mock one who began as a disciple but fell away; yet what did our Lord Himself declare? “Jesus said, “No one, having put his hand to the plow, and looking back, is fit for the kingdom of God.” (Luke 9:62 NKJV). To obtain to the fullness of God we must keep to that “narrow and difficult way that leads to Life” (see Matt 7:14). We must “forget what lies behind”, that which we’ve been set free from.
“Remember Lot’s wife.”

It costs us everything if we would “come after Jesus” and enter into His inheritance. Church membership doesn’t assure anything. We can say some ‘sinner’s prayer’ every day, but if we are not obeying what Jesus taught, and laying aside our own desires, then we are not overcoming, and in Jesus’ own words, we are not even a disciple (a Christian). If we accept the call of God to be “conformed in the image of Jesus” we must accept the conditions as well. For every promise of God is conditional. (More on this later.)

After God had saved His people from Egypt, He met with them in the wilderness, and gave them this charge and promise -
‘You yourselves have seen what I did to the Egyptians, and how I bore you on eagles’ wings, and brought you to Myself. Now then, if you will indeed obey My voice and keep My covenant, then you shall be My own possession among all the peoples, for all the earth is Mine; and you shall be to Me a kingdom of priests and a holy nation.’ These are the words that you shall speak to the sons of Israel.”  – Ex 19:4-6 NAS

These God had chosen for Himself, for His own purposes. God is not democratic. He picks some and not others. Not to reject the others, but that He might reveal Himself to all through those He has chosen for His own special treasure.

“For you are a holy people to the Lord your God, and the Lord has chosen you to be a people for Himself, a special treasure above all the peoples who are on the face of the earth.”
– Deut 14:2 (also Deut 7:6)

This is not about salvation. We know that God is “not willing that any should perish but that all should come to repentance.” (2Pet 3:9) and that He “desires all men to be saved and to come to the knowledge of the truth.” (1Tim 2:4). Salvation is available to all. To be among the “royal priesthood” is by God’s own calling, and must be attained to by the individual called.

“For the grace of God has appeared for the salvation of all men, 12 training us to renounce irreligion and worldly passions, and to live sober, upright, and godly lives in this world, 13 awaiting our blessed hope, the appearing of the glory of our great God and Savior Jesus Christ, 14 who gave Himself for us to redeem us from all iniquity and to purify for Himself a people of His own who are zealous for good deeds.”
– Titus 2:11-14 RSV

That salvation of Verse 11 is for all men, but God has chosen to bring that salvation through Christ and His Church. Indeed, we are to be a light now to those around us, to share the mercy and love of God. But ultimately those who attain to the First Resurrection will, as kings and priests, minister Life to the masses that Christ Jesus will welcome into His Kingdom at the time of the Judgment.

“You are a chosen generation, a royal priesthood, a holy nation, His own special people, that you may proclaim the praises of Him who called you out of darkness into His marvelous light.”  – 1Pet 2:9 NKJV

“And they sang a new song, saying,
“Worthy are You to take the book and to break its seals;
for You were slain, and purchased for God with Your blood 
men from every tribe and tongue and people and nation.
10 “You have made them to be a kingdom and priests to our God;
and they will reign upon the earth.”

– Rev 5:9-10 NAS

Whereas the charge was originally to Israel to be that kingdom of priests, now it is for men (and women) from every tribe, tongue, people and nation, whom He has called and chosen, and whom remain faithful. In that Day when He is revealed, “those accompanying the Lamb are the called, chosen, and faithful.” (Rev 17:14 NET)

Being called does not assure we will be among those who will be co-heirs with Christ. For as Jesus taught - “many are called, but few are chosen.” (Matt 22:14)

Even if chosen, we must remain faithful ‘til the end. As Peter taught, once we exercise faith in Jesus and come to salvation, we have just begun. Now begins our Christian walk, which will determine, among other things, our place in God’s Kingdom and I believe, even to which Resurrection we will be raised.

So, suffering and trials “have come so that the proven genuineness of your faith—of greater worth than gold, which perishes even though refined by fire—may result in praise, glory and honor when Jesus Christ is revealed.” (1Pet 1:7). It’s easier to be faithful when all is well and our Adamic nature is at ease: physically, emotionally, financially. But will our faith remain in the great trials, that are oft-times God ordained, and be proven faithful?

Attempting to avoid suffering or uncomfortable situations (like Jonah did), may result in greater suffering if God is merciful; or the result may be loss of inheritance, or even having our name blotted from the Book of Life if we remain stubborn and stiff-necked. Will we turn away from Jesus when His demands seem too harsh, when the requirements of discipleship (being a real Christian) disrupt our convenient and routine lifestyle?

The transformation from darkness to Light brings us out of the familiar and often what is comfortable, and sets us on a narrow and difficult path. Will we stay on that road? As Jesus taught of the cost of following Him, many of His disciples said “This teaching is hard! Who can accept it?” (John 6:60). They couldn’t look beyond themselves.

It's that separation from the world that causes some of our suffering. We will look at this more closely a little later on in this study. But whatever the suffering we encounter, God has made provision for us to endure and even grow in our trials. Our place is to look to Him, trust in Him and surrender to Him.

“His divine power has given to us all things that pertain to life and godliness, through the knowledge of Him who called us by glory and virtue, by which have been given to us exceedingly great and precious promises, that through these you may be partakers of the divine nature, having escaped the corruption that is in the world through lust.
- 2Pet 1:3-4 NKJV

He continues, exhorting us -

“for this very reason, giving all diligence, add to your faith virtue, to virtue knowledge, to knowledge self-control, to self-control perseverance, to perseverance godliness, to godliness brotherly kindness, and to brotherly kindness love. For if these things are yours and abound, you will be neither barren nor unfruitful in the knowledge of our Lord Jesus Christ. For he who lacks these things is shortsighted, even to blindness, and has forgotten that he was cleansed from his old sins.” – 2Pet 1:5-9 NKJV

Truly, it takes effort, commitment, and letting go of our human desires and attitudes, to add these attributes to our faith, and bear the fruit of the Spirit in our personalities. The Holy Spirit, through Peter, is telling us here this is needed if we are to see our calling secure.

“Therefore, brethren, be all the more diligent to make certain about His calling and choosing you; for as long as you practice these things, you will never stumble; 11 for in this way the entrance into the eternal kingdom of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ will be abundantly supplied to you.”
– 2Pet 1:10-11 NAS

That “abundance” is the inheritance of those who secured their calling and election by adding the fruits of the Spirit to their faith, and by being faithful to the end, through life’s trials.
And these will inherit and rule over those raised to Life in the Second Resurrection (John 5:28-29, Rev 20:11-15). These are those we read about in Zephaniah’s prophecy -

“I will leave in your midst
A meek and humble people,
And they shall trust in the name of the Lord.
13 The remnant of Israel shall do no unrighteousness
And speak no lies,
Nor shall a deceitful tongue be found in their mouth;
For they shall feed their flocks and lie down,
And no one shall make them afraid.”

- Zeph 3:12-13 NKJV


Let’s leave off here for now looking at a few passages that speak of Eternity. As we meditate on the Truth they contain, we will see the promise of God’s Kingdom being fulfilled. We see man being restored to God; we see our Lord and Savior reigning as King, His princes, the overcoming saints ruling with Him; Life being ministered to the poor and afflicted; True peace upon the earth.
Let God speak to your heart as you read…

“Behold, a King shall reign in righteousness,
and princes shall rule in judgment.”

- Isaiah 32:1 NKJV

“Let us go into His tabernacle;
Let us worship at His footstool.
Arise, O Lord, to Your resting place,
You and the ark of Your strength.
Let Your priests be clothed with righteousness,
And let Your saints shout for joy.

- Psalm 132:7-9 NKJV

“ For the Lord has chosen Zion;
He has desired it for His dwelling place:
14 “This is My resting place forever;
Here I will dwell, for I have desired it.
15 I will abundantly bless her provision;
I will satisfy her poor with bread.
16 I will also clothe her priests with salvation,
And her saints shall shout aloud for joy.”

- Psalm 132:13-16 NKJV

Zion is the mountain of Jerusalem. This is that city, where God will dwell, from where Christ and the saints will reign, that is coming “down out of heaven from God.” (Rev 21:2) : New Jerusalem.

“I have installed My King Upon Zion,
My holy mountain.”

- Psalm 2:6 NAS

“Hear the word of the Lord, O nations,
And declare it in the isles afar off, and say,
‘He who scattered Israel will gather him,
And keep him as a shepherd does his flock.’
11 For the Lord has redeemed Jacob,
And ransomed him from the hand of one stronger than he.
12 Therefore they shall come and sing in the height of Zion,
Streaming to the goodness of the Lord—
For wheat and new wine and oil,
For the young of the flock and the herd;
Their souls shall be like a well-watered garden,
And they shall sorrow no more at all.

13 “Then shall the virgin rejoice in the dance,
And the young men and the old, together;
For I will turn their mourning to joy,
Will comfort them,
And make them rejoice rather than sorrow.
14 I will satiate the soul of the priests with abundance,
And My people shall be satisfied with My goodness, says the Lord.”

- Jer 31:10-14 NKJV

“Thus says the Lord:
“In an acceptable time I have heard You,
And in the day of salvation I have helped You;
I will preserve You and give You
As a covenant to the people,
To restore the earth,
To cause them to inherit the desolate heritages;
That You may say to the prisoners, ‘Go forth,’
To those who are in darkness, ‘Show yourselves.’

“They shall feed along the roads,
And their pastures shall be on all desolate heights.
10 They shall neither hunger nor thirst,
Neither heat nor sun shall strike them;
For He who has mercy on them will lead them,
Even by the springs of water He will guide them.”

- Isaiah 49:8-10 NKJV

I love it! And we see Isaiah’s prophecy fulfilled in the Book of Revelation.
The King (Lamb, Shepherd) and His kings (princes, saints), ministering Life to the saved nations on a “restored earth”; a world where suffering has ceased.

“They shall hunger no more, neither thirst anymore;
    the sun shall not strike them,
    nor any scorching heat.
17 For the Lamb in the midst of the throne will be their Shepherd,
    and He will guide them to springs of living water,
and God will wipe away every tear from their eyes.”

- Rev 7:16-17 ESV

Glory to God for His great plan!

Next… Romans 8:16-21 INHERITANCE & SUFFERING continued…

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