Ask God to orient or reorient you to Himself. Confess any known sin. Thank Him for His forgiveness. Be still and reflect on Jesus and His sacrifice for you. Ask the Holy Spirit to open your heart and mind to God’s Word. Pray for others in your life that they, too, would know and love God today.
“14 Because those who are led by the Spirit of God are sons of God. 15 For you did not receive a spirit that makes you a slave again to fear, but you received the Spirit of sonship. And by Him we cry, ‘Abba, Father.’ 16 The Spirit Himself testifies with our spirit that we are God’s children. 17 Now if we are children, then we are heirs— heirs of God and co-heirs with Christ, if indeed we share in His sufferings in order that we may also share in His glory.”
As I think about verse 17, I’m struck by the thought of being an “heir of God”. As followers of Christ, we’re heirs of God. Think about that for a moment. What a privilege! An heir is a person who is legally entitled to the property or rank of another. In fact, Paul stated that we are now co-heirs with Christ; that should fill you and I with unspeakable joy! I’m certain that’s exactly what Paul wanted to do here; He wanted us to see our new position as something more than just some legal transaction. It’s much more than that! It’s deeper than some transaction because it’s based on a personal relationship, a new relationship that’s now possible between ourselves and God. It’s all possible only because of Christ. Because of His work, we don’t just have a new status, but we have a new attitude to God—He is truly our Father and we are His children.
I was also struck by the comment about “sharing in Christ’s suffering.” There is a price for being identified with Jesus. Paul wanted us to know that even though we are co-heirs, as Christians we will face suffering. We, too, pay a price for following Jesus.
What does suffering look like? For many of us in the United States, it might mean economic or social persecution. However, in many parts of the world, Christians face some of the most severe persecution along with death.
Most of us who read this devo today live in places where Christianity is tolerated, so the challenge for us is not to become complacent. We must keep the need to live as Jesus lived at the forefront of our minds. How do we do that? Serve others, give up your own rights, and resist the pressure to conform to the world. Remember that following Jesus will always exact a price.
One last thought…can you see the indicative/imperative in this passage? You may not be like me–I can be a little slow at times–but I struggled a bit to get my head wrapped around indicative/imperative when Terry first mentioned it. I think I’ve got a better understanding of it now, though. Just remember: the indicative indicates or expresses an objective fact or reality. The imperative expresses a command, an order, an entreaty, a request or an exhortation. It is the attitude of choice. The indicative refers to what God has done for believers in Christ. The imperative is the believer’s side of the equation. You can think of it like this: God has done this, therefore you should do that.
So what has God done for us? He’s made us heirs! That is a fact—it’s objective reality. If you are a believer in Christ, you are a child of God with full rights and privileges.
So what should we do? Understand that when we join Christ as a co-heir, we also join in His suffering. Suffering for Christ will happen at some point for all believers. Our part is to stand firm in Christ. We’re to understand that although we have been made heirs, we still live in the time between the inauguration and consummation of the Kingdom of God. So if we share in His suffering now, we will share in His glory later as His co-heirs.
Take some time now and think about what it means for you to be a co-heir with Christ. In what ways do you find encouragement from this truth? In what ways do you find strength from it? How can this truth help you with any current suffering you may be experiencing?
*From what you have just read and considered, what is a personal implication/application for your life today?
(Personalize this prayer today; make it specific to the circumstances that face you.)
Ask God to lead you through His Spirit as you go through your day. Ask Him to bring to mind the truth of the Gospel and its implications for what you will encounter today. Tell Him “Yes” to His will and ask Him for His power and protection to live out this “yes.” Ask God to create and reveal opportunities to proclaim the Good News today. KEEP PRAYING THROUGHOUT YOUR DAY.
Inspiration and insight for the devotionals came from the following books: Reading Romans with John Stott; The Message of Romans: God’s Good News for the World (The Bible Speaks Today Series), Stott, John; Romans (The NIV Application Commentary Book 6) Moo, Douglas J.; Encountering the Book of Romans: A Theological Survey (Encountering Biblical Studies) Moo, Douglas J.; Believers Bible Commentary; The Expositor’s Bible Commentary, with the New International Version, Romans through Galatians; NIV Application Study Bible. The Cambridge Bible Commentary, Romans, Best, Ernest.