"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"(Romans 8:17)
Through faith we were born into God's family. He has given us a new name, a new spirit and a new future to testify to this very fact. We are heirs of God and co-heir with Christ Jesus. God has withheld nothing from us. Ephesians says, "For he chose us in him before the creation of the world to be holy and blameless in his sight. In love he predestined us to be adopted as his sons through Jesus Christ, in accordance with his pleasure and will" ( Ephesians 1:4-5 ). All of this eternal blessing grew out of His love for us. Before Christ we were helpless and hopeless without God, but through the blood of Christ we have been brought near and included in the covenant of promise ( Ephesians 2:12-13 ).
This is an amazing thing. Understanding this truth will change your entire perspective in life. But with revelation and heart change comes resistance on behalf of the world. Paul said in today's passage that "...we share in his sufferings in order that we may also share in his glory" ( Romans 8:17 ). He is talking about persecution. Paul knew from experience that sharing the gospel and seeing lives changed ignited opposition to it. He bore marks on his body over and over giving evidence to this very fact. He is saying that sometimes we will suffer ridicule, slander and pain on the account of Christ from unbelievers but this can't deter us from walking in the glory reveled to us through Christ Jesus.
Jesus said something similar, "If the world hates you, keep in mind that it hated me first. If you belonged to the world, it would love you as its own. As it is, you do not belong to the world, but I have chosen you out of the world. That is why the world hates you." ( John 15:18-19 ). Jesus suffered persecution at the hands of mankind as well. This happened not only because he was different but because it was evident that he spoke on behalf of God. He was the light of the world and the darkness could not comprehend it so they tried to destroy it.
Throughout the scriptures we are warned about this. John said, "Do not be surprised, my brothers, if the world hates you" ( I John 3:13 ). James said, "Consider it pure joy, my brothers, whenever you face trials of many kinds..." ( James 1:2 ). Peter said, "...do not be surprised at the painful trial you are suffering, as though something strange were happening to you..." ( I Peter 4:13 ). And lastly Paul said, "For your sake we face death all day long; we are considered as sheep to be slaughtered" ( Romans 8:36 ). These men knew suffering at the hands of the world and yet each one of them said and demonstrated that knowing Jesus and His power outweighed anything that the world threw their way.
That is an encouraging word for today. Even if the world hates you on the account of Christ, who cares. The glory that we are apart of overshadows persecution and trials in every way. Paul was so convinced of this fact that He went on to say, "...in all these things we are more than conquerors through him who loved us" ( Romans 8:37 ). He was beat, publicly humiliated, flogged and stoned near death and yet none of these thing deterred him. He gave up everything for the pursuit of Christ Jesus and the gospel. That was his driving force, nothing else mattered. His mission statement clear and focused..."I am not ashamed of the gospel, because it is the power of God for the salvation of everyone who believes: first for the Jew, then for the Gentile. For in the gospel a righteousness from God is revealed, a righteousness that is by faith from first to last, just as it is written: "The righteous will live by faith" ( Romans 1:16-17 ).
Sharing in Christ's suffering at the hands of unbelievers means that you are counted among his dear children. Peter said, "if you suffer as a Christian, do not be ashamed, but praise God that you bear that name" ( I Peter 4: 16 ). And that is exactly what Paul is saying in today's passage, we will share in suffering at the hands of the world because we are God's children and co-heirs with Christ. Now rejoice because this is temporary compared to the surpassing glory that will be revealed in us. Paul was a great example of faith in action. He knew God and he understood the coming glory that will be revealed in us the further we walk with Christ. Paul said, "But whatever was to my profit I now consider loss for the sake of Christ. What is more, I consider everything a loss compared to the surpassing greatness of knowing Christ Jesus my Lord, for whose sake I have lost all things. I consider them rubbish, that I may gain Christ and be found in him, not having a righteousness of my own that comes from the law, but that which is through faith in Christ-the righteousness that comes from God and is by faith" ( Philippians 3:7-9 ). This is our goal. Not caring what the world says, not caring what the world does, but considering their foolishness completely lost to us that we may know Christ and understand the righteousness we have as his children.
Today, I am blessed to be called a daughter, a sister, a friend and wife of my beloved Lord. He has used all of these descriptive relationships to state that I am everything to him. He says the same about you! He loves you so much. May his love permeate your entire spirit, soul and body today. May renewing your mind to this amazing truth change your future. Amen.