Coheirs with Jesus

The covenant with Abraham is fulfilled in Jesus, the heir, including the promised inheritance of landRomans 8:1-23

New Creation - Photo by Olivia Hutcherson on Unsplash
In
Romans, Paul presents Abraham as the great exemplar of faith, the model for all men and women who choose to live from faith. God counted the Patriarch’s faith as “righteousness” while he was yet uncircumcised, and thus He justified him apart from the “works of the Law.” Consequently, he became the father of everyone who is “from faith,” both Jews and Gentiles, as well as the “heir of the world” - [Photo by Olivia Hutcherson on Unsplash].

According to the Apostle, only after instituting the covenant did Yahweh give Abraham circumcision as the “seal” of the “righteousness” that he had demonstrated already:
  • (Romans 4:11-14) – “And a sign he received, circumcision, a seal of the righteousness of the faith which he had while yet uncircumcised; to the end, he might be the father of all that believe during uncircumcision, to the end, the same righteousness might be reckoned to them; and the father of circumcision to them who are not of the circumcision only, but who also walk in the steps of the faith while yet uncircumcised of our father Abraham. For not through the law does the promise belong to Abraham or to his seed, that he should be heir of the world, but through righteousness from faith. For if they who are of the law are heirs, faith is made void and of no effect is the promise.”
References to “promise” and “heir” in the passage point to future realities, things not yet received. For Abraham and his “seed,” the promised inheritance will be nothing less than the entire “world” or kosmos. In stating this, Paul universalized the original land promise now to include the entire planet. And since the promised inheritance is through faith, the “promise is firm to all the seed” of Abraham, to all who live by the same “faith as our father Abraham.”

 

God appointed Abraham the “father of many nations” because he believed the word of the One who raises the dead, and therefore, He granted him “seed” though Sarah’s womb was “dead” due to the ravages of old age. And the promise to inherit the “world” was for the Patriarch and his “seed.”


Here, the references to “raising the dead,” “heir,” “seed,” and “children” anticipate the discussion in chapter 8 on the resurrection, the redemption of the creation, and our inheritance with Christ:

  • (Romans 8:10-11) – “If anyone has not Christ’s Spirit, the same is not his; but if Christ is in you, the body, indeed, is dead because of sin, but the spirit is life because of righteousness; moreover, if the Spirit of him that raised Jesus from the dead dwells in you, he that raised Christ Jesus from the dead will quicken even your death-doomed bodies through his indwelling Spirit.”

Our present mortal bodies are “dead because of sin,” and we all are still subject to death. But that is not the end of the story - “If the Spirit of Him that raised Jesus from the dead dwells in you He will quicken your death-doomed bodies.” Here, Paul links the past resurrection of Jesus to the future resurrection of the saints.


If God is to redeem mankind and recover all that was lost, redemption must include our physical bodies. Likewise, the creation that was also enslaved by corruption and death because of Adam’s sin must be redeemed.

  • (Romans 8:15-20) – “For you have not received a spirit of bondage leading back into fear, but you have received a spirit of sonship, whereby we are exclaiming Abba! Oh Father! The Spirit itself is bearing witness with our spirit that we are children of God; and if children, heirs also, heirs, indeed, of God but co-heirs with Christ, if, at least, we are suffering together in order that we may also be glorified together. For I reckon that unworthy are the sufferings of the present season to be compared with the glory about to be revealed towards us; for the eager outlook of creation is ardently waiting for the revelation of the sons of God.”

Though still mortal, believers are “children of God” and “coheirs with Christ.” But to be a coheir with His Son means to suffer for his sake so that we “also will be glorified together” with him. But the sufferings of “this present season cannot be compared with the glory that is about to be revealed.”


The creation itself has been subjected to death and decay, and it has suffered until the present hour while “awaiting the revelation of the sons of God.” And when they are “revealed,” the “creation itself also shall be freed from the bondage of decay into the freedom of the glory of the sons of God.”

  • (Romans 8:21-23) – “That creation itself also shall be freed from the bondage of the decay into the freedom of the glory of the sons of God; For we know that all creation is sighing together and travailing-in-birth-throes together until the present, and not only so, but we ourselves also who have the first-fruit of the Spirit within our own selves do sigh, sonship ardently awaiting, the redemption of our body.

And so, Paul also links the New Creation to the bodily resurrection of the saints. This is what it means to be an “heir of the world.” Everlasting is received at the resurrection, an event that will coincide with the New Creation. Moreover, the redemption of the created order is dependent on the resurrection of the “sons of God.” And here, the promises of bodily resurrection and New Creation are inextricably linked.


God “foreknew” the men and women who would exercise faith in His Son, and therefore He is well able to work together all things for good “to them that are called according to purpose.” And that purpose is to produce children, “many brethren,” who will be conformed to the “image of his Son, that he might be the firstborn among many brethren.”


Moreover, those whom he “called,” he also “justified,” and He also “glorified” them, which, in this context, means their “redemption,” their resurrection from the dead when they will be conformed fully to the image of the glorified Son of God.


This is the “purpose” for all men and women who “walk in the faith of our father Abraham,” whether Jew or Gentile, circumcised or uncircumcised. And as the “children of Abraham,” we are the coheirs with the “firstborn” son, Jesus, now entitled to inherit everlasting life in the coming New Creation. And though called to suffer with him in this present life, we will become conformed fully to his image and full of his glory in the coming age when God raises the dead and reveals His sons for all to see.


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