Reference: Romans 8:16-17
Joint heirs with Christ
The concept of family membership–being a son or daughter–comes with the privilege of being an heir of all the family’s treasure. There is no end to the benefits and blessings God bestows upon His children.
Let us also examine the basic fact that we “are joint heirs with Christ.” What does that mean? Christ does not inherit salvation, but he does suffer for the sake of redemption.
There is a fine, important point here. The believer does not, in any way, participate in suffering to gain salvation. It is not a joint effort with Christ. He has fully paid with His blood to cover for every sin.
Let us understand that Christ’s work as Redeemer, particularly on the cross, was accepted by God the Judge. It’s complete. When He walked from the tomb, He walked with victory over sin and the power of Satan, with the benefits gained. Christ earned the inheritance. That inheritance, now ours, means we live no longer in bondage, but are adopted. Thus, heirs are those who share in the benefits and the inheritance of restored fellowship with God.
That is the benefit of Christ’s work. It’s who we are: Joint heirs with Christ.
That is the comfort we’ve been exploring throughout this catechism. The statement we’re currently discussing now says the Holy Spirit will assure you of this comfort.
But Christ’s work is hated by the world. Believers (like you and me) join with Christ in being hated by the world and thus suffer the consequence. Being identified with Christ means being willing to face the hatred of the world, in which there may even be great earthly suffering.
Now let’s be honest. As I indicated earlier, we struggle in this life. There is great temptation. It is hard to give up things that are so attractive in the world. But you are called to deny the lust of the flesh, to even suffer for the sake of the Kingdom of Christ if necessary.
But the suffering of those for whom Christ died and has identified as His own is not a means for anyone to work their way into a relationship acceptable to God.
Believing such a lie (that we can earn God’s favor) means following a pathway forever causing you to wonder… are you good enough? And that is a false gospel.
But being a child of God, based on the finished work of Christ in fulfillment of God’s plan, and thus having the Holy Spirit testify to our spirit, yours and mine, that is the basis upon which you can be sure and certain in your faith.
If you are not a child of God, if the comfort spoken of in this statement of faith is not yours, and you won’t care. You won’t even ask whether you might or might not be elect. You will be happy in your state of rebellion. I trust that is not the case for any who calls themselves Christian. Rather you will rejoice in being a joint heir and put your trust in God.
The matter is quite simple. Do you believe God means what He says?
Blog post content taken from a sermon series delivered by Dr. Maynard Koerner, President and Professor of Ministerial Studies at Heidelberg Theological Seminary.