Romans 8:17
And if children, then heirs; heirs of God, and joint-heirs with Christ; if so be that we suffer with him, that we may be also glorified together.
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(17) One characteristic of the son is that he is his father’s heir. So it is with the Christian. He, too, has an inheritance—an inheritance of glory which he will share with Christ. But he must not be surprised if, before sharing the glory, he also shares the sufferings.

Suffer with him.—All who suffer for the sake of the gospel are regarded as suffering with Christ. They “drink of the cup” that He drank of (Matthew 20:22-23). (Comp. 2Corinthians 1:5; Philippians 3:10; Colossians 1:24.)



Romans 8:17

God Himself is His greatest gift. The loftiest blessing which we can receive is that we should be heirs, possessors of God. There is a sublime and wonderful mutual possession of which Scripture speaks much wherein the Lord is the inheritance of Israel, and Israel is the inheritance of the Lord. ‘The Lord hath taken you to be to Him a people of inheritance,’ says Moses; ‘Ye are a people for a possession,’ says Peter. And, on the other hand, ‘The Lord is the portion of my inheritance,’ says David; ‘Ye are heirs of God,’ echoes Paul. On earth and in heaven the heritage of the children of the Lord is God Himself, inasmuch as He is with them for their delight, in them to make them ‘partakers of the divine nature,’ and for them in all His attributes and actions.

This being clearly understood at the outset, we shall be prepared to follow the Apostle’s course of thought while he points out the conditions upon which the possession of that inheritance depends. It is children of God who are heirs of God. It is by union with Christ Jesus, the Son, to whom the inheritance belongs, that they who believe on His name receive power to become the sons of God, and with that power the possession of the inheritance. Thus, then, in this condensed utterance of the text there appear a series of thoughts which may perhaps be more fully unfolded in some such manner as the following, that there is no inheritance without sonship, that there is no sonship without a spiritual birth, that there is no spiritual birth without Christ, and that there is no Christ for us without faith.

I. First, then, the text tells us, no inheritance without sonship.

In general terms, spiritual blessings can only be given to those who are in a certain spiritual condition. Always and necessarily the capacity or organ of reception precedes and determines the bestowment of blessings. The light falls everywhere, but only the eye drinks it in. The lower orders of creatures are shut out from all participation in the gifts which belong to the higher forms of life, simply because they are so made and organised as that these cannot find entrance into their nature. They are, as it were, walled up all round; and the only door they have to communicate with the outer world is the door of sense. Man has higher gifts simply because he has higher capacities. All creatures are plunged in the same boundless ocean of divine beneficence and bestowment, and into each there flows just that, and no more, which each, by the make and constitution that God has given it, is capable of receiving. In the man there are more windows and doors opened out than in the animal He is capable of receiving intellectual impulses, spiritual emotions; he can think, and feel, and desire, and will, and resolve: and so he stands on a higher level than the beast below him.

Not otherwise is it in regard to God’s kingdom, ‘which is righteousness, and peace, and joy in the Holy Ghost.’ The gift and blessing of salvation is primarily a spiritual gift, and only involves outward consequences secondarily and subordinately. It mainly consists in the heart being at peace with God, in the whole soul being filled with divine affections, in the weight and bondage of transgression being taken away, and substituted by the impulse and the life of the new love. Therefore, neither God can give, nor man can receive, that gift upon any other terms, than just this, that the heart and nature be fitted and adapted for it. Spiritual blessings require a spiritual capacity for the reception of them; or, as my text says, you cannot have the inheritance unless you are sons. If salvation consisted simply in a change of place; if it were merely that by some expedient or arrangement, an outward penalty, which was to fall or not to fall at the will of an arbitrary judge, were prevented from coming down, why then, it would be open to Him who held the power of letting the sword fall, to decide on what terms He might choose to suspend its infliction. But inasmuch as God’s deliverance is not a deliverance from a mere arbitrary and outward punishment: inasmuch as God’s salvation, though it be deliverance from the penalty as well as from the guilt of sin, is by no means chiefly a deliverance from outward consequences, but mainly a removal of the nature and disposition that makes these outward consequences certain,-therefore a man cannot be saved, God’s love cannot save him, God’s justice will not save him, God’s power stands back from saving him, upon any other condition than this that his soul shall be adapted and prepared for the reception and enjoyment of the blessing of a spiritual salvation.

But the inheritance which my text speaks about is also that which a Christian hopes to receive and enter upon in heaven. The same principle precisely applies there. There is no inheritance of heaven without sonship; because all the blessings of that future life are of a spiritual character. The joy and the rapture and the glory of that higher and better life have, of course, connected with them certain changes of bodily form, certain changes of local dwelling, certain changes which could perhaps be granted equally to a man, of whatever sort he was. But, friends, it is not the golden harps, not the pavement of ‘glass mingled with fire,’ not the cessation from work, not the still composure, and changeless indwelling, not the society even, that makes the heaven of heaven. All these are but the embodiments and rendering visible of the inward facts, a soul at peace with God in the depths of its being, an eye which gazes upon the Father, and a heart which wraps itself in His arms. Heaven is no heaven except in so far as it is the possession of God. That saying of the Psalmist is not an exaggeration, nor even a forgetting of the other elements of future blessedness, but it is a simple statement of the literal fact of the case, ‘I have none in heaven but Thee!’ God is the heritage of His people. To dwell in His love, and to be filled with His light, and to walk for ever in the glory of His sunlit face, to do His will, and to bear His character stamped upon our foreheads-that is the glory and the perfectness to which we are aspiring. Do not then rest in the symbols that show us, darkly and far off, what that future glory is. Do not forget that the picture is a shadow. Get beneath all these figurative expressions, and feel that whilst it may be true that for us in our present earthly state, there can be no higher, no purer, no more spiritual nor any truer representations of the blessedness which is to come, than those which couch it in the forms of earthly experience, and appeal to sense as the minister of delight-yet that all these things are representations, and not adequate presentations. The inheritance of the servants of the Lord is the Lord Himself, and they dwell in Him, and there is their joy.

Well then, if that be even partially true-admitting all that you may say about circumstances which go to make some portion of the blessedness of that future life-if it be true that God is the true blessing given by His Gospel upon earth, that He Himself is the greatest gift that can be bestowed, and that He is the true Heaven of heaven-what a flood of light does it cast upon that statement of my text, ‘If children, then heirs’; no inheritance without sonship! For who can possess God but they who love Him? who can love, but they who know His love? who can have Him working in their hearts a blessed and sanctifying change, except the souls that lie thankfully quiet beneath the forming touch of His invisible hand, and like flowers drink in the light of His face in their still joy? How can God dwell in any heart except a heart which has in it a love of purity? Where can He make His temple except in the ‘upright heart and pure’ ? How can there be fellowship betwixt Him and any one except the man who is a son because he hath received of the divine nature, and in whom that divine nature is growing up into a divine likeness? ‘What fellowship hath Christ with Belial?’ is not only applicable as a guide for our practical life, but points to the principle on which God’s inheritance belongs to God’s sons alone. ‘Blessed are the pure in heart, for they shall see God’; and those only who love, and are children, to them alone does the Father come and does the Father belong.

So much, then, for the first principle: No inheritance without sonship.

II. Secondly, the text leads us to the principle that there is no sonship without a spiritual birth.

The Apostle John in that most wonderful preface to his Gospel, where all deepest truths concerning the Eternal Being in itself and in the solemn march of His progressive revelations to the world are set forth in language simple like the words of a child and inexhaustible like the voice of a god, draws a broad distinction between the relation to the manifestations of God which every human soul by virtue of his humanity sustains, and that into which some, by virtue of their faith, enter. Every man is lighted by the true light because he is a man. They who believe in His name receive from Him the prerogative to become the sons of God. Whatever else may be taught in John’s words, surely they do teach us this, that the sonship of which he speaks does not belong to man as man, is not a relation into which we are born by natural birth, that we become sons after we are men, that those who become sons do not include all those who are lighted by the Light, but consist of so many of that greater number as receive Him, and that such become sons by a divine act, the communication of a spiritual life, whereby they are born of God.

The same Apostle, in his Epistles, where the widest love is conjoined with the most firmly drawn lines of moral demarcation between the great opposites-life, light, love-death, darkness, hate-contrasts in the most unmistakable antithesis the sons of God who are known for such because they do righteousness, and the world which knew not Christ, nor knows those who, dimly beholding, partially resemble Him. Nay, he goes further, and says in strange contradiction to the popular estimate of his character, but in true imitation of that Incarnate love which hated iniquity, ‘In this the children of God are manifested and the children of the devil’-echoing thus the words of Him whose pitying tenderness had sometimes to clothe itself in sharpest words, even as His hand of powerful love had once to grasp the scourge of small cords. ‘If God were your Father, ye would love Me: ye are of your father, the devil.’

These are but specimens of a whole cycle of Scripture statements which in every form of necessary implication, and of direct statement, set forth the principle that he who is born again of the Spirit, and he only, is a son of God.

Nothing in all this contradicts the belief that all men are the children of God, inasmuch as they are shaped by His divine hand and He has breathed into their nostrils the breath of life. They who hold that sonship is obtained on the condition which these passages seem to assert, do also rejoice to believe and to preach that the Father’s love broods over every human heart as the dovelike Spirit over the primeval chaos. They rejoice to proclaim that Christ has come that all, that each, may receive the adoption of sons. They do not feel that their message to, nor their hope for, the world is less blessed, less wide, because while they call on all to come and take the things that are freely given to them of God, they believe that those only who do come and take possess the blessing. Every man may become a son and heir of God by faith in Jesus Christ.

But notwithstanding all the mercies that belong to us all, notwithstanding the divine beneficence, which, like the air and the light, pervades all nature, and underlies all our lives, notwithstanding the universal adaptation and intention of Christ’s work, notwithstanding the wooing of His tender voice and the unceasing beckoning of His love, it still remains true that there are men in the world, created by God, loved and cared for by Him, for whom Christ died, who might be, but are not, sons of God.

Fatherhood! what does that word itself teach us? It speaks of the communication of a life, and the reciprocity of love. It rests upon a divine act, and it involves a human emotion. It involves that the father and the child shall have kindred life-the father bestowing and the child possessing a life which is derived; and because derived, kindred; and because kindred, unfolding itself in likeness to the father that gave it. And it requires that between the father’s heart and the child’s heart there shall pass, in blessed interchange and quick correspondence, answering love, flashing backwards and forwards, like the lightning that touches the earth and rises from it again. A simple appeal to your own consciousness will decide if that be the condition of all men. Are you, my brother, conscious of anything within you higher than the common life that belongs to you because you are an immortal soul? Can you say, ‘From God’s hand I have received the granting and implantation of a new and better life?’ Is your claim verified by this, that you are kindred with God in holy affections, in like purposes, loving what He loves, hating what He hates, doing what He wills, accepting what He sends, longing for Himself, and blessed in His presence? Is your sonship proved by the depth and sincerity, the simplicity and power, of your throbbing heart of love to your Father in heaven? Or are all these emotions empty words to you, things that are spoken in pulpits, but to which you have nothing in your life corresponding? Oh then, my friend, what am I to say to you? What but this? no sonship except by that spiritual birth; and if not such sonship, then the spirit of bondage. If not such sonship, why then, by all the tendencies of your nature, and by all the affinities of your moral being, if you are not holding of heaven, you are holding of hell; if you are not drawing your life, your character, your emotions, your affections, from the sacred well that lies up yonder, you are drawing them from the black one that lies down there. There are heaven, hell, and the earth that lies between, ever influenced either from above or from below. You are sons because born again, or slaves and ‘enemies by wicked works.’ It is a grim alternative, but it is a fact.

III. Thirdly, no spiritual birth without Christ.

We have seen that the sonship which gives power of possessing the inheritance and which comes by spiritual birth, rests upon the giving of life, spiritual life, from God; and unfolds itself in certain holy characters, and affections, and desires, the throbbing of the whole soul in full accord and harmony with the divine character and will. Well then, it looks very clear that a man cannot make that new life for himself, cannot do it because of the habit of sin, and cannot do it because of the guilt and punishment of sin. If for sonship there must be a birth again, why, surely, the very symbol might convince you that such a process does not lie within our own power. There must come down a divine leaven into the mass of human nature, before this new being can be evolved in any one. There must be a gift of God. A divine energy must be the source and fountain of all holy and of all Godlike life. Christ comes, comes to make you and me live again as we never lived before; live possessors of God’s love; live tenanted and ruled by a divine Spirit; live with affections in our hearts which we never could kindle there; live with purposes in our souls which we never could put there.

And I want to urge this thought, that the centre point of the Gospel is this regeneration; because if we understand, as we are too much disposed to do, that the Gospel simply comes to make men live better, to work out a moral reformation,-why, there is no need for a Gospel at all. If the change were a simple change of habit and action on the part of men, we could do without a Christ. If the change simply involved a bracing ourselves up to behave better for the future, we could manage somehow or other about as well as or better than we have managed in the past. But if redemption be the giving of life from God; and if redemption be the change of position in reference to God’s love and God’s law as well, neither of these two changes can a man effect for himself. You cannot gather up the spilt water; you cannot any more gather up and re-issue the past life. The sin remains, the guilt remains. The inevitable law of God will go on its crashing way in spite of all penitence, in spite of all reformation, in spite of all desires after newness of life. There is but one Being who can make a change in our position in regard to God, and there is but one Being who can make the change by which man shall become a ‘new creature.’ The Creative Spirit that shaped the earth must shape its new being in my soul; and the Father against whose law I have offended, whose love I have slighted, from whom I have turned away, must effect the alteration that I can never effect-the alteration in my position to His judgments and justice, and to the whole sweep of His government. No new birth without Christ; no escape from the old standing-place, of being ‘enemies to God by wicked works,’ by anything that we can do: no hope of the inheritance unless the Lord and the Man, the ‘second Adam from heaven,’ have come! He has come, and He has ‘dwelt with us,’ and He has worn this life of ours, and He has walked in the midst of this world, and He knows all about our human condition, and He has effected an actual change in the possible aspect of the divine justice and government to us; and He has carried in the golden urn of His humanity a new spirit and a new life which He has set down in the midst of the race; and the urn was broken on the cross of Calvary, and the water flowed out, and whithersoever that water comes there is life, and whithersoever it comes not there is death!

IV. Last of all, no Christ without faith.

It is not enough, brethren, that we should go through all these previous steps, if we then go utterly astray at the end, by forgetting that there is only one way by which we become partakers of any of the benefits and blessings that Christ has wrought out. It is much to say that for inheritance there must be sonship. It is much to say that for sonship there must be a divine regeneration. It is much to say that the power of this regeneration is all gathered together in Christ Jesus. But there are plenty of people that would agree to all that, who go off at that point, and content themselves with this kind of thinking-that in some vague mysterious way, they know not how, in a sort of half-magical manner, the benefit of Christ’s death and work comes to all in Christian lands, whether there be an act of faith or not! Now I am not going to talk theology at present, at this stage of my sermon; but what I want to leave upon all your hearts is this profound conviction,-Unless we are wedded to Jesus Christ by the simple act of trust in His mercy and His power, Christ is nothing to us. Do not let us, my friends, blink that deciding test of the whole matter. We may talk about Christ for ever; we may set forth aspects of His work, great and glorious. He may be to us much that is very precious; but the one question, the question of questions, on which everything else depends, is, Am I trusting to Him as my divine Redeemer? am I resting in Him as the Son of God? Some of us here now have a sort of nominal connection with Christ, who have a kind of imaginative connection with Him; traditional, ceremonial, by habit of thought, by attendance on public worship, and by I know not what other means. Ceremonies are nothing, notions are nothing, beliefs are nothing, formal participation in worship is nothing. Christ is everything to him that trusts Him. Christ is nothing but a judge and a condemnation to him who trusts Him not. And here is the turning-point, Am I resting upon that Lord for my salvation? If so, you can begin upon that step, the low one on which you can put your foot, the humble act of faith, and with the foot there, can climb up. If faith, then new birth; if new birth, then sonship; if sonship, then an heir of God, and a joint-heir with Christ.’ But if you have not got your foot upon the lowest round of the ladder, you will never come within sight of the blessed face of Him who stands at the top of it, and who looks down to you at this moment, saying to you, ‘My child, wilt thou not cry unto Me “Abba, Father?”‘



Romans 8:17

In the former part of this verse the Apostle tells us that in order to be heirs of God, we must become sons through and joint-heirs with Christ. He seems at first sight to add in these words of our text another condition to those already specified, namely, that of suffering with Christ.

Now, of course, whatever may be the operation of suffering in fitting for the possession of the Christian inheritance, either here or in another world, the sonship and the sorrows do not stand on the same level in regard to that possession. The one is the indispensable condition of all; the other is but the means for the operation of the condition. The one-being sons, ‘joint-heirs with Christ,’-is the root of the whole matter; the other-the ‘suffering with Him,’-is but the various process by which from the root there come ‘the blade, and the ear, and the full corn in the ear.’ Given the sonship-if it is to be worked out into power and beauty, there must be suffering with Christ. But unless there be sonship, there is no possibility of inheriting God; discipline and suffering will be of no use at all.

The chief lesson which I wish to gather from this text now is that all God’s sons must suffer with Christ; and in addition to this principle, we may complete our considerations by adding briefly, that the inheritance must be won by suffering, and that if we suffer with Him, we certainly shall receive the inheritance.

I. First, then, sonship with Christ necessarily involves suffering with Him.

I think that we entirely misapprehend the force of this passage before us, if we suppose it to refer principally or merely to the outward calamities, what you call trials and afflictions, which befall people, and see in it only the teaching, that the sorrows of daily life may have in them a sign of our being children of God, and some power to prepare us for the glory that is to come. There is a great deal more in the thought than that, brethren. This is not merely a text for people who are in affliction, but for all of us. It does not merely contain a law for a certain part of life, but it contains a law for the whole of life. It is not merely a promise that in all our afflictions Christ will be afflicted, but it is a solemn injunction that we seek to know ‘the fellowship of His sufferings, and be made conformable to the likeness of His death,’ if we expect to be ‘found in the likeness of His Resurrection,’ and to have any share in the community of His glory. In other words, the foundation of it is not that Christ shares in our sufferings; but that we, as Christians, in a deep and real sense do necessarily share and participate in Christ’s. We ‘suffer with Him’; not He suffers with us.

Now, do not let us misunderstand each other, or the Apostle’s teaching. Do not suppose that I am forgetting, or wishing you to account as of small importance, the awful sense in which Christ’s suffering stands as a thing by itself and unapproachable, a solitary pillar rising up, above the waste of time, to which all men everywhere are to turn with the one thought, ‘I can do nothing like that; I need to do nothing like it; it has been done once, and once for all; and what I have to do is, simply to lie down before Him, and let the power and the blessings of that death and those sufferings flow into my heart.’ The Divine Redeemer makes eternal redemption. The sufferings of Christ-the sufferings of His life, and the sufferings of His death-both because of the nature which bore them, and of the aspect which they wore in regard to us, are in their source, in their intensity, in their character, and consequences, unapproachable, incapable of repetition, and needing no repetition whilst the world shall stand. But then, do not let us forget that the very books and writers in the New Testament that preach most broadly Christ’s sole, all-sufficient, eternal redemption for the world by His sufferings and death, turn round and say to us too, ‘“Be planted together in the likeness of His death”; you are “crucified to the world” by the Cross of Christ; you are to “fill up that which is behind of the sufferings of Christ.”‘ He Himself speaks of our drinking of the cup that He drank of, and being baptized with the baptism that He was baptized with, if we desire to sit yonder on His throne, and share with Him in His glory.

Now what do the Apostles, and what does Christ Himself, in that passage that I have quoted, mean, by such solemn words as these? Some people shrink from them, and say that it is trenching upon the central doctrine of the Gospel, when we speak about drinking of the cup which Christ drank of. They ask, Can it be? Yes, it can be, if you will think thus:-If a Christian has the Spirit and life of Christ in him, his career will be moulded, imperfectly but really, by the same Spirit that dwelt in his Lord; and similar causes will produce corresponding effects. The life of Christ which-divine, pure, incapable of copy and repetition-in one aspect has ended for ever for men, remains to be lived, in another view of it, by every Christian, who in like manner has to fight with the world; who in like manner has to resist temptation; who in like manner has to stand, by God’s help, pure and sinless, in so far as the new nature of him is concerned, in the midst of a world that is full of evil. For were the sufferings of the Lord only the sufferings that were wrought upon Calvary? Were the sufferings of the Lord only the sufferings which came from the contradiction of sinners against Himself? Were the sufferings of the Lord only the sufferings which were connected with His bodily afflictions and pain, precious and priceless as they were, and operative causes of our redemption as they were? Oh no. Conceive of that perfect, sinless, really human life, in the midst of a system of things that is all full of corruption and of sin; coming ever and anon against misery, and wrong-doing, and rebellion; and ask yourselves whether part of His sufferings did not spring from the contact of the sinless Son of man with a sinful world, and the apparently vain attempt to influence and leaven that sinful world with care for itself and love for the Father. If there had been nothing more than that, yet Christ’s sufferings as the Son of God in the midst of sinful men would have been deep and real. ‘O faithless generation, how long shall I be with you? how long shall I suffer you?’ was wrung from Him by the painful sense of want of sympathy between His aims and theirs. ‘Oh that I had wings like a dove, for then I would fly away and be at rest,’ must often be the language of those who are like Him in spirit, and in consequent sufferings.

And then again, another branch of the ‘sufferings of Christ’ is to be found in that deep and mysterious fact on which I durst not venture to speak beyond what the actual words of Scripture put into my lips-the fact that Christ wrought out His perfect obedience as a man, through temptation and by suffering. There was no sin within Him, no tendency to sin, no yielding to the evil that assailed. ‘The Prince of this world cometh, and hath nothing in Me.’ But yet, when that dark Power stood by His side, and said, ‘If thou be the Son of God, cast Thyself down,’ it was a real temptation and not a sham one. There was no wish to do it, no faltering for a moment, no hesitation. There was no rising up in that calm will of even a moment’s impulse to do the thing that was presented;-but yet it was presented, and, when Christ triumphed, and the tempter departed for a season, there had been a temptation and there had been a conflict. And though obedience be a joy, and the doing of His Father’s will was His delight, as it must needs be in pure and in purified hearts; yet obedience which is sustained in the face of temptation, and which never fails, though its path lead to bodily pains and the ‘contradiction of sinners,’ may well be called suffering. We cannot speak of our Lord’s obedience as the surrender of His own will to the Father’s, with the implication that these two wills ever did or could move except in harmony. There was no place in Christ’s obedience for that casting out of sinful self which makes our submission a surrender joined with suffering, but He knew temptation. Flesh, and sense, and the world, and the prince of this world, presented it to Him; and therefore His obedience too was suffering, even though to do the will of His Father was His meat and His drink, His sustenance and His refreshment.

But then, let me remind you still further, that not only does the life of Christ, as sinless in the midst of sinful men, and the life of Christ, as sinless whilst yet there was temptation presented to it-assume the aspect of being a life of suffering, and become, in that respect, the model for us; but that also the Death of Christ, besides its aspect as an atonement and sacrifice for sin, the power by which transgression is put away and God’s love flows out upon our souls, has another power given to it in the teaching of the New Testament. The Death of Christ is a type of the Christian’s life, which is to be one long, protracted, and daily dying to sin, to self, to the world. The crucifixion of the old manhood is to be the life’s work of every Christian, through the power of faith in that Cross by which ‘the world is crucified unto Me, and I unto the world.’ That thought comes over and over again in all forms of earnest presentation in the Apostle’s teaching. Do not slur it over as if it were a mere fanciful metaphor. It carries in its type a most solemn reality. The truth is, that, if a Christian, you have a double life. There is Christ, with His power, with His Spirit, giving you a nature which is pure and sinless, incapable of transgression, like His own. The new man, that which is born of God, sinneth not, cannot sin. But side by side with it, working through it, working in it, leavening it, indistinguishable from it to your consciousness, by anything but this that the one works righteousness and the other works transgression, there is the ‘old man,’ ‘the flesh,’ ‘the old Adam,’ your own godless, independent, selfish, proud being. And the one is to slay the other! Ah, let me tell you, these words-crucifying, casting out the old man, plucking out the right eye, maiming self of the right hand, mortifying the deeds of the body-they are something very much deeper and more awful than poetical symbols and metaphors. They teach us this, that there is no growth without sore sorrow. Conflict, not progress, is the word that defines man’s path from darkness into light. No holiness is won by any other means than this, that wickedness should be slain day by day, and hour by hour. In long lingering agony often, with the blood of the heart pouring out at every quivering vein, you are to cut right through the life and being of that sinful self; to do what the Word does, pierce to the dividing asunder of the thoughts and intents of the heart, and get rid by crucifying and slaying-a long process, a painful process-of your own sinful self. And not until you can stand up and say, ‘I live, yet not I, but Christ liveth in me,’ have you accomplished that to which you are consecrated and vowed by your sonship-’being conformed unto the likeness of His death,’ and ‘knowing the fellowship of His sufferings.’

It is this process, the inward strife and conflict in getting rid of evil, which the Apostle designates here with the name of ‘suffering with Christ, that we may be also glorified together.’ On this high level, and not upon the lower one of the consideration that Christ will help us to bear outward infirmities and afflictions, do we find the true meaning of all that Scripture teaching which says indeed, ‘Yes, our sufferings are His’; but lays the foundation of it in this, ‘His sufferings are ours.’ It begins by telling us that Christ has done a work and borne a sorrow that no second can ever do. Then it tells us that Christ’s life of obedience-which, because it was a life of obedience, was a life of suffering, and brought Him into a condition of hostility to the men around Him-is to be repeated in us. It sets before us the Cross of Calvary, and the sorrows and pains that were felt there;-and it says to us, Christian men and women, if you want the power for holy living, have fellowship in that atoning death; and if you want the pattern of holy living, look at that Cross and feel, ‘I am crucified to the world by it; and the life that I live in the flesh I live by the faith of the Son of God.’

Such considerations as these, however, do not necessarily exclude the other one {which we may just mention and dwell on for a moment}, namely, that where there is this spiritual participation in the sufferings of Christ, and where His death is reproduced and perpetuated, as it were, in our daily mortifying ourselves in the present evil world-there Christ is with us in our afflictions. God forbid that I should try to strike away any word of consolation that has come, as these words of my text have come, to so many sorrowing hearts in all generations, like music in the night and like cold waters to a thirsty soul. We need not hold that there is no reference here to that comforting thought, ‘In all our affliction He is afflicted.’ Brethren, you and I have, each of us-one in one way, and one in another, all in some way, all in the right way, none in too severe a way, none in too slight a way-to tread the path of sorrow; and is it not a blessed thing, as we go along through that dark valley of the shadow of death down into which the sunniest paths go sometimes, to come, amidst the twilight and the gathering clouds, upon tokens that Jesus has been on the road before us? They tell us that in some trackless lands, when one friend passes through the pathless forests, he breaks a twig ever and anon as he goes, that those who come after may see the traces of his having been there, and may know that they are not out of the road. Oh, when we are journeying through the murky night, and the dark woods of affliction and sorrow, it is something to find here and there a spray broken, or a leafy stem bent down with the tread of His foot and the brush of His hand as He passed, and to remember that the path He trod He has hallowed, and thus to find lingering fragrances and hidden strengths in the remembrance of Him as ‘in all points tempted like as we are,’ bearing grief for us, bearing grief with us, bearing grief like us.

Oh, do not, do not, my brethren, keep these sacred thoughts of Christ’s companionship in sorrow, for the larger trials of life. If the mote in the eye be large enough to annoy you, it is large enough to bring out His sympathy; and if the grief be too small for Him to compassionate and share, it is too small for you to be troubled by it. If you are ashamed to apply that divine thought, ‘Christ bears this grief with me,’ to those petty molehills that you sometimes magnify into mountains, think to yourselves that then it is a shame for you to be stumbling over them. But on the other hand, never fear to be irreverent or too familiar in the thought that Christ is willing to bear, and help you to bear, the pettiest, the minutest, and most insignificant of the daily annoyances that may come to ruffle you. Whether it be a poison from one serpent sting, or whether it be poison from a million of buzzing tiny mosquitoes, if there be a smart, go to Him, and He will help you to endure it. He will do more, He will bear it with you, for if so be that we suffer with Him, He suffers with us, and our oneness with Christ brings about a community of possessions whereby it becomes true of each trusting soul in its relations to Him, that ‘all mine {joys and sorrows alike} are thine, and all thine are mine.’

II. There remain some other considerations which may be briefly stated, in order to complete the lessons of this text. In the second place, this community of suffering is a necessary preparation for the community of glory.

I name this principally for the sake of putting in a caution. The Apostle does not mean to tell us, of course, that if there were such a case as that of a man becoming a son of God, and having no occasion or opportunity afterwards, by brevity of life or other causes, for passing through the discipline of sorrow, his inheritance would be forfeited. We must always take such passages as this-which seem to make the discipline of the world an essential part of the preparing of us for glory-in conjunction with the other undeniable truth which completes them, that when a man has the love of God in his heart, however feebly, however newly, there and then he is fit for the inheritance. I think that Christian people make vast mistakes sometimes in talking about ‘being made meet for the inheritance of the saints in light,’ about being ‘ripe for glory,’ and the like. One thing at any rate is very certain, it is not the discipline that fits. That which fits goes before the discipline, and the discipline only develops the fitness. ‘God hath made us meet for the inheritance of the saints in light,’ says the Apostle. That is a past act. The preparedness for heaven comes at the moment-if it be a momentary act-when a man turns to Christ. You may take the lowest and most abandoned form of human character, and in one moment {it is possible, and it is often the case} the entrance into that soul of the feeble germ of that new affection shall at once change the whole moral habitude of that man. Though it be true, then, that heaven is only open to those who are capable-by holy aspirations and divine desires-of entering into it, it is equally true that such aspirations and desires may be the work of an instant, and may be superinduced in a moment in a heart the most debased and the most degraded. ‘This day shalt thou be with Me in Paradise,’-fit for the inheritance!

And, therefore, let us not misunderstand such words as this text, and fancy that the necessary discipline, which we have to go through before we are ready for heaven, is necessary in anything like the same sense in which it is necessary that a man should have faith in Christ in order to be saved. The one may be dispensed with, the other cannot. A Christian at any period of his Christian experience, if it please God to take him, is fit for the kingdom. The life is life, whether it be the budding beauty and feebleness of childhood, or the strength of manhood, or the maturity and calm peace of old age. But ‘add to your faith,’ that ‘an entrance may be ministered unto you abundantly.’ Remember that though the root of the matter, the seed of the kingdom, may be in you; and that though, therefore, you have a right to feel that, at any period of your Christian experience, if it please God to take you out of this world, you are fit for heaven-yet in His mercy He is leaving you here, training you, disciplining you, cleansing you, making you to be polished shafts in His quiver; and that all the glowing furnaces of fiery trial and all the cold waters of affliction are but the preparation through which the rough iron is to be passed before it becomes tempered steel, a shaft in the Master’s hand.

And so learn to look upon all trial as being at once the seal of your sonship, and the means by which God puts it within your power to win a higher place, a loftier throne, a nobler crown, a closer fellowship with Him ‘who hath suffered, being tempted,’ and who will receive into His own blessedness and rest them that are tempted. ‘The child, though he be an heir, differeth nothing from a servant, though he be lord of all; but is under tutors and governors.’ God puts us in the school of sorrow under that stern tutor and governor here, and gives us the opportunity of ‘suffering with Christ,’ that by the daily crucifixion of our old nature, by the lessons and blessings of outward calamities and change, there may grow up in us a still nobler and purer, and perfecter divine life; and that we may so be made capable-more capable, and capable of more-of that inheritance for which the only necessary thing is the death of Christ, and the only fitness is faith in His name.

III. Finally, that inheritance is the necessary result of the suffering that has gone before.

The suffering results from our union with Christ. That union must needs culminate in glory. It is not only because the joy hereafter seems required in order to vindicate God’s love to His children, who here reap sorrow from their sonship, that the discipline of life cannot but end in blessedness. That ground of mere compensation is a low one on which to rest the certainty of future bliss. But the inheritance is sure to all who here suffer with Christ, because the one cause-union with the Lord-produces both the present result of fellowship in His sorrows, and the future result of joy in His joy, of possession of His possessions. The inheritance is sure because Christ possesses it now. The inheritance is sure because earth’s sorrows not merely require to be repaid by its peace, but because they have an evident design to fit us for it, and it would be destructive to all faith in God’s wisdom, and God’s knowledge of His own purposes, not to believe that what He has wrought us for will be given to us. Trials have no meaning, unless they are means to an end. The end is the inheritance, and sorrows here, as well as the Spirit’s work here, are the earnest of the inheritance. Measure the greatness of the glory by what has preceded it. God takes all these years of life, and all the sore trials and afflictions that belong inevitably to an earthly career, and works them in, into the blessedness that shall come. If a fair measure of the greatness of any result of productive power be the length of time that was taken for getting it ready, we can dimly conceive what that joy must be for which seventy years of strife and pain and sorrow are but a momentary preparation; and what must be the weight of that glory which is the counterpoise and consequence to the afflictions of this lower world. The further the pendulum swings on the one side, the further it goes up on the other. The deeper God plunges the comet into the darkness out yonder, the closer does it come to the sun at its nearest distance, and the longer does it stand basking and glowing in the full blaze of the glory from the central orb. So in our revolution, the measure of the distance from the farthest point of our darkest earthly sorrow, to the throne, may help us to the measure of the closeness of the bright, perfect, perpetual glory above, when we are on the throne: for if so be that we are sons, we must suffer with Him; if so be that we suffer, we must be glorified together!

Romans 8:17-18. And if children, then heirs — Those that are really the children of God by adoption and grace, are not only under his peculiar direction, protection, and care, and shall be supplied with all things which God sees will be good for them; not only have they free liberty of access to God, and intercourse with God, as dutiful children have access to, and intercourse with, their father; but they are heirs of God — Heirs of the heavenly inheritance, and by the redemption of their bodies, being made immortal like God, they shall enjoy that inheritance. See note on 1 Peter 1:3. And joint-heirs with Christ — Entering into his joy, Matthew 25:21; sitting down on his throne, Revelation 3:21; partaking of his glory, John 17:22; Php 3:21; Colossians 3:4; 1 Corinthians 15:49; and inheriting all things, Revelation 21:7, jointly with him who is heir of all things, Hebrews 1:2. Only it must be observed, he is heir by nature, we by grace. If so be that we suffer with him — Willingly and cheerfully for righteousness’ sake: that is, we shall enjoy these glorious and heavenly blessings, provided we be willing, not only to deny ourselves all prohibited carnal gratifications, and to govern our lives by his precepts, but also to suffer with him whatever reproach, infamy, persecution, and other injuries we may be called to undergo, in conformity to him, for the honour of God, and the testimony of a good conscience; that we may be also glorified together — With him, which we cannot be in any other way than by suffering with him: he was glorified in this way, and so must we be. Here the apostle passes to a new proposition, on which he enlarges in the following verses; opening a source of consolation to the children of God in every age, by drinking at which they may not only refresh themselves under the severest sufferings, but derive new strength to bear them with fortitude. For I reckon, &c. — Here the apostle gives the reason why he now mentions sufferings and glory. When that glory shall be revealed in us, then the sons of God will be revealed also. That the sufferings of this present time — How long continued and great soever they may be; are not worthy to be compared — Or to be set in opposition to, or contrasted with, (as the original expression, αξια τα παθηματα προς την μελλουσαν δοζαν, evidently implies,) the glory which shall be revealed in us — Which we shall then partake of, and the nature and greatness of which we shall then, and not before, fully understand. For it far exceeds our present most elevated conceptions, and can never be fully known till we see each other wear it. These privileges are a fifth motive to holiness.

8:10-17 If the Spirit be in us, Christ is in us. He dwells in the heart by faith. Grace in the soul is its new nature; the soul is alive to God, and has begun its holy happiness which shall endure for ever. The righteousness of Christ imputed, secures the soul, the better part, from death. From hence we see how much it is our duty to walk, not after the flesh, but after the Spirit. If any habitually live according to corrupt lustings, they will certainly perish in their sins, whatever they profess. And what can a worldly life present, worthy for a moment to be put against this noble prize of our high calling? Let us then, by the Spirit, endeavour more and more to mortify the flesh. Regeneration by the Holy Spirit brings a new and Divine life to the soul, though in a feeble state. And the sons of God have the Spirit to work in them the disposition of children; they have not the spirit of bondage, which the Old Testament church was under, through the darkness of that dispensation. The Spirit of adoption was not then plentifully poured out. Also it refers to that spirit of bondage, under which many saints were at their conversion. Many speak peace to themselves, to whom God does not speak peace. But those who are sanctified, have God's Spirit witnessing with their spirits, in and by his speaking peace to the soul. Though we may now seem to be losers for Christ, we shall not, we cannot, be losers by him in the end.And if children - If adopted into his family.

Then heirs - That is, he will treat us as sons. An heir is one who succeeds to an estate. The meaning here is, that if we sustain the relation of sons to God, that we shall be treated as such, and admitted to share his favors. An adopted son comes in for a part of the inheritance, Numbers 27.

Heirs of God - This expression means that we shall be partakers of that inheritance which God confers on his people. That inheritance is his favor here, and eternal life hereafter. This is an honor infinitely higher than to be heir to the most princely earthly inheritance; or than to be the adopted son of the most magnificent earthly monarch.

And joint heirs with Christ - Christ is by eminence the "Son of God." As such, he is heir to the full honors and glory of heaven. Christians are united to him; they are his friends; and they are thus represented as destined to partake with him of his glory. They are the sons of God in a different sense from what he is; he by his nature and high relation, they by adoption; but still the idea of sonship exists in both; and hence, both will partake in the glories of the eternal inheritance; compare Philippians 2:8-9; Hebrews 2:9-10. The connection between Christ and Christians is often referred to in the New Testament. The fact that they are united here is often alleged as a reason why they will be in glory, John 14:19, "Because I live, ye shall live also," 2 Timothy 2:11-12; "For if we be dead with him, we shall also live with him; if we suffer, we shall also reign with him, Revelation 3:21; "To him that overcometh will I grant to sit with me in my throne," etc., John 17:22-24.

If so be - If this condition exist; We shall not be treated as co-heirs with him, unless we here give evidence that we are united to him.

That we suffer with him - Greek, "If we suffer together, that we may also be glorified together." If we suffer in his cause; bear afflictions as he did; are persecuted and tried for the same thing; and thus show that we are united to him. It does not mean that we suffer to the same extent that he did, but we may imitate him in the kind of our sufferings, and in the spirit with which they are borne; and thus show that we are united to him.

That we may be also glorified together - If united in the same kind of sufferings, there is propriety in being united in destiny beyond the scenes of all suffering, the kingdom of blessedness and love.

17. And if children, then heirs—"heirs also."

heirs of God—of our Father's kingdom.

and joint-heirs with Christ—as the "First-born among many brethren" (Ro 8:29), and as "Heir of all things" (Heb 1:2).

if so be that we suffer—"provided we be suffering with Him."

that we may be also glorified together—with Him. This necessity of conformity to Christ in suffering in order to participate in His glory, is taught alike by Christ Himself and by His apostles (Joh 12:24-26; Mt 16:24, 25; 2Ti 2:12).

And if children, then heirs; there is a parallel text in Galatians 4:7. It is not so with the children of earthly princes: see 2 Chronicles 21:3.

Joint-heirs with Christ; or co-heirs with Christ; he is our elder Brother, and is not ashamed to call us brethren: the inheritance is his by nature, ours by grace.

If so be that we suffer with him; the cross of Christ is the condition of our heavenly inheritance. The pronoun him is not in the original, but fitly supplied in our translation. Suffering with him, is much the same with suffering for him: suffering believers do but pledge Christ in the cup that he began to them.

That we may be also glorified together; or, glorified with him, not with equal glory, but according to our proportion; he was glorified in this way, Luke 24:26, and so must we. Three things are implied in our being

glorified together:

1. Conformiry; we shall in some measure be like him in glory: see John 17:22 Philippians 3:21.

2. Concomitancy; we shall be present with him in glory, John 17:24 1 Thessalonians 4:17.

3. Conveyance; our glory will be from him; his glory will reflect on us, and we shall shine in his beams.

And if children, then heirs,.... Children, whether natural or adopted, are heirs to their parents, and according to the Roman laws, which some think the apostle here respects, whether male or female; but according to the Jewish laws (c), females did not inherit only in case of want of male issue; for though Job's daughters inherited with his sons, this was a peculiar case; and the Jewish writers say (d), it was , "on account of their worth and beauty"; yet adopted children among them, whether male or female, were equal to natural children in possessing the inheritance; however, the apostle includes both here, who are all one in Christ Jesus, and are all the children of God by faith in him, and so

heirs of God: either efficiently, he makes them heirs; they are not so by nature, nor do they become such by the works of the law; but God his rich grace adopts them into his family, begets them again, and freely bestows the inheritance on them: or subjectively, they are heirs of himself; he not only makes them his heirs, but he himself is their inheritance and portion; they are heirs of all things which are his; they share in his love, grace, and mercy; and his wisdom, power, truth, and faithfulness, and indeed, every perfection of his are engaged on their side, and in their favour; all things are theirs who have God to be their God and Father; the Gospel and the ministers of it are theirs; the world and the things of it, life and death, things present and things to come; heaven and happiness, which go by the names of glory, riches of glory, kingdom, eternal life and salvation, are all represented as things to be inherited by the saints. The Jews speak of God's inheriting of man, as the highest pitch of greatness man can arrive unto; thus explaining and paraphrasing on the names of the places from which the Israelites journeyed, Numbers 21:18, say (e),

"when a man makes himself as a wilderness, which is common to all, the law is given to him by gift, as it is said, "and from the wilderness to Mattanah": and when it is given to him by gift, , "God inherits him", as it is said, "and from Mattanah to Nahaliel"; the gloss upon it is, the law becomes to him , "as an inheritance"; and when , "God inherits him", he ascends to his greatness, i.e. to the highest pitch of it, as it is said, from "Nahaliel to Bamot";''

for when a man is worthy of this, as one of their commentators (f) on this place observes, he is called, "the inheritance of God", according to Deuteronomy 32:9; but our apostle speaks not of the saints as God's inheritance, which to be sure they are, but of God as theirs; and not of their inheriting the law, but God himself, which is certainly the highest pitch of honour and greatness that men can possibly enjoy. It is added,

and joint heirs with Christ: it is through him they are heirs of God and of glory; and with him will they partake of and enjoy the inheritance, which is secured to them by their being co-heirs with him: nor does this at all derogate from the honour of Christ, as heir of all things, since he is the firstborn among many brethren, and in this, as in all things, he has the pre-eminence. But before the saints enjoy the inheritance with Christ they must expect to suffer with him and for him; though in the issue they may be assured of this, that they shall be glorified together; their sufferings lie in the way to glory, and glory is and will be the end of their sufferings:

if so be that we suffer with him, that we may be also glorified together: Christ and his people being one, he the head, and they the members, suffer together; when he suffered, they suffered with him and in him, as their head and representative; and they partake of the virtue and efficacy of his sufferings; and they also suffer afflictions, many of them at least of the same kind with Christ, only with these differences; his were penal evils, theirs not; his were attended with a vast sense of wrath and terror, theirs oftentimes with, joy and comfort; his were meritorious, not so theirs. Moreover, many of their sufferings are for the sake of Christ and his Gospel; on the other hand, by reason of that union which is between Christ and believers, he suffers with them, he reckons their afflictions his, and sympathizes with them; and the consideration of this greatly animates and encourages them in their sufferings, and especially when they observe that they shall be "glorified together"; not with his essential glory, nor with his mediatorial glory, but with that glory which his Father has given him for them. There is a glorification of the saints in Christ, and a glorification of them by Christ, and a glorification of them with Christ, which will consist in likeness to him, and in the everlasting vision and enjoyment of him.

(c) Misn. Bava Bathra, c. 8. sect. 2. T. Hieros. Bava Bathra, fol. 16. 1.((d) Jarchi in Job 42.15. (e) T, Bab. Nedarim, fol. 55. 1.((f) En Yaacob, fol. 22. 1.

{18} And if children, then {s} heirs; heirs of God, and joint-heirs with Christ; {19} if so be that we suffer with him, that we may be also glorified together.

(18) A proof of what follows from the confirmation: because he who is the son of God enjoys God with Christ.

(s) Partakers of our Father's goods, and that freely, because we are children by adoption.

(19) Now Paul teaches by what way the sons of God come to that happiness, that is, by the cross, as Christ himself did: and in addition declares to them fountains of comfort: firstly, that we have Christ a companion and associate of our afflictions: secondly, that we will also be his companions in everlasting glory.

Romans 8:17. From the truth of the filial relation to God, Paul now passes over by the continuative δέ to the sure blissful consequence of it,—and that indeed in organic reference to the ζήσεσθε promised in Romans 8:13.

From our childship follows necessarily our heirship. Comp. Galatians 4:7. Both are to be left perfectly general, without supplying Θεοῦ, since it is only what follows that furnishes the concrete, more precise definition, in which here the general relation is realized.

κληρονόμοι Θεοῦ] The inheritance, which God once on a time transfers to His children as their property, is the salvation and glory of the Messianic kingdom. Comp. Romans 4:14. God is, of course, in this case conceived not as a dying testator, but as the living bestower of His goods on His children (Luke 15:12). However, the conclusion (Romans 8:17) forbids us to disregard the idea of inheritance, and to find only that of the receiving possession represented (in opposition to van Hengel).

σύγκληρ. δὲ Χριστοῦ] Not something greater than κληρον. Θεοῦ, on the contrary in substance the same, but specifically characterized from the standpoint of our fellowship with Christ, whose coheirs we must be as κληρον. Θεοῦ, since, having entered into sonship through the υἱοθεσία, we have become Christ’s brethren (Romans 8:29). Moreover, that Paul has here in view, not the analogy of the Hebrew law of inheritance that conferred a man’s intestate heritage only on sons of his body, if there were such, but that of the Roman law (Fritzsche, Tholuck, van Hengel; see more particularly on Galatians 4:7), is the historically necessary supposition, which can least of all seem foreign or inappropriate in an epistle to the Romans.

συμπάσχ.] Whosoever, for the sake of the gospel, submits to suffering (Matthew 10:38; Matthew 16:24), suffers with Christ; i.e. he has actual share in the suffering endured by Christ (1 Peter 4:13), drinks the same cup that He drank (Matthew 20:22 f.). Comp. on 2 Corinthians 1:5; Php 3:10; Colossians 1:24. This fellowship of suffering Paul regards as that which must be presupposed in order to the attainment of glory, of participation in the δόξα of Christ (εἴπερ, as in Romans 8:9); not indeed as meritum, or pretium vitae aeternae, but as obedientia propter ordinem a Deo sancitum, Melancthon. Comp. 2 Timothy 2:11 f. This conviction developed itself, especially under the external influence of the circumstances of an age fruitful in persecution, just as necessarily and truly out of the inward assurance that in the case of Jesus Himself His suffering, willed by God, and undertaken and borne in obedience to the Father, was the condition of His glory (Luke 24:26; Php 2:6 ff., al.), as it in its turn became a rich spring of the enthusiasm for martyrdom. Olshausen (comp. also Philippi) mixes up an element which is here foreign: “participation in the conflict with sin in themselves and in the world.” Even without introducing this element foreign to the word itself, the συμπάσχειν, as the presupposition involved in the joint-heirship, has its universal applicability, based not merely on the general participation of all in the suffering of this time, but especially also on the relation of the children of God to the ungodly world (comp. John 7:7; John 15:18 f., John 17:14).

ἵνα καὶ συνδοξ.] in order to be also glorified with Him; dependent not on συγκληρ. (Tholuck), but on συμπάσχ., the divine final aim of which, known to the sufferer, it subjoins.

Romans 8:17. Yet this last is involved, for “if children, also heirs”. Cf. Galatians 4:7 where κληρονόμος is relative to υἱὸς; and all the passages in which the Spirit is regarded as “the earnest” of an inheritance: 2 Corinthians 1:22; 2 Corinthians 5:5, Ephesians 1:14. It is from God the inheritance comes, and we share in it with Christ (Mark 12:7). For what it is, see 1 Corinthians 2:9 f. The inheritance attached to Divine sonship is attained only on the condition expressed in the clause εἴπερ συμπάσχομεν ἵνα καὶ συνδοξασθῶμεν. On εἴπερ, see Romans 8:9. “Romans 8:17 gains in pathos, when we see that the share of the disciples in the Master’s sufferings was felt to be a fact of which there was no question.” Simcox, Language of N.T., p. 171. Paul was sure of it in his own case, and took it for granted in that of others. Those who share Christ’s sufferings now will share His glory hereafter; and in order to share His glory hereafter it is necessary to begin by sharing His sufferings here.

17. and if children, &c.] Here St Paul reasons onward from the primary fact, witnessed to by the Spirit, of the Christian’s sonship. He has in view now, more than ever yet in the Epistle, the hope of eternal Glory, when in the fullest sense the saints shall possess the Kingdom of God. This possession he views as an Inheritance by virtue of Birth into the Family of God.—For the figure, cp. Matthew 25:34; Acts 20:32; 1 Corinthians 15:50; Galatians 4:7; Ephesians 1:14; James 2:5; 1 Peter 1:4; &c., &c.

joint-heirs with Christ] The Divine and Human Eldest Brother (Romans 8:29.)

if so be] Same word as Romans 8:9. St Paul reminds his readers of the great fact and principle that the path of obedience and self-denial is the one path to Heaven. And he chooses phraseology (see note on “if so be,” Romans 8:9,) which suggests to the reader’s soul the self-enquiry whether the will is really brought into “the fellowship of the sufferings of Christ.” (Php 3:10)—To “suffer with the Lord” is not only generally to follow Him in patience and meekness; but specially to bear, in loving fidelity, the pains of that conflict (outward, or inward, or both,) against sin, to which we are inevitably called by the fact of our union to Him as His brethren. Such “sufferings,” in one form or another, are never out of date.

that we may be, &c.] “Suffering with Christ” is the necessary antecedent to “glorification with Him;” by way, not of merit, but of preparation. The eternal bliss is a gift in the most absolute sense; (Romans 6:23, &c., &c.,) but the capacity to enjoy it is, certainly in a great measure, imparted only in the school of trial. See, for an illustration of this passage, 1 Peter 1:5-7.

together] i.e. “together with Him;” in His eternal presence, and as sharers in the joy and dignity of His eternal kingdom. Before the throne of the Lamb, His servants “shall reign for ever and ever.” (Revelation 22:5.) See too Colossians 3:4; 1 Peter 4:13; 1 John 3:1-2; Revelation 3:21.

Romans 8:17. Συγκληρονόμοι, joint-heirs) that we may know, that it is a very great inheritance, which God gives to us: for He has assuredly given a great inheritance to His Son.—εἴπερ, if indeed) This short clause is a new proposition, which has respect to those things, which follow.—συμπάσχομεν, we suffer with) To this word refer sufferings in the following verse, and in like manner, we may be glorified together in this verse refers to the glory in the following verse.

Romans 8:17Joint-heirs

Roman law made all children, including adopted ones, equal heritors. Jewish law gave a double portion to the eldest son. The Roman law was naturally in Paul's mind, and suits the context, where adoption is the basis of inheritance.

If so be that (εἴπερ)

The conditional particle with the indicative mood assumes the fact. If so be, as is really the case.

Suffer with Him

Mere suffering does not fulfill the condition. It is suffering with Christ. Compare with Him - all things, Romans 8:32.

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