Coheirs with Jesus

Paul presents Abraham as the great exemplar of the faith, the model for believers to emulate as they live from the “faith of Jesus.” God counted his faith as “righteousness” while he was uncircumcised and thus justified him apart from the “works of the Torah.” He is the father of those who live “from the faith of Jesus” whether Jew or Gentile and the “heir of the world.”

Only after instituting the covenant with him did Yahweh command Abraham to implement the rite of circumcision as the “seal” of the “righteousness” he had demonstrated already through his faith in the promise of God.

Cosmos alone - Photo by Josh Gordon on Unsplash
[Photo by Josh Gordon on Unsplash]

In 
Romans, references to “promise” and “heir” indicate future realities, things not yet received. For Abraham and his “Seed,” the receipt of the “inheritance” would mean nothing less than the possession of the entire “world” or kosmos. Paul universalized the original land promise so it included the whole planet rather than just the small territory of Canaan - (Romans 4:11-14).

Moreover, since the receipt of the inheritance is through faith, the “promise is firm to all the seed” of Abraham, that is, all those who live by the same “faith as our father Abraham” - Regardless of race or nationality.

God appointed Abraham the “father of many nations” because he believed the word of the promise given by the One who raises the dead. Therefore, He granted him “seed” although Sarah’s womb was effectively “dead” because of old age.

References to “raising the dead,” “heir,” “seed,” and “children” in Chapter 4 anticipate the discussion in Chapter 8 about the resurrection, the redemption of the creation, and our inheritance with Christ.

  • 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 alive 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” - (Romans 8:10-11).

We remain subject to death, but that is not the end of the story. His Spirit “will quicken our death-doomed bodies.” In the preceding passage, Paul links the past Resurrection of Jesus to our future resurrection. The Spirit is the guarantor of that hope and the agent who will accomplish it.

If God is to redeem humanity and recover all that was lost, redemption must include our physical bodies. The creation was enslaved by corruption and death because of Adam’s disobedience so it must be redeemed likewise.

  • The Spirit itself bears witness with our spirit that we are children of God; and if children, heirs also, heirs, indeed, of God but coheirs with Christ, if we are suffering together that we may also be glorified together… for the eager outlook of creation is ardently waiting for the revelation of the sons of God” - (Romans 8:15-20).

Though still mortal, we are the “children of God” and “coheirs with Christ,” but to be a coheir with him also means suffering for his sake so that we “also will be glorified together” with him. However, the sufferings of “this present season cannot be compared with the glory that is about to be revealed,” that is, on the day of Christ’s “arrival” from Heaven.

The creation was subjected to death and decay. It continues to suffer while “awaiting the revelation of the sons of God.” When we 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  For we know that all creation is sighing together and travailing-in-birth-throes together until the present, and not only so, but we also who have the first fruits of the Spirit in us sigh, ardently awaiting sonship, the redemption of our body” - (Romans 8:21-23).

Thus, Paul connects the coming New Creation to our bodily resurrection. For righteous men, everlasting life will be received at the resurrection, an event that will coincide with the New Creation when Jesus returns. The redemption of the creation is dependent on the resurrection of the “sons of God” - Bodily resurrection and New Creation are inextricably linked.

Graveyard - Photo by Madeleine Maguire on Unsplash
[Photo by Madeleine Maguire on Unsplash]

God “
foreknew” the men and women who would exercise faith in His Son, and therefore, He worked all things together for their good - “to those who are called according to purpose.” That purpose was to produce children conformed to the “image of his Son, that he might be the firstborn among many brethren.”

Those whom he “called,” he also “justified” and “glorified.” In this context, that glory will mean their “redemption,” their resurrection from the dead. That will be when we find ourselves conformed fully to the image of the glorified Son of God.

This is the goal for all men and women who “walk in the faith of our father Abraham,” whether Jew or Gentile, circumcised or uncircumcised. As the “children of Abraham,” we are coheirs with the “firstborn” son and thus entitled to inherit everlasting life and glory in the coming New Creation.



RELATED POSTS:
  • The Faith of Abraham - (The faith of uncircumcised Abraham provides an example for Jewish and Gentile believers who live from the faith of Jesus – Romans 4:11-17)
  • Inheritance of Abraham - (Believers are the heirs of Abraham, and the possession of their inheritance is secured by possession of the Gift of the Spirit)
  • Salvation for All - (The Gospel of the Kingdom announced by Jesus of Nazareth offers salvation and life to men and women of every nation and people)

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