We are children of God
Romans 8:16-17 Paul reminds us of the benefits and responsibilities of our relationship with God
“The Spirit Himself testifies with our spirit that we are children of God, and if children, heirs also, heirs of God and fellow heirs with Christ, if indeed we suffer with Him so that we may also be glorified with Him.”
Romans 8:16-17 NASB1995
How do we know that we are children of God? This is the question that Paul answered in this part of his epistle to the Romans, written while he was living in Corinth. The answer lies in these two verses.
Paul tells us that those who were born again by the Holy Spirit know this intuitively, because the Spirit testifies to us that this is true. A confusing answer, right? There are some people who assume that they are God’s children, although they are filled with sin and rebel against God’s will, keeping them from being filled with the Holy Spirit.
Likewise, some Christians know deep down in their souls that they are God’s children, yet they listen to the secular attacks on their faith and start believing the lies that God doesn’t exist or love them. The witness of the Holy Spirit is still there; these people just don’t believe the truth.
Paul is saying that we don’t need to wonder if we are Christians or not. God’s children know their place in God’s heart. The ancient Mosaic Law said that all truths had to be established by two or more witnesses; we have our own witness, and the testimony of the Holy Spirit, which establishes the truth that we are children of God.
With Paul having assured the Christians in Corinth of their legacy as children of God, he then goes on to explain what the benefits and responsibilities of that relationship were. The main benefit of being in Christ is that we can relate to the Father as Jesus does — we are heirs of God, and joint heirs with Christ. We also have an inheritance from the Father, that of being in His family and benefitting from eternal life with Him.
Remember my last devotional two days ago (Matthew 19:21) in which Jesus spoke to the rich young man who asked what he needed to do to obtain or inherit eternal life? The young man didn’t understand that inheritance doesn’t come from doing certain things, but from being a part of a family. All he really needed to do is to accept the invitation of Jesus to follow Him!
The benefit of being in Christ is profound and eternal, but we must live up to the responsibility and share in His suffering. By this point in our mortal lives — regardless of our age — we have faced trials and suffering, and understand that these are part of our lives. We will inevitably suffer, whether that suffering is caused by the loss of a loved one or friend, experiencing loneliness, living in poverty or famine, or struggling with disease.
The last line of this verse tells us that suffering in our present lives is a condition of our future glorification. God gives us our inheritance with His Son, but we must also suffer as He did. We may not want to experience suffering, but we will not receive our inheritance and glory without it.
Heaven On Wheels Daily Prayer:
Father in Heaven, thank You for the Holy Spirit and His witness with my human spirit in reassuring me of my place in Your family. I pray that I will abide in You and You in me, so the Holy Spirit teaches me and guides me into all truth. In Jesus’ name, AMEN.