“Wrestling With Romans”
The Cross & Crown (Chapter 8 Verses 1-17)
The last stab at these first seventeen verses. The inference from the previous verse is this, if you are a child of heaven, then you are an heir of heaven, along with Jesus (v17; Galatians 4.7). We inherit all that God has promised us in his word. We inherit all that God has promised Jesus as a result of his redemptive work, we are co-heirs with him and we will share this inheritance with our elder ‘Brother’ (Hebrews 2.11). He has already entered into his, in his ascension, enthronement, and his ruling the universe (Philippians 2.5-11), but one day we too who have been made prophets, priests and kings with him (1Peter 2.9), will reign with him in glory (v17b). But it is only through Jesus we obtain this inheritance, not independent of him, no way. He has done the work, we are passive, through all he has done for us and given us, taking our condemnation (v1), bringing us into the family of God (John 1.12), we share the rewards. You see what I mean when I say salvation is much more than simply forgiveness of sins, glorious though that is, we inherit a kingdom, an everlasting kingdom. Think of it. An inheritance fit for the Son of God, is ours too. We are heirs of God, stupendous. Are we going to risk losing such an inheritance, by perhaps turning away from him in our suffering (v17b), if we endure that suffering as he endured, we will inherit. Not because we suffered, but because of what we are, children of God.
It was through faith in Christ that we were joined to him, it was his sufferings that atoned for our sins. There lies the difference our sufferings do not atone for anyone, or anything. To suggest for one moment that our suffering could gain any merit for ourselves or any other before God would be a dreadful suggestion to make. It would be an insult to Calvary. But we do and will suffer because we belong to him (2Corinthians 4.10; Philippians 3.10; 1Peter 4.13; John 15.18), for the sake of Jesus. There are times of course when we suffer because of our own wrong-doing (1Peter 2.20; 1Peter 4.15), that is not what is referred to here. Then there is the common sufferings of humanity which we have a share in too, we do not expect to escape such just because we are Christians. No, Paul means the cross-carrying discipleship that brings the reproach of Christ upon us (Matthew 10.38; Matthew 16.24; Galatians 6.12). To shun that cross-carrying is to shun the sharing of his glory too. You do not get one without the other. No cross no crown, no cross no glory. So we joyfully, gladly submit to the Spirit’s leading, all the way to glory.
(© James R Hamilton, written September, 1997)