Chapter # 8 Paragraph # 2 Study # 5
Thesis: The issues of "The Inheritance" consist of the degree to which The Father has developed His children into His sons.
Introduction: It seems clear that Paul's desire in our text/context is to establish his readers' sense of destiny. He wants them to be very clear on certain immutable factors. First, he wants to make sure that his readers understand that they do not live in a "consequence free zone". The "freedom" that God has granted to those who believe Him is a "freedom from the application of His justice to them". God, as The Father, is only interested in "bringing many sons to glory" (Hebrews 2:10); He is not interested in addressing those sons' activities from the perspective of "Justice" (Romans 4:8). Then, he wants to make sure that his readers grasp the reality of the rule of cause/effect in respect to the outcomes of life by "flesh" or "Spirit": making choices and taking actions are the seeds of the inevitable harvest to come. Then, he wants his readers to realize the superior power of God's Spirit's abilities to empower and direct the "children" into the life of "sons". And, then, finally, he wants to nail down the issues of their essential identity as the children of God, the primary one of which is how their identity affects their final destiny. If they are "children", they are the heirs of God as The Father. If, however, they are "sons", they are the co-heirs of Christ as the Eventual King of the Kingdom of The Father.
Thus, this evening we are going to see if we can nail down these "destiny" issues.
March 19, 2017
- I. The "Destiny" of the "Child".
- A. By definition, the "child" of God is the individual who has been born again by the Spirit of God in response to a person's faith in the Gospel as to how one is justified before God.
- B. This identity is no respecter of temporal age: at the point of regeneration, without regard for the age/experience of the regenerated, a person becomes a "born-one" of The Father.
- C. The point is that the "child" is such by "faith" in the promise of The Father regarding The Son.
- D. And, as a "child" our text says that such a person becomes (emphatically - men ) an "heir" of God.
- 1. According to Galatians 4:1, an "heir" is "lord of all".
- 2. According to this context, being an "heir" doesn't do much in terms of privileges because of "diminished capacities" as a "lord".
- 3. According to our present text, an "heir" is a "sharer in the glory".
- 4. These two texts help us to understand what it means to be "an heir of God".
- a. First, to be an "heir" of God means to be able to enter into the experience of an "executor of power" in respect to the "glory" of The Father.
- 1) The "glory" of The Father is the sum total of all of His various attributes, and all are infinite in scope.
- 2) The "heir" is given authority to rule in direct proportion to his/her actual development in those attributes as a child.
- b. But, second, to be an "heir" of God means to be restricted/limited in terms of how much power is to be turned over to the child.
- 1) The determining factor here is the child's developed capacities in respect to the "glory".
- 2) There is a basic package that is granted to every "child" without respect to "capacity development" (the thief on the cross is granted this basic experience of eternal life in spite of the total absence of developed character).
- II. The "Destiny" of the "Son".
- A. Our context defines a "son" as one who has learned to follow the lead of the Spirit.
- B. This is an on-going learning process with definite, finite boundaries.
- C. Our text says that being a "co-heir with Christ" is dependent upon the degree to which a person followed the Spirit into the learning process.
- 1. The Christ is the Full Heir of The Father as the Ultimate Ruler of the Kingdom in eternity.
- 2. This privilege was extended because the Christ was the Greatest Servant Who learned from the things He suffered.
- 3. The text says that our "inheritance" in regard to the Christ is an inheritance of "shared rule in His Kingdom".
- 4. The degree of privileges extended are tied to the degree of suffering we willingly endured and permitted to conform us to the likeness of the Christ.
- 5. The bottom line is "participation in the glory" (we are to be "glorified together").
- a. The meaning of this is revealed by John 17:5 where Jesus prays for a restoration of what He had before He descended into humanity's limitations.
- b. Thus, the "inheritance" has this bottom line: whatever degree of "glory" that has been developed in us by our sufferings with Him will be the determining factor in regard to the position of service extended to us in the Eternal Kingdom.