Wednesday, October 18, 2023

A Glorious Inheritance (Romans 8:18-39)

"But if we hope for what we do not see, we eagerly wait for it with perseverance" (Rom. 8:25).

In Romans 8, Paul encourages his fellow believers to persevere in their suffering. This would have meant a great deal coming from Paul because he knew what it was like to suffer. He had been beaten, stoned, thrown in prison, hounded like a dog, shipwrecked, rejected by his people. He knew hunger and thirst, exhaustion and poverty. He suffered some kind of thorn in his flesh, which might have been a painful illness or disability. Because he was a man who knew suffering in a personal way, each of us can find great encouragement by his letter.

Paul found encouragement and strength in the midst of suffering by remembering who he was in relation to God and what he could expect in the future. Paul was not an outcast or a slave, but he was a son. As a son of God he was an heir, and as an heir of God he was a joint heir with Christ. To be a joint heir with Christ meant that he must suffer as Christ had suffered. But that was not all. Once the suffering was done, he would be glorified even as Christ had been glorified.

Those who suffer as the children of God will be raised in glory as the children of God. At that time, we will receive the inheritance of the Lord. Like the son who looks forward to the day when he will be old enough to receive his inheritance, so we look forward to the day of glory. On that day we will brought into the heavenly kingdom of God, fitted with a crown of glory, and clothed in robes of majesty.

When Paul said that the sufferings of this present time are not worthy to be compared with the glory that will be revealed in us, he knew what he was talking about. Not only had he experienced great suffering, but he had peered into the third heaven. He had a foretaste of what awaits us. Like Isaiah, he saw the glory of the Lord, and its splendor left him speechless. Once he had seen God’s glory, the inheritance of the saints, he knew that all the suffering in the world could not outweigh the glory we will receive in heaven. That is our hope, our encouragement. As children of God, we have an inheritance in store for us, one that will make all the pain and sorrow of this life melt into oblivion.

What things in your life, thoughts, or emotions, cloud your view of heaven? Whenever you are discouraged, afraid, or in pain, read passages that describe heaven. Memorize one or two verses.