In our study tonight, we return back to the 8th chapter of Romans. Romans chapter 8, it's a...a great challenge and I...I consider myself having accomplished something significant in moving through this chapter as rapidly as I have. I confess I've left a lot of things out, because there's so much here and so much related to what this text has to say. But I must confess, as we now approach verse 17 of Romans chapter 8, we may find ourselves of necessity slowing down a little bit. As we come to Romans 8:17, we come to the subject of glorification, the believer’s glorification.
You'll notice verse 17, it says, "And if children, heirs also, heirs of God and fellow heirs with Christ, if indeed we suffer with Him in order that we may also be glorified with Him." This is the great part of the Christian life. This is the end of the story. This is the culmination of everything. And all of us, as Christians, if we understand our Christian faith, live in the hope of the glory which is to come. We all anticipate the time when we will be free of this fallen flesh, free of our sinful tendencies. We all anticipate the time when we will be completely delivered form any taint of sin at all, when we will enter into the presence of Jesus Christ and be made like Him.
We are reminded, of course, of that wonderful promise in 1 John chapter 3, "Beloved, now we are children of God." That's true of us now. “But it has not appeared, as yet, what we shall be. We know that when He appears, we shall be like Him. Because we shall see Him just as He is, and everyone who has this hope fixed on Him, purifies himself just as He is pure.”
We live in the light of this great hope. Paul, in writing to Timothy, called it loving His appearing. The hope of glory is the theme, then, of this passage, starting in verse 17. And it opens to us immense riches as we walk through these great verses, all the way down, really, to verse 30. From verse 17 to verse 30 covers the future glory of the children of God.
Now just to give you the context again so we kind of set ourselves in the...in the right place in our text, we remember that the purpose of this entire chapter is to affirm something said in verse 1. What was said in verse 1 is, "There is, therefore, now no condemnation for those who are in Christ Jesus." If you're a Christian, if you're in Christ Jesus, you will never be judged. “Condemnation” is another word for “judgment.” You will never be judged. You will never be condemned. You are in a no-condemnation status with God.
This is security for us. This is safety for us. This means that we are absolutely safe and secure as believers in Jesus Christ. This assurance of a no-condemnation status, in spite of our weakness, which was indicated in chapter 7 remember? We don't do what we ought to do. We do what we ought not to do. We are weak, and we don't have the ability to secure ourselves. We don't have the ability to create our own safety. We don't have the ability to hang onto God, to hang onto Christ, to hang onto righteousness, to hang onto obedience on our own. In fact, Paul says, "Oh wretched man that I am."
We are converted, and we are regenerated, and we are new creations, but we still have the flesh. We have a new creation, remember, incarcerated in unredeemed flesh. And it's like a body of death that clings to us and drags us down and transfers its infection to us. According to chapter 7, we can't keep ourselves in a no-condemnation status. We can't hold onto God on our own. Chapter 8 defines for us then the special ministry of the Holy Spirit by which He does what we cannot do.
And as we come into chapter 8, we've identified this chapter as life in the Spirit. It starts out with that affirmation. We have a no-condemnation status. We will never be judged, and that is because the Holy Spirit is confirming our salvation. The Holy Spirit takes us all the way to glory. And as we unfolded the chapter, we noted, first of all, that He does it by freeing us from sin and death. We saw that in verses 2 and 3. He does that by freeing us from sin and death through the wonderful work of imputated...imputation, whereby our sins are imputed to Christ, and Christ's righteousness is imputed to us. He has delivered us from the law of sin of death, because Christ has paid the penalty.
Secondly, He enables us to fulfill the law. In verse 4, through imputed righteousness, we are able to fulfill every requirement in the law, because the imputed...because, rather, the righteousness of Christ is put to our account. So He frees us from sin and death. It no longer is the sovereign in our lives. He enables us to fulfill the law by granting us the righteousness of Christ. Then in verses 5 through 11, He changes our nature. This is the Spirit's work in conversion or regeneration or the new birth by which we are changed from the inside. Then in verses 12 and 13, the Holy Spirit maintains our no-condemnation status by empowering us in that new nature for victory. It is according to the Spirit, verse 13, that we are able to put to death the deeds of the body and, thus, to live. And then in verses 14 to 16, the Spirit confirms our adoption, that we are indeed the children of God. "He bears witness with our spirit" verse 16 “that we are God's children."
Now that brings us to the section before us, verses 17 to 30. And the Holy Spirit here confirms our no-condemnation status, not only by freeing us from sin and death, enabling us to fulfill the law, changing our nature, empowering us for victory, and confirming our adoption, but by guaranteeing our glory, by guaranteeing our glory. The freedom we enjoy from sin's dominion as Christians, the ability to do what is truly righteous, the desire to mind the things of the Spirit, the power to overcome the deeds of the flesh, the sense of belonging to God as beloved children, all these culminate in the wonderful, wonderful work of the Spirit by which He guarantees our eternal glory.
That goes from verses 17 to 30. And then in verses 31 to 39, you have the great paean of praise, the great benediction, the great affirmation that nothing ever can separate us from God or Christ. And this is a result of the work of the Holy Spirit.
So as we come to verses 17 to 30, we're going to come to understanding our future as Christians. You heard, and you typically hear this, in the testimonies tonight, talk about the past. People talk about how their life was, and how they were searching, and how they were unfulfilled, and how they were religious, but lost. And then, as a rather typical form of testimony, people talk about how they came to Christ and how they were converted and put their trust in Jesus Christ, and how Christ has changed their life. And they talked about having a new vocabulary and a new affections and a new interest in Scripture and a new joy and a new peace and a new contentment and a new love. And all of those things are marvelous realities that come about in the transformation that we call salvation.
But all of those, as wonderful as they are, fall short of the greatest benefit of salvation, which is our eternal glory, our eternal glory. We are on the road to glory. The real story about us is yet to be told. Verse 30, which culminates this section says, "Whom He predestined, these He also called; and whom He called, these He also justified; and whom He justified, these He also glorified." And that's how the...the section ends, with a marvelous mention of our glorification. That is when we are completely delivered from sin, when we are given a redeemed body, like the resurrection of...the resurrection body of Christ, and we are made like Jesus Christ. This is the goal of our salvation. We are saved to be brought to full glory.
That's why we often hear the little expression, "God is not finished with me yet." And that is true. We are all on the way. We are all pressing toward the mark for the prize of the high calling of God in Christ Jesus. We are headed toward eternal glory. It doesn't yet appear what we will be. The world has not seen the glorious manifestation of the children of God, which we'll talk about later in Romans 8. We're not what we have been designed to be. We're on the way to glory.
And this is a very important thing to keep in mind. Because when we look at Jesus Christ, for example, one thing that stands out about Jesus Christ is that He was God incarnate. And when He pulled back His flesh on the Mount of Transfiguration, He revealed His glory. Glory is the sum of all the attributes of God in their perfection. It's remarkable to think about the fact that we're going to share His glory. We're going to manifest, not to the same degree, but in the same essence, we're going to manifest the glories that are characteristic of God Himself.
Now, when God made man originally in His image in the Garden, he had a measure of glory. But when man fell, he lost his original glory, his original honor, his original God-likeness, having been made in God's image. And Romans 3:23 sums it up by saying this: "That man has sinned and come short of (what?) of the glory of God." So that every individual since the Fall born into the world is born without glory, and on his or her own can never gain that glory. Man seeks a measure of glory through the elevation of himself educationally or artistically or socially. He seeks a self-styled honor. He seeks a respect. He seeks esteem from others. He is driven, very often, by ambition and pride and envy and jealousy and wants to climb up on top of the pile and rise above others. But he will never be able to gain the glory lost. Man, after the Fall, is not the bearer of pre-Fall glory.
But, because of Jesus Christ, and because of the work of salvation, God will give man back his glory and even a greater glory than what Adam experienced before he sinned. Salvation grants to man perfect glory far beyond even the glory that was lost in the Garden.
In fact, salvation will not stop at any point short of your entire perfection. That's such an important thing to understand. I'll say it again. Salvation will not stop at any point short of your entire perfection. You are on the way. You have been saved. Yes, that's true in the past when you put your trust in Christ, from the penalty of sin. You are being saved right now as the Spirit works from the power of sin, and you will somedee...day be saved from the presence from sin. But you're not there yet. That's why Paul in Romans 13 says, "Now is your salvation nearer than when you believed." You're on the way to full glory.
Turn to 2 Corinthians for just a moment. I remind you of a verse we studied many months ago, 2 Corinthians 3:18, one of my very favorite verses because of the truth that it teaches. It says in 2 Corinthians 3:18, "We all,” speaking of Christians, believers, “we all, with an unveiled face,” that is all the mystery has been removed, unlike those in the Old Testament who were looking into a glass darkly, who were seeing a certain... with a certain veil over their face because they couldn't understand what had not yet been revealed in Christ. But we have the veil off, and we are like looking into a mirror, a clear glass, and reflected in that glass to us is the glory of the Lord.
As Christians, we are looking at the glory of the Lord. The full glory of Jesus Christ is revealed in Scripture. And, at the time that we became saved, we were first given that gaze. Since then, we continue by looking at the Scripture to see the glory of the Lord, and then this most monumental statement, "We are being transformed into the same image from glory to glory." And that is the work of the Holy Spirit, the Lord, the Spirit. In other words, as believers now, we can see the glory of Jesus Christ. And as we gaze at that glory, as we see it revealed in the Scripture, we are being transformed into the very same image, from one level of glory to the next, to the next, to the next. That's the process of sanctification by which we are increasingly being made like our glorious Christ. And someday, when the work is complete, we will be exactly like Him. And that's precisely, going back to Romans, that's precisely what Romans 8 is saying. In verse 29, "He predestined us to become conformed to the image of His Son." That is glory. That is the prize of the upward call, to be made like Jesus Christ. That is the goal of salvation.
Beloved, I want to say to you this; that God didn't design from eternity past to begin the process of salvation in anybody and not finish it, but He designed to complete it. That's why we talk about believing in the security of the believer and the perseverance of the saints. And that's why we see here a no- condemnation status, which the Holy Spirit continues to...to...to make reality until, finally, we will all be brought to glory, and nothing can separate us from the love of Christ. And no one can successfully bring any charge against God's elect that would cause God to turn against us, because God has ordained the end of our salvation and not just the beginning of it.
It's a marvelous thing to contemplate your salvation in its beginning. We heard again tonight, as we do every Sunday night, these marvelous testimonies about the transformation that God works in the life of a sinner, and the joy and the exuberance and the exhilaration that they experience in...in the transformation. It's equally wonderful going past that...that point of regeneration to move into the process of sanctification, and to hear the testimony of those of us who have been Christians for a longer time and to hear how God has continued to move us from one level of glory to the next and fill our lives with meaning. We listen to those people who...who have such joy having been recently converted to Christ. And we who have been Christians for a long time think that that's...that's wonderful, but it certainly can't match the joy that we experience having accumulated one evidence after another of God's mighty grace in our lives. But all of that comes short of that ultimate glory of being made like Jesus Christ. That is the prize of the upward call. That's what's going to happen when we're called up.
Now, that gives you the background to this passage. We're headed for eternal glory, all of us who are truly in Christ. Now, as we look at the passage from verse 17 to 30... And I want to take our time going through this, because this is your future. And this is the glory of salvation that I would desire to share with you, because I believe the Lord wants us to fully anticipate and understand what He has prepared for us.
Three things describe our future glory, three things that unfold for us these verses: The incomparable gains of glory, the inexpressible groans of glory, and the infallible guarantees of glory; the incomparable gains of glory, the inexpressible groans of glory, and the infallible guarantees of glory. And we're going to look at those over the next several Sunday nights. This is a thrilling section.
Let's just start with point number one: The incomparable gains of glory. Verses 17 and 18, "If children, heirs also, heirs of God and fellow heirs with Christ, if indeed we suffer with Him in order that we may also be glorified with Him. For, I consider that the sufferings of this present time are not worthy to be compared with the glory that is to be revealed to us." Now here, as I said earlier, we're introduced to our future glory. The whole theme of the remainder of this chapter down through verse 30 is this matter of glory. And I just would make a...a...a brief comment the...on the fact that verse 17 and 18 are linked to verses 14 to 16. The whole theme of glory for the believer is tied to our adoption. Because we have been made children of God, because we are now sons of God, we have been adopted, as verse 15 says. Verse 16: "We are the children of God." We have the promise of eternal glory.
We are the children of God — follow this — adopted for the purpose of inheriting the full rights of sons. You remember that last Sunday night we talked about this, that the Holy Spirit, in granting us adoption, He's called the Spirit of adoption here. The Holy Spirit, in granting us adoption, has granted us the full inheritance as God's true children. This is the great reality. And now we come into verse 17, and that true inheritance unfolds under the concept of eternal glory.
Now, let's talk about a few of the elements of these incomparable gains of glory. First of all, the heirs. The heirs. H E I R S. Verse 17: "And if children, heirs also, heirs of God and fellow heirs with Christ." The word "heir" appears three times in that brief statement. And the construction of the Greek here introduces a fulfilled condition that should be translated “since.” Since we are children, since we have been adopted, remember I talked to you about a Roman adoption which, in many ways, was even more honorable than giving birth to a son in a family, because you were a son by choice and not simply by birth. You were selected by a father and given the full rights and honors and inheritance of a true son. Since we are, according to verse 17, children, and since, as adopted children, we have the privileges of children, we are heirs also: "Heirs of God and fellow heirs with Christ."
This is a monumental statement with tremendous implications. We are sons of God by faith in Christ Jesus, Galatians 3:26 says. And since that is true, by faith we have become adopted children. We have also become heirs. Now, Hebrews chapter 1 and verse 14 says, "We are those who will inherit salvation. We are the heirs of salvation." That is to say our inheritance is everything bound up in God's salvation. In James 2:5 it says, "We are heirs of the kingdom." And that is to say that everything that is within the framework of God's sovereign rule, everything over which God rules, becomes ours as His heirs.
First chapter of Colossians says, "We have been qualified to share in the inheritance of the saints in light." Everything in the realm of salvation, everything in the realm of God's sovereign kingdom, everything in the realm of holy light, which speaks both of holiness and truth, we inherit. And, again, I remind you, that's a full inheritance. Remember, that Roman adoption law indicated the adopted child was in no way inferior to a natural child. In fact, was equal and in many cases considered superior. Jewish tradition granted a double portion of the inheritance to the oldest son, but Roman custom, which is the model here as Paul writes to the Romans, made all equal inheritors, even adopted children. And that's the picture Paul is giving. Using this Roman custom as his analogy, he says we are all going to inherit all that belongs to God, everything in the sphere of salvation, everything in the realm of His kingdom, and everything in light. This is the promise of our inheritance.
Unlike men, there can be no disinheriting. "Since we are children,” he says, verse 17, “we are heirs also." John 1 and verse 12, "As many as received Him, to them gave He the right to become children of God." We believed, we received, and we are children, and, since we are children, we are heirs, and that cannot change. We cannot be disinherited.
Listen to Galatians 3:29. "If you belong to Christ, then you are Abraham's offspring." Sort of symbolically, we are the children of Abraham, because he is the pattern of faith. Then he says, "Heirs according to promise." Heirs of salvation, heirs of the kingdom, heirs of all that God has in the light of holiness and truth, and heirs of all of God's glorious promises. This is the glorious future of the children of God.
So we look at, first of all, this idea of the heirs. Let's secondly look at the source, because it's important in the text. We saw the heirs, and what's behind this? Back to our text: "If children, heirs also, heirs of God." This is important to note. The glorious gains of our inheritance come to us from God. God is the One who gives us the inheritance. God is the One who possesses it all. God is the One who has laid it up. He is the One who disperses it.
In Colossians 3:24, it says, "Knowing that from the Lord you will receive the reward of the inheritance." Couldn't be any clearer than that. That's Colossians 3:24. "From the Lord you will receive the reward of the inheritance." It is God Himself who is the source of this inheritance, and He is everlasting... from everlasting to everlasting, and He never changes. If you were chosen in Him before the foundation of the world, if you were redeemed by the power of the Spirit of God, by faith in Jesus Christ, if you were adopted into His family and made an heir, that never changes. It is the One who adopted us who has given us the promise of the inheritance. It is God who is the source.
There's a third point that I want to draw out of these verses that enriches us in understanding the glorious gains of our inheritance. And that is the extent of our inheritance. We are heirs. God, as the source, gives us this inheritance. But how extensive is it? That's indicated to us in verse 17 by this phrase, "And fellow heirs with Christ." And, again, this emphasizes the Roman custom of equal inheritance where all the children received the same. What is remarkable about this is that when we are made like Christ in the glory to come, we will inherit all that He inherits. It's really, frankly, astonishing to think of such magnanimous grace.
In Ephesians, for example, listen to chapter 1 verse 3. "Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ." Now listen to this, "who has blessed us with every spiritual blessing in the heavenly places in Christ." Not some of, not most of, but every spiritual blessing, every single spiritual blessing. "He has chosen us (verse 4) before the foundation of the world. He has predestined us (verse 5) to adoption as sons in order that He might express the kind intention of His will to the praise of the glory of His grace, which He freely bestowed us in the Beloved.” That's Christ. And He's going to give us the riches of His grace, which He lavished upon us. And in the end, He's going to give us all things in heaven and all things on earth. In Him, verse 11, we have obtained an inheritance. We have a...inherited...an inheritance that's unlimited. All that Christ possesses, we'll possess. This is immense grace, immense grace.
Now, the Lord Jesus Christ is the heir of all things. He describes Himself as the heir in the parable of the husbandman and the vineyard in Matthew 21. But in Hebrews 1:2, He's called the heir of all things. He is the inheritor of all things. The Father passes everything to the Son. And to be joint heirs with Him means that we receive, by grace, what He receives by right. You say, "Well, how could God give us what He gives Christ?" Answer: That was a foregone conclusion, to give us all this inheritance when He gave us Christ's righteousness. When, by imputation, He made us as righteous as Christ, and at salvation began treating us as if we lived Christ's perfect life, and that's exactly what He does. He sees us covered with the righteousness of Christ. The inheritance of Christ then is a foregone conclusion.
We will literally, according to Matthew 25:21 — think of this, you've heard it many times — “enter into the joy of your Lord." What does that mean? That means to participate in the same joy that your Lord participates in. The joy? What joy? The joy that was set before Him when He endured the cross, because He knew what was going to be on the other side. Rejoice with the Lord, because you have received his inheritance.
Here we are, these, crumby, mucky, sinful, undeserving, unworthy, wicked sinners with absolutely no rights. And by the limitless grace of God, we inherit everything that belongs to Jesus Christ. He receives it by right, and we receive it by grace. You say, "Well, now, maybe you're getting a little carried away here. You sure we're going to get everything?" well, if you...if you need more, I suppose we can...we can break it down in little increments.
I'll show you a few of those increments. How about Revelation 3:21? "He who overcomes,” and that's...that's simply an expression for being a believer. You've overcome the world by your faith, as John put it in his epistle. He who overcomes, he's a believer. This is really amazing. "I will grant to him to sit down with Me” near My throne. Is that what it says? What does it say? "On my throne." We're going to inherit all that the Son inherits. We're going to be on His throne.
"Well," you say, "is it the same one?" Yeah, it's the same one He sat on after He overcame and sat down with My Father on His throne. Oh, wait a minute. You mean His throne and the Father's throne are the same, and we're on His throne, and, therefore, we're on the Father's throne? That's right. You question the magnanimity of this inheritance? You question that it might have some limits? Then ask yourself how in the world do we get to sit on the Father's throne. That's, frankly, an incredible promise. It would be enough for us to...to have some place in heaven down the road and off to the right somewhere in the boondocks.
In Revelation 20 in verse 4, "I saw thrones, and they sat upon them, and judgment was given to them." Not only are we going to be on the Father's throne, but we're going to...we're going to judge from that throne. Verse 4 also at the end says they "came to life and reigned with Christ for a thousand years." Believers are going to come back with Christ when He sets up His kingdom...kingdom. We're going to reign with Him. We're going to sit on His throne.
You remember when Jesus Christ was raised from the dead, the Scripture says that He was given a name which is above every name? His earthly name was Jesus, but the name He was given in triumph was the name Lord. He was given a new name to indicate His sovereign lordship. We're going to receive a new name, as well. In Revelation 3:12 it says this: "He who overcomes, I'll make him a pillar in the temple of My God." Pillars were put in temples as places of honor. When great temples were built in the Roman and Greek world, kings would...would send the material. They would send a...a great column or a great pillar as a sort of a testimony to their greatness, and it would be some kind of representation, some statuary, some obelisk or something like that to...to...to bring honor to that monarch that had sent it.
When we get to heaven, we're going to become monuments in the very temple of God. That's how we're going to be elevated. And we'll never go out of it anymore, and we're going to have written on us the name of my God. We're going to be so honored as to have God's name written on us, and the name of the city of my God, the new Jerusalem, which come down from heaven from my God. And my new name. We're going to have the name of God written on us, the name of the city of God, the new Jerusalem, and the name of the glorious Christ. We're going to bear God's name. We're going to bear Christ's name. This is the extent of this inheritance. It's quite amazing.
Down in chapter 4 in verse 4, we see again the twenty-four elders who represent redeemed saints in heaven, and they're clothed in white garments, manifesting the same kind of purity that God Himself manifests. And golden crowns on their head. If you compare this with later indications in the book of Revelation, very well could refer to the church, certainly to the saints, Old Testament saints and New Testament saints alike. But I think most particularly the church. We're going to inherit a crown of gold. That's a crown of a king. We're going to wear the name of Christ, the name of God. We're going to sit on His throne, and we're going to reign with Him.
It's...it's incredible when you think about the extent of this glory being joint heirs. Back in 1 Corinthians 15:49, it says, "Just as we have borne the image of the earthy,” — That's current. We are earthy, and we bear the image of the earthy. We are replicas of men. — “we shall also bear the image of the heavenly." It's not enough that we will sit on His throne, and not enough that we will reign with Him, not enough that we will inherit a new name, His name, the name of God, the name of Christ, and wear a golden crown and sit in judgment. We will actually bear His image. This is being made like Him. Being made like Him.
Luke 22:30 describes the fact that there's going to be a great feast. To me, this has got to be maybe the most startling thing about our inheritance, in Luke 22. Remember, when I was writing the...the book on heaven and studying this passage, how really shocking it is to contemplate what this passage indicates. It says, in verse 30, "You may eat.” Well, verse 29, “My Father has granted me a kingdom, and I grant you that you may eat and drink at My table in My kingdom," He says to His disciples. You're going to be there at My table. You're going to be there sitting at the same table that I'm sitting at in fellowship with Me.
Jesus even said at that meal in another parable about a man who came home, I'm going to put on a towel and an apron, and I'm going to go around and serve you. That's just astonishing to me.
So the extent of our inheritance is we are joint heirs with Christ. Everything He enjoys in the kingdom, we will also j...enjoy, including ruling and reigning and honor and glory. It's an incredible truth.
If children, heirs, also heirs of God and fellow heirs with Christ. The very glory of Christ will be our glory. It'll be like Moses, who back in 2 Corinthians, came down the mountain. You remember in...rehearses, Paul rehearses for us how the glory of God was shining on his face, only it kept fading. It'll shine through us, but it'll never fail...fade.
I want to take you to one other passage. I can't resist this. John 17. I don't really care how far I get, because all of this is so profound, but John 17 continues to come back as a monumental chapter. Jesus is praying to the Father about us. And listen to this, verses 22 to 24, John 17, "And the glory which Thou hast given Me I have given to them, that they may be one, just as We are one. I in them and Thou in Me, that they may be perfected in unity, that the world may know that Thou didst send me and didst love them even as Thou didst love Me. He's given us his glory already. It's not yet fully manifest, because of our flesh, but He's given it to us already in the...in the miracle of conversion. Then verse 24, "Father, I desire that they also, whom Thou has given Me, be with Me where I am." He wants us there in glory. He wants us with Him, "In order that they may behold My glory, which Thou hast given Me. For Thou didst love Me before the foundation of the world."
I want them there, Father. I want them there, 'cause I want them to see My glory. The glory which you have given Me, and the glory which I've given them. You know, when you think about what this means to have His glory, not only to...to sit on a throne and rule alongside of Him, not only to reign with Him, not only to judge with Him, not only to inherit His name and the name of God and a crown of gold and bear His image and...and sit at His table and have Him serve us. But to share His glory, what does that mean?
Well, I'll tell you some of the things it means. We will have His knowledge. "What do you mean by that?" First Corinthians 13:12 says, "We will know as we are (what?) known." When you come to glory, you're going to know as you are known. You're going to be taken to perfect knowledge. You'll share His knowledge. You'll share His riches. Second Corinthians 8:9 indicates that He became... "He who was rich became poor that we through His poverty might become (what?) rich." And if you follow the pattern of that verse, you know the grace of our Lord Jesus Christ. This is all grace. We don't deserve it. "That though He was rich," now what's it talking about? Not talking about earthly riches. It’s talking about His riches as God before the incarnation. He was rich, because He owned the whole infinite universe and everything in it. "Yet, for your sake, He became poor." That's not talking about His earthly economics. That's talking about Him giving up His heavenly position and wealth to come to earth and take on the form of a servant and die for sinners. "He did it, that you, through His poverty, might become rich." He stepped down from His riches in order to make it possible for you to step up and inherit them all.
It's...it's just astonishing how great is our salvation. It's not like we get into heaven by the skin of our teeth. It's not like we barely get in, and we're going to have a wonderful life in heaven, but somehow it won't be all that it could be. Not at all. John 17:22, "The glory which You gave Me, I have given them." And you know what's really amazing, people? That glory's already there in your life and my life. It's just incarcerated in this unredeemed flesh. The greatness of our inheritance is staggering. It's absolutely staggering. We're going to judge angels? We're going to judge nations, according to Psalm 2. We have a future that is...is just beyond our comprehension.
Listen, why is God doing this? He's doing it, first of all, to give us as a love gift to the Son. It's for the Son, really. "All that the Father gives Me," Jesus said. He saved us to give us to the Son so that we could reflect His glory, because that brings honor to Him. He also does this to display grace. If there was no sin, and there was no forgiveness, there would be no grace. No grace was shown to angels who fell. It took salvation, worked through the human race to put grace on display. It also is done by God to show His ultimate absolute power over everything.
Our inheritance is just astonishing. It is by grace, not works. It is by the sovereign call of God. It is a covenant God makes with Himself, and God cannot lie or change. It is not in any sense... This inheritance is not in any sense lessened by the many inheritors. It's not divided. We all inherit all of it. Not like it is with us, you know. If you keep having children, they're going to get a little piece of the pie, you know? It is a glorious inheritance. According to Ephesians 1:18; Philippians 3: It is a blessed and comprehensive inheritance. According to Psalm 16:6 and Revelation 21:7, it is an unconditional inheritance. That is to say the Lord isn't waving it in front of our nose and saying, "Shape up, fellow, or you're going to lose this deal." Not at all. "Do not be afraid,” Luke 12:32, “little flock, for your Father has chosen gladly to give you the kingdom." What a great statement. It's not conditional. It is secure. Nothing can separate us from it. It is future.
First Peter, I love it, 1 Peter 1:4, "An inheritance imperishable, undefiled, and will not fade away, reserved in heaven for you, who are protected by the power of God through faith for a salvation ready to be revealed in the last time." You're protected. It's there. It's just waiting for you to show up. It's going to stay there, and you're going to prete...be protected to make sure you get there.
This is what God has prepared for those that love Him. This is the ultimate glory. This is what Paul meant when he said in Romans 5:2, "We rejoice in the hope of the glory of God. We rejoice in the hope of the glory of God."
So as we look at the incomparable gains of glory, we're given insight into the heirs. All of us who are adopted into the family of God are God's children. We get insight into the source, God Himself, who owns it all, and gives it as His inheritance. We look at the extent of it, the extent of our glorious inheritance. There's a...there's another thought, though, that I...I have to just briefly mention to you. And we'll spend some time on it next hour. There's some preparation for this inheritance. Preparation is indicated to us in verse 17 also. Look at it. "And if children, heirs also, heirs of God and fellow heirs with Christ, if, indeed, we (what?) suffer with Him in order that we may also be glorified with Him." Here is both a proof of the coming inheritance and a preparation of the coming...for the coming inheritance. If so be that we suffer.
That is a very important statement. “Inasmuch” could be the translation: "Inasmuch as we suffer." The Greek here is used of something that is assumed to be a reality. We will receive eternal glory. We will receive this incredible inheritance that we've talked about. But the path to that is a path of suffering in this life. And I don't mean by that you get a cold, you get sick, you get mistreated at the job. We're talking about righteous suffering. That is a crucial thing to understand, because you can see that our future glory is tied to our present suffering, and bearing the reproach of Christ is something we need to understand. It is an honor. It is a privilege. And we'll look at that honor and privilege next time. I can't believe all our time is gone.
Let's pray together. Father, we have really been carried to the heights and had our hearts enraptured just to think about what You've prepared for those that love You. How incredible, how beyond comprehension is this glory which is reserved for us of which we are utterly unworthy. Thank You, Father, and “thank You” seems so meager. This is...this is grace beyond our comprehension. But we bless You for it. We bless You for it. And we want to be willing in this life to bear the reproach of Christ and suffer, if need be. In...in some ways, the rejection of those around us, the alienation, not always the physical pain, but the alienation that comes to those who name the name of Jesus Christ in a Christ-less world. And it seems such a meager thing, such a small thing in the light of the eternal glory prepared for us. We thank You for this vision of glory, which will come to pass, because the Holy Spirit secures and guarantees that glory. We praise You for that promise in Christ's name. Amen.