Heirs of God
You are not alone
Belonging is a desire we all experience. Everyone wants to belong to something. We see this expressed most openly at sporting events. Tens of thousands of people will follow their favorite team, in person or some form of media, to cheer or suffer with wins and losses.
14) For those who are led by the Spirit of God are the children of God.
15) The Spirit you received does not make you slaves, so that you live in fear again; rather, the Spirit you received brought about your adoption to sonship. And by him we cry, “Abba, Father.”
16) The Spirit himself testifies with our spirit that we are God’s children.
17) Now if we are children, then we are heirs – heirs of God and co-heirs with Christ, if indeed we share in His sufferings in order that we may also share in His glory.
People attend conventions like Comic-Con and dress like their favorite character, connect with like-minded people. They want to meet actors who portrayed those characters. Sometimes we may not feel like we belong.
It might be difficult to put your finger on exactly what it is, but you just don’t have a sense of belonging. Your friends are chatting away like they always do, but you don’t feel included. You are in a meeting discussing a new project, yet you feel no one listens to your suggestions.
You are not alone.
In a letter to the Christians in Rome (They weren’t called Christians just yet.) Paul writes to remind them what a life of following Christ looks like. It was much more difficult to be a follower in those days. Christ had only been gone a few years. Followers of Jesus were subject to execution.
Pagan worshipping practices were much more acceptable. There were major temples built for worshipping Jupiter, Juno, Minerva, and Mars. Who in their right mind would want to follow a Jew who claimed to be “the Messiah,” had no wealth, and was crucified?
Feelings of being alone, or isolated could evolve into doubt. Once doubt set in, these new believers would begin experiencing fear. If they were from a family who worshipped the gods of Rome, they may fear their wrath and being struck down.
If they were from a Jewish family they may being to fear they have been lead astray by a false messiah. Being bound by a spirit of fear can lead to irrational thoughts, or behaviors that further separate you from friends and family, a vicious catch-22 cycle.
In the verses we look at today, Paul is reminding the believers in Rome God does not want us to be subject to, or slaves of, fear. True believers become children of God. As children of God they are now heirs to His blessings. They are co-heirs with Jesus, the Son of God. So, just as we are heirs of His sorrows and pain, we are also co-heirs of his joys and pleasures!
It is just as true for today’s Christian. In a world that insists upon regressing to pagan practices, we become isolated, and targets for ridicule. The simple act of professing our belief in Christ excludes us from consideration of advancement, or appointments. We are often held accountable for the “bad apples” of our religion, even if they died centuries ago. We become afraid.
Christ did not teach us to hate, or mistreat anyone. He did not promote racial division. There are multiple examples in scripture that He treated women equally, with a woman formally recorded as being the first to proclaim His resurrection. He warned that a life following Him would not be easy, as Paul reminds us.
Christ taught that we are heirs to the Kingdom! Of that we can be assured.