The Spirit of Adoption, Part 2.

At his death in 1902, Cecil Rhodes left 6 million pounds to Oxford University to establish the Rhodes scholarships. As great as a material inheritance can be, Christians value a spiritual heritage more than any earthly treasures (Colossians 3:1-2). The Holy Spirit ensures countless resources for the believer as a result of our adoption.

The Certainty of our Resources

The "if" in Romans 8:17 should more accurately be translated "since." We look forward to enjoying many secondary results because we are heirs.

  • Home in Heaven (John 14:2-3)
  • Banquet (Revelation 19:6-10)
  • Reign (2 Timothy 2:12)
  • Likeness (1 John 3:1-3)

These are all in the future, but we can be certain that God will do these things because He has promised them through the Spirit.

The Source of our Resources

God is not just the source but He is our resource! (See Psalm 73:26.) We own Him and He owns us. Jesus prayed that we would share His eternal life and glory (John 17:1-4). This is our certainty and present reality! Nothing and no one can take that away, because it has been made certain by the down payment of the Holy Spirit (2 Corinthians 5:5).

François Rabelais, a 16th-century French Franciscan monk, wrote this famous one-line will: "I have nothing, owe a great deal, and the rest I leave to the poor." One author contrasted that with the Christian's reality: "God owes nothing; He possesses everything; and He gives it all to His children." As He is with His Son, God is equally and forever pleased with those He has redeemed.

"Certainly we enjoy the presence of God; certainly, we have the opportunity to participate in God's glorious plans, and we have the opportunity to enjoy God's glory Himself. God is ours! We are co-heirs with Christ; we enjoy His life. We enjoy this glorious nature and now a glorious opportunity to demonstrate Christ in the here and now to those who need Him."

The Sharing of our Resources

Sharing in Christ's suffering is not a "gotcha" clause at the end of Romans 8:17. It is a glorious privilege! James 1:2-4, 1 Peter 4:1-6, and Philippians 1:29 are just three New Testament passages that instruct us to consider suffering for Christ a joy. It tells us that we are children of God! Our joyful response to suffering also gives opportunity to share the Gospel. A confident child has a heart of mercy for those who are afflicting him or her.

Suffering is a reality for the church in any era. The Roman Christians did not suffer as much as other churches at the time this book was written, but they still endured hardship because of their faith. American Christians do not suffer much compared to believers in other nations, but there are still hardships for being a Christian in our culture.

Application Points

  • Have you suffered for the sake of Christ? What hardships have you endured because of your faith? Take joy from this confirmation that you are a child of God! Respond to those who afflict you with a smile on your face. The Lord may give you an opportunity to share the Gospel as a result!

Tools for Further Study

Cross References to Explore
  • 1 Peter 1:8, John 20:29 – Believing though we cannot see.
  • 2 Corinthians 4:16-18, 2 Corinthians 1:5-7, Hebrews 10:32-39, 2 Timothy 2:3 – The proper, joyful response to suffering for Christ.
A Hymn to Encourage: "Look to Jesus"

Come all souls by sin afflicted,

Come to Christ where grace abounds;

By the broken law convicted,

Through the cross, behold the crown;

Look to Jesus; Look to Jesus;
Mercy flows through Him alone.

Blessèd are the eyes that see Him,

Blessed the ears that hear His voice;

Blessèd are the souls that trust Him
And in Him alone rejoice;

His commandments, His commandments,
Then become their happy choice.

Sweet as home to pilgrims weary,

Light to newly opened eyes,

Flowing springs in deserts dreary
Is the life that Christ supplies;

All who taste it, All who taste it,
Shall to rest immortal rise.