Coheirs with Jesus

The covenant with Abraham is fulfilled in Jesus, his seed and heir, including the promise of land

In Romans, Paul presents Abraham as the great exemplar of faith, the model for all men who choose to live from faith. God counted the Patriarch’s faith as “righteousness” while he was yet uncircumcised, and thus He justified him apart from the “works of the Law.” Consequently, he became the father of everyone who is “from faith,” both Jews and Gentiles, as well as the “heir of the world.”

According to the Apostle, only after instituting the covenant did Yahweh command Abraham to implement circumcision as the “seal” of the “righteousness” that he had demonstrated already.

In the following passage, references to “promise” and “heir” point to future realities, things not yet received.

For Abraham and his “seed,” the receipt of the inheritance will mean nothing less than the possession of the entire “world” or kosmos. In stating this, Paul universalizes the original land promise so that it includes the whole planet.

  • (Romans 4:11-14) – “And a sign he received, circumcision, a seal of the righteousness of the faith which he had while yet uncircumcised; to the end, he might be the father of all that believe during uncircumcision, to the end, the same righteousness might be reckoned to them; and the father of circumcision to them who are not of the circumcision only, but who also walk in the steps of the faith while yet uncircumcised of our father Abraham. For not through the law does the promise belong to Abraham or to his seed, that he should be heir of the world, but through righteousness from faith. For if they who are of the law are heirs, faith is made void and of no effect is the promise.”

RAISING THE DEAD

Moreover, since the receipt of the inheritance is through faith, the “promise is firm to all the seed” of Abraham, that is, to all those who live by the same “faith as our father Abraham.”

God appointed Abraham the “father of many nations” because he believed the word of the promise given by the One who raises the dead. Therefore, He granted him “seed” though Sarah’s womb was “dead” due to the ravages of old age. And the promise to inherit the “world” was to the Patriarch and his “seed.”

The references to “raising the dead,” “heir,” “seed,” and “children” anticipate the discussion in chapter 8 on the resurrection, the redemption of the creation, and our inheritance with Christ.

DEATH AND REDEMPTION

  • (Romans 8:10-11) – “If anyone has not Christ’s Spirit, the same is not his; but if Christ is in you, the body, indeed, is dead because of sin, but the spirit is life because of righteousness; moreover, if the Spirit of him that raised Jesus from the dead dwells in you, he that raised Christ Jesus from the dead will quicken even your death-doomed bodies through his indwelling Spirit.”

Our present mortal bodies are “dead because of sin,” and we all are still subject to death. But that is not the end of the story.

If the Spirit of Him that raised Jesus from the dead dwells in you He will quicken your death-doomed bodies.” And so, Paul links the past resurrection of Jesus to the future resurrection of the saints.

If God is to redeem mankind and recover all that was lost by Adam, redemption must include man’s physical body. Likewise, the creation enslaved by corruption and death must be redeemed.

  • (Romans 8:15-20) – “For you have not received a spirit of bondage leading back into fear, but you have received a spirit of sonship, whereby we are exclaiming Abba! Oh Father! The Spirit itself is bearing witness with our spirit that we are children of God; and if children, heirs also, heirs, indeed, of God but co-heirs with Christ, if, at least, we are suffering together in order that we may also be glorified together. For I reckon that unworthy are the sufferings of the present season to be compared with the glory about to be revealed towards us; for the eager outlook of creation is ardently waiting for the revelation of the sons of God.”

Though still mortal, believers are the “children of God” and “coheirs with Christ.” But to be a coheir with him means also suffering for his sake so that we “also will be glorified together” with him. But the sufferings of “this present season cannot be compared with the glory that is about to be revealed.”

The creation itself was subjected to death and decay, and it has suffered until the present hour while “awaiting the revelation of the sons of God.” And when they are “revealed,” the “creation itself also shall be freed from the bondage of decay into the freedom of the glory of the sons of God.”

  • (Romans 8:21-23) – “That creation itself also shall be freed from the bondage of the decay into the freedom of the glory of the sons of God; For we know that all creation is sighing together and travailing-in-birth-throes together until the present, and not only so, but we ourselves also who have the first-fruit of the Spirit within our own selves do sigh, sonship ardently awaiting, the redemption of our body.

And so, Paul also connects the New Creation to the bodily resurrection of the saints. This is what it means to be an “heir of the world.” Everlasting life is received at the resurrection, an event that will coincide with the New Creation.

Moreover, the redemption of the creation is dependent on the resurrection of the “sons of God.” And here, the promises of bodily resurrection and the New Creation are inextricably linked.

CALLED, JUSTIFIED, GLORIFIED

God “foreknew” the men and women who would exercise faith in His Son, and therefore, He works together all things for their good, “to those who are called according to purpose.”

And that purpose is to produce children, “many brethren,” who will be conformed to the “image of his Son, that he might be the firstborn among many brethren.”

And those whom he “called,” he also “justified,” and He also “glorified” them. And in this context, that glory means their “redemption” and resurrection from the dead. That will be when they are conformed fully to the image of the glorified Son of God.

This is the intent for all men and women who “walk in the faith of our father Abraham,” both Jew and Gentile, circumcised and uncircumcised.

And as the “children of Abraham,” disciples of Jesus are the coheirs with the “firstborn” son, and therefore, entitled to inherit everlasting life in the coming New Creation.

Moreover, though called to suffer with him in this present life, believers will become conformed to his image and filled with his glory in the coming age when God raises the dead and reveals His sons for all creation to see.


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