The Spirit himself bears witness with our spirit that we are children of God, and if children, then heirs—heirs of God and fellow heirs with Christ, provided we suffer with him in order that we may also be glorified with him.
You hear in there a spectacular and a scary promise. It’s spectacular because it says, “If you’re the children of God, you are his heirs, fellow heirs with Christ.” Now God is very rich, he owns everything. He made everything. If you are an heir of God, what you are going to inherit makes what Bill Gates or Buffet or anybody else in the list of richest people in the world, it makes what he has look like a Lincoln log building. They have nothing compared to what you are about to inherit.
I’m 68, it is a very short time and it will be mine — all of it. That’s spectacular. This is real folks. These are not words. If you are envious of Bill Gates, you’re stupid. As a child of God, that’s insane. So, just don’t think these are words. You will inherit God’s possessions.
Now we’re going to spend half the sermon on that statement, that’s just an introduction statement. The scary part is right there as well: if children, heirs, heirs of God, fellow heirs with Christ.” If — this massive condition — you will have it if you suffer with him. If you don’t, you won’t. That’s scary. We’re on this way to this indescribable inheritance and the only path on the way there is suffering. That’s where we’re going to focus most of our time, the inheritance and the suffering — very real and very amazing. The second half prevents the first half from being the prosperity gospel.
A Prosperity Problem
You know what’s wrong with the prosperity gospel? Everywhere I go in the third world, but especially in Latin America, you say, “What’s your biggest challenge?” in the church in Brazil. With no hesitation, they say, “prosperity gospel.” We are the ones who have exported that. That will be put to our account and it’s a horrible distortion. I’ll just give you a little nugget here of why it’s a distortion in view of this text.
“The true gospel is a better treasure than health, wealth, and prosperity.”
The prosperity gospel has a priority problem and a timing problem. The priority problem is the prosperity gospel puts the gifts of God above God. It entices people to God’s gifts making God their bellhop, their butler. Your wife won’t miscarry, your eight piglets that your pig had will all live and prosper, and you’ll be able to sell them. You’ll get rich, and who wouldn’t want that without being born again, right? To appeal to people with desires that they would have without being born again is a travesty of the gospel. Then the timing issue is, through suffering on the other side we get everything. The timing issue is they bring it back here and it’s too soon. Heaven is for later. That’s the second problem.
This is not a sermon about the prosperity gospel, although virtually every sermon I preach is about the prosperity gospel because I’m just talking about a better treasure than health, wealth and prosperity.
Am I a Child of God?
Romans 8:17 says, “If children” — that’s a big “if” in this room. Are you a child of God? Seriously now — do you know I belong to the family, and everybody is not a child of God? The world talks like everybody is a child of God, but Paul doesn’t talk that way. The Bible doesn’t talk that way. You get adopted into the family. You get born again into the family. The world is not part of the family until they are adopted into the family and born into the family. You need to ask right now: Am I a child of God? This will count for you if you are, and it won’t if you’re not.
If you’ve never been sure, if you struggle with assurance like I do — it’s hard for me to say with confidence, “I’m a child of God.” I want you to have that confidence. God wants you to have that confidence. Wobbliness about whether you’re a child of God is a pretty sad life. It’s a pretty wobbly life.
Three Ways the Spirit Testifies
Let’s look at Romans 8:16: “The Spirit himself testifies with our spirit that we are the children of God.” Has he? I’m going to answer for you from the text what that’s like, because right now my guess is, if we just lined all of you up and said, “Tell me how that happens in your life. Describe that to me. The Spirit testifies with my spirit that I’m a child of God. Go ahead, each one of you now explain to me how you experience that.” My guess is half of you would say, “I’m really not sure. I think it’s happened. I hope it’s happened. I just don’t even know what it means. I don’t know what it is.” I don’t want you to live ignorant of how this happens.
It is in this text, and I’m not claiming that this is exhaustive. I’m saying in this text there are two ways the Holy Spirit bears witness with your spirit that you’re the child of God. I’d like you to see what they are, then you can assess whether they’ve happened or not.
What does a witness do in court? A witness in court gives evidence of something. “I saw it. I was there or I heard it or I found it.” Whatever the evidence is needed for conviction witnesses are brought forth to make that plain in the courtroom so there could be a proper assessment of truth. That’s what witnesses do. The question is: How does the Holy Spirit function as a witness in the court room of my soul so that true evidences that are being brought forth say, “I know I’m a child of God”?
1. Wage war on sin.
First, I want you to think with me. Put on your thinking caps for a few minutes about the relationship between the second half of verse 13 and verse 14: “If by the Spirit,” and there he is, and he is the active agent. You’re doing something by him. “If by the Spirit you put to death the deeds of the body, you will live” — that means forever. “For all who are being led by the Spirit, these are the sons of God.”
Of course, the logic is sons of God don’t die; they live forever. That’s the connection, right? Let’s read again, paying attention to the flow of thought: “If by the Spirit you are putting to death the deeds of the body” — that’s just temptations that rise up, kill them by the Spirit: “Holy Spirit, help me in the name of Jesus not to do that.” That’s the opposite of legalism. I’m not going to do that by the Spirit through faith. I’m availing myself of the Holy Spirit right now not to push that button on pornography, not to lie on that tax return. I am going to tell the truth. I’m going to be holy at this moment by the power of the Holy Spirit working in me. That’s what verse 13 says.
If by the Spirit you’re hating your sin and putting it to death, you’re going to live forever. Here’s the reason: Why are you going to live forever if you do that? Everybody led by the Spirit is a son of God. They live. That’s the logic. Did you catch the implication now? “Everybody who is led by the Spirit is a child of God.” What I need to know if I’m a child of God is this: Am I being led by the Spirit?
Never Make Peace
Now look to verse 14: “Everyone who is led by the Spirit is a child of God.” The evidence the Holy Spirit has shows he’s leading you. But now what if I came into this room and I hadn’t said anything so far? I just said, “Let’s all talk about what it means to be led by the Holy Spirit. Are you led by the Holy Spirit?” Someone might stand up and say, “I was led to marry her 43 years ago.” Or “I was led to go to school. I was led to live in Tennessee for a year after I retired.”
Everybody talks about being led by the Spirit, but that’s not what this text is talking about. Let’s read again, “If by the Spirit you put to death the deeds of the body . . .” Everyone who is thus led. So what does “led” mean? It means led into warfare with sin.
“We exult in the glory of God because the glory of God is God himself in communication.”
If by the Spirit you put to death the deed of the body you will live because everyone who is led thus will live or is the child of God. Children of God live forever. Now you know what is the evidence that he gives me: I hate my sin and make war on it. If you do, you’re a child of God. If you don’t, you’ve got assurance issues. If you love your sin and make peace with your sin and settle in with your sin and walk with your sin every day as friends, you’ve got assurance issues big time. I would never promise you that you’re a child of God. You could be because you may be in a season of weakness and you’re going to break out of it by his grace in a day or two. The issue here is, Are you being led by the Spirit to kill your sin?
I love this. You know why I love it? I hate my sin and I feel so good about that. You see what I’m saying? You see the paradox of our lives? I hate John Piper’s sin more than I hate yours. I don’t even know yours, but I know mine better than I know anybody’s, and I hate it. I hate them which means the Holy Spirit is in me. It’s really sweet. It is an evidence; it’s the testimony with my spirit that I am a child of God. I’m making war, I don’t succeed very well, but I have not made peace with any known sin in my life.
Don’t Fight Alone
One of the reasons we’re in community together is we help each other discover the places where we started to live comfortably with our sin. We need somebody to kind of say, “What about that attitude?” What attitude? That sin was starting to feel like a friend. It’s not a friend, it’s a mortal enemy that you will see in C.S. Lewis’s book with the lizard on a shoulder. He didn’t know it was a lizard till the light went on. I’ve used this image: You’ve got a necklace and you’re fondling this little broach that you have that’s so wonderful. The light goes on, and it turns out to be a spider hanging around your neck. That’s the Holy Spirit that turns that light on that says, “What is that horrible thing that I’ve cozied up with?”
So, answer number one: The witness of the Holy Spirit is the Holy Spirit’s enabling you to hate your sin and make war on it. The rest of your life, count on it. You’re dying day you’ll be making war on sin. You will not in this life get beyond this warfare. You’d like to. Oh that day when free from sinning! You know what that day is? Death or Jesus’s coming.
Oh, for the day to be free from sinning, when I think about heaven and the sweetness of what it would be like to be with Jesus, one of my top two or three joys is that I won’t have to war anymore. I will do only what’s right. I will love only what’s good. Oh my spontaneous reactions to everybody will be pure and I won’t have to regret any of them at the end of the day. That’s going to be a good day. The point is that day isn’t coming early. It’s a perfectionist mistake to think that you will be beyond this war before you die.
2. Cry ‘Abba! Father!’
What’s the second way the Holy Spirit testifies with your spirit that you are his child? Romans 8:15: “You have received a Spirit of adoption as sons by which we cry, ‘Abba! Father!’” In verse 13, “By the spirit you were putting to death the deeds of the body,” what are you doing by the Spirit here? Answer: crying, “Abba Father.”
The evidence of the Holy Spirit in your life that you are the child of God is that you find rising up from deep in your soul the cry, “Daddy, Father, I need you.” That’s a very humble, childlike cry. The evidence of the Holy Spirit is that you find yourself sweetly, deeply, authentically saying, “Father.” To which a skeptic would say, “Computers can be programmed to say ‘Abba, Father. Abba, Father.’ Are computers born again? Are computers children of God?”
Now the problem with the skeptic at this point is that he’s missing a couple of words and their connotation and their powerful implication. One is the word “Abba.” That Aramaic word is meant to connote tenderness, intimacy, affection, closeness. Like “daddy” or “papa,” but the point here is that computers can’t feel any of that. The Holy Spirit really gives you a tender, sweet, loving, daddy-like embrace of the Creator of the universe. It’s amazing. You don’t just doctrinally say, “Believe in the Fatherhood of God.” That’s not the word “Abba” means. No computers can do that.
Here’s the second problem with the computer analogy. Do you see the word “cry”? By which we krazō — that’s the Greek word here for “cry.” Why did he choose the word cry? Why didn’t he just say, “say”? He’s trying to get at the way the heart is doing this. The heart has got this Abba dimension to it, and the heart’s got this cry dimension to it, which computers cannot emulate. Therefore, that argument doesn’t work. This is real.
Let’s sum it up now. The Holy Spirit changes two things in your soul concerning God as a testimony that you are his child. One is he changes your attitude toward sin in relation to God. Why would that be? Sin is any disposition or act or thought that elevates anything in value or desirability above God. The Holy Spirit spots those things and the Holy Spirit loves God. He is God’s love for God and he reveals to us all the things in our life that diminish God and make us hate him. That’s the first thing.
The second thing is he causes us to see God as our Father and to realize our need for a Father, which makes us feel humbly helpless as we are. Unless you turn to become like a little child, you cannot enter the kingdom of heaven. In those two ways, the Holy Spirit works.
3. Submit to Jesus’s lordship.
Let me throw in a third here that’s almost the same as the second, just so that you feel rounded in that picture. Do you remember the text from 1 Corinthians 12:3? Goes like this, “No one speaking by the Spirit of God says, ‘Jesus is cursed!’ No one can say, ‘Jesus is Lord’ except by the Holy Spirit.” Computers can say “Jesus is Lord,” but clearly Paul means that one means it authentically. That is, really feel a deep submissive yieldedness to the lordship of Jesus — that’s the work of the Holy Spirit.
Nobody in this room is yielded to the lordship of Jesus if you’re not a child of God. The Holy Spirit is what enables you to say that. Nobody can say “Jesus is Lord” except by the Holy Spirit, which is the same as nobody can say “Abba Father” except by the Holy Spirit. The lordship of Jesus and the fatherhood of God are deeply felt. I need you, I submit to you — that’s the work of the Holy Spirit, that’s the testimony of the Spirit in your life that you are his child.
That’s my answer to the question on how you can know you’re a child of God. You hate your sin and you make war on it. You find a tenderizing humility in your heart that needs a Father to meet all your needs and turns to him as a precious Father who cares for you, knows your needs, and will be there for you. A deep yieldingness to the lordship of Jesus: “You’re my king, you’re my all, and I yield to you.” Those heart things are the work of the Holy Spirit that show you belong to the kingdom.
Two Great Promises for God’s Children
Now we’re ready for the spectacular and scary promise because we know (or we don’t) that we are a child of God. This promise is for the children of God. If you are children, “If you are children you are heirs also — heirs of God and fellow heirs with Christ provided we suffer with him in order that we may also be glorified with him” (Romans 8:17). Two great promises: heirship and suffering.
1. Inheritance on the Horizon
Let’s talk about the inheritance first. Do you have an inheritance on your horizon from God that is so great that in your emotional framework, your daily living, that this inheritance is so great it makes your pleasures here seem small by comparison and it makes your pain here seem manageable by comparison? Is it functional for you that way? There it is and it is so great it is designed, as Paul says in Philippians 3:8: “I count everything as loss because of the surpassing worth of knowing Christ Jesus my Lord.” This worth has a function for your life in Romans 8:18: “I consider that the sufferings of this present aren’t even worthy to be compared.”
“Self-denial is saying no to things that would be short-term pleasure for the long-term joy of holiness.”
For Paul to say that is better than for me to say it, because if you read 2 Corinthians 11, which recounts his sufferings, you will not be able to breathe by the end of the list. You’ll just say, “How could any one man endure what he endured?” He said, “nothing by comparison.” It was something. Being imprisoned, to be shipwrecked, to be thrown in jail over and over again, and end up five times with 39 lashes on his back must have made his back absolutely horrific.
In Walter Wangerin’s novel on Paul he has a whole chapter called “The Back.” Thirty-nine lashes lays your back open like jelly. Slow to heal, no antibiotics, lots of scars, and infection. A few months later he could manage a little bit, but it happens again and again and again and again. Could he even move with the scar tissue on his back? And he says, “I consider that the sufferings of this present time are not worthy to be compared.” My question is this: Do you have an inheritance functioning like that for you? It would strip us of a lot of murmuring, which is why I hate my sin so much.
Who Shall Inherit the Earth?
What’s the inheritance? Three things. First, you will inherit the world. Romans 4:13: “The promise to Abraham and to his descendants that he would be the heir of the world was not through the law but through the righteousness of faith.” God made a promise to Abraham that he would inherit the world. Is that yours? Does that count for you? This takes us a little bit of textual effort, but the answer is yes if you’re a child of God for this simple reason: “If you belong to Christ, you are Abraham’s offspring, heirs according to the promise” (Galatians 3:29).
Which promise? Romans 4:13 would be one statement of it. The promise to Abraham and his descendants, which you are, is that they will be heirs of the world. This is because God owns the world. Psalm 24:1: “The earth is the Lord’s and the fullness thereof, the world and those who dwell therein.” He owns it; it’s part of the inheritance. Or Psalm 2:8: “Ask of me and I will make the nations your heritage.” He’s making that promise to the Messiah. And we are fellow heirs with Messiah Jesus. All the nations and all the ends of the earth is our inheritance.
This is one of my favorite verses regarding our inheritance. First Corinthians 3:21–22: “All things are yours, whether Paul or Apollos or Cephas or the world or life or death or the present or the future — all are yours.”
So what’s your inheritance? The world, the earth, and everything in it. “Blessed are the meek, for they will inherit the earth” (Matthew 5:5). That’s a big, blue planet with a lot of water and fish. It’s ours, and we’ll have the kind of submarines that work in those days. Or maybe just be able to snorkel down there seven miles to the bottom of the Pacific since we’ll have new bodies that work that way. Hold your breath for three or four days. I think you should ponder things like that. What does this practically mean that the world is yours, death is yours, all things are yours? What does that practically mean? I think it means everything exists now by way of inheritance and then finally in a fuller way for your benefit. Everything exists to serve you.
More Than Conquerors
I love later down in Romans 8:35–37:
Who shall separate us from the love of Christ? Shall tribulation, or distress, or persecution, or famine, or nakedness, or danger, or sword? As it is written,
“For your sake we are being killed all the day long;
“we are regarded as sheep to be slaughtered.”
No, in all these things we are more than conquerors through him who loved us.
What is more than a conqueror? I mean I know what a conqueror is right? You defeat them; they’re dead at your feet. Foot on the neck; you’re dead. I win. Now what’s more than that? Death, you’re dead. Famine, you’re dead. What’s more? More is they get up and serve you. Death now is, for the rest of my life, my slave to do what I want you to do, get me to Jesus or whatever. Famine, purify my soul. It serves me, does what God knows is good for me. That’s my first answer. What is your inheritance? The world. You get everything.
Answer number two: God himself is your inheritance. Romans 5:2: “We exalt in the hope of the glory of God.” What is your hope? What hope are you exalting in? Ultimately the hope of the glory of God, unless you think that God and the glory of God are two separate things. But in verse 11 he says, “And not only this, but we also exalt in God through our Lord Jesus Christ.” We exult in the glory of God because the glory of God is God himself in communication — God himself in revelation, God himself standing forth in beauty for our enjoyment. Our whole inheritance is God.
Revelation 21:3: “Behold the dwelling place of God is with man. He will dwell with them. They will be his people and God himself will be with them and be their God.” The Old Testament loves the promise of the land. We’re going to get a land full of milk and honey. The saints of the Old Testament who gave fullest expression of their hopes didn’t stop there. They didn’t say, “We get land and we get honey and we get milk, cool.” That’s idolatry. They said, “Whom have I in heaven but you and there’s nothing I desire besides you. My flesh and my heart may fail, but God is the strength to my heart and my portion forever” (Psalm 73:25–26). That’s what the Old Testament saints spoke in their fullest expression of what their hope was. The answer is you get the world and you get the Maker of the world as your intimate close Friend, King, and Lord with no wrath and no anger.
New, Glorified Bodies
Finally, we get new bodies — redeemed and glorified bodies. There are two reasons why I think I should mention this. One is that it’s coming very quick in the context in verse 23, and the other is that you cannot enjoy the world and you cannot enjoy God as fully as you were meant to enjoy him without new bodies. You will, without a new body, be consumed and incinerated in the presence of God and in the presence of your glorious friends.
“Every single negative thing in your life is an opportunity to ask: are you with Jesus or are you walking away from Jesus?”
I remember the first time I noticed Matthew 13:43, where Jesus in the parable is speaking out to his followers and says, “You will shine like the sun in the kingdom of your Father.” You children of God will shine like the sun. Which means what? I can’t look at you. I go blind. You go outside and try to look at the sun, and you will go blind. In a matter of seconds you’ll go blind. If you try to focus with your eyes open on the sun, which means we can’t enjoy each other in this body, period. You’ve got to have a new body just to enjoy the people of God. Well you’re going to be new and you’re going to see new and God himself is going to be now gloriously seen with new eyes. You will be able to hold your breath for three days if that will be good for you to see what’s going on down there at the bottom of the seven-mile-deep Pacific Ocean in the new heavens and the new earth.
If you say, “It says there’s not going to be any ocean over in Revelation 21.” I’d say, “No, I think that means it’s going to be a lake.” You like water, you’re not going to be disappointed. We will get redeemed bodies.
Let’s look at Romans 8:22–23: “Well we know that the whole creation has been groaning together in pains of childbirth until now. Not only the creation but we ourselves who have the first fruits of the Spirit.” There it is. We have the first fruits of the Spirit that we’re going to get it. Groaning right now while we have the Spirit, knowing we’re the children of God, having this magnificent inheritance, we are groaning inwardly, waiting for the redemption of our bodies.
I just visited a friend Larry a few weeks ago when I was in Minneapolis. He and his wife stood on the porch and I said with tears in my eyes, I said, “Larry, I will see you in heaven.” He’s probably going to be dead in a few days from cancer. He’s about my age. I went to spend some time with him. We shared 1 Thessalonians 5 and Romans 10 singing, “Oh the deep, deep love of Jesus.” We sang that on his porch together. I didn’t try pull any wool over this. We’re not praying for healing here except heavenly healing. You will be dead, and I will see you very soon.
I love having a gospel that says you get a new body and it is glorious. Then there are every manner of birth defect and disability and accident and maiming. I mean the world is just full of hurts. You try to minister in places where they don’t have any medicine at all and you have to deal with things that are just horrific. We have a message: the inheritance includes a new body.
The best thing about the new body is not that it’s going to be like all of your healthy bodies. It’s going to be spectacularly more. We will be able to discern things and see things and enjoy things. There will be no more idolatry in our enjoyment of food. We won’t ever be gluttons. We’ll enjoy it perfectly and God will be in it and through it and behind it and over it. It will be what it ought to be and the same thing with every other delight we’ve known.
If you say, “Well there’s no marriage in heaven,” that makes sex a problem. Well, it’s not really a problem. God can figure that out. No pleasure is going backward in heaven. You’re not going to say, “Oh shoot we’re in heaven, it was better on earth.” You won’t say that about anything, including sex. All you single folks who may never be married, this is very short compared to that. Dwell on your new body implications because they are glorious.
2. Only If You Suffer with Him
You get the world, you get God, and you get a body that can enjoy the world and enjoy God without any idolatry and more fully than you ever dreamed — if you suffer with him. Romans 8:17: “If children heirs, heirs of God, fellow heirs with Christ, if indeed we suffer with him so that we may be also glorified with him.”
Being glorified with him is part of that new body if you suffer with him. Jesus said, “If anyone will come after me let him deny himself and take up his cross daily and follow me.” That’s what discipleship looks like: self-denial and cross. Cross is a death instrument, like an electric chair, a hanging man’s noose. Self-denial is saying no to things that would be short-term pleasure for the long-term joy of holiness.
Second Timothy 3:12: “Indeed all who desire to live a godly life in Christ Jesus will be persecuted.”
Hebrews 12:6: “The Lord disciplines the one whom he loves and chastises every son whom he receives.” It is a discipline that you have to endure. God is treating you as sons. Sons and the Son suffer, the children suffer, that’s the mark of the child — they suffer.
First Peter 4:13: “But rejoice insofar as you share Christ’s sufferings, that you may also rejoice and be glad when his glory is revealed.” No pain, no gain. No cross, no crown. No suffering, no inheritance. That’s the way it is.
The big question that you should be asking is this: What kind of suffering does he have in mind? Do I need to go out of here and find somebody to be persecuted by? I haven’t been persecuted recently, and so I’m wondering if I’m a child of God or if will I get my inheritance. Nobody’s hit me or put me in jail or said a nasty thing about me in a few weeks.
No, you shouldn’t do that. You should not go and try to get persecuted by doing something irritating. Or like I saw in Minneapolis when I was home to visit Larry — I saw two street preachers on Nicollet Avenue. Now I love the courage of street preachers. The first one I stopped, I prayed for him and he had his Bible open and he was speaking in a winsome way and I really admired him. Two blocks away was a guy with this gigantic sign that said, “God is angry with you.” Well that’s true, but it’s not the best way to do it in my judgment call. I believe in Jonathan Edwards’s “Sinners and the Hands of an Angry God,” I just don’t think he would have done it that way.
The Suffering of This Present Time
What kind of sufferings? Not the kind that brings unnecessary persecution on Nicollet Avenue on yourself. Why do you think that? I mean you say that but why do you think that? Is that in the text? Yes it is. It is because just follow the train of thought. Verse 17: “If you suffer with him you’ll be glorified.” Verse 18: “The sufferings of this present time are not worth comparing.” To what? The groaning of creation that needs a new body. The decay, the bondage to slavery and corruption. What kind of groaning? One that longs for a new body.
This is cancer. This is disability. This is whatever makes you groan with longing and aching that would be otherwise. If you push me on what’s the textual meaning of suffering here, I’d say it is the suffering of this present time, which makes us groan, longing for new bodies. That’s what he has in mind foremost.
Do We Really Suffer with Him?
Then the question is: How is it that we suffer with him? Is our present suffering actually suffering with him? Is cancer suffering with him? My answer is yes in this sense: every time a negative thing comes into your life — physically, emotionally, relationally, hurtful, painful; you don’t want it, you wish it weren’t there — that is a test. Will you stand with Jesus, lean on Jesus and take Jesus as your treasure in that moment rather than turning away from Jesus and abandoning him?
“No pleasure is going backward in heaven. You’re not going to say, ‘Oh shoot we’re in heaven. it was better on earth.’”
Every single negative thing in your life is an opportunity to ask: are you with Jesus or are you walking away from Jesus? That’s what every test is. Every single painful test in your life is a test of whether you will stay with him or leave him.
Suffering with Jesus simply means, whatever painful thing comes into your life, are you getting closer? I’m taking you and I’m going to hold on to you, you’re all I have. That is what you must experience in order to be glorified. If you walk away from this feeling sick and tired of having my back beat up and being thrown in jail and going into the ocean over and over again, when you’re the God of the waves and could keep this boat up. And you’re sick of following him, and say, “I’m out of here. I’m going to enjoy myself for the last twenty years. It’s over.” If you stay with Jesus in your suffering, then glorification and an inheritance is on the way.
Just One Mile
I’m going to close with a quote from John Newton that I’m sure lots of you heard before. It’s one of my favorites because it’s so convicting and so encouraging. Here is the practical effect of the inheritance on our daily lives. Here’s a picture of how inconsistent we are when we grumble. Newton said,
Suppose a man was going to New York to take possession of a large estate and his carriage should break down a mile before he got to the city, which obliged him to walk the rest of the way. What a fool we should think him if we saw him wringing his hands and blubbering all the remaining while, ‘My carriage is broken. My carriage is broken.’”
He’s on his way to get a million dollars and one mile he has to walk. I hate my sin, don’t you? Don’t you hate your grumbling, your murmuring? I’ve got to walk one mile called eighty years.
The connection is this: Do you know where all of this comes from? All the promises of God are yes in Jesus, because he said at the Last Supper, “This cup is the new covenant in my blood” (Luke 22:20). The blood of Jesus purchases all the promises of the new covenant including the promise that we’ll have an inheritance through faith in Jesus.
The very simple thing to think is this: if you love the promises, consider the price. If you love the promises, meditate on the price — and the price was the death of Jesus. None of us in this room would have any inheritance had he not died for us. Now we’re going to go to the Lord’s Supper and we’re going to remember. He gave us the Lord’s Supper so that we would proclaim the Lord’s death until he comes and so that we would remember the price.