Tuesday, May 23, 2017

Considering The Believer's New Inheritance In Jesus Christ In Romans 8:1-11

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Ephesians 1:18-20 "I pray that the eyes of your heart may be enlightened, so that you will know what is the hope of His calling, what are the riches of the glory of His inheritance in the saints, 19 and what is the surpassing greatness of His power toward us who believe. These are in accordance with the working of the strength of His might 20 which He brought about in Christ, when He raised Him from the dead and seated Him at His right hand in the heavenly places."

Romans 8:1 "Therefore there is now no condemnation for those who are in Christ Jesus."


Romans 8 is a remarkable chapter in the Bible. In Romans 8 we are given an exposition of the wondrous inheritance that God has for believers in Jesus Christ. The spiritual inheritance is of such a nature that its dividends are paid out by installments of spiritual blessings in this life. In Christ Jesus, the believer experiences an "already-not-yet" spiritual inheritance, with a foretaste in this present age and with full reception in the age-to-come. I included Ephesians 1:18-20 in the opening passages to show the reader how much this inheritance requires the Holy Spirit's ministry of stirring up the spiritual senses and affections to see the significance of this truth. Today's post is going to consider the beginnings of Paul's exposition on the Christian's new inheritance in Jesus Christ in Romans 8:1-11. 

How can we tell that Paul is laying out the totality of the believer's inheritance in Christ Jesus in Romans 8? The following verses reveal to us this central theme of the believer's rich inheritance in Jesus Christ. 

1. The Christian's New Inheritance Entails A New Position - Romans 8:1-4

First, we see in Romans 8:4 that "the requirement of the law" might be fulfilled in us". This statement takes us back to the wonderful doctrine of justification by faith stated by Paul in Romans 5:1 - "Therefore having been justified by faith, we have peace with God through our Lord Jesus Christ". Christ in the Christian supplies the credited righteousness demanded by the Law of God. Christ the Law-giver came to earth to be the law-doer for us who believe. By His active obedience, Christ fulfilled every jot and tittle of the law. By being the perfect Adam, Christ took care of completing the covenant of works broken by the first Adam (see Romans 5:11-21; 2 Cor 5:21). As the Law-giver came to be the Law-keeper, Christ then went to the cross to be treated as the Law-breaker, taking upon Himself the curse of the Law (Galatians 3:10-13).

Romans 8:1-4 lays out for us the fact that in Christ, we have a "new-position". The James-Fausset-Brown Commentary notes about Romans 8:

"But this is no mere legal arrangement: it is a union in life; believers, through the indwelling of Christ’s Spirit in them, having one life with Him, as truly as the head and the members of the same body have one life."

The highest-state that original Adam had prior to the fall was being in a state of "no-condemnation". When Adam fell from his "original-state-of-righteousness", he experienced, in the words of Milton: "Paradise lost". In God's redemptive plan of salvation in Christ, the goal was not only to restore what had been lost in Adam - but to exceed such. In the New Adam - Jesus Christ - believers begin in a new position that at its bare minimum represents in its beginnings the highest point of the original Adam. The inheritance in Christ is going to be shown by Paul to be far greater than what Adam originally had. 

2. The Believer's New Inheritance Entails A New Guest - The Holy Spirit - Romans 8:5-11

So in Romans 8:1-4, one could say that in Christ, we have a new position. We then come to the second key verse of Romans 8 that points to this theme of "the believer's inheritance in Jesus Christ": Romans 8:9-11. In Romans 8:9-11 we read -  "However, you are not in the flesh but in the Spirit, if indeed the Spirit of God dwells in you. But if anyone does not have the Spirit of Christ, he does not belong to Him. 10 If Christ is in you, though the body is dead because of sin, yet the spirit is alive because of righteousness. 11 But if the Spirit of Him who raised Jesus from the dead dwells in you, He who raised Christ Jesus from the dead will also give life to your mortal bodies through His Spirit who dwells in you."   

We know from this second text in Romans 8 that the Christian is already, by position, ahead of original Adam by virtue of the fact that God indwells the believer by the Person of the Holy Spirit. God spoke "to Adam" and gave him commands in Genesis 2. For the Christian, God in the Person of the Holy Spirit indwells the Christian and empowers Him to live out the commands of His word (1 Corinthians 2:10-13; 3:6; 6:19-20; Galatians 5:16; 25). These verses tell us that in addition to the "new" position we acquire in Christ at saving faith, we immediately receive the "new" Guest - the Holy Spirit. "Warren Weirsbe in his commentary on Romans 8 observes: 

"Every believer is a child of God by birth and an heir of God through adoption. In fact, we are joint-heirs with Christ, so that He cannot receive His inheritance in glory until we are there to share it with Him. Thank God, the believer has no obligation to the flesh, to feed it, pamper it, obey it. Instead, we must “put to death” (mortify) the deeds of the flesh by the power of the Spirit (v. 13, see Col. 3:9ff) and allow the Spirit to direct our daily lives."

Closing Thoughts:

We know that the inheritance given to the saints is none other than God Himself. Ephesians 1:13-14  "In Him, you also, after listening to the message of truth, the gospel of your salvation—having also believed, you were sealed in Him with the Holy Spirit of promise, 14 who is given as a pledge of our inheritance, with a view to the redemption of God’s own possession, to the praise of His glory." The resurrection power of the Spirit begins in the human spirit of the believer and will find its full-culmination in the resurrection of the body at Christ's return. Christians experience the foretaste of the world-to-come by the Spirit as He presses us onward to what will be the full-reception of our spiritual blessings in the world to come. The age-to-come had broken into this present age by the coming of the Lord Jesus Christ. 

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