The Heir

Bible Book: Romans  8 : 16-17
Subject: Heirs of God; Saved, Blessings of being
Series: Portraits of the Saints

The Heir

Dr. J. Mike Minnix, Editor,

Romans 8:16-17

Today we continue our series of sermons entitled, Portraits of the Saints. The significance of this series is that we are looking at ourselves as God sees us. Every believer should be concerned about the expectations of God. In the Bible God speaks of His people in different ways. Today we are looking at the fact that God speaks of those He has redeemed as being heirs. Lets look at Romans 8:16-17.

All those who have been born again are heirs of God and co-heirs with Christ. I could say that my goal today is that which Paul prayed for in Ephesians 1:18, where he wrote, “I pray also that the eyes of your heart may be enlightened in order that you may know the hope to which he has called you, the riches of his glorious inheritance in the saints.” If only we could see the glorious inheritance to which we have ascended. That is our goal in the sermon today.

So, we who are saved are called heirs of God and co-heirs with Christ. What, exactly, is an heir? The Oxford English Dictionary defines an heir as the person who is entitled by law to succeed another in the enjoyment of property or rank upon the death of the latter. It is a coming into or taking possession of some property or estate which passes by law to the heir upon the decease of the possessor.

In essence, to understand being an heir of God and a co-heir of Christ, you have to begin by remembering that Christ died for the ungodly. He rose from the dead and ever lives to make intercession for those who are saved. Those who receive Him as Savior and Lord, becomes heirs of God through His death and resurrection. They have a right to the Will of God; they have a right to inherit all that God has stated is theirs in Christ.

Being an heir is a wonderful thing. One man was said to have died with a fortune of one million dollars. When someone asked how he amassed that much money the answer was that he did it through hard work, perseverance, careful saving, frugal living, and then an uncle died and left him $995,000.00 to put with the $5,000.00 he had. It can be a real blessing to be an heir. And, friend, there is never more true than when we realize what God has done for us in Christ.

Evangelist J. Wilbur Chapman recounted a testimony given by a man in one of his meetings. The man said: “I got off at the train depot one day as a tramp. For a year I had begged on the streets. Badly in need of food, I touched a man on the shoulder and said, ‘Mister, please give me a dime’. As soon as I saw his face, I recognized my aging father. ‘Don't you know me’? I asked. Throwing his arms around me, he cried, ‘Oh, my son, I have found you at last! All I have is yours’! Think of it -- I was a tramp who begged for 10 cents from a man I didn't know was my father, when for 18 years he had been looking for me to give me all he possessed!”

The picture in Romans is similar on a spiritual plane. We were lost and wandering in this world penniless in our souls when Jesus found us, threw His arms around us and said, “All I have is yours.” When we accepted Him by faith, we received eternal life and all the benefits that go with.

Lets take a moment and seek to understand what it means for us to be heirs of God and co-heirs of Christ.

I. The Relationship Required to be an Heir of God

A. The Child of God

God is the Father of the saved and declares us to be His children. Someone may tell you that everyone on earth is a child of God, but that is not true. Their argument will be that God made us all so we must all be God’s children. Yes, God created us all and that makes Him our Creator, but that does not make Him our Father. He created all monkeys, dogs, cats, fish, birds, etc., that they are not His children. Jesus spoke of the Pharisees saying, “Ye are of your father the devil.” We read in 1 John 3:10 that hose who practice unrighteousness are the children of the devil.

The Child of God has received Jesus Christ as Savior and Lord. Look at John 1:12 and note that it says, “But as many as received Him, to them gave he power to become the sons of God, even to them that believe on His name.” Until an individual receives Jesus as their Savior, he or she is not a child of God.

B. The Confusion of Childhood

Some people have asked me through the years why the Bible speaks of Christians being born again in one place and of the Christian as being adopted in the other – which are we, born again or adopted? Actually, we are both. These terms are used to describe who we are from two different perspectives.

First, being born again speaks of regeneration, which is a requirement for salvation. We are dead in our sins. We must be regenerated or brought to life in Christ. This is a work of God in us when faith is placed in Christ. The Father quickens us and draws us to His Son. When we trust Him, accept Him, and believe upon Him we are born again.

Second, but we are not mere babies once we are saved. A baby cannot walk, talk or act independently of another. But a new born child of God can walk with Christ immediately, can speak up for Christ immediately, and can draw on the resources of God immediately. Think of a new born baby that could be born, look up in his dad’s face and say, “Hi papa, let’s go for a walk. and while we are going how about giving me a check so I can write out some money for myself.”

A child of God, from the moment He is born again, is placed as a full grown child into the family of God. That is what the word adopted means. Larry and Melinda adopted Kim Su Miller. Lauren is a natural born daughter. Lauren did not open her eyes on the day she was born and say, “Hi, dad.” If she had, Larry would have fainted and Lauren would have been in the Guinness Book of World Records. Kim, on the other hand was adopted, and was old enough at the moment she became a daughter in the family to say, “Dad.” On a spiritual level, we are born and adopted. We are regenerated into the family of God the moment we are saved, and we are adopted, meaning we have the position of a full grown child right away. A grown child can say, “Dad, how about letting me have the car tonight.” A baby can’t say that. That is why a baby looks cuter than a full grown child - of course, I am only kidding. I am seeking to make a point. The Bible is seeking to show the requirement of regeneration while showing the immediate blessing of adoption. All Christians are both born again and adopted.

The point to be made here is that one cannot be an heir without being a child. And you can be sure that you are not a child till you are regenerated and adopted into the family of God. The way you know this has happened is that the Spirit of God witnesses with your spirit that you belong to God.

Look at Titus 3:4-7 which reads, “But when the kindness and love of God our Savior appeared, he saved us, not because of righteous things we had done, but because of his mercy. He saved us through the washing of rebirth and renewal by the Holy Spirit, whom he poured out on us generously through Jesus Christ our Savior, so that, having been justified by his grace, we might become heirs having the hope of eternal life.”

We do not deserve to be heirs of God. It is through His goodness and grace that we can be saved, regenerated and adopted into the family of God. When a person is saved, he or she immediately becomes an heir of God and co-heir of Christ.

Look 1 Timothy 2:3-6, and note that it reads, “This is good, and pleases God our Savior, who wants all men to be saved and to come to a knowledge of the truth. For there is one God and one mediator between God and men, the man Christ Jesus, who gave himself as a ransom for all men-- the testimony given in its proper time.”

II. The Riches we have as Heirs of God

We are heirs:

Of all things (Revelation 12:7; 2 Corinthians 3:21)

Of salvation (Hebrews 1:14)

Of eternal life (Titus 2:7)

Of promise (Hebrews 6:17; Gal. 3:29)

Of the grace of life (1 Peter 3:7)

Of righteousness (Hebrews 11:7)

Of the kingdom (James 2:5)

So, to inherit God Himself means to have a full interest in all His attributes:

His wisdom is ours to direct us;

His power is ours to preserve us;

His goodness is ours to comfort us;

His justice is ours to avenge us;

and His faithfulness is ours to support us.

We need to think about a few things which are ours because we have received the Son and have become heirs of God and co-heirs with the Son.

A. Forgiveness Acts 13:38

Hebrews 11:7 By faith Noah, when warned about things not yet seen, in holy fear built an ark to save his family. By his faith he condemned the world and became heir of the righteousness that comes by faith.

B. Peace John 14:27

Jesus gave His disciples peace. What does this mean? Does it mean we will be free of hardship and trouble? Absolutely not! Paul called it the peace that passes understanding. But think of it. You watch a ball game and your knuckles turn white, sweat beads up on your forehead, your heart palpitates. Later you see the same game on a video re-run, do you have the same reaction? No! You know what is going to happen and you have peace. Jesus has told us what is going to happen. We have read the end of the story. Jesus is going to be victorious. The church will be triumphant. The saints will reign with Christ. The devil will be chained and thrown into the great pit. Hallelujah! We win! Sure, we have troubles here, but we know what the final result will be. It gives us a peace – a peace beyond understanding. This peace only belongs to those who are born again, to those adopted into the family of God. You are an heir and one of the things you have is the peace of God!

C. Eternal Life John 10:28

Jesus lives forever. He rose from the grave. He is heir of life. We are co-heirs with Him the only way you can lose life is for Jesus to lose His life. What chance do you think there is that this will happen? You are right, NONE! You are an heir of God- He lives forever. You are a co-heir with Christ – He lives forever. You will live with God forever!

We read in I John 5:11-13, And this is the testimony: God has given us eternal life, and this life is in his Son. He who has the Son has life; he who does not have the Son of God does not have life. I write these things to you who believe in the name of the Son of God so that you may know that you have eternal life.

Life is not in our believing in eternal life. Life is not in church. Life is not in being good. Life is not in rituals. Life is in Christ. When you are in Christ, you have life!!!

D. Holy Spirit Titus 3:5-6

We have already seen this passage. It tells us that the Holy Spirit is part of that which we received as a heir of God and co-heir of Christ.

E. The Scriptures

Its Truth

Its Promises

F. A Place in the Family of God

God placed us in His family. Sometimes that may seem difficult for some people can be difficult. The poet penned:

To dwell above with saints we love,

Oh, that will be glory.

But to live below with saints we know;

Well, that's another story.

Actually, one of the great blessings of God is to be in His family. We are called children because we are in a family. We should act like it and live like it.

G. Some Inheritance Yet to Come

An heir may have some part of his inheritance which will come to him at a certain age of point in time. We have the promise of heaven, a home with God and a place to reign with Him forever.

III. The Responsibilities which are ours as Heirs of God

We inherit the opposition of the world. We suffer with Him. That is part of our inheritance. We have inherited the family business and it sits in a hostile world. We are to carry on the work till we are called home to headquarters. We are not to shirk our responsibilities. We are not to fear. We are to be faithful, for the glory waiting for us far out weighs any struggle we may go through here.

Friend, do you know who you are in Christ? If, indeed, you are saved, you are an heir of God and co-heir of Christ. All that the Father has is yours.

As the lights in the movie theater dimmed, a young man loaded down with popcorn, cokes and candy paced up and down the aisle, scanning the darkened rows. It was obvious he was looking for the person or persons with whom he had come. After three or four unsuccessful trips he finally stopped and asked loudly, "Does anybody here recognize me?" You can be sure that God recognizes those that are His own, and He leads us. We are never lost once He has saved us!

I spoke earlier about Larry and Melinda, along with Lauren, adopting Kim Su Miller from China. Jayne and I were talking about this the other day and Jayne’s eyes filled with tears. I asked her what was wrong. She said, “I was just thinking. Little Kim Su was far away in China in an orphanage. She had nothing to call her own. Even her clothes were not her own. Then, a father walks in a takes her for his own. He gives her his name. He puts her in his family. She suddenly has come into, what for her, is a fortune. All the tools in his garage are hers. The car and truck in the garage are hers. The house is hers. The toys are hers. The money in the bank is hers. She did nothing to receive it. Love did it all!” By this time I was wiping tears along with Jayne, and then she finished her statement. “Just think”, she added, that is what Jesus did for us. We were sinners, poor and needy. We had nothing to give Him. Out of love, He took us into His family and everything He has is ours.”

It can all be yours, too, if only you will come and receive Him. He will include you in the will. You will be an heir of God and a co-heir of Christ.