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199. Heirs of God
And if children, then heirs; heirs of God, and joint-heirs with Christ; if so be that we suffer with him, that we may be also glorified together. Romans 8:17

THIS chapter is like the Garden of Eden, which had in it all manner of delights. If one were shut up to preach only from the eighth of Romans, he would have a subject, which might last a lifetime. Every line of the chapter serves for a text. It is an inexhaustible mine. Paul sets before us a golden ladder, and from every step he climbs to something yet higher: from sonship, he rises to heirship and from heirship to joint-heirship with the Lord Jesus.

I. THE GROUND OF HEIRSHIP. "If children, then heirs."

1. It does not follow from ordinary creation. It is not written—"if creatures, then heirs?"
2. Neither is it found in natural descent. It is not written—"if children of Abraham, then heirs" (Rom. 9:7-13).
3. Nor can it come by meritorious service. It is not written—"if servants, then heirs" (Gal. 4:30).
4. Nor by ceremonial observances. It is not written—"if circumcised or baptized, then heirs" (Rom. 4:9-12).

Our being regenerated or born again unto God by his Holy Spirit is our one ground of heirship.

Let us inquire—

  • Have we been born again (John 3:3)?

  • Have we the spirit of adoption (Gal. 4:5)?

  • Are we fashioned in the likeness of God (Col. 3:10)?

  • Have we believed on Jesus (John 1:12)?
II. THE UNIVERSALITY OF THE HEIRSHIP. "Children, then heirs."

1.The principle of priority as to time cannot enter into this question. The elder and the younger in the divine family are equally heirs.
2.The love of God is the same to them all.
3.They are all blessed under the same promise (Heb. 6:17).
4.They are all equally related to that great Firstborn Son through whom their heirship comes to them. He is the Firstborn among many brethren.
5.The inheritance is large enough for them all.

They are not all prophets, preachers, apostles, or even well-instructed and eminent saints. They are not all rich and influential, they are not all strong and useful, but they are all heirs.

Let us, then, all live as such and rejoice in our portion.

III. THE INHERITANCE WHICH IS THE SUBJECT OF HEIRSHIP.

"Heirs of God."
Our inheritance is divinely great. We are—

  • Heirs of all things. "He that overcometh shall inherit all things" (Rev. 21:7). "All things are yours" (1 Cor. 3:21).

  • Heirs of salvation (Heb. 1:14).

  • Heirs of eternal life (Titus 3:7).

  • Heirs of promise (Heb. 6:17).

  • Heirs of the grace of life (1 Pet. 3:7).

  • Heirs of righteousness (Heb. 11:7).

  • Heirs of the kingdom (James 2:5).
Whereas we are said to be "heirs of God," it must mean that we are—

1. Heirs of all that God possesses.
2. Heirs of all that God is: of his love, for God is love. Hence, heirs of all possible good, for God is good.
3. Heirs of God himself. What an infinite portion!
4. Heirs of all that Jesus has and is as God and man.

IV. THE PARTNERSHIP OF THE CLAIMANTS TO HEIRSHIP. "And joint heirs with Christ."

1. This is the test of our heirship. We are not heirs except with Christ,
through Christ, and in Christ.
2. This sweetens it all. Fellowship with Jesus is our best portion.
3. This shows the greatness of the inheritance. Worthy of Jesus. Such an inheritance as the Father gives to the well-beloved.
4. This ensures it to us, for Jesus will not lose it. His title deed and ours are one and indivisible.
5. This reveals and endears his love. That he should become a partner with us in all things is love unbounded.

  • His taking us into union with himself secures our inheritance.

  • His prayer for us attains it.

  • His going into heaven before us prepares it.

  • His coming again will bring us the full enjoyment of it.
6. This joint heirship binds us faster to Jesus, since we are nothing and have nothing apart from him.

Let us joyfully accept present suffering with Christ, for it is part of the heritage.
Let us believe in the glorification which is sure to follow in due time, and let us anticipate it with immediate rejoicing.

Notes

How God treats men. "He pardons them and receives them into his house, he makes them all children, and all his children are his heirs, and all his heirs are princes, and all his princes are crowned." — John Pulsford

As a dead man cannot inherit an estate, no more can a dead soul inherit the kingdom of God. — Salter

It is not easy to imagine a more cautious, lawyer-like record than the following entry in a MS. book written by the celebrated Lord Eldon: "I was born, I believe, on the 4th June, 1751." We may suppose that this hesitating statement refers to the date, and not to the fact, of his birth. Many, however, are just as uncertain about their spiritual birth. It is a grand thing to be able to say, "We know that we have passed from death unto life," even though we may not be able to put a date to it.

As justification is union and communion with Christ in his righteousness; and sanctification is union and communion with Christ in his holiness or his holy character and nature, so, by parity of reasoning, adoption must be held to be union and communion with Christ in his sonship, surely the highest and best union and communion of the three. — Dr. Candlish

Inheritance — What is it? The pay of a soldier is not inheritance, neither are the fees of a lawyer, nor of a physician, nor the gains of trade, nor the wages of labor. The rewards of toil or skill, these are earned by the hands that receive them. What is inherited, on the other hand, may be the property of a new-born babe; and so the coronet, won long ago by the stout arm of valor and first blazoned on a battered shield, now stands above the cradle of a wailing infant. — Dr. Guthrie

The question lies in that first word "if." Can you cast out all uncertainty from that matter by proving your sonship? "Then" — ah! then, no doubt remains as to your heirship. No man need question that heaven will be his if he is the Lord's. The inheritance is to be glorified together with Christ. What more could a child desire than to inherit as much as his eldest brother? If we are as favored as Jesus, what more can we be?

Charles Hadden Spurgeon


200. Disobedience to the Gospel
But they have not all obeyed the gospel. For Esaias saith, Lord, who hath believed our report? Romans 10:16

MAN is the same disobedient creature under all dispensations. We bemoan his rejection of the gospel, and so did Isaiah, who spoke in the name of the whole company of the prophets.

It is one of the greatest proofs of the depravity of man's heart that he will no more obey the gospel than the law, but disobeys his God, whether he speaks to him in love or in law.

Men will sooner be lost than trust their God.

When any receive the gospel, it is a work of grace: "the arm of the Lord is revealed." But when they refuse it, it is their own sin: "they have not obeyed the gospel."

I. THE GOSPEL COMES TO MEN WITH THE FORCE OF A COMMAND.

It is not optional to men to accept or refuse it at pleasure. "God now commandeth all men every where to repent" (Acts 17:30). He also commands them to repent and believe the gospel (Mark 1:15).

To refuse to believe is to incur great sin (John 16:8).

There is a death penalty attached to disobedience (Mark 16:16).

It is so put—

1. To secure the honor of God. It is not the offer of an equal to an equal, but of the great God to a condemned sinner.
2. To embolden the proclaimer of it. The minister now speaks boldly with his Master's authority.
3. To remind man of his obligations. Repentance and faith are natural duties from which the gospel does not exonerate a man, although it blesses him by bestowing them upon him.
4. To encourage the humble seeker. He must be at full liberty to believe in Jesus, since he is commanded to do so and threatened if he does not do so.
5. To suggest to men the urgent duty of seeing to their souls' welfare. Suicide, whether of the body or of the soul, is always a great crime. To neglect the great salvation is a grave offense.

The gospel is set forth as a feast, to which men are bound to come under penalty of the King's displeasure (Matt. 22:1-7).

The prodigal was right in returning to his father; and if he was right in doing so, so would each one of us be in doing the same.

II. WHAT, THEN, ARE THE CLAIMS OF THE GOSPEL TO OBEDIENCE?

1. The authority of the sender. Whatever God commands, man is under bonds to do.
2. The motive of the sender. Love shines in the gospel command, and no man should slight infinite love. To refuse to obey the gospel of salvation is an insult to divine love.
3. The great gift of the sender: He has given us his only begotten Son. To refuse Jesus is a high affront to measureless love.
4. The reasonableness of the demand of the sender. Should not men believe their God and trust their Savior?
5. The earnestness of the sender. His whole heart is in the gospel. Note the high position which the scheme of salvation occupies in the esteem of God. Shall we not obey an appeal put before with such energy of compassion?

Ask your own consciences whether you do right to refuse or neglect the gospel of the grace of God.
Ask those who are now saved what they think of their long unbelief. Do not incur a world of regrets in after years by long delays. Do not jeopardize your souls by refusing the gospel.

III. WHAT IS THE OBEDIENCE REQUIRED BY THE GOSPEL?

Not mere hearing, crediting, liking, professing, or proclaiming; but a hearty obedience to its command. It claims—

1. Faith in the Lord Jesus Christ.
2. Renunciation of self-righteousness and confession of guilt.
3. Repentance and practical quittance of sin.
4. Discipleship under the Lord Jesus. This means obedience both to his teaching and to his example.
5. Public confession of his name in his own way, namely, by baptism.

If you refuse to obey the gospel—

  • Your hearts will harden to a deeper unbelief.

  • Others will obtain the blessing which you refuse; and this will deepen your own condemnation (Rom. 10:19).

  • You will die in your sins with your blood on your own heads.
Enforcements

A powerful argument to prove the enmity of man's heart against God is the unsuccessfulness of the gospel, which can be resolvable into nothing else but such an enmity. The design of the gospel is to bring us into a union with the Son of God and to believe on him whom the Father hath sent. Christ seeks to gather in souls to God, but they will not be gathered. This is matter of fearful consideration, that when God is calling after men by his own Son, there be so few that will come to him. How few there are that say, "Give me Christ, or I am lost! None can reconcile me to God, but Christ!" You are daily besought in Christ's stead to be reconciled, but in vain! What does this signify but obstinate, invincible enmity? John Howe

"All God's biddings are enablings," says an old writer.
Obedience is faith incarnate.

To disobey the gospel is far worse than to break the law. For disobedience to the law, there is a remedy in the gospel, but for disobedience to the gospel no remedy can be found. "There remaineth no more sacrifice for sins."

It is reported of the old kings of Peru that they were wont to use a tassel or fringe made of red wool, which they wore upon their heads. When they sent any governor to rule as viceroy in any part of their country, they delivered unto him one of the threads of their tassel, and, for one of those simple threads, he was as much obeyed as if he had been the king himself yea, it hath so happened that the king hath sent a governor only with this thread to slay men and women of a whole province without any further commission; for of such power and authority was the king's tassel with them, that they willingly submitted there-unto, even at the sight of one thread of it. Now, it is to be hoped that if one thread shall be so forcible to draw heathen obedience, there will be no need of cart-ropes to haul on that which is Christian. Exemplary was that obedience of the Romans which was said to have come abroad to all men. And certainly gospel obedience is a grace of much worth and of great force upon the whole man; for when it is once wrought in the heart, it worketh a conformity to all God's will. Be it for life or death, one word from God will command the whole soul as soon as obedience hath found admittance into the heart." —Spencer's Things New and Old

Charles Hadden Spurgeon


201. Fellowship in Joy
Rejoice with them that do rejoice. Romans 12:15

It is supposed that some are rejoicing, and this is a happy supposition.

You are invited to sympathize with them, and this is a happy duty.

Sympathy is a duty of our common humanity, but far more of our regenerated manhood. Those who are one in the higher life should show their holy unity by true fellow feeling.

Joyful sympathy is doubly due when the joy is spiritual and eternal.

I invite you to this joy because of those who have lately been brought to Jesus and are now to be added to the church. The occasion is joyous. Let the joy spread all around.

I. REJOICE WITH THE CONVERTS.

1. Some delivered from lives of grievous sin. All saved from that which would have ruined them eternally, but certain of them from faults which injure men in society.
2. Some of them rescued from agonizing fear and deep despair. Could you have seen them under conviction, you would indeed rejoice to behold them free and happy.
3. Some of them have been brought into great peace and joy. The blissful experience of their first love should charm us into sympathetic delight.
4. Some of them are aged. These are called at the eleventh hour. Rejoice that they are saved from imminent peril.
5. Some of them are young with years of happy service before them.
6. Each case is special. In some we think of what they would have been and in others of what they will be.

There is great gladness in these newborn ones, and shall we be indifferent?

Let us welcome them with hearty joy.

II. REJOICE WITH THEIR FRIENDS.

1. Some have prayed long for them, and now their prayers are heard.
2. Some have been very anxious, have seen much to mourn over in the past, and feared much of evil in the future.
3. Some are relatives with a peculiar interest in these saved ones, parents, children, brothers, etc.
4. Some are expecting, and in certain cases already receiving, much comfort from these newly saved ones. They have already brightened family circles and made heavy hearts glad.

Holy parents have no greater joy than to see their children walking in the truth. Do we not share their joy?

REJOICE WITH THOSE WHO BROUGHT THEM TO JESUS.

The spiritual parents of these converts are glad.

  • The pastor, evangelist, missionary, author.

  • The parent, elder sister, or other loving relation.

  • The teacher in the Sunday school or Bible class.

  • The friend who wrote or spoke to them of Jesus.
What a joy belongs to those who by personal effort win souls!

Endeavor to win the same joy for yourself, and meanwhile be glad that others have it.

IV. REJOICE WITH THE HOLY SPIRIT.

1. He sees his strivings successful.
2. He sees his instructions accepted.
3. He sees his quickening power operating in new life.
4. He sees the renewed mind yielding to his divine guidance.
5. He sees the heart comforted by his grace.

Let us rejoice in the love of the Spirit.

V. REJOICE WITH THE ANGELS.

  • They have noted the repentance of the returning sinner.

  • They will henceforth joyfully guard the footsteps of the pilgrim.

  • They expect his lifelong perseverance or their joy would be premature. He is and will be forever their fellow servant.

  • They look one day to bear him home to glory.
The evil angels make us groan. Should not the joy of good angels make us sing in harmony with their delight?

VI. REJOICE WITH THE LORD JESUS.

l. His joy is proportioned to the ruin from which he has saved his redeemed ones.
2. His joy is proportioned to the cost of their redemption.
3. His joy is proportioned to the love, which he bears to them.
4. His joy is proportioned to their future happiness and to the glory which their salvation will bring to him.

Do you find it hard to rejoice with these newly baptized believers? Let me urge you to do so, for—

  • You have your own sorrows, and this communion of joy will prevent brooding too much over them.

  • You will renew the love of your espousals by communion with these young ones.

  • It will comfort you for your own erring ones if you rejoice with the friends of converts.

  • It will forbid envy if you rejoice with workers who are successful.

  • It will elevate your spirit if you endeavor to rejoice with the Holy Spirit and the angels.

  • It will fit you to partake in a like success if you rejoice with Jesus, the sinners friend.
Sympathetics

About three hundred years after the time of the apostles, Caius Marius Victonus, an old pagan, was converted from his impiety and brought over to the Christian faith. When the people of God heard this, there was a wonderful rejoicing and shouting and leaping for gladness, and psalms were sung in every church, while the people joyously said one to another, "Caius Marius Victorius is become a Christian! Caius Marius Victorius is become a Christian!"

Mr. Haslam, telling the story of his conversion, says: "I do not remember all I said, but I felt a wonderful light and joy coming into my soul. Whether it was something in my words, or my manner, or my look, I know not; but all of a sudden a local preacher, who happened to be in the congregation, stood up, and putting up his arms, shouted out in Cornish manner, "The parson is converted! The parson is converted! Hallelujah!" And in another, his voice was lost in the shouts and praises of three or four hundred of the congregation. Instead of rebuking this extraordinary 'brawling,' as I should have done in a former time, I joined in the outburst of praise and to make it more orderly, I gave out the Doxology, 'Praise God from whom all blessings flow,' which the people sung with heart and voice, over and over again."

An ungodly youth accompanied his parents to hear a certain minister. The subject of the discourse was the heavenly state. On returning home, the young man expressed his admiration of the preacher's talents. "But," said he turning to his mother, "I was surprised that you and my father were in tears." "Ah, my son!" replied the anxious mother, "I did weep, not because I feared my own personal interest in the subject or that of your father; but I wept for fear that you, my beloved child, would be forever banished from the blessedness of heaven." "I supposed," said the father, turning to his wife, "that those were your reflections, the same concern for our dear son made me weep also." These tender remarks found their way to the young man's heart and led him to repentance. — Arvine

Charles Hadden Spurgeon

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