Want Glory? Then Suffer

I love music. I particularly love loud music. I inherited this from my father who used to play his music loud. When my dad died, I inherited his stereo, which can put out some good sound and also has a big subwoofer attached.

I can rattle dishes upstairs.

It is awesome.

Obviously I would rather have my dad than his stereo, but I am grateful that I can enjoy his stereo now that he’s no longer using it. I did not take his golf clubs because I knew I would struggle to remember him fondly with those.

When we think of inheritance we always think of good stuff. Not long ago we were asked if we wanted to take some distant German relative’s inheritance. This sounds like a good deal, except that the German government does not tell you what the inheritance is, and it might be debts you are now liable for!

“And if children, then heirs; heirs of God, and joint-heirs with Christ” is the major portion of Romans 8:17 we hear. We love to talk about being children of God, inheriting heaven and the meek inheriting the recreated earth. Sweet!

Romans 8:17 has another bit with it though, here is the complete verse: “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.”

Our inheritance in Christ includes glorification, this is true, and this glorification is a tremendous thing. But in order to get it, you have to suffer. This suffering is not limited to bodily suffering due to being a fallen creature in a fallen world, I believe it is specifically referring to suffering for righteousness sake.

Paul specifically says “if so be that we suffer WITH Him.” It’s not general suffering of all people, but a specific suffering with Christ, joining in His sufferings, akin to Paul’s goals in Philippians–that he may know the fellowship of Christ’s sufferings.

Before we start jumping to inheritance, it is important to go where Paul went in talking about inheritance–you have to suffer for it. Apparently, based on Paul’s verbiage, if we don’t suffer we have no reason to believe we’ll be glorified.

This does not mean we must suffer to be saved. What it means is that true salvation results in living godly, which leads to suffering. One of the tests of whether you are saved is whether you suffer for it. If you do, you then have the confident expectation of glorification.

There are reasons why Romans 8:17 is rarely fully quoted: no one wants to deal with this inconvenient truth, but since Paul brings it up, I imagine we might want to deal with it.