Now if we are children, then we are heirs—heirs of God and co-heirs with Christ, if indeed we share in his sufferings in order that we may also share in his glory. I consider that our present sufferings are not worth comparing with the glory that will be revealed in us. – Romans 8:17-18 NIV
In a previous verse (v. 14) Paul has said that all who are led by the Spirit of God are God’s children. And here he tells us that as God’s children we are heirs of God. I can’t say that I can begin to comprehend what it means to be an heir of God, but I am looking forward to sharing in his glory.
Sharing in the Sufferings of Christ
But that sharing in God’s glory is in the future and is conditional on sharing in the sufferings of Christ while in this life. Suffering does not hold a great deal of appeal for most of us, although it is our common experience. However Paul is not just talking about the suffering that is common to humanity, no matter how severe it might be. Instead, he is referring to sharing in the sufferings of Christ. Am I willing to take my stand for Christ regardless how the world around responds to me? Not all of us will suffer in our walk with Christ in the same way, depending on our surroundings. But all of us will pay a price for not conforming to the culture around us. Am I willing to stand out from my culture as a follower of Christ?
As we consider our willingness to suffer for Christ, verse 18 offers some significant encouragement. If you put the suffering we do for Christ on one side of a scale balance, and the glory that awaits us on the other side, the glory side will prove to be significantly greater. In the midst of our challenges in this life, keep your eyes fixed on the glory that awaits you, and be faithful to your calling.