There is just one more role that we should examine. If you have questions from the previous post, this might actually help answer some of those for you. The basis of our ability to rule/judge in eternity is because of this last role.
If you thought that these were acts reserved for God alone, we have to take one thing into consideration. For we know that Christ is King and Judge, and He receives those roles Himself because He is the Son of God. But we, too, are sons, adopted as if we were born of the Father Himself. Therefore we are joint-heirs with Christ.
First, let’s talk about how we became heirs.
You might think that it is being born again, of water and Spirit (see John 3), that makes us sort of “re-made” with a new Father, God. But Scripture paints a very different picture. Instead of Fathering us anew, God adopts us. Now, I realize that on the surface, it doesn’t seem any different; but in reality it completely different.
For if we are re-made, Fathered anew, then God wipes out all of what we were and starts us afresh. Though the forgiveness given to us does remove our sin as far from God and His memory as East is from West, we are not free of our sinful nature as long as we walk in our natural, corruptible bodies (see Romans 7:1-12; 1 Corinthians 15:42-57).
But adoption means that we are taken, filthy rotten in all of our sins, and lifted up, cleaned by the Blood of Christ (see Romans 5:6-11), and given a new nature that battles with our old one, until that day when we our mortal, corruptible bodies are exchanged for the immortal, incorruptible that Paul described in 1 Corinthians 15.
For all who are led by the Spirit of God are children of God. So you should not be like cowering, fearful slaves. You should behave instead like God’s very own children, adopted into his family-calling him “Father, dear Father.” For his Holy Spirit speaks to us deep in our hearts and tells us that we are God’s children. And since we are his children, we will share his treasures-for everything God gives to his Son, Christ, is ours, too.
(Romans 8:14-17a, NLT)
We could go on and on just about the implications of Adoption. But let’s just look at the fact that this adoption is so complete, that we are not just heirs of Christ, we are heirs of God with Christ. And, we joint heirs, inheriting fully the same as He does, not in some lesser respect.
But when the proper time came God sent His Son, born of a human mother and born under the jurisdiction of the Law, that He might lead us into becoming, by adoption, true sons of God. It because you really are His sons that God has sent the Spirit of His Son into your hearts to cry “Father, dear Father.” You, my brother, are not a servant any longer; you are a son. And, if you are a son, then you are certainly an heir of God through Christ.
(Galatians 4:4-7, Phillips)
You see, Paul had a reason for addressing the church as brothers. It wasn’t just because women didn’t have an equal place in the church, or because of his own sexist tendencies.
In that patriarchal society, it meant something to be a son. Suddenly you weren’t just another member of the family, you were an heir. Daughters weren’t heirs, only sons.
So to tell women they were daughters of God meant nothing. But, to tell a woman that she was adopted as a son shed an entirely different light on her relationship with God. Not only would she be equal with the rest of us who are adopted, but she was an heir – legally and fully – to all that God has for His children.
So then, what does it mean to be a joint-heir with Christ? What is it that we are heirs to?
God, who at various times and in various ways spoke in time past to the fathers by the prophets, has in these last days spoken to us by His Son, whom He has appointed heir of all things, through whom also He made the worlds…
(Hebrews 1:1-2, NKJV).
We become heirs to all things, just as Christ is heir to all things. We have the same inheritance that Jesus does.
Jesus’ inheritance is owed Him simply because He is the Son of God. It is not because of His work here on the earth, of His miracles or sermons or prayers, or even because of His death and resurrection. It is His simply because He is the Son.
But, because of His work on this earth, we have the opportunity become sons of God, not by nature but by adoption. Who can imagine what wonders await us when we receive our inheritance in eternity?