This week we talk about being ‘In Christ’ not inoculating us against pain. In fact we will discover there is possibly more pain in being in Him than in not. All and any pain has purpose. Pain works with God forming in us the nature of Christ.
Romans 8:17 (NKJV) and if children, then heirs—heirs of God and joint heirs with Christ, if indeed we suffer with Him, that we may also be glorified together.
I am not about to leave all my estate to strangers. Neither does God. He bequeaths all He has to His children. There is nothing that is not His, which He has bestowed upon His Son, with whom we are joint heirs, we share all He has been given, which is everything. We possess this inheritance by the Word of God. We don't have to try and get it. We have already been given it. But now we are to appropriate this inheritance into our lives. We do this through the power of the Word of God (Acts 20:32), reading, studying, confessing, meditating, so it digests within us.
Most, near all commentators cannot interpret this inheritance as physical circumstances as it would only be interpreted by Old Testament figures. Inheritance meant, wealth, land, businesses, victory over enemies, etc. There is no reason to believe that all of this is reserved for our future in heaven only. 'As He is, so are we in this world'. 'Thy will be done on Earth as it is in heaven.' If we believe we are to be poor and destitute here on Earth then we should expect that to be in heaven also. God wants to reveal His goodness to those who serve Him in their circumstances here on Earth. It is to His glory that we live as His heirs now here on Earth.
Yet, we would be mistaken to imagine that being in Christ is somehow a position in life absent from suffering.
Being ‘In Christ’ doesn’t inoculate us against pain. In fact we will discover there is possibly more pain in being in Him than in not. All and any pain has purpose. Pain works with God forming in us the nature of Christ.
To be a joint heir with Christ is to be united with Him in this life, which will inevitably bring suffering, whether persecution or the pressure of swimming against the world, our flesh, the devil and life as it generally is around us. To follow Christ is to accept there will be difficult and challenging times. This is part of living in the full inheritance of Christ.
This Scripture reveals there is no 'being glorified' if there is no 'suffering'.
Pain is part of the life we have chosen in following Christ. Peter counsels that we should not be surprised when a fiery ordeal comes upon us.
Triumph without a broken heart is cold victory easily morphing into ruthless oppression. On the other hand a broken heart without any victory is a sure route to anger, depression, cynicism and a sour attitude. Both conditions are gaping holes for demons to enter and take advantage of. Pride or melancholy will infest the soul of either of these conditions.
As fellow heirs with Christ we have entered into a communion with Him that also takes us into His pain. When we suffer we feel something of the pain He feels. Pain unites us with Jesus as much as joyful victory does. We all struggle with something that's against us. That's not a reason though to give up. It's a reason to dig deep and discover the resurrection power of Christ that can elevate us above our unresolved circumstance.
What crowning announcement trumpets blare?
That we with Christ His inheritance share?
Trembling in worship we receive
The inheritance reserved for Kings and Queens
Yet this cup is mingled
It also carries the Saviour’s pain.
Drinking our King’s portion, we also draught His pain.
Nothing will draw you closer, nothing else sweeten your days,
As the sour taste of betrayal,
The offence of your own fall,
The loss of the unrecoverable
Being forgotten and forlorn.
We drink all these without turning back
Facing the foe with brave hearts.
There discovering, that we do reign with Him
As gentle kings, sacred, noble, magnificent.