Useful Bible Studies > Romans Commentary > chapter 8

What it means to be one of God's children

Romans 8:17

The Bible calls Godís people Ďthe children of Godí (John 1:12). We must not imagine that this is simply a title or an honour, without any real meaning. Its full meaning and importance are for the future age (8:18); therefore, we cannot understand these things completely yet (1 John 3:1-2). However, we can see that, in Godís great plan for the future age, this is a matter of the greatest importance (1 Corinthians 2:6-10).

The children of a father have future rights to his property (Galatians 4:1-7). That distinguishes them from a servant who may be living in the same house. In fact, everything that the father has, he possesses for the future benefit of his children (compare 1 Corinthians 3:21-23). In the same way, the future world, with all its beauty and wealth, is for Godís people (Revelation chapter 21 and 22). They will not possess it in a selfish or greedy manner, like many rulers in this world (Mark 10:35-45). Instead, as children of God their Father, they will behave like him - in a kind, generous and gentle manner (compare Matthew 5:45).

They will not receive this property alone, but with their brothers and sisters, that is, the rest of Godís people. The first and greatest of their brothers is, of course, Christ himself (Hebrews 2:11-13).

As Christ is their brother, his life is like their lives in this world. Many people in this world oppose them in their relationship with Christ. As he suffered troubles, so they too must expect to suffer troubles (John 16:33; 1 Peter 4:12-13). They do not suffer those troubles alone, because God has sent his Spirit to help them and to make them strong (John 14:16-17; Romans 8:9). God uses their troubles in this world to prepare them for the honour that they will receive with Christ in the next world (8:18-19).

Next part: God's people will share his glory (Romans 8:18)


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© 2018, Keith Simons.