Summary: What does it mean - child, son & joint heir of God?

Mid-week Message/Devotion

May 30, 2018

Romans 8:12-17

Child, Son, & Joint Heir of God

Listen to the lyrics of this song on the Merrill Osmond Album – “How Great Thou Art”:

I am a child of God,

And he has sent me here,

Has given me an earthly home

With parents kind and dear.

Lead me, guide me, walk beside me,

Help me find the way.

Teach me all that I must do

To live with Him someday

I am a child of God,

And so my needs are great;

Help me to understand His words

Before it grows too late.

Lead me, guide me, walk beside me,

Help me find the way.

Teach me all that I must do

To live with Him someday

I am a child of God

Rich blessings are in store

If I but learn to do His will

I’ll live with Him once more

Lead me, guide me, walk beside me,

Help me find the way.

Teach me all that I must do

To live with Him someday


In today’s reading, Paul talks about those led by the Spirit as being “sons” of God. Verse 14. Then as we read on he makes mention of our being “children” of God. Verse 16.

And in verse 17, he says if we are children of God, we are then “heirs” of God and joint heirs with Christ.

Now that’s a powerful message that begs for a tad more study. Just for the sake of study, let’s make a simple comparison. When we think of children, we naturally think of pre-teens. At least I do. If we think of our sons, we have a narrower mind-picture of our specific offspring. Again, at least I do. But then when I think of heirs, my mind jumps all over the place from heirs to the British Throne, to heirs mentioned so often in mystery novels, all the way to the heirs that Paul is referring to. Who are these heirs that Paul is talking about? Heirs of God and joint heirs with Christ is who Paul says WE are, if we are led by the Spirit.

We must understand that God loves us each and every one equally and as His child, we cannot do or say anything that will increase or decrease His love. To get a tighter grasp on this truth, let’s go back to Scripture:

“He who does not love does not know God, for God is love.” 1 John 4:8

Read the account of Jesus’ healing the servant of the Roman Centurion in Luke 7. They were not followers of Christ, yet Jesus loved and ministered equally as He did for His followers. God loves all His creation equally.

“And now abide faith, hope, love, these three; but the greatest of these is love.” 1 Corinthians 13:13

This is a favorite reading at weddings. God’s love is superior to any love we may have, and His Word teaches that LOVE is the greatest of our attributes.

The motto here at our church is “We Love and Serve God by Loving and Serving Each Other”. I often follow-up by saying “EVERY” each other.

We don’t pick and choose, certainly God does not. We do understand that that we cannot possibly love the actions and attitudes of some that we encounter, and we are not expected to. Sometimes, our ministry may be limited to intercessory prayer.

Back in verse 14, we read “For as many as are led by the Spirit of God, these are the sons of God.”

We may be children of God in the sense that we are His creation. However, unless we submit to being led by the Spirit, we just might be missing out on that sonship thing.

Being “led” by the Spirit might mean being led in a direction that we really hadn’t intended or desired. Likewise, it can also mean being denied from a direction or path that we had our heart and soul set on.

Let me give you a biblical example.

When Paul and Silas went evangelizing among the Roman Empire, they were denied by the Spirit from preaching.

“Now when they had gone through Phrygia and the region of Galatia, they were forbidden by the Holy Spirit to preach the word in Asia. After they had come to Mysia, they tried to go into Bithynia, but the Spirit did not permit them.” Acts 16:6-7

Being led can also mean being led away from. We can’t possibly understand why the Spirit leads to and from, can we? Remember just last Sunday, we talked about the Spirit as the wind. We cannot manipulate the Spirit, we can only follow His leading.

“The wind blows where it wishes, and you hear the sound of it, but cannot tell where it comes from and where it goes. So is everyone who is born of the Spirit.” John 3:8

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