Calling all heirs: you can inherit everything!

Childhood in God is not a status symbol, but a mission for us to become like little children and to learn to suffer with Christ. How can we do this? Here are the explanations from a divine service by the Chief Apostle.

“A comforting message”—that was how Chief Apostle Jean-Luc Schneider referred to the Bible text he used as the basis of the divine service on 27 July in Bonaire in the Netherlands Antilles: “The Spirit Himself bears witness with our spirit that we are children of God, 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” (Romans 8: 16-17).

A question of faith

“It is truly a great comfort to know that we are children of God.” But “what does this mean?” asked the Church leader, before going on to explain as follows:

  • God is the loving and caring Father: “As parents, we do our best to provide our children with all they need for their lives, but our power and our possibilities are limited. Our heavenly Father has no such limits. Nothing is impossible for Him!”
  • children of God are His heirs: “Being together with God in His kingdom in eternity. That is the inheritance we will receive from our Father—and through the rebirth out of water and the Spirit. No one can take this away from you.”
  • children of God are joint heirs with Christ: “Whatever Jesus Christ received, we will receive too!” This makes us very humble because when we think about Jesus Christ, He was a perfect Man. Who of us could say that?”
  • children of God are co-heirs together: “And we will all receive the same inheritance! Because every heir—everyone—receives everything!”

However, “we do not have any evidence. We have not received any signs. We must believe this,” emphasised the Chief Apostle: Do not ask for evidence. You will not receive any! It is a question of faith.”

Becoming like children

This message is also an exhortation, however: “In order to receive this inheritance we must become like children.” This means

  • “being humble like a child who knows: “I have absolutely nothing. I can do nothing. I am fully dependent on my parents.”
  • “we must trust God like a child, in the awareness that my Father knows better than I do. He will do the right thing.”
  • “we trust Him, we respect Him, and therefore we also obey Him. By experience we know that it is not that easy, but that is the condition.”

“That is the first prerequisite for receiving the inheritance,” said the Church leader. “And now Paul adds a second—and it is not so pleasant.

Inheriting with Christ means suffering with Christ

“You will receive the inheritance if you suffer with Christ. That is the part of the message that is not so pleasant.” However, “it is important to realise what kind of suffering he is talking about. We must suffer with Christ.”

  • • “To suffer in Christ does not mean that you have to suffer because you are faithful, because you are a faithful Christian. You are simply experiencing the same kind of thing that everyone else experiences. The additional bit of suffering is that the devil wants to use your suffering to separate you from God.”
  • “Let us suffer with Christ. This means that we must not allow our sufferings—no matter how great they may be—to destroy or disturb our relationship with God.”
  • “Jesus also said, ‘Anyone who desires to follow Me must renounce himself.’ This makes us suffer just as it made Jesus suffer. It took him a long time and it was a big struggle for Him before He came to the point of saying, ‘Nevertheless, not My will, but Yours, be done.’”
  • “Christ shares in the suffering of His neighbour. If you honestly share in the suffering of your neighbour, you will suffer too! And that is not pleasant. But because we follow Christ, we agree to share in the suffering of our neighbour.”
  • “We can enjoy our lives on earth, but there is always a kind of suffering here, namely this longing: I want to be with Christ for all eternity!”

“If we suffer in this way, then we can truly become joint-heirs with Christ. And then we will receive this wonderful inheritance. It is so great that I have no words to describe it, but we trust God: everyone will receive everything!”

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Andreas Rother
Chief Apostle, Divine service