Friday, July 08, 2011

Practical Religion: J. C. Ryle on the Christian Life

Chapter 18: Heirs of God

"Those who are led by the Spirit of God are sons of God." (Romans 8:14)

"For you did not receive a spirit that makes you a slave again to fear, but you received the Spirit of sonship. And by Him we cry, ‘Abba, Father.’" (Romans 8:15)

"The Spirit himself testifies with our spirit that we are God’s children." (Romans 8:16)

"Now if we are children, then we are heirs—heirs of God and co-heirs with Christ, if indeed we share in his sufferings in order that we may also share in His glory." (Romans 8:17)

The people of whom the Apostle Paul speaks of in the verses before us today are the richest people on the earth. It just has to be. They are called "heirs of God and co-heirs with Christ."

The inheritance of these people is the only inheritance really worth having; all others are unsatisfying and disappointing. They bring with them many concerns. They cannot cure an aching heart, or lighten a heavy conscience; they cannot prevent family troubles; they cannot prevent sicknesses, misfortunes, separations, and deaths. But there are no disappointments among the "heirs of God."

The inheritance I speak of is the only inheritance which can be kept forever; all others must be left in the hour of death, if they have not been taken away before. Those who are extremely wealthy cannot carry anything with them beyond the grave. But it is not so with the "heirs of God." Their inheritance is eternal.

The inheritance I speak of is the only inheritance which is within everybody’s reach. Most men can never obtain riches and greatness, though they work hard for them all of their lives; but glory, honor, and eternal life, are offered to every man freely, who is willing to accept them on God’s terms. "Whoever wants to," may be an "heir of God and co-heirs with Christ."

If any reader of this paper wishes to have a portion of this inheritance, let him know that he must be a member of that one family on earth to which it belongs, and that is the family of all true Christians. If you desire to have glory in heaven, then you must become one of God’s children on earth. I write this paper in order to persuade you to become a child of God today, if you are not one already. I write it to persuade you to be absolutely certain that you are one, if at present you only have a vague hope, and nothing more. No one but true Christians are the children of God! No one but the children of God are heirs of God! Give me your attention, while I try to unfold these things to you, and to show you the lessons contained in the verses which head this paper.

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