Romans 8:17 "and if children, then heirs- heirs of God and fellow heirs with Christ, provided we suffer with him in order that we may also be glorified with him". ESV

How does "fellow heirs" in Romans 8:17 relate to "those who are to inherit salvation" in Hebrews 1:14?

i.e. If the children are fellow heirs with Christ and the children inherit salvation, does that mean that Christ also inherits salvation?

If parents give land to their firstborn offspring and cash to another offspring of theirs, then they are fellow heirs but their inheritance differs.

When as "fellow heirs with Christ" is the Christian's inheritance the same as firstborn Jesus' inheritance and when different? [Is Deuteronomy 21:16-17 relevant?]

"firstborn" Romans 8:29.

4 Answers 4


How does "fellow heirs" in Romans 8:17 relate to "those who are to inherit salvation" in Hebrews 1:14? i.e. If the children are fellow heirs with Christ and the children inherit salvation, does that mean that Christ also inherits salvation?

That is a very perceptive question. The answer is YES. Consider Hebrews 5:7

7 In the days of his flesh, Jesus offered up prayers and supplications, with loud cries and tears, to him who was able to SAVE him from death, and he was heard because of his reverence.

Christ needed to be saved. Not from moral sin, but from death. Often we think of the salvation that Jesus offers as exclusively a moral salvation from our very sins, but the Jesus solution is also a fix to a very practical problem, how can we live with a holy God, the pure source of life and excellence, when our entire existence is plagued with weakness, physical failure (physical sin), and death. As it is written,

50 I tell you this, brothers: flesh and blood cannot inherit the kingdom of God, nor does the perishable inherit the imperishable... 53 For this perishable body MUST put on the imperishable, and this mortal body MUST put on immortality. 54 When the perishable puts on the imperishable, and the mortal puts on immortality, then shall come to pass the saying that is written:
“Death is swallowed up in victory.”
55 “O death, where is your victory?
O death, where is your sting?”

56 The sting of death is sin, and the power of sin is the law. 57 But thanks be to God, who gives us the victory through our Lord Jesus Christ. 1 Corinthians 15:50,53-57

We participate with Jesus in this victory by participating in his death through which both he was saved and by which he does save. This union with Christ's death occurs scripturally through baptism:

3 Do you not know that all of us who have been baptized into Christ Jesus were baptized into his death?
4 We were buried therefore with him by baptism into death, in order that, just as Christ was raised from the dead by the glory of the Father, we too might walk in newness of life. 5 For if we have been united with him in a death like his, we shall certainly be united with him in a resurrection like his. Rom 6:3-5

The absolute significance of Christ death is why Christians should regularly proclaim his death through the participation (communion):

26 For as often as you eat this bread and drink the cup, you proclaim the Lord's death until he comes. -1 Corinthians 11:26

It is our access, through Christ's death, to Christ's salvation (the resurrection) that we are saved:

20 ...the Lord Jesus Christ, 21 ...will transform our lowly body to be like his glorious body, by the power that enables him even to subject all things to himself. -Phil 3:21

10 For if while we were enemies we were reconciled to God by the death of his Son, much more, now that we are reconciled, shall we be SAVED BY HIS LIFE.

When as "fellow heirs with Christ" is the Christian's inheritance the same as firstborn Jesus' inheritance...

Well, as we discussed we share in the inheritance of the resurrection (Christ's eternal body/the new creation), but the idea of us being co-heirs is greater than this for we will also inherit his kingdom.

34 Then the King will say to those on his right, ‘Come, you who are blessed by my Father, inherit the kingdom prepared for you from the foundation of the world. -Matthew 25:34

But this inheritance won't merely be ours as mere citizens, but it will be ours to rule over alongside the Anointed.

11 The saying is trustworthy, for:
If we have died with him,
we will also live with him;
12 if we endure,
we will also REIGN with him;

21 The one who conquers, I will grant him to sit with me on my throne, as I also conquered and sat down with my Father on his throne. 22 He who has an ear, let him hear what the Spirit says to the churches.’” Revelation 3:21-22

18 But the saints of the Most High shall receive the kingdom, and possess the kingdom for ever, even for ever and ever.’... 27 And the kingdom and the dominion, and the greatness of the kingdoms under the whole heaven, shall be given to the people of the saints of the Most High; their kingdom is an everlasting kingdom, and all dominions shall serve and obey them.' -Daniel 7:18,27 (JPS Tanakh 1917)

...and when different?

Well, why we are members of the church (which if we take seriously what the Bible has to say, will ultimately amount to the assembly - a ruling class of divine beings), Jesus is its head: And he is the head of the body, the church. He is the beginning, the firstborn from the dead, that in everything he might be preeminent. -Colossians 1:18

And while we are a royal priesthood, he is the High Priest:

17 Therefore he had to be made like his brothers in every respect, so that he might become a merciful and faithful high priest in the service of God, to make propitiation for the sins of the people. -Hebrews 2:17

And while we shall be rulers over God's kingdom, Christ is the King of Kings:

14 They will make war on the Lamb, and the Lamb will conquer them, for he is Lord of lords and King of kings, and those with him are called and chosen and faithful.” -Revelation 17:14

[Is Deuteronomy 21:16-17 relevant?]

Kinda, Jesus's portion is essentially everything...

1 Corinthians 15:27 27 For “God has put all things in subjection under his feet.” But when it says, “all things are put in subjection,” it is plain that he is excepted who put all things in subjection under him.

...while it seems we, individually, will have some divided-up jurisdiction...

Luke 19:17 17 And he said to him, ‘Well done, good servant! Because you have been faithful in a very little, you shall have authority over ten cities.’

...So... It seems like Jesus gets a little more than a double the portion.

  • Well said, though you do need to rewrite this, “Christ needed to be saved. Not from moral sin, but from death.“ As you are not clear why he needed saving. This is important.
    – Steve
    Jun 10, 2021 at 21:31
  • @user48152 , is a correction like this along the lines of what you are thinking? *Christ needed to be saved - not from moral sin, but from death.
    – Austin
    Jun 11, 2021 at 1:24
  • for clarity, pls answer this. What was the reason for this death he was saved from. Christ didn't inherit salvation (as the OP surmises). He was w/o sin - not needing salvation from sin. Yet Heb says he needed 'saving'.
    – Steve
    Jun 11, 2021 at 1:35
  • I've asked the Q here hermeneutics.stackexchange.com/questions/62283/…
    – Steve
    Jun 11, 2021 at 1:49
  • @user48152 , oh, the reason for his death was, on one level, because the Romans killed him. On another level because his was made a mortal subject to death. On another level, because he offered to become human and sacrifice his life so that he can pave the Way for humanity to go from death to life.
    – Austin
    Jun 11, 2021 at 2:33

The idea of Christians identifying with Christ (as the name implies) is a significant theme in Scripture. See appendix below about imitating Jesus.

The Bible strongly emphasises the imitation of Christ by the mechanism of beholding Christ (Phil 2:4, 5, Heb 12:2, 3, 1 Cor 2:16, Col 3:1-4, 2 Cor 3:18, Rom 13:14, John 17:17, Matt 6:19-33, 12:33-35, Rom 8:12-14; contrast 2 Kings 17:15, Ps 115:4-8, 135:15-18, Prov 10:24, 24:8, 9). “Salvation is found in no one else, for there is no other name under heaven given among mankind by which we must be saved.” (Acts 4:12) In fact, it is the imitation of Christ that gives Christians the title; “Christian” meaning, one who is like Christ.

In addition to the above language, the Bible has numerous other ways to express this such as: “reflecting the Lord’s glory and being transformed into His likeness” (2 Cor 3:18), being “transformed by the renewing of your mind” (Rom 12:2), “follow after righteousness” (1 Tim 6:11), walking in the “newness of life” (Rom 6:4), “perfecting holiness” (2 Cor 7:1), “partaking in the divine nature” (2 Peter 1:4), “growing up into Christ” (Eph 4:15), “pressing toward the mark” (Phil 3:12-15), “being built up in Christ” (Col 2:7), “becoming complete in all the will of God” (Col 4:12), “fighting the good fight of faith” (1 Tim 6:12), “growing in grace” (2 Peter 3:18), plus many more.

But there is much more.

  • Jesus died to sin and was raised to a new life, never to die again. This is also the process of every sinner in Jesus will also die to sin (at baptism) and be raised to a new eternal life, free of sin. See Rom 6:8-11.
  • Jesus is our great high priest (Heb 4:14, 15, 7:26-28), so too, we are a holy nation of priests. 1 Peter 2:9.
  • Jesus is the chief corner-stone and we are also stones in the building. 1 Peter 2:4-6.
  • Jesus is the chief shepherd, and elders are to shepherd the flock as He would. 1 Peter 5:1-4.
  • We are to be conduits of Jesus’ “water of life”. John 4:13, 14.
  • The Levitical Laws are almost all set in the context of “I am the LORD”, essentially saying that, “This is who I am, do likewise”. See Lev 18 and 19 among many others.
  • Jesus is the promised “seed” (Gen 13:15, 24:7) of Abraham (Gal 3:16) and so are we (Gal 3:29, Rom 9:8).
  • After His ascension, Jesus was seated at the right hand of God in heaven (Ps 110:1, 5, Luke 22:69, Matt 26:64, Acts 2:33, 7:56, Rom 8:34, Eph 1:20, Col 3:1, Heb 1:3, 10:12, 12:2, 1 Peter 3:22), and so will we (Rev 3:21).
  • Jesus is “Son of the Most High” (Luke 1:32, Mark 5:7, 8:28) and Christians are called “sons of the Most High” (Luke 6:35).

Further, Jesus even set us an example of the imitation of the Divine, despite His obvious claim to divinity. This is a subtle point. On numerous occasions we find Jesus claiming to be both divine and the great “I AM”; but just as often He also claimed to do nothing except as the Father told Him or lead Him.

Lastly, the doctrine of Reconciliation describes the process of reuniting an estranged family member. It is predicated on two Biblical assumptions that (a) Jesus is our brother (Heb 2:11-13, Ps 22:22, Isa 8:17, 18, Matt 12:48, 49, John 20:17, Rom 8:29), and (b) sin separates us from Jesus our brother (Isa 59:2, Gal 5:4, Eph 2:12, Ps 22:1, Eze 14:5, Jer 6:8). Reconciliation is found in only a few places but they, again, emphasise that atonement is God’s initiative without any input from us. In 2 Cor 5:18, 19 we find that Christ reconciled the world to Himself by “not counting our sins against us”. Rom 5:10, 11 teaches that sinners were reconciled to God by Christ’s death. Further, a comparison with v9 shows that justification and reconciliation are used in parallel.


We are 'fellow heirs' because we follow exactly Jesus' path to eternal life.

He began life as a mortal man and was subject to temptation and sin and death as we all are. He was made like us in every respect.

Therefore, it was necessary for him to be made in every respect like us, his brothers and sisters, so that he could be our merciful and faithful High Priest before God. Heb 2:17

We know he was firstborn from the dead.

He is the beginning and firstborn from among the dead, so that in all things he may have pre-eminence Col 1:18

More on being firstborn here. And here

Jesus was appointed heir by God - meaning he wasn't so before. God made him Lord and Christ also Acts 2:36

Heb 1:2 ‘in these last days has spoken to us in His son, whom He appointed heir of all things, through whom also He made the ages’ ( ages from GR. aiōnas not world or universe)

Jesus inherited all things after he was raised from the dead. While a mortal man, he had to qualify to be the perfect sacrifice. Having cried out, 'it is finished', he also qualified to be heir, judge and giver of life.

He learned obedience from what he suffered. 9 And having been made perfect, he became the source of eternal salvation Heb 5:8

When believers are raised with the OT saints at his return, we will be joint heirs with him. Being able to receive salvation only in him, because he has opened the way to eternal life for all. Jesus overcame evil by putting his will in subjection to God's will. He was rewarded with life eternal as the firstfruit of all firstfruits. (believers)

But each in his own turn: Christ the firstfruits; then at His coming, those who belong to Him. 1 Cor 15:23

The implications of Matt 16:24 are yet to be fully comprehended and realised.

Then said Jesus unto his disciples, If any man will come after me, let him deny himself, and take up his cross, and follow me

There are many verses speaking of sharing in Christ's life, his suffering, his obedience, his mind and attitude of humility and this culminates in following him into the kingdom to be with the Father. He goes first, we follow into his glory, which is the Father's glory.

And he is the radiance of His glory and the representation of His nature Heb 1:3

He is the image of the invisible God, the firstborn over all creation Col 1:15

What do we inherit? All that Christ has made accessible. Man was made to be 'in God's image', but this is only possible in and through Jesus - who IS the image of God. We inherit that image too through him the firstborn. And we, the 'many brethren' Rom 8:29

For those God foreknew, He also predestined to be conformed to the image of His son, so that he would be the firstborn among many brothers.

This hope we have as an anchor of the soul, a hope both sure and reliable and one which enters within the veil, 20 where Jesus has entered as a forerunner for us, having become a high priest forever Heb 6:19

  • User48152 You say "Man was made to be "in God's image" but Gen 1:27 says "God created man in His own image". Where do you get the "to be" from?
    – C. Stroud
    Jun 8, 2021 at 21:02
  • 1
    simply b/c, from the beginning, Christ was always going to be the way to realise the full potential of creation. Eden was the beginning of creation - and is only completed in Christ. That's why we read in Col 1:16 all things have been created through Him and for Him - certainly not BY him as far too many falsely believe.
    – Steve
    Jun 8, 2021 at 21:17
  • User48152 Are you saying that "For by him all things were made" Col 1:16 ESV is an incorrect translation or that you don't believe it?
    – C. Stroud
    Jun 8, 2021 at 21:25
  • Look at the Greek - most others have 'through'. There is no unambiguous verses that support Jesus making all things - the idea is absurd according to scripture. He was born ~4BC and has no pre-existence as a 'God the Son' or a logos 'person' - the bible does not support this theology.
    – Steve
    Jun 8, 2021 at 21:37
  • User48152, instead of through him, i think the most accurate translation would be in him. This keeps the interpretive options open. How is it, that in him all things were created?
    – Austin
    Jun 10, 2021 at 16:02

What does “fellow heirs” mean in Romans 8:17?

God’s spirit gives positive assurance of adoption as spiritual sons to baptized Christians who have received the heavenly calling. The apostle Paul showed this when he wrote to the “holy ones” in Rome.

Romans 1:7 NASB (Footnotes Lit holy ones; i.e., God’s people)

Romans 8:14-17 NASB

14 For all who are being led by the Spirit of God, these are sons and daughters of God. 15 For you have not received a spirit of slavery [a]leading to fear again, but you have received [b]a spirit of adoption as sons and daughters by which we cry out, “Abba! [c]Father!” 16 The Spirit Himself testifies with our spirit that we are children of God, 17 and if children, heirs also, heirs of God and fellow heirs with Christ, if indeed we suffer with Him so that we may also be glorified with Him.

Thus God’s own spirit in various ways bears witness with their spirit, the motivating force of their own mind and heart, that they are God’s children. In accord with what God’s spirit thus indicates, their minds and hearts become set on the prospect of being fellow heirs with Christ

Jesus speaks of the rewards to his fellow heirs: Grants a Kingdom --Luke 22:28-30, Reign over the earth-- Rev. 5:9-10, Granted immortality and an imperishable body in heaven -- 1 Peter 1:3-4)

Luke 22:28-30 NASB

28 “You are the ones who have stood by Me in My trials; 29 and just as My Father has granted Me a kingdom, I grant you 30 that you may eat and drink at My table in My kingdom, and you will sit on thrones judging the twelve tribes of Israel

Revelation 5:9-10 NASB

9 And they *sang a new song, saying, “Worthy are You to take the scroll and to break its seals; for You were slaughtered, and You purchased people for God with Your blood from every tribe, language, people, and nation. 10 You have made them into a kingdom and priests to our God, and they will reign upon the earth.

1 Peter 1:3-4 NASB

3 Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, who according to His great mercy has caused us to be born again to a living hope through the resurrection of Jesus Christ from the dead, 4 to obtain an inheritance which is imperishable, undefiled, and will not fade away, reserved in heaven for you.

Jesus Christ the "Firstborn among many brothers", How?

Romans 8:29 NASB

29 For those whom He foreknew, He also predestined to become conformed to the image of His Son, so that He would be the firstborn among many brothers and sisters; Jesus Christ is shown to be “the firstborn of all creation” as well as “the firstborn from the dead”,the first one actually created and the first raised from the dead to endless life.

Colossians 1:15,18 NASB.

15 "He is the image of the invisible God, the firstborn of all creation:"18 He is also the head of the body, the church; and He is the beginning, the firstborn from the dead, so that He Himself will come to have first place in everything.

(Compare Rev. 1:5, 3:14)

On earth, He was the firstborn of Mary and was presented at the temple in accordance with God's Law. (Luke 2:7, 22, 23) Paul speaks of Jesus as the "firstborn among many brothers", These brothers fellow heirs of Christ are enrolled in the heavens as the congregation of the firstborn. (Heb 12:23). They are accepted by God as sons on the basis of their faith in Jesus' sacrifice and are resurrected to heaven never to die again.

Hebrews 12:23 NET

23 And congregation of the firstborn, who are enrolled in heaven, and to God, the judge of all, and to the spirits of the righteous, who have been made perfect,


The expression: " predestined to become conformed to the image" (Vs Rom 8:29) God predestined this group "fellow heirs of Christ " to become conformed to the image of His Son, but not the individual persons comprising the group. Why? because Peter reminds and encouraged his fellow heirs or chosen ones (Vs 2 Peter 1:10) to persevere if they do not wish to be deprived of the promised reward of reigning in the heavens with Christ. (2 Peter 1:10; Revelation 2:10, )

2 Peter 1:10 NASB

10 Therefore, brothers and sisters, be all the more diligent to make certain about His calling and choice of you; for as long as you practice these things, you will never stumble;

Revelation 2:10 NASB

10 Do not fear what you are about to suffer. Behold, the devil is about to throw some of you into prison, so that you will be tested, and you will have tribulation for ten days. Be faithful until death, and I will give you the crown of life.

God's Love and free will

Man was given free will, being created “in God’s image.” (Genesis 1:27) Free will was indispensable if humans were to honor and serve God out of love, not as robots with every movement determined beforehand. Love displayed by intelligent, free creatures would enable God to refute unjust accusations. He says: “Be wise, my son, and make my heart rejoice, that I may make a reply to him that is taunting me.”​—Proverbs 27:11.

If God’s servants were predestined​—or programmed, so to speak—​could not the genuineness of their love for their Creator be called into question? Also, would it not be contrary to God’s impartiality for him to make a predetermined choice of persons destined to glory and happiness without taking their individual merits into account? Moreover, if some receive such preferential treatment, while others are destined to eternal punishment, this would hardly arouse sincere feelings of gratitude in the “elect,” or “chosen ones.”​ Acts 10:34- 35.

Finally, Christ told his disciples to preach the good news to all mankind. If God has already chosen the ones to be saved, would this not dampen the zeal Christians show in evangelizing? Would it not make the preaching work essentially pointless?

  • Ozzie Peter's encouragement could be needed if A] people had free will or if B] as God determines who will accept this encouragement He does predestine individuals. If one is going to mention predestination should answers reflect that there may be more than one way of looking at it?
    – C. Stroud
    Apr 23, 2021 at 16:13
  • C. Stroud: Tks for your query. Please note my answer above, the last three paragraphs. Apr 23, 2021 at 16:50
  • You quoted, He also predestined to become conformed to the image of His Son. This was not possible in Gen when man was created, but a process began. We are in God’s image in Christ alone, therefore free will was limited by evil and deception until God grants access to truth, via His word, His son.
    – Steve
    Apr 23, 2021 at 22:14
  • user 48152:Your right, God began this process with the fascinating prophecy at Genesis 3:15. This verse introduces the Bible’s primary theme, which is the vindication of God’s sovereignty and the sanctification of his name by means of the Kingdom. Daniel 2:44 Apr 24, 2021 at 17:12

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