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Romans 8:17 ESV

"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." My emphasis. [Christou, genitive].

If someone left in their will a house to be divided equally between their children, the children would be joint heirs of the house, not with the house.

If the Father sent the Son, [Jesus Christ whom you have sent John 17:3] would not the joint heirs be those that inherit Christ?

And those that "suffer with" [sum/with; pascho/suffer] be suffering with other joint heirs of Christ, with whom they are also glorified?

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  • Yes. Those "in Christ" have been adopted by God and are now in His family and joint-heirs of all things with Christ. I believe the verse remains in context if the word "with" were replaced with the word "in". Col 2:10-12 "And ye are complete in him, which is the head of all principality and power: 11 In whom also ye are circumcised with the circumcision made without hands, in putting off the body of the sins of the flesh by the circumcision of Christ: 12 Buried with him in baptism, wherein also ye are risen with him through the faith of the operation of God, who hath raised him from the dead." Commented Jun 10 at 15:19
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    @MarkVestal I think that should be an answer, not a comment.
    – Nigel J
    Commented Jun 10 at 15:24

6 Answers 6

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If someone left in their will a house to be divided equally between their children, the children would be joint heirs of the house, not with the house.

Looking at the context:
Romans 8 (ESV)

12 So then, brothers, we are debtors, not to the flesh, to live according to the flesh. 13 For if you live according to the flesh you will die, but if by the Spirit you put to death the deeds of the body, you will live. 14 For all who are led by the Spirit of God are sons of God. 15 For you did not receive the spirit of slavery to fall back into fear, but you have received the Spirit of adoption as sons, by whom we cry, “Abba! Father!” 16 The Spirit himself bears witness with our spirit that we are children of God, 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.

To the example in the question, Christ and those who receive the Spirit of adoption and Christ are inheriting something.
The house in this passage - that which is being inherited - is being glorified.
Christ and those who are led by the Spirit of God are dividing up the house. They are "fellow heirs with Christ" and they will be "glorified with him"

One of the other answers suggests using "in" rather than "with"

Changing the word "with" to "in" would change the meaning.

Those who have the Spirit of adoption are not fellow heirs in Christ or glorified in Christ.

Those who are children of God are "fellow heirs" with Christ so they will also be glorified with Christ provided they have suffered with Christ.

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We can suffer pains without Christ, and we can suffer the same pains with Christ.

For instance, if in your vileness you purposefully insult somebody and he justly disjoins your jaw with a good punch, you suffer, indeed, but without Christ; on the contrary, when you get a similar blow from an infidel for confessing Christ, then you suffer not only for Him, but in Him and with Him, because He is with you when you confess Him and co-suffers with you when you suffer for confessing Him.

Moreover, is not He glorified in you by your confession of Him? Yes, He is. And is not He glorified in you even more emphatically when the confession is done in a risky environment and, furthermore, results in your jaw being displaced? Yes, He is. And is not it so that when Christ is glorified in you, you are co-glorified in Him and with Him? Yes, yes and yes.

Therefore, why to instruct Paul how to write about his Lord, who lives in him (Gal 2:20) and whose divine power works and is made perfect in Paul’s weakness (2 Cor 12:9)? Let the apostle write epistle, he knows his business.

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  • Thanks. You say "Let the apostle..etc". The ESV puts "glorified with him" and the NKJV "glorified together". Behind this difference are translation ideas which are worth looking at, I think. They might produce the same meaning here but looking at these differences builds, I think, hermeneutical awareness.
    – C. Stroud
    Commented Jun 11 at 9:22
  • @C.Stroud I agree with you 100%, and my post is not to criticize your interesting question, but to add a rhetorical strength of emphasis to the Pauline teaching of our unspeakably tight intimacy and union with the Incarnate God to the limit that W(w)e -i.e. He and us - can be said to have one life. Commented Jun 11 at 9:45
  • Reply received, thanks.
    – C. Stroud
    Commented Jun 11 at 9:53
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Here is my overly literal translation of Rom 8:17 -

Now, if children, also heirs, heirs indeed of God, co-heirs now of Christ, if indeed we co-suffer with, so that also we may be co-glorified with.

Note all the "co-" verbs here, characterized in the Greek by sun/sum prefix on these Greek verbs. Now, in English, these are awkward, and a "smoother" translation would read something like this:

Now, if children, also heirs, heirs indeed of god, joint-heirs of Christ, if indeed we suffer with [Him/Christ], so that we may be glorified with [Him/Christ].

Thus, Paul emphasizes Christ's complete identification with humanity in various ways. See appendix below. This whole concept of being "joint heirs" or "co-heirs" is part of the NT metaphor of adoption and Jesus being our brother.

The idea of sinners being adopted as Sons of God occurs infrequently in the NT and only by Paul (Rom 8:15, 23, 9:4, Gal 4:5, Eph 1:5). However, Jesus appears to unmistakably allude to adoption in John 3:1-8 and 1:12, 13 where we are able to become children of God; Rom 1:7, 2 Cor 1:2, Eph 1:2, 5, Gal 1:3, 4:5, Phil 1:2, 4:20, Col 1:2, 1 Thess 3:11, 2 Thess 1:1, 2, 2:16, 1 Tim 1:2, etc. This is in contradistinction to the Jewish leaders whom Jesus accused of having the Devil as their father, John 8:44.

Thus, adoption is spoken of in the present and future tenses:

  • Adoption in our current life is a metaphor of the reception of the spirit, “the spirit of adoption” (Rom 8:15) signifying a complete change of attitude and way of life which frees us from the constraints of the law, slavery to sin and fear of spiritual poverty, with the added bonus of the promise of future glory in heaven. This process is technically (theologically) called “conversion”, which see.
  • Adoption in the future life (Rom 8:23) is used as a metaphor of glorification when the saints are translated to heaven. Adoption is used as a figure of the privileges of sinners under the protection of God in the Christian life, but Gal 4:5 links the idea to redemption and hence to atonement. Thus, it is more a symbol of the change of life from sinner and assurance of heaven (that is conversion) than of only atonement. The latter (psychologically) creates the former. That is, a person of royalty is free from fear of slavery and poverty, but must be generous to those in need.

Indeed, God is frequently spoken of as the “Father” of the Israelites throughout the OT, Deut 32:6, Ps 89:26, Isa 63:8-10, 16, 64:8, Mal 1:6. In the NT writers frequently refer to God as “the Father”, Gal 1:1, Eph 1:3, 5:20, 6:23, Phil 2:11, 1 Thess 1:1, 1 Cor 15:25, 2 Cor 1:3, 11:31, James 1:27, 1 Peter 1:2, 3, 2 Peter 1:17, 2 John 3, etc; or “My Father”, Matt 11:27, 12:50, 18:35, 20:23, 26:53, Luke 10:22, 15:58, John 5:17, 8:19, 54, 10:17, 18, 29, 14:21, 23, 15:18, etc. The Lord’s Prayer begins with “Our Father”, Matt 6:9, see also Gal 1:4, 1 Thess 3:11, 2 Thess 2:16, Titus 1:4, Col 1:3, Phil 1:2, 4:20, etc.

The metaphor of adoption is used as a proxy for the promises of the covenant in Rom 9:4, Eph 1:5, Gal 3:26-29, 4:5; this is apt as the covenant and adoption grant great privileges.

The metaphor of adoption is extended by the New Testament’s repeated idea of Christ being our brother (Heb 2:11-13, 17, Ps 22:22, Isa 8:17, 18, Matt 12:48, 49, John 20:17, Rom 8:29) following adoption.

APPENDIX - The Imitation of Christ

Here are further ways we are like Christ according to the NT:

  • Partakers of the divine nature. 2 Peter 1:4
  • Because Jesus was persecuted, so are His followers. John 15:20, 21.
  • Be kind because God is kind. Luke 6:34, 35
  • Be servants to others as Jesus was. John 13:15-17, 1 Peter 4:11b, Matt 20:24-28.
  • Be patient as Jesus was patient. 1 Tim 1:16.
  • We are to have the mind of Christ. Phil 2:5, 1 Cor 2:16
  • Jesus is the light of the world (John 1:4, 9, 8:12, 9:5) and so are we (Matt 5:14-16, Phil 2:14)
  • Jesus is the “firstborn” Luke 2:7, Rom 8:29, Col 1:15, 18, Heb 1:6, Rev 1:5, and we are to compose the church/assembly of the firstborn, Heb 12:23; see also Rom 8:23 & Rev 14:4 where we are also called first-fruits to God and the Lamb.
  • Jesus is our sacrifice of atonement and likened to a sacrificial lamb offered for us John 1:29, 1 Cor 5:7, Eph 5:2, 1 John 2:2, 4:10, Heb 10:10, 12, Rom 3:25, 1 Peter 1:19, etc. Similarly, the life of a Christian is lived sacrificially for Christ Rom 12:1, Phil 2:17, Heb 13:15.
  • Jesus, by His sacrifice on the cross, reconciled sinners to God (Rom 5:10, Col 2:16, 1:20, 22, 2 Cor 5:19), and we must also be involved in the “ministry of reconciliation” (2 Cor 5:18, 19) as “ambassadors for Christ” (2 Cor 5:20).
  • 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 the Father 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, see also Eph 2:6).
  • Jesus is “THE 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).
  • Jesus was sent by God to preach and live the Gospel (John 1:33, 4:34, 5:24, 36, 36, 38, 39, 44, 6:57, 7:28, 33, 8:16, 18, 42, 9:4, 12:44, 45, 49, 14:24, 15:21, 16:5, 20:21) and we are sent to preach the Gospel (Matt 28:19, 20, John 20:21, Gal 1:1).
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  • Your literal translation needs a with at the end to emphasize that the verb is not intransitive.
    – Perry Webb
    Commented Jun 11 at 10:07
  • @PerryWebb - many thanks - good suggestion. I will update.
    – Dottard
    Commented Jun 11 at 11:53
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Revelations 20:4 answers best what it to both suffer and be glorified with him.

And I saw thrones, and they sat upon them, and judgment was given unto them:

and I saw the souls of them that were beheaded for the witness of Jesus, and for the word of God, and which had not worshipped the beast, neither his image, neither had received his mark upon their foreheads, or in their hands; (suffer with him)

and they lived and reigned with Christ a thousand years. (Glorified with him)

However I’m not suggesting that being a witness of Jesus and the word of God were intended by John the Apostle to be understood as one and the same; John might have intended the word of God to mean the Logos theology of John 1.

because not worshipping the Beast and receiving the Mark of the Beast does not make a person as being all the aforementioned.

I, nobody don’t actually know what they who suffered said as witness of Jesus or about the Law of Moses and how it probably varied from Rome to Athens to Alexandria to Jerusalem and such. How to do that in public is unknown without being considered a public nuisance to somebody, and nobody knows what all the local laws were for doing such public speaking legally.

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Yes. Those "in Christ" have been adopted by God and are now in His family and joint-heirs of all things with Christ. I believe the verse remains in context if the word "with" were replaced with the word "in". Notice the usage of both below:

Colossians 2:9-17

For in him dwelleth all the fulness of the Godhead bodily. 10 And ye are complete in him, which is the head of all principality and power: 11 In whom also ye are circumcised with the circumcision made without hands, in putting off the body of the sins of the flesh by the circumcision of Christ: 12 Buried with him in baptism, wherein also ye are risen with him through the faith of the operation of God, who hath raised him from the dead. 13 And you, being dead in your sins and the uncircumcision of your flesh, hath he quickened together with him, having forgiven you all trespasses; 14 Blotting out the handwriting of ordinances that was against us, which was contrary to us, and took it out of the way, nailing it to his cross; 15 And having spoiled principalities and powers, he made a shew of them openly, triumphing over them in it. 16 Let no man therefore judge you in meat, or in drink, or in respect of an holyday, or of the new moon, or of the sabbath days: 17 Which are a shadow of things to come; but the body is of Christ.

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This a matter of how to translate the verb συνδοξασθῶμεν, "we may be glorified with" the object is not present, but him makes the most since because Christ is the object of συγκληρονόμοι "fellow heirs with." Note the three verbs with the prefixed preposition συν (with). Thus, him refers to Christ,

... συγκληρονόμοι δὲ Χριστοῦ, εἴπερ συμπάσχομεν ἵνα °καὶ συνδοξασθῶμεν ... (Rom. 8:17, NA28)

... fellow heirs with Christ, provided we suffer with him in order that we may also be glorified with him. (Rom. 8:17, ESV)

It's a matter of parallel statements. Χριστοῦ Christ, the object of the first verb, is understood as the object of the second and third verbs having no object expressed.

συνδοξάζω 1 aor. συνεδόξασα, pass. συνεδοξάσθην (Aristot. et al.) ① to join w. others in praising, join in praise (s. δόξα 3) w. acc. of thing for which praise is offered ISm 11:3. ② to honor together with, pass. be glorified with someone, share in someone’s glory (s. δόξα 1), Ro 8:17.—DELG s.v. δοκάω. TW. -- Arndt, W., Danker, F. W., Bauer, W., & Gingrich, F. W. (2000). In A Greek-English lexicon of the New Testament and other early Christian literature (3rd ed., p. 966). University of Chicago Press.

Note the way we would make a parallel like this in English would be, " fellow heirs with, provided we suffer with, in order that we may also be glorified with Christ." The text here clearly has with συν. To change it to in εν has no textual basis.

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  • The down vote may be because I didn't finish my last sentence until now,
    – Perry Webb
    Commented Jun 12 at 10:13

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