Romans 8:17 Parallel Verses [⇓ See commentary ⇓]

Romans 8:17, NIV: "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, 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."

Romans 8:17, KJV: "And if children, then heirs; heirs of God, and joint-heirs with Christ; if so be that we suffer with him, that we may be also glorified together."

Romans 8:17, NASB: "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."

Romans 8:17, NLT: "And since we are his children, we are his heirs. In fact, together with Christ we are heirs of God's glory. But if we are to share his glory, we must also share his suffering."

Romans 8:17, CSB: "and if children, also heirs--heirs of God and coheirs with Christ--if indeed we suffer with him so that we may also be glorified with him."

What does Romans 8:17 mean? [⇑ See verse text ⇑]

Earlier, Paul wrote that though we exist to serve God, God has not given us the "spirit of slavery" through His Spirit. He did not want to have a merely master/servant relationship with us. No, in His Spirit, Paul wrote in verse 15, God gave us the Spirit of adoption that enables to us to call Him "Abba! Father!"

In fact, Paul writes, our relationship to God is so far removed from that of slavery that we have become legal children with full rights as God's heirs. Most of us would be satisfied to merely be saved from hell, to be given a quiet corner of heaven in which to spend eternity not suffering. Instead, God has made each person who trusts in Christ an heir to all the glories of God's kingdom along with God's only "birth son" Jesus (John 3:16).

Of course, such an action is absolutely unnecessary on God's part, and it is absolutely evidence of God's enormous love for us. God has every right to treat us as mere creatures. He is the Creator. Instead, in Christ and through the power of His Spirit, He has welcomed us as fully adopted children with full access to His kingdom. There is no greater gift.

Paul seems to include a condition here, but it is a condition all who trust in Christ for their salvation have already met. He writes that we are heirs with Christ "if" we suffer with Christ in order to be glorified with Christ. The word translated "if" here (eiper) can easily be read as "if, as is the fact" or "since." Just as in English, the term does not always imply something unsure; it can connect two related ideas. In other words, we are heirs with Christ since we suffer—or will suffer—with Him.

What, then, does it mean to suffer with Christ? It may include the idea that Christians can expect to be persecuted for our close identity with Christ (John 15:20). It may refer to what Paul wrote earlier that to put our faith in Jesus is to be so closely associated with Him that we ourselves die to sin on a spiritual level (Romans 6:5–8). Or perhaps this suffering is the suffering that Jesus experienced in daily life on a sin-ravaged world, something that every person lives through. Paul will describe this universal "groaning" of existence in verses 22–23. Those in Christ, however, suffer with Him on their way to being glorified with Him once this life has ended. For Christians, suffering in this life is never meaningless (Romans 5:3–5).