There are countless stories in books, movies, plays, etc… where an unsuspecting person discovers they are heir to some great fortune or a throne. In almost every case, this discovery is through some distant blood line, but in every case, the character is a normal person (or even a lower class peasant type) and learns they are now royalty or rich.
One class is in the movie Spaceballs. The Han Solo type character knows nothing of his past and discovers that he was born of royalty and is actually a Prince. Ironically in this and every other version of this story, the only thing that changes is the knowledge of what they are an heir too.. and suddenly they are a different person. Nothing changed but the fact that they are now the heir apparent to something magnificent.
In every one of these cases, the throne or wealth they are now heir too… is an earthly reward. But Paul reminds us that we are heirs to something even more significant.
“For all who are led by the Spirit of God are sons of God. 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!” The Spirit himself bears witness with our spirit that we are children of God, 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.”
You see… when my father adopted me, I became an equal heir to his daughter by birth. Upon that adoption, I was an equal heir. When my wife and I adopted our two kids, they became 100% equal heirs to the two children we already had by birth. At the moment of adoption, there was absolutely no difference in the rights of children by birth and children by adoption… they are ALL equal heirs.
Look again at the text, specifically the last part… “heirs of God and fellow heirs with Christ”. When we accept Christ as our Lord and Savior, we are adopted by God the Father. That adoption makes us ‘fellow heirs with Christ’. While the disciples were arguing who would sit at the right hand of Christ, they were missing the point…. We are actually fellow heirs. What’s His… is ours.
If this scripture about adoption (in Paul’s words) is not enough, then lets look at Jesus’ own words. When He told us the story of the Prodigal Son, He was speaking of the Father’s love for ALL His children… When the oldest son was upset at the apparent unfairness of the father’s treatment of the prodigal son on his return, the father said to the older son, “Son, you are always with me, and all that is mine is yours.” (Luke 15:31) He did not say ‘All this is mine will be yours some day’. He did not say, ‘All that is mine will be divided and you will get your share some day’. He said “All that is mine is yours.”
So in the words of Mufasa to Simba in The Lion King… “Remember who you are.”