Reading the ESV version made this verse stand out like it never has before! “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.” (8:16-17)
“…provided we suffer with him….” 😳 The NIV says, “if indeed we share in his sufferings in order that we may also share in his glory.” They both say the same thing, but the NIV sounds a little softer…..the ESV sounds like a condition of our salvation, doesn’t it?…..
But when I think about it….other verses have a very similar sentiment.
John 12:24-26, Matt. 16:24-25, 2 Tim. 2:12, all speak of radical commitment; dying to yourself to live with Him.
I think I have always read 8:16-17 more as a “heads up” rather than a condition. Like 2 Timothy that gives a heads up, “All those who seek to live a righteous life in Christ Jesus will be persecuted.” I guess it is both a heads up and a description of a true believer. If you are not willing to suffer….than maybe you aren’t truly following the Lord.
The cool thing that Paul does after giving the ‘heads up’ or ‘a description of a true believer’, he also gives a ton of encouragement. We don’t suffer alone, nor could we endure it alone. We have a divine helper!!! “The Spirit helps is in our weakness” (vs. 26) and “the Spirit intercedes for the saints according to the will of God.” (vs 27).
“And we know that for those who love God all things (even the suffering we endure for the Lord) work together for good, for those who are called according to his purpose.” (vs. 28)
And lastly, we need to remember, “..we are more than conquerors!” (vs 37)
Yea!! So when we read, “provided we suffer with him..”, we don’t need to stress out about that! We got this!