The ire of many British people has been stoked to red-hot intensity of late, since the release of (former) Prince Harry’s book “Spare” (January 10, 2023). The title is a provocative reference to the notion that as the second child in line to the British throne, Harry was a “spare,” able to inherit the throne only if something happened to older brother William. Royal historian Robert Lacey stated on a Pod Save the King podcast, “I would say William has been more kindly treated than Harry has been, but that has always been the fate of the spare,” Lacey said. He went on, “Harry follows, sadly, in the tradition of Princess Margaret or Prince Andrew as number twos in the system, who are treated harshly by the logic of the royal system, which actually favors the main bloodline.” Lacey explains that as time goes on the number 2 or “spare” to the throne gets increasingly pushed down the line to number 3, or 4, or 5 etc. Anyway, a royal stink has been stirred, and, of course, millions of us un-royal folks in America can’t wait to read the book and hear all the juicy, possibly un-royal, stinky, inside-the-royal-British-
family stuff Harry spills in his tell-all type book.
The idea of being a spare, not the heir, leads my brain to think far beyond Britain’s royal family to God’s spiritual family, the church. Everybody who genuinely and Biblically comes into that family is declared to be an heir, not a spare! Romans 8:14-17 is but one place in the New Testament that makes that clear, and what it makes clear ought to thrill every child of God from our spiritual heads / hearts down to our toes! Hear it: “For as many as are led by the Spirit of God, these are sons of God. For you did not receive the spirit of bondage again to fear, but you received the Spirit of adoption by whom we cry out, ‘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 joint heirs with Christ, if indeed we suffer with Him, that we may also be glorified together.” Christians are people who have been adopted into the family of God! The act of adoption was a big deal in first century Roman culture. The adopted child received a brand-new name and identity, a complete break with the past and its debts and obligations, and equal legal and social status as any other children who had been born into the adoptive family. This act on God’s part has an eternity-altering impact on our standing and status and relationship with Him. Though we are not now nor ever can be a Son / child of God’s in the same way Jesus was or is (God’s unique, only begotten, one-of-a-kind, virgin-born, crucified-buried-resurrected- ascended to God’s right hand Son!), yet we can, through faith in Christ and obedience to the Gospel, enjoy all the spiritual standing and status His perfect life and work at the cross made available to us. In Jesus Christ we stand to be joint heirs with Him, even if some suffering is required to do so. Christians have been given access to “every spiritual blessing” and “unsearchable riches” (Ephesians 1:3; 3:8). The apostle Peter describes the Christian’s inheritance as “incorruptible, undefiled, and that does not fade away, reserved in Heaven for you” (1 Peter 1:4). The big take home point: there are no spares with lesser spiritual standing or status in the family of God! Every person with genuine faith in Christ puts on Christ and becomes a child of God when baptized into Him (Galatians 3:26-29). What faithful Christians stand to inherit makes anything in any earthly royal palace pale by comparison. God’s heir, not a spare — as the old adage goes, if that doesn’t light your fire, your wood’s wet!