Not Ashamed- Part 26- Children of God
Introduction- Romans 8:12-17
Last week we considered the present condition of the believer with a body that is dead because of sin but a spirit that is alive because of righteousness (not our own but the righteousness of Christ which has been imputed to us).
We also considered our future hope. One day our redemption will be complete and we will have a body like unto Christ that will never die and will no longer prevent us from living for God.
The passage before us this evening will begin to explain the implications of the new relationship which those who have believed on Christ have now entered into.
We know that all those who have believed on Jesus Christ are now the children of God.
But as many as received him, to them gave he power to become the sons of God, even to them that believe on his name:
The question then is what does it mean to be a child of God? What are our obligations as children of God? What are the present implications of this new relationship to God? What will be the future ramifications of this relationship?
This passage begins with a discussion of...
Our Obligation (Vs. 12-14)
Our Obligation (Vs. 12-14)
Notice here that Paul writes to the believers at Rome but also includes himself and states the fact that we are all debtors.
The debt we owe is not to the flesh for to it we owe nothing for it only served to condemn us to death.
It is implied that we are instead debtors now to God. We owe it to Him to no longer live according to the lusts of the flesh but rather we should live according to the leadership of the Spirit of God.
We were once in bondage to the flesh enslaved by its passions and desires, but now we have been set free in order that we may use our newfound liberty to live for Jesus Christ.
As believers, we ought to willingly yield to the influence of the Spirit of God in order that we might cease from living after the flesh.
They that choose to live after the flesh shall only know death but those that choose through the Spirit’s power to “mortify”(put to death) the deeds of the body shall know what it is to live.
Yet the Spirit of God will not force us into submission but will rather work in us to exactly the degree we are willing to allow Him to.
We are no longer slaves forced into obedience, but we are beloved sons who ought to voluntarily obey because of the love that has been shown toward us.
Those who follow the leadership of the Spirit of God demonstrate that they are indeed children of God and will enjoy the full benefits of this blessed relationship.
Tragically many choose to resist the Spirit of God and continue to live after the flesh and these will experience chastisement and correction from God and will not enjoy fellowship and communion with God if they continue to resist the Spirit’s leading and refuse to repent.
For whom the Lord loveth he chasteneth, and scourgeth every son whom he receiveth.
How much better it would be for every believer to obey our heavenly father and enjoy sweet fellowship with Him.
We who have believed are now sons of God but what does it really mean to be a child of God?
Our Adoption (Vs. 15-16)
Our Adoption (Vs. 15-16)
All who have believed on Jesus Christ have received the Spirit of God who now dwells within them.
Notice the contrast which is now given in verse 15. The Spirit that we have received is not a spirit of bondage that would cause us to fear.
Sadly some view God as a harsh taskmaster who stands ready to viciously punish those who step out of line or who fail to meet up to His expectations.
This could not be further from the truth. Sin was a harsh taskmaster and held us in bondage and fear but God is not so.
The Spirit that we have received is described here as the “Spirit of Adoption” which speaks of the relationship that we now enjoy with God as our loving heavenly Father.
Our obedience to God should not be born of fear but of love.
In the Roman culture a child who was adopted was given the same rights as a biological child and was entitled to all the privileges of a true son.
Through faith in Christ we are priveleged to approach God as a son approaches his father not as a slave approaches his master.
The term Abba, Father here is essentially akin to our crying out to God with a familiar term of endearment like a son crying for his daddy.
What a joy to know that we can approach God in this way without fear and with the confident assurance of His love for us.
A master may grow to hate a slave that has disappointed or disobeyed, but a father’s love for his son never changes!
This is what gives us the blessed assurance of our salvation. The Spirit of God bears witness with our spirit that we are indeed children of God.
It is important to note that God’s desire is that the true child of God would never doubt his relationship with His heavenly Father.
Doubts do not come from God! We doubt at times because our heart is not right with the Father and at other times because of Satan whose desire it is to cause us to doubt God’s love for us that we might grow bitter and cease to serve Him.
It is the Spirit of God which will give us peace and will assure us of God’s love for us as His children.
In whom ye also trusted, after that ye heard the word of truth, the gospel of your salvation: in whom also after that ye believed, ye were sealed with that holy Spirit of promise, Which is the earnest of our inheritance until the redemption of the purchased possession, unto the praise of his glory.
The Spirit of God is the guarantee of our future inheritance in Christ.
Our Glorification (Vs. 17)
Our Glorification (Vs. 17)
To be a child of God is also to be an heir of God, and in fact a joint heir with Jesus Christ.
This speaks of the fact that all that Christ is entitled to we shall one day share with Him.
Though we are undeserving, yet we shall have the joy of sharing in His glory some day when He shall set up His kingdom where He shall rule and reign for all eternity.
Every child of God has awaiting him an eternal inheritance which the scripture describes...
Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, which according to his abundant mercy hath begotten us again unto a lively hope by the resurrection of Jesus Christ from the dead, To an inheritance incorruptible, and undefiled, and that fadeth not away, reserved in heaven for you, Who are kept by the power of God through faith unto salvation ready to be revealed in the last time.
There is a day coming in the future when we shall finally receive our inheritance and we shall enjoy it throughout all eternity.
Yet all those who will receive this inheritance will endure some measure of suffering in this present time for the cause of Christ.
We may suffer with Christ but in the end we shall also be glorified together with Him.
Remember the word that I said unto you, The servant is not greater than his lord. If they have persecuted me, they will also persecute you; if they have kept my saying, they will keep yours also. But all these things will they do unto you for my name’s sake, because they know not him that sent me.
And they departed from the presence of the council, rejoicing that they were counted worthy to suffer shame for his name.
For unto you it is given in the behalf of Christ, not only to believe on him, but also to suffer for his sake;
For even hereunto were ye called: because Christ also suffered for us, leaving us an example, that ye should follow his steps:
But rejoice, inasmuch as ye are partakers of Christ’s sufferings; that, when his glory shall be revealed, ye may be glad also with exceeding joy.
And our hope of you is stedfast, knowing, that as ye are partakers of the sufferings, so shall ye be also of the consolation.
If we suffer, we shall also reign with him: if we deny him, he also will deny us:
A life lived for Jesus Christ will involve some measure of suffering, but we can take comfort in knowing that our suffering for Christ will ultimately give rise to our glorification with Christ!
All who have believed in Jesus Christ are become children of God but not all live according to the blessed privileges of this relationship.
Let us fulfill our obligation to be led by the Spirit no longer living after the flesh.
Let us remember that we are children of God and He is not a cruel master but a loving heavenly Father who we can approach in familiar terms.
Let us never forget that we have an eternal inheritance that awaits us and that our suffering for Christ here only assures us of the future glory we shall share in with Him!