THE SPIRIT OF SONSHIP
“Therefore, brothers and sisters, we have an obligation – but it is not to the flesh, to live according to it. For if you live according to the flesh you will die but if, by the Spirit you put to death the misdeeds of the body, you will live. For those who are led by the Spirit of God are the children of God. The Spirit you received does not make you slaves, so that you live in fear again; rather, the Spirit you received brought about your adoption to sonship. And by Him we cry, ‘Abba, Father.’
“The Spirit Himself testifies with our spirit that we are God’s children. 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 8:12-17.
What magical words! We are no longer slaves but sons!
We have a Father who is a perfect Dad – not one who disappoints us, who abuses or neglects us or one constantly judges or punishes us because of our immature behaviour. And we have His Spirit who lives in us, who reassures us that we are God’s children and who enables us to call out to our Daddy, “Abba. Pappa!’ because that is who God is to us.
Jesus came to earth primarily to reveal the Father.
“I have brought you glory on earth by finishing the work you gave me to do…I have revealed you to those you gave me out of the world…” John 17:4; 6.
He patiently taught His disciples and showed them by His works the true nature of God as their heavenly Father. The first message He gave to Mary for His disciples after His resurrection was startling, to say the least!
“Jesus said, ‘Do not hold on to me for I have not yet ascended to the Father. Go instead to my brothers and tell them, ‘I am ascending to my Father and your Father, to my God and your God.'” John 20:17.
The implications are huge! Not only have we been given the right to be called children of God, but we are also on the same level of sonship as Jesus is. Whatever privileges he enjoyed as God’s son are now ours because we is His brothers and sisters.
“In bringing many sons and daughters to glory, it was fitting that God, for whom and through whom everything exists, should make the pioneer of their salvation perfect through suffering.
“Both the one who makes people holy and those who are made holy are of the same family. So Jesus is not ashamed to call them brothers and sisters.” Hebrews 2:10, 11.
Wow! Imagine that! There is no God like our God. What grace that we should be called children of God, and even more than that, that Jesus is not ashamed to call us brothers and sisters! This means that God has the same love for us that He has for His Son. We enjoy the same status and privileges that Jesus enjoys. We have been raised with Him and seated with Him in the heavenly realms (Ephesians 2:6); we share His inheritance – His nature (2 Peter 1:3, 4) and we will reign with Him in His eternal kingdom.
“But aren’t you being presumptuous?” you ask. Certainly not if I am simply repeating what God’s word says.
But there is a condition. God’s grace has freed us from the penalty of our sin. He has removed our guilt and re-established us in His family as His sons and daughters. He has given us His Spirit as our Helper. “Now,” says Paul, “you have an obligation to live the life He has freed you to live. No more selfish indulging!”
If we do not respond to God’s grace by putting our sinful ways to death with the help of the Holy Spirit, we will perish just as surely as though we were never rescued and restored to our place in the family of God. Without the evidence of a changed heart and new life, what we claim is nothing but empty words.
Bottom line – only those who are led by the Spirit are the children of God. Are you one of God’s children?
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