Friday, January 28, 2011

His Spirit joins with our spirit to affirm that we are God’s children.

Rom. 8:12-25 NLT 
   12  Therefore, dear brothers and sisters, you have no obligation to do what your sinful nature urges you to do. 13 For if you live by its dictates, you will die. But if through the power of the Spirit you put to death the deeds of your sinful nature, you will live. 14 For all who are led by the Spirit of God are children of God. 
   15 So you have not received a spirit that makes you fearful slaves. Instead, you received God’s Spirit when he adopted you as his own children. Now we call him, “Abba, Father.” 16 For his Spirit joins with our spirit to affirm that we are God’s children. 17 And since we are his children, we are his heirs. In fact, together with Christ we are heirs of God’s glory. But if we are to share his glory, we must also share his suffering. 
   18 Yet what we suffer now is nothing compared to the glory he will reveal to us later. 19 For all creation is waiting eagerly for that future day when God will reveal who his children really are. 20 Against its will, all creation was subjected to God’s curse. But with eager hope, 21 the creation looks forward to the day when it will join God’s children in glorious freedom from death and decay. 22 For we know that all creation has been groaning as in the pains of childbirth right up to the present time. 23 And we believers also groan, even though we have the Holy Spirit within us as a foretaste of future glory, for we long for our bodies to be released from sin and suffering. We, too, wait with eager hope for the day when God will give us our full rights as his adopted children, including the new bodies he has promised us. 24 We were given this hope when we were saved. (If we already have something, we don’t need to hope for it. 25 But if we look forward to something we don’t yet have, we must wait patiently and confidently.)

From the latter few verses of chapter 7 through chapter 8 in Romans constitute, for me, the Christians 'Declaration of Independence' . . . from sin!  There is so much that brings me joy to talk about in these forty verses that I could do it for days on end, I suspect. It reminds us yet one more time that the power formerly held over us by the sinful nature has been shattered and removed, should we choose it to be. It is as though we had steel shackles on our wrists and ankles holding us to the filth where we live. Yet those shackles are not locked and lay open around our wrists and ankles. In fact, we must work to keep our arms and legs appearing to be within the grasp of those open rusting cuffs. We have the choice to simply remove our arms, stand up on our feet and walk away from sin. We have the chance to turn our back on sin and heed its call no more forever.

We have now received God's Holy Spirit. His spirit does not forcefully enslave us (vs 15-16). His spirit makes us legitimate children of God Himself by adoption and we have the kind of intimate relationship with God that we can call him the ancient Aramaic  equivalent of "Papa." Though verse 17 reminds us that there is some degree of 'suffering' that comes along with associating with Jesus Christ, there follows the a contrast between our mild suffering and God's eternal glory in His Kingdom shared with us forever. Verses 19-23 describe how we, and the whole of creation strain in God's direction, longing to be in His presence and away from the muck and mire that surrounds us caused by sin. Thus we are now the children of 'hope' according to verses 24-25 and we patiently await the fulfilment of that hope because we have been given the power to Trust God for His plan ahead of our own.

Your servant in Christ's Hope

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