Reading through Romans
+ In the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Spirit. Amen.
Praise to You, Lord Jesus Christ, King of endless glory. You have the words of eternal life, and we have believed and have come to know that You are the Holy One of God.
A reading from Romans: Romans 8:14-17 (NLT)
For all who are led by the Spirit of God are children of God.
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.” For his Spirit joins with our spirit to affirm that we are God’s children. 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.
Reflection: Romans 8:14-17 (John Stott, The Message of Romans: God’s Good News for the World)
God’s Spirit in God’s children (8:1–39)
The Christian life is essentially life in the Spirit, that is to say, a life which is animated, sustained, directed and enriched by the Holy Spirit. Without the Holy Spirit true Christian discipleship would be inconceivable, indeed impossible.
(vs 14– 17) The witness of the Spirit
The whole paragraph concerns the witness the Holy Spirit bears us, that is, the assurance he gives us.
First, the Spirit leads us into holiness….
‘The daily, hourly putting to death of the schemings and enterprises of the sinful flesh by means of the Spirit is a matter of being led, directed, impelled, controlled by the Spirit.’
The new, rich , full life, which is enjoyed by those who put their misdeeds to death, is precisely the experience of being God’s children.
Secondly, in our relationship to God the Spirit replaces fear with freedom (15a).
The slavery of the old age led to fear, especially of God as our judge; the freedom of the new age gives us boldness to approach God as our Father. So everything has changed…. Freedom, not fear, now rules our lives….
Paul moves on from our relationship and attitude to God in general (not slavery but sonship, not fear but freedom) to the particular expression of it when we pray, from the nature of the Spirit we received to the witness of the Spirit in our prayers.
Thirdly, in our prayers the Spirit prompts us to call God ‘Father’(15b–16).
In such prayers to the Father we experience the inward witness of the Holy Spirit…. The Holy Spirit bears a strong inward witness to our spirit that we are God’s children…. The Holy Spirit’s ministry of inward assurance, convinces us of the reality of God’s love on the one hand and of God’s fatherhood on the other.
Fourthly, the Spirit is the firstfruits of our heavenly inheritance (17, 23).
The same indwelling Spirit who assures us that we are God’s children also assures us that we are his heirs…. For the essence of discipleship is union with Christ, and this means identification with him in both his sufferings and his glory.
Thus radical holiness, fearless freedom, filial prayerfulness and the hope of glory are four characteristics of the children of God who are indwelt and led by the Spirit of God. It is by these evidences that he witnesses to us that we are God’s children.
Christ, as a light illumine and guide me. Christ, as a shield overshadow me. Christ under me; Christ over me; Christ beside me on my left and my right. This day be within and without me, lowly and meek, yet all-powerful. Be in the heart of each to whom I speak; in the mouth of each who speaks unto me. This day be within and without me, lowly and meek, yet all-powerful. Christ as a light; Christ as a shield; Christ beside me on my left and my right.
May the peace of the Lord Christ go with you, wherever He may send you. May He guide you through the wilderness, protect you through the storm. May He bring you home rejoicing at the wonders He has shown you. May He bring you home rejoicing once again into our doors.
+ In the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Spirit. Amen