January 28 - Romans 8:12-17

Tuesday, January 28, 2014

Romans 8:12-17 – Heirs With Christ

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.

Because of the gift Christ gave us we have an obligation … a debt … a responsibility. We are not obliged to live according to the demands of our sinful nature. The person we were before Christ came into our lives no longer has any right or claim to us. In fact, if we return control to our sinful nature, Paul reminds us that this leads to death.

When Paul writes, "but if by the Spirit you put to death the misdeeds of the body, you will live" (Romans 8:13b), he uses a verb tense that suggests this is a continuous action. We are constantly putting to death the sins of our former selves. It doesn't happen in one fell swoop. And … we do it according to the Spirit's prompting.  Every choice we make to set aside the sins of our past and live according to the Spirit is a choice that leads us into holiness … a life that shows the world how we honor our obligation to God.

In Greek and Roman culture, when an adoption occurs, it severs all former relationships. The new family exercises complete control and with that comes all of the privileges and responsibilities of that new family. When we are adopted into God's family, we bear the responsibilities as well as enjoy the privileges of being a Christian and we leave behind all that had come before.

It is so easy to forget that we are children of God … it is so easy to question whether or not we truly have a relationship with him and in Romans 8:16, Paul tells us that the Spirit himself bears witness. This was a question I often asked when I was young and each time, I was told that I never need to worry. God had called me. I responded and the Spirit within me would never leave.