Having a look at Romans 8:12-17 for this Sunday. Best if I give you my notes from reading. Some interesting stuff about who we are...and a little about 'how' and 'why'. Enjoy!
Romans 8:12-17 3/6/12 Trinity
v.12..."We have an obligation"...that is a debt which needs to be repaid. Interesting picture. Those to whom we owe money or allegiance have claim on us...first claim. We are usually very aware of that claim. Paul reminds us that such a claim upon us is made by God. Therefore...this calls for a change in living. Why??? Love begets love. Grace begets grace.
v.13-16...how this claim is proved... because we are 'children' of God...this is actual fact...with the Father in Jesus Christ through the Spirit.
v.14…Sonship…the glorious end of all grace’s triumph.
v.15…contrast of slavery – sonship…lead by the Spirit., bestowed by the Spirit. Slavery…our attitude Sonship…Spirit’s gift The naked cry of a child…Father
For Paul, the radical message of Jesus was that love offered belonging and forgiveness, and that from the new restored relationship with God goodness would flow, not because of fear of disobedience, but because love begets love. Love is the fruit of the Spirit. The way of imposing the law leads people into slavery.
v. 16…as our spirit is revealed so the Holy Spirit confirms… we are God’s children.
v.17...and if that...then this...This fact now means that we are heirs of the 'kingdom' of God with Christ and therefore able to live without fear... the follow-on…if child, then heir…with Christ as his sufferings are also present in us and we suffer in this world because of our faith in him
Though God is the Father of all...all are not his children…that is not everyone lives in relationship with God. Actions and attitudes express an independence. Expectation is that we control our lives…that we make our own destiny…that we are the one who can take credit. Is this freedom of the will or bondage of the will? If take hold of the Spirit then we are overcomers…if we attempt to do It ourselves then we remain slaves to sin. So ultimately God gives us the ability and opportunity for true freedom through drawing on the power of the Spirit, the sacrifice of Jesus, and the grace of the Father. There is a tension in this.
Spirit gives a new relationship with God...new high level of privilege…Until they enter on the experience of faith and are led by the Spirit ...we need to be brought into this relationship...we cannot enter by ourselves...a reoccurring theme in the Word of God. We cannot earn or learn our way into a relationship with God.
Heirs...sharing in suffering and glory.
Two-fold…assurance/promise…God claims us through the Spirit…this is basis our relationship. One of grace, acceptance, love, reconciliation that is given as gift by God to us…makes us his children, heirs, inheritors.
Also reminder/challenge…same as above…we cannot…dare not think for a moment that we are chosen because of our actions…attitudes…etc. It was the mistake of Israel and blinded them to the messiah’s presence in Jesus.
We learn what to fear. Discomfort, pain, grief, suffering, are all experiences which lead us to fear something or someone. The spirit of the Pentecost message is that the Spirit of God ‘casts’ out fear as he brings to us through Jesus the ‘perfect love’ of God. For through the working of the Spirit you and I are made ‘children of God’ and therefore ‘heirs’ of his kingdom. Your place, our place is assured. God’s love for you as Father is assured…he has adopted you as his own. May you always live in His love.
Interesting mix of Roman and Jewish custom.
Aspect of ‘adoption’ Roman…unknown to the Jews… as is also the ‘heir’ with the full right of inheritance…again common to the Romans, but not to the Jews.
However, the address given to God the Father…’Abba’… strictly Jewish.
A tension here…the v. 15 says we receive this ‘adoption’ by and through the Spirit…it is already ours…and yet…compare this with v.23…a future event as well….’adoption’. We can never possess it…never have it in our hands…never reach that point where we no longer need God.