Romans 8:17 and if children, then heirs—heirs of God and fellow heirs with Christ,provided we suffer with him in order that we may also be glorified with him.
We, the adopted children of God, are now officially sons and daughters of the King of Kings. And what does this mean beyond the fact that we are forgiven of our sins and brought into fellowship with God as part of His family? It means we get everything.
Everything? Yes, if we are children of God then we are heirs, just as Jesus Christ is the Heir of all things (Hebrews 1:2). What’s His is ours. That’s…the glory and the suffering.
We’re called to more than just living a good life here and now on this earth when we enter into God’s family. We are given incredible gifts from the Father, but there is more to this life than what we receive. We have the privilege now of sharing with Christ in His sufferings.
Because we’re children of God, those who aren’t may take offense to our disposition and seek to harm us, whether physically or just emotionally and spiritually. We may not always be happy all the time because in this world there is evil and injustice that will not be eradicated until Christ returns. Oh, but when He does, we get to share in His glory. When that time comes, everything in this life will have been worth it.
Romans 8:16 The Spirit himself bears witness with our spirit that we are children of God
What a precious gift salvation is from the Lord! Yet even in this wonderful news there is more. Not only has God saved us and freed us from sin, but He’s adopted us! He didn’t have to do that for His enemies, and yet He did.
But we all run the risk of falling into doubt, don’t we? We doubt His love for us, we doubt the forgiveness we’ve received, we doubt that we’re truly His. And it’s there that we see that the gifts just keep pouring in. He’s done all these things for us and still there’s more.
In those times of doubt we find that we have a Comforter. It’s the Holy Spirit who bears witness to our spirits that we are indeed children of God, adopted by the Father of Lights. Yes, He is our loving Daddy who would spare nothing for our sake. He never wants us to forget that or to lose sight of it. He keeps giving by reminding us through the Holy Spirit that we are His and He is ours. Great news.
Philippians 4:8 Finally, brothers, whatever is honorable, whatever is just, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is commendable, if there is any excellence, if there is anything worthy of praise, think about these things.
It’s not enough to just hear the Word. Showing up to listen to a sermon each Sunday is only the beginning of Bible study because you can never get everything you need from a one hour (or less) message.
So while you listen, take notes. Write down the things that strike you, the passages that grab your attention. Throughout the week, take another look at what was taught. Take the time to actually think about the Scripture and the application you can make into your own life. How can you live out this message?
This is so important because merely hearing something does not mean it’s going to stick. Understanding begins with hearing, but it’s got to be meaningful beyond the moment you hear it. God’s Word is so powerful it’s for all times. In any and every circumstance you face, it’s good to think about what God has to say. Move beyond hearing and begin thinking, pondering. Take the time to meditate on all God has revealed of himself.
Look for this and other devotions like it in Matt’s newest Devotions for Disciples book, available soon!
Romans 10:17 So faith comes from hearing, and hearing through the word of Christ.
It all starts with hearing. No matter where you’re at in your faith journey, you likely began by hearing the Word of God. Maybe it was a friend sharing a Bible verse. Maybe it was a biblical truth that you weren’t even aware came from the Bible. You could have even just overheard something that spoke to you.
God’s Word does something powerful in our lives when we hear it being spoken. Sermons, podcasts, even songs are so effective at moving us when we experience the Word of God. Faith begins here as the Holy Spirit stirs our souls up and we move toward responding to His calling.
God’s Word is so powerful that He says it will never return empty; it will always accomplish His purpose. That’s something when you think about how misused and misquoted Scripture is. Even when we mess it up, God uses His Word to bring about His purpose. It should help us feel a little less intimidated to share the gospel because whether or not we get it right, God works out what He wants worked out.
Romans 8:15 For you did not receive the spirit of slavery to fall back into fear, but you have received the Spirit of adoption as sons, by whom we cry, ”Abba! Father!”
What is the greatest news you’ve ever been given? Think really hard about it and give an honest answer to that question. Now think about why it is that this was such great news. Now, turn your attention for one moment to news that’s even better than the best news you can think of.
Because God loved the world He had created, He sent Jesus Christ (God in the flesh) to live a perfect, sinless life and to die a sinner’s death in our place. We deserved to be treated with the cruelty He receive. We earned the penalty that He paid. He took on our sin and gave us instead His own righteousness, granting us access to God. What news is this!
Not only are we forgiven by a just God, which is wonderful, but we are now His own children, adopted into His family. Not only is He our Father, but the language used in this text is so intensely beautiful as the writer describes God as our “Abba,” which means “daddy.” God isn’t a harsh, demanding father who is waiting for us to mess up so He can punish us. We’re not under Him as slaves, but as His children. He’s our Daddy who loves us and cares about us. We can approach Him without fearing His response. What a perfect way to understand our relationship to our Creator and Redeemer.
Romans 8:14 For all who are led by the Spirit of God are sons of God.
There are two types of people in this world. There are those who are led by the Holy Spirit and there are those who are lost. There are no other options. When left to our own wisdom to guide ourselves, we get nowhere. Only by the Holy Spirit can we talk in the way God has for us.
To some, this may seem a ridiculous notion, pointing to the achievements of secular mankind who has not consulted God or been Spirit-led in their discoveries throughout the ages. It is an interesting observation, however, those who think that mankind has the potential to know all there is to know, thus disproving the existence of God, are disregarding the fact that God created all there is to discover. The achievements of man are of no eternal consequence.
But those led by the Spirit are children of God, adopted into His family. We have been the recipients of the greatest gift of all time: God himself. There is nothing of greater eternal significance. It doesn’t matter what we accomplish in this temporary life in regards to greatness because true greatness is only found in one place. It is God’s to give.
Romans 8:13 For if you live according to the flesh you will die, but if by the Spirit you put to death the deeds of the body, you will live.
It is once again reiterated in this verse of Romans 8 that living in the flesh means death and living in the Spirit means life. You have to ask yourself then; how can I make sure I’m living in the Spirit?
The Apostle Paul uses an interesting phrase here by saying “put to death the deeds of the body” and you will live. How can we put the deeds of our own bodies to death? How can we cease to live according to the flesh, which is such so easy to find ourselves doing? We can’t just say we’re living for God, we have to walk in His ways. It’s not a one time choice, it’s a daily matter of picking up our cross and following Him.
Contrary to popular view, the Christian life is not promised to be easy or painless. In fact, it can be more painful than living in sin. Each and every day of a Christian’s life, he or she must choose to make war against the nature of the human. To live according to the Spirit is a choice that results in help and guidance from the Lord, but it also must mean we consciously make war against the sinful flesh we live in. We want to do this, but we should do that. We shouldn’t do this, but we’re inclined to do just that. It’s a fight, but it’s not one we wage alone.
God is on our side. Nothing else can come up against us and win. Make war on the flesh. Choose to live according to the Spirit.