Tuesday, December 31, 2013

A New Relationship with God Provides Freedom from Fear (Romans 8:14-17)

This is one of the richest and most beautiful passages. In it the apostle Paul explains the believer's intimate and permanent relationship to God as a beloved child. Through Paul the Spirit of God describes every Christian as children and sons of God. As children we are in God's family, as sons we have both privilege and responsibility. Paul reminds us that as those who are in God's family are led by the Spirit, have access to God as our Father, and are granted inner assurance by the Holy Spirit.

We are Led by the Spirit
As I understand it, the word in Romans 8:14 has the thought of being "willingly led". In other words there is a yielding process on our part. We can connect the teaching of Galatians 5:16-26 where we read again about being led by the Spirit in 5:18. Neither of these passages are speaking to a special class of people. They are speaking about what should characterize all and every one who professes to follow Christ! This is an amazing passage. It teaches us that the moment we enter the family of God we are not seen simply as babies in Christ. A baby can't talk, walk or make decisions or draw on the family wealth! We can walk and be led by the Spirit. We have liberty to follow the Spirits leading. We can speak and cry out "Abba Father."

We have Access to the Father
First the Spirit cries "Abba Father" in us (Gal. 4:6). Then He cries through us, as we cry "Abba Father." It is proof of a Relationship. In Romans 5:1-2 we are taught, "having been justified by faith we have peace with God through our Lord Jesus Christ, through whom we also have access by faith into this grace in which we stand and rejoice in hope of the glory of God." Again in Ephesians 3:12 we are reminded "we have boldness and access with confidence through faith in Him." As children of God we can draw on His spiritual wealth. We are not only heirs but joint heirs with Chris: what ever is His, will be shared! How amazing! What is required on our part, to be "willing yielded up to Him" if we are to enjoy our privileged position in Christ. Don't leave this up to a select few, it is for every Christian!

We have Assurance
To give us further assurance of our eternal relationship to the Father, the Holy Spirit bears witness with our spirit that we are children of God. The Holy Spirit is constantly present to provide inner testimony to our divine adoption and eternal position before God. He does this through working in us by illumination and sanctification, as well as through the longing for fellowship with the Father. Paul may have the truth of the fruit of the Spirit which he emphasizes in Galatians 5:22-23 in mind here. The Holy Spirit produces it in us and it provides evidence that we belong to God. 

The Lord desires all men to be saved and to come to the knowledge of the truth (1 Tim. 2:4). In other words, God would like all of humanity to accept Christ as Savior. We can see at least for wonderful truths that the Father longs for His children to know.

Salvation. It is the Holy Spirit's job to convict us of our sinfulness and bring us to the knowledge that Jesus Christ died for our sin. When we receive the Lord as our personal Savior, we are reconciled to God and accorded full fellowship with Him. This happens the moment salvation occurs. Our sin debt is paid in full so we are free from guilt. Also, we are sealed by the Holy Spirit for eternity and set apart for God's service. 

Identity. What is our identity in the Lord? Believers are children of God. The Bible calls us joint heirs with Christ in other words, we share in the wealth of the Lord Jesus. Also, we have been transformed from sinners into saints. We may not always act saintly, but a true saint is someone who has been saved and set apart for the purposes of God. 

Position. Jesus Christ is always present to guide and provide for the believer. Through Him, we have instantaneous access to God the Father. 

Mission. Our primary mission in life is to demonstrate Christ to the world. Believers should live in such a way that others see the life of Jesus within us. And because we understand the wonder of our salvation, our identity in Christ, and our position to the Father, we share about the Savior with other people. God wants everyone to know the truth.

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