September 25, 2019
Dear Praying Friends,
Rachel and I are thankful to you for your willingness to join us in prayer for our prodigals and for revival. God is working, and prayer brings us closer to His heart and to His desires.
With the Holy Spirit inside us, we innately sense this intimate and personal connection with God that leads us into greater depths of sanctification. Last week we saw how the Spirit enables us to have victory over sinful desires. This week we learn how He bears testimony with us about who we are and to whom we belong. “For all who are led by the Spirit of God are sons of God. 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!’ The Spirit Himself bears witness with our spirit that we are children of God, 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” (Rom.8:14-17). We are children of God, sons of God, and ultimately heirs of God.
The term “children of God” reminds us that we were born into God’s family and, according to verse sixteen, the Spirit bears witness that we are so. William MacDonald uses the term “spiritual instinct” to describe how we as children of God gain assurance that we belong to Him. It is a Spirit-produced awareness that we belong to God. This is very personal, subjective, and internal for each believer. It is difficult to explain this link of spirits, but it is a real, divine connection. Never forget who you are. You are a child of God!
In verse fifteen, Paul uses the term “sons of God” to explain another aspect of our relationship with God. Not only were we born into God’s family as children, but we were adopted as sons. At that time, a son in Jewish culture was marked out for great privilege and honor. “Under Roman adoption, the life and standing of the adopted child changed completely. The adopted son lost all rights in his old family and gained all new rights in his new family; the old life of the adopted son was completely wiped out, with all debts being canceled, with nothing from his past counting against him anymore” (David Guzik). The reason for adoption was to obtain an heir. Never forget that you have been adopted by God; you now possess an incredible inheritance and you can enjoy all the rights as the sons of God.
One of those rights is stated in our text: we have the right to cry, “Abba! Father!” Abba is an Aramaic word, which is a term of endearment, intimacy, and affection. The real meaning is reflected by our words “papa” or “daddy.” How incredibly amazing that the great, eternal, all-powerful God can be experienced in such a tender and endearing way! May you feel the closeness of His presence with you today and enjoy this special relationship that the Spirit has provided.
The final expressions used in these verses are found in verse seventeen, “heirs of God and fellow heirs with Christ.” They remind us, not only that God has brought us into His family, and has given us special rights as sons, but that we are guaranteed future, eternal fullness in Christ. All the blessings of Christ belong to us and in a future day, we will share in the glorious reign promised to Christ. Never forget that you are a deeply loved, heir of God and you have a glorious inheritance.
May God encourage each of our hearts as the Spirit confirms to us who we are and to whom we belong!
Love in Christ,
Bryan and Rachel