SUBJ: The identity of God’s
children as sons and their special identity with Christ both in Spirit
and as coheirs with Him.
AIM: That we should see ourselves
as dear children and cherish our blessed family relationship with Christ
in the family of God.
INTR: The redundancy and
reinforcement of Paul continues with the transition to another aspect of
our relationship with Christ through the Spirit; he would have us to
understand the ongoing ministry of the Holy Spirit bringing assurance to
the hearts of the children of God.
1. This chapter continues to be
centered on the Holy Spirit and His function in bringing Christ and the
things of Christ to us.
2. The question of heirship is introduced and
explained along with the fact that it is ours as a result of adoption
and that special identity with Christ as a result thereof.
3. It is
important that we understand the aim of God in glorifying us together
with Christ and that requires sonship that is proclaimed and
THESIS: Being the
children of God is a matter of both fact and experience and so we must
be led of the Spirit as a matter of divine purpose or there is no
identity with God and especially not sons.
I. The Children of God
Identified (vv. 12-14)
1. The words of v. 12 suggest that we are
debtors and that is true in many ways (I am debtor both to the Greeks,
and to the Barbarians; both to the wise, and to the unwise. Romans
2. But, we are specifically debtors “not to the flesh” which
is to be indebted to a corrupt nature demanding that it be satisfied and
thus be subject to the condemnation of the Law.
3. The consequences
of living after the flesh are well known:
1) It is the way of death
and is the way of the world and ultimate destruction and has no part
with the children of God.
2) In the believer, such a way is to be
mortified (made subject to death) – not that we should destroy our
bodies or believe that we may erase it; it does mean that we should
subdue it and labor strenuously against it.
4. To be led by the
Spirit of God is to be declared to be the Sons (children) of God:
Under a conscious and continuous constraint to love the Lord and please
2) Led in the sense of being made to and enabled to see the
truth and to love righteousness and pursue holiness in heart and lives.
3) We are sons, not so high as Christ, nor so low as Adam, or even in
the sense of the Angels; we are the redeemed of the Lord.
Spirit of Adoption (v. 15)
1. Fear is considered as a spiritual
matter and we are reminded of: And deliver them who through fear of
death were all their lifetime subject to bondage. Hebrews 2:15.
The fear of death is an enslaving effect to them who are dependent on
themselves in that they know there are no “do-overs.”
2) It is from
such fear that we are delivered through this special revelation of the
Spirit in us.
2. We would first mention adoption (before addressing
the Spirit of Adoption).
1) It is not a work of grace done within us
– it is a work of grace done from without us – that is it is God’s doing
and we are passive.
2) It is essentially a legal term but made more
special in the light of the ministry of the Holy Spirit here.
Thus, He is called here the Spirit of Adoption (many names of God depict
that which He does in redemption and so it is here with the Spirit)
1) We would note the following: And because ye are sons, God hath sent
forth the Spirit of his Son into your hearts, crying, Abba, Father.
2) By the Spirit of Adoption we are constituted as
Sons – Sonship is experienced and
3) The endearment of our Father
becomes real and evident.
4. The term “Abba Father” embraces the
highest form of esteem and acknowledgment and reflects the loving
submission of God’s children. This is the term used by our Lord in His
most desperate hour.
III. The Dual Witness to Sonship (vv. 16-17)
1. A question of doubt may arise in the concerns of true believers and
God has fixed it up so that we need assurance as a matter of faith
2. Here we are told how that is given us – the Holy Spirit
bearing witness with our spirit.
1) This is that regenerated spirit
in us that is born of incorruptible see and so lives on
2) By faith,
this is that which is responsive to the promptings of the Spirit who is
ever directing us to Christ and revealing the things of Christ to us.
3) So involved is He that: And hope maketh not ashamed; because the love
of God is shed abroad in our hearts by the Holy Ghost which is given
unto us. Romans 5:5.
3. Not only children, but heirs and Joint heirs
1) The relationship of Christ to His brethren (children)
is such that we not only receive Him, but all that pertains to Him and
so we share in the Kingdom and glory with Him.
2) It is an ownership
that cannot be divided – illustrate by multiple heirs to properties.
4. Suffering and glory: Searching what, or what manner of time the
Spirit of Christ which was in them did signify, when it testified
beforehand the sufferings of Christ, and the glory that should follow. 1
1) This is certainly related to Gospel opposition against
believers – the world hates Him
2) But, it does not exclude all that
pertains to this life and simply looks to Christ being with those for
whom He died.