Lesson 26


The Epistle to the Romans

World English Bible translation

 Today's Scripture

8:12 So then, brothers, we are debtors, not to the flesh, to live after the flesh. 8:13 For if you live after the flesh, you must die; but if by the Spirit you put to death the deeds of the body, you will live. 8:14 For as many as are led by the Spirit of God, these are children of God. 8:15 For you didn't receive the spirit of bondage again to fear, but you received the spirit of adoption, whereby we cry, "Abba Father!" 8:16 The Spirit himself testifies with our spirit that we are children of God; 8:17 and if children, then heirs; heirs of God, and joint-heirs with Christ; if indeed we suffer with him, that we may also be glorified with him.


 Today's Lesson 

As we said in yesterday's lesson, God redeems people who are unworthy. Christ came to save sinners. We have an obligation upon learning this. When one is confronted with the gravity of God's grace, one is obliged to DO something about it. Paul tells us that we are obliged to surrender the life of the flesh and our carnal nature and to walk in a manner that pleases the Spirit of God who lives in us.

 

We know that if we live for the flesh, if we continue our rebellion against God, that we will die. The wages of sin is death. Without the intervention of God we could hope for no better than death and judgment.

 

But Paul tells us that "if by the Spirit you put to death the deeds of the body, you will live." If we allow the Spirit of God to control our lives and our actions He will lead us in the ways of truth. When we allow the Spirit to teach us, we are led in truth to live lives that are worthy of the effort that God has placed in us.

 

Greater still is the promise that when the Spirit of God leads us we are rightfully declared to be children of God. We are adopted into the household of God. Not only are we children of God, we are heirs. And not only heirs, we are "joint-heirs" with Christ. We are allowed to share in His inheritance from the Father. Because we are part of the Body of Christ we share in His inheritance.

 

We often don't realize what a radical offer is being made here. Nowhere in religious history was this conceived. Under the Covenant of Moses the nation of Israel became the people of God, but individual Jewish men and women never referred to themselves as children of God. They would not have thought of themselves as part of God's private household. Moreover, there was a concept of God being Father to the nation, but not to individuals. That was what was so radical about Jesus declaring God to be His Father!

 

Even in Greek religions and other religions of man there is not to my knowledge any  invitation such as this one for adherents to become the adopted children of a deity and heirs. God is attempting to describe an intimacy that he is offering that is unattainable by man before Christ.

 

It is fashionable these days to remember that the image of God as "Father" is not a pleasant one for some people. I do not seek to trivialize anyone's pain, but when God compares Himself to a human father there is no man that can match up with that image. Even the best of fathers is only a shadow of the love and acceptance that God can offer. I am a father myself and yet I know that no matter how much I love my child I am flesh and blood. God loves her more than I do and better than I.

 

It is wonderful that we all have an opportunity to experience the perfect Father. He is a Father that will never disappoint us, never fail us. God is always with us and always seeks our good. We may find it hard to understand His purpose sometimes and there will be plenty of times we are disappointed because we expect one thing and God delivers on another. Even so, these failings lie within us and not within the Lord. If we trust Him and abide in faith, He will lead us into all truth.

 

Do you long for acceptance and love that you have yet to receive in this world? Does it feel that everywhere you've been so far just never felt like home? God offers us a place. It may take us a while to get there, but it promises to be an interesting journey.

 

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