Summary: Romans 8:12-17

STRAIGHT FROM ROMANS 8 - Obligated to Our Father

July 28, 2019

Romans 8:12-17 (p. 786)


Have any of you here this morning had to appear as a witness in a court case? I have.

When I was 26 years old I had to testify that one of the young men who was being put into a drug rehabilitation center was extremely violent and had to be held down to keep him from hurting himself, and from hurting us…I was a witness for the defense…and I really tried to “tell the truth, the whole truth, so help me God.”

I’m not sure how effective and powerful my testimony was…but the defendant was found “not guilty.” It might have been that three or four of us on the staff testified to the same truth, and although the testimony came from four different people and different perspectives, it matched…it was not only true for each of us…but it rang true to the jurors.

Or let me ask you one more question…an easier one…Has anyone asked you if they could use you as a reference on a job application or a school admission form? “Yes,” me too, lots of them…by the way, if I don’t know you or your family well, I’ll tell you “No” or I’ll put that truth down on the form.

But sometimes, for you and I, the request is easy…we recommend this person or family wholeheartedly…they’re not perfect! No one is, but I’ve witnessed their character and integrity and I have no hesitation about putting my name on the dotted line as a witness…

I believe the theme of our text today…and maybe the verses that hold all of Romans Chapter 8 together…are found in verses 14-16.

“Those who are led by the Spirit of God are sons of God. For you did not receive a spirit that makes you a slave again to fear, but you received the Spirit of “Sonship,” literally, “Spirit of Adoption.” And by Him we say “Abba” Father. The Spirit himself testifies with our spirit that we are God’s children.

Why is this essential? Why does the Apostle Paul place such great emphasis on this truth?


Slavery was a horrible and sinful stain that resided in our country for the first 90 years of our existence. Its horrible tentacles reached into the 1960’s and beyond. Those of us who have never been judged by the color of our skin will never understand how deep those scars go…

But, slavery existed when Paul wrote this letter to the Romans around 58 AD. In fact one of Paul’s other letters we call Philemon addresses this issue with his owner Onesimus…slavery was very real.

It’s why Paul uses this analogy…“When you were adopted into God’s family through Christ you did not receive a spirit that made you a slave again…A slave again to fear.”

He clearly says, “At one time you were a slave to fear”…AT ONE TIME WE WERE ALL SLAVES TO FEAR.

When was that? When we were controlled by our sinful nature…when we had our minds set and governed by what that nature desires.

You see Satan doesn’t treat anyone as a child…He treats absolutely everyone as a possession…as a slave. His goal will never be to bless you…His goal will always be to keep you under his control…away from freedom…enslaved by your sinful nature…Jesus describes Him well…as “The Thief” who comes only to steal, kill and destroy (And then Jesus describes why he came). I have come that they may have life, and have it to the full (John 10:10). Two chapters earlier in John 8 Jesus said, “He was a murderer from the beginning, not holding to the truth, for there is no truth in him. When he lies he speaks his native language, for he is a liar and the father of lies.” (John 8:44)

You see Satan has an ally in every single man and woman, including you and I. His ally is “our nature,” “our hearts.” He whispers “You know you want this”…”Look”…and we look, and our “nature,” our “hearts” go “Yeah, I do want that.” A feeling washes over us…that would feel good. The law of God might say don’t…but we do it anyway.

And the Evil One usually figures out something we really like and focuses on that with a scheme to have us mastered by it…like a padlock and chains. Remember these words? “We’re tempted by our own evil desires…then after desire has conceived it gives birth to sin and sin when it’s full grown gives birth to death.” (James 1:14-15)

I like how the Message translation says it: (The temptation to give in to evil comes from us and only us. We have no one to blame but the leering, seducing flare-up of our own lust. Lust gets pregnant, and has a baby: sin! Sin grows up to adulthood, and becomes a real killer.)

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