Summary: The Holy Spirit testifies it, we are now heirs with Christ Jesus, the Great God of Heaven is our Dad.
How do you see God? Here’s a couple of songs you may know, they are in the song book; “Praise my soul the King of Heaven, to his feet thy tribute bring” and “Before Jehovah’s aweful throne, Ye nations bow with sacred joy; know that he is God alone, he can create and he destroy.”
Often we think of God as out there somewhere, the King in heaven, that was my view for quite some time, one of my favourite songs contains these words;
“Behold He comes! Riding on the clouds!
Shining like the sun! At the trumpet call
lift your voice! It’s the year of Jubilee!
And out of Zion’s hill salvation comes!” (Sing this)
How do you picture God? Is he a huge man with white hair and a flowing beard, with piercing eyes, holding bolts of lightening in his hands, who speaks with a booming voice, and when he speaks forth it’s like thunder, and when he does speak forth, we will be left trembling in terror at what he has said.
This is one picture of God, is this picture of God realistic? Is this how God wants us to relate to him, in fear and trembling?
In the last couple of weeks we have been looking at Paul’s letter to the Romans chapter eight and ‘what life in the Holy Spirit is about and how God travels with us on the journey.’
Two points have been discussed over the last couple of weeks they are:
• God works all things for our good as we take on the attributes of Jesus
• That we have life and peace through the Spirit of Christ as he lives in us
The verses 14 -17 point out another three things that occur when the Holy Spirit lives in us.
a) That the Holy Spirit himself testifies that we are God’s children; and as such are b) heirs with Christ sharing in his glory and c) that we can now call God Father or more appropriately “Abba Father”.
We have a relationship with the Holy Spirit, or can have a relationship with the Holy Spirit and in doing so we have a place of privilege.
1) In verse fourteen, Paul makes it clear why this is so, he says “because those who are led by the Spirit of God are sons of God.”
This is not a gender issue; we all become children of God, as we are led by the Spirit of God, when he lives in us.
About being children of God, we know that Jesus is the only begotten or true born son of God. Jesus himself spoke about who his brothers were, we read in Luke 8:19-21 that Mary and Jesus brothers by birth had come to see him. When he was told that they were outside waiting for him, his reply was, “…My mother and my brothers are those who hear God’s word and put it into practice.” (Luke 8:21). Jesus was not rejecting his family, but he was pointing out the importance of living by the word of God.
It should also be remembered that Jesus said this prior to the Pentecost, and that those who live according to the Spirit, because they have the Spirit of Christ in them, no longer live according to their old nature but are in fact putting God’s word into practice.
So these followers of Christ have received the Holy Spirit. They are privileged to have an intimate relationship with God himself.
With that relationship come the fruits of his Spirit and gifts of his Spirit, but more about that another day. What does Paul call the Holy Spirit in these verses?
2) The Spirit we have received is referred to by Paul as the ‘Spirit of sonship or adoption.’
About adoption! In the time of Pauls writing this letter adult adoption occurred. (Ben Hurr) If I was a wealthy man who had had no children to pass on my inheritance to, I could choose a favourite servant or the son of a friend or relative and ask that person if I could adopt them. They would take over my name, my estate, any title, all of the rights of sonship that could be passed on to them would be. Interestingly, this would be the person being adopted’s choice; it would be a free will adoption. Here’s an interesting case of adoption.
In 1721, a wealthy Irishman offered to adopt Charles Wesley and make him his legal heir. The 13-year-old boy refused the offer, choosing to continue his way through school under very difficult circumstances.
This turned out to be one of the most momentous decisions of life. The boy who was adopted in place of Charles became the grandfather of the Duke Wellington who defeated Napoleon. The young Wesley achieved immortal fame through his hymns as, The Prince of Hymn Writers