Summary: This message from the second half of Romans 8 uses Romans 8:28 as an anchor text to speak about all the things we inherit because we are in Christ.
How can all things work together for good?
TEXT: Romans 8:14-39
Romans 8 is a chapter of victory for Christians. After hearing about the “Wretched Man” in chapter 7, who tries to overcome sin by his own fleshy power, Paul shifts gears and talks about our victory as Christians in simply following after the Holy Spirit. Letting Him take over in our lives to become our “Resident Boss”.
In the section we will study today, we will be introduced to our inheritance as sons of God. These are things we can hope for and rely on since we are now God’s children. Part of our inheritance as brothers of Christ include:
1. Future Glory -- verses 18 - 25
2. Present Intercession -- verses 26 - 27
3. Continual Good Results (for bad situations) -- verses 28 - 30
4. Permanent Unquenchable Love -- verses 31 - 39
Before we examine our inheritance, we must first see how it is that we were made eligible for this wealth in the first place.
READ - Romans 8:14-17
The key word in this section that explains our eligibility for all this wealth is the word ADOPTION. The Romans to whom Paul wrote had a mental picture of adoption as a very serious step because of Roman Law regarding this practice.
As I just said, Roman adoption was an extremely serious and difficult step because of a Roman law called “Patria Potestas”. This law signified the absolute power of a father over his family. The father was given the power of life or death over his family. In regard to his father, a Roman son never came of age. No matter how old he was, as long as his father still lived, he was under the absolute control of his father.
This caused adoption, into another family, to be a very grave step. The child to be adopted had to pass out of the absolute control of one father into the absolute control of another.
There were two steps in the adoption process. The first step required a symbolic sale of the son to the new parent using copper and scales to weigh the copper.
The “old” father would sell the boy twice and would buy him back twice. Then he would sell the son a third time and this time the “old” father would not buy him back. This broke the “old” father’s Patria Potestas over the son.
The second step of adoption required the new father to go to a Roman Magistrate and present a legal case for the transference of the child to be adopted into his absolute rule (Patria Potestas). When all this was done, the adoption was completed. (Wm. Barclay, Romans, DSB Series p. 105-106)
The consequences of this adoption according to Roman law are just as significant as the act of adoption. There were four main consequences of adoption.
1) The adopted son lost all rights in his old family and gained all the rights of a fully legitimate son in his new family.
2) He became heir to his new father’s estate as a legitimate son and was entitled to the same share as other children who were blood relations to the father.
3) The old life of the adopted son was wiped out just as if he had died and been reborn. All the debts were cancelled.
4) In the eyes of the Law, the adopted son was literally and absolutely the natural son of his new father.
Our relationship to God is the same. Anyone who is willing to be led by God’s Holy Spirit is an adopted son of God.
In Romans 8:29 we see that it was always God’s plan for “Jesus to be the first-born of many brothers.” Because of the adoption into God’s family, we become little brothers and sisters to Jesus Christ and God becomes our “Dad” or “Daddy” in every sense of the word. This is why verse 15 says we don’t “have to behave like fearful slaves, we must now consider ourselves to be not slaves by sons of God.”
We can call out to God the same way Christ did, calling Him “Abba, Father”.
Abba was an Aramaic word which little infants used to call to their fathers. Slaves were never allowed to use that word in speaking to the head of the house. Only a real son could call his father Abba or Daddy or Pappa.
If we are being led by the Spirit of Christ, then the Holy Spirit speaks to our hearts to confirm to us that we really are God’s children. Since we are God’s actual children we are also joint heirs with Christ. Everything God ever gave Jesus has become ours, too. We all share together in God’s great wealth.