Summary: We have an obligation to live as children of God if indeed we are. Our "Papa" gives us all we need to stay connected with Him and live a life that honors Him.
Living as Children of God
Romans 8:12-17 12 Therefore, brothers, we have an obligation-- but it is not to the sinful nature, to live according to it. 13 For if you live according to the sinful nature, you will die; but if by the Spirit you put to death the misdeeds of the body, you will live, 14 because those who are led by the Spirit of God are sons of God. 15 For you did not receive a spirit that makes you a slave again to fear, but you received the Spirit of sonship. And by him we cry, "Abba, Father." 16 The Spirit himself testifies with our spirit that we are God's children. 17 Now if we are children, then we are heirs-- heirs of God and co-heirs with Christ, if indeed we share in his sufferings in order that we may also share in his glory.
Intro: Isn’t if funny how when a person does well, succeeds, performs well, makes the right choices, helps others, how many people will be quick to identify an association with them? But when somebody messes up really bad, does something hurtful or really dumb, people are ashamed to admit any connection with them. Robin and I have both jokingly said, “Do you know what your daughter just did?” When she’s good, she’s mine. When she misbehaves, she’d yours.
-Well, I’m glad God doesn’t disown us when we mess up, or we’d all be homeless and rejected. However, God does require something of us. We do have obligations as His children. Today’s message from Romans 8 tells us about living as children of God. What expectations does God have for us and how does He expect us to do our part? Let’s take a look at these verses from the Bible and see if we can answer that.
1. The Obligation of God’s Children: Live according to the Spirit (12-13)
12 Therefore, brothers, we have an obligation-- but it is not to the sinful nature, to live according to it. 13 For if you live according to the sinful nature, you will die; but if by the Spirit you put to death the misdeeds of the body, you will live,
-Paul starts off by telling the Roman believers what they are not obligated to do: they are not obligated to be try to live for God in their own strength. If they do that, they won’t be able to please God. Look back to v. 8: Those who live by their natural inclinations can never be pleasing to God. NJB Romans 8:8.
-In fact, Paul says, if you try to live right by your own strength, your natural strength will eventually fail you and you will die. But if you accept God’s life and strength and die to what is wrong, you will live. This appears to be a reference to the resurrection of believers. Don’t rely on your natural human self because the natural human self will die. Instead, rely on the Holy Spirit who is continually imparting the life of God to you, and will do so at the resurrection, which Paul just referred to in v.11.
-The same Holy Spirit who gave life to Jesus after He died on the cross and was in the tomb, this same Holy Spirit gives life to those who trust in the Lord. So we have an obligation, not to just do the best we can, but to live by God’s Spirit, putting the wrong things to death in our lives.
-Now here’s one thing to remember: Our behavior does not save us; but, it does show to whom we belong. And that leads us to the 2nd point.
2. The Identification of God’s Children: Show Whose you are (14)
14 because those who are led by the Spirit of God are sons of God.
-Those who are led by the HS are children of God. In Bible times sons were typically the heirs who would carry on the family name and receive all that the Father had. Paul has no thought of excluding women in any of these statements. It was understood that women were recipients of God’s grace every bit as much as men were. So, ladies, please don’t take offense at being called a son. If you want, you can say, “Daughters of God who have all the same rights and privileges as a Son of God.”
-So how do we know that we are sons or daughters of God? I see at least 2 ways to identify God’s children from our passage: 1. God’s children hear and follow the HS. 2. The Holy Spirit communicates their identity to them and confirms it. We’ll talk about this in a moment. But in this verse, we show who we are by who we follow. If we follow the leading of the Spirit, we show that we are children of God. If we follow our own instincts thoughts, or ideas, we show that we are not children of God.