We were cold, huddling together in a room with the door closed, laying under layers of blankets, warming ourselves by candles. The ice storm that took out the power to a large part of Southern Ontario took out our heat. When 3am came and our youngest started jumping around in her crib (her version of jumping jacks to keep warm), we were reminded of how dependant we are on electricity. Todays text, however, reminds us that we are more dependant on the Holy Spirit.
I believe that Romans 8:12-17, reveals Four Reasons Why The Holy Spirit Is Indispensable
In this passage, while Paul writes about the Old Covenant, he wonderfully clarifies the new position we have with God by revealing part of the role of the Holy Spirit. Specifically, he shows us what the Spirit does and does not do.
1. The Spirit does not make us slaves
8:15, “The Spirit you received does not make you slaves” NIV
Under the Law we were slaves because our sinful nature was completely opposite to God’s nature (which was revealed in the Law). We were slaves because we couldn’t be righteous. We were slaves because we were trapped by a law that could only condemn us.
That’s no longer true. The Spirit has not made us slaves by bringing us into a new set of laws which would inevitably lead to our failure and judgment. We are free in Jesus, invited to live within a friendship.
2. The Spirit does not lead us into fear
8:15, “so that you live in fear again” NIV
Yes, we have an obligation to live according to a new Law, but this new law doesn’t come with the fear of judgment. There is a great amount of trial and error and wiggle room under this new Law because the requirement of righteousness has already been met – Jesus has credited us with it. We have moved from the fear of condemnation. There’s no fear in learning the ropes of Christianity and getting some things wrong. We grow and eagerly anticipate what God has in store for our future.
3. Reception of the Spirit was our moment of adoption as children of God
8:15, “the Spirit you received brought about your adoption to sonship” NIV
We are not slaves, or employees, or pawns under a dictator. We are children, with all the wiggle room a child has with their dad. God loves us too much to leave us like we are, so we can certainly expect there to be moments of correction and discipline. But, there’s no fear. There is never any fear in love! God loves us as children. Because we have the Spirit, we are treated as God’s personal children.
4. The Spirit confirms that God is our Father.
8:15-16, “And by him we cry, “Abba, Father.” The Spirit himself testifies with our spirit that we are God’s children” NIV
Just as Jesus could call out “Abba, Father” (which means “daddy”), so can we because we have the Spirit of Jesus. The possession of the Spirit confirms that God is our father, just like it was a confirmation that Jesus is God’s Son.
As children of God, we are co-heirs with Jesus. Everything belongs to Jesus and He has chosen to share everything that is His with us.
What about you?
Are you living according to the Spirit? Are you growing in our expression of love for God and others? Or, did you come up with something different when you studied this text yourself?
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