Romans 8:12-17 - So then, brothers, we are debtors, not to the flesh, to live according to the flesh. For if you live according to the flesh you will die, but if by the Spirit you put to death the deeds of the body, you will live. For all who are led by the Spirit of God are sons of God. For you did not receive the spirit of slavery to fall back into fear, but you have received the Spirit of adoption as sons, by whom we cry, "Abba! Father!" The Spirit Himself bears witness with our spirit that we are children of God, and if children, then heirs—heirs of God and fellow heirs with Christ, provided we suffer with Him in order that we may also be glorified with Him.
The apostle Paul tells us that while we are indeed debtors, we owe nothing to the flesh. The flesh is a brutal taskmaster, denouncing us as sinners and leaving us spiritually dead on arrival before God. But as believers in Jesus' saving grace, the flesh is powerless over us. Because the damning power of our sinful nature before God's righteous Law has been conquered by the blood of Jesus.
Paul writes, "For God has done what the Law, weakened by the flesh, could not do. By sending His own Son in the likeness of sinful flesh and for sin, He condemned sin in the flesh, in order that the righteous requirement of the Law might be fulfilled in us, who walk not according to the flesh but according to the Spirit" (Romans 8:3-4). Because of Jesus we are made clean and acceptable to God.
How wonderful that God welcomes us into His family through the gift of faith! (See Ephesians 2:1-10). This welcome isn't some kind of "slave with benefits" designation. It's the prodigal's undeserved second chance after scorning his father and blowing everything. It's God's gracious mercy and forgiveness. It's full adoption into His family. "For you did not receive the spirit of slavery to fall back into fear, but you have received the Spirit of adoption as sons, by whom we cry, 'Abba! Father!'"
In Christ we are adopted members of God's family, His own children, eternal "heirs of God and fellow heirs with Christ." God's Spirit inside us is the guarantor of our salvation. He bears witness with our spirit that we belong to God. As we go forth in faith, the Spirit is there to guide us in our lives, sustain us in our sufferings, and lead us into all truth about Jesus (see John 16:13).
And it's by the Spirit of God that we can draw close to God the Father, speaking to Him in a personal way, "Abba! Father!" With God we find love and acceptance—not for who we are but for who He has made into—His very own sons and daughters, redeemed by the precious blood of Jesus Christ.
THE PRAYER: Heavenly Father, when we're struggling in this world, remind us that we are Your adopted children. In Jesus' Name. Amen.
This Daily Devotion was written by Paul Schreiber.
1. Have you ever felt as if you were bound by a "spirit of slavery" in any way?
2. What does it mean to suffer with Christ?
3. Have you ever thought about God the Father as your "papa" or "daddy," before? Does it change the way you see Him?
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