Edgaras Untulis – Plunge, Lithuania
The letter to the Romans in the Bible is the faith-building letter of the apostle Paul. Right now, I’m digging into chapter 8 of this letter and I’m finding one of the axes for it, the Holy Spirit.
From chapter one to chapter seven, the Spirit of God is mentioned five times. From chapter nine to the end of the letter, we find him mentioned eight times. And in the eighth chapter, the Holy Spirit is mentioned from nineteen to twenty-one times (depending on the translation). This is arguably the most drenched chapter of the Holy Spirit in the Bible. Let’s see if this is true by reading verses fourteen through sixteen of this chapter:
14 All who are led by the Spirit of God are children of God. 15 You did not receive the spirit of slavery to be afraid again, but you received the Spirit of adoption, with which we cry: “Abba, Father!” 16 The Spirit Himself bears witness to our spirit that we are children of God. (Romans 8:14-16)
In these verses Paul shows three ways that God loves us. First of all, in the fourteenth verse, it says that all those who are led by God’s spirit are God’s children. The question arises: from where does the Spirit of God lead us and to where does He lead us. He leads from the thirteenth verse, where we hear the call not to live according to the flesh and by the Spirit mortify the works of our flesh. The Spirit leads us into God’s closeness through sanctification, to God’s love through the mortification of specific and personal sins . We are in a process where we are being led and where we are growing and maturing into the likeness of Christ. We begin to understand that the guidance and leadership of God’s Spirit is more appropriate to his work inside of us, not outside – it’s not primarily about where He leads us, but what we become and whether we are becoming mature in Christ through His leadership. We actually become members of God’s family this way. Sometimes we don’t want it at all, because internal change is always a challenge. But even here the Holy Spirit comes to the rescue, as He is able to stimulate in us desire for change, without violating our free will.
The second verse we will look at is 8:15. Here Paul writes that we have not received the Spirit of slavery to be afraid again, but rather we have received the Spirit of adoption in which we cry Abba, Father! God’s Spirit invites us through Christ and through adoption, into closer communication with God and into the fulfilment of His will.
I believe that in Christ Jesus, all men and women are sons of God – children of God. The Bible is full of examples of adoption. Moses was adopted into the Egyptian Pharaoh’s family with a God-ordained purpose. Esther becomes Mordechai’s daughter by God’s will and His purposes. Mephibosheth’s adoption is amazing in 2 Samuel 9. He was the son of Jonathan, the grandson of Saul, who was David’s mortal enemy. David showed him favour and took him into his house as a son and provided for him. From these examples – and also from my own life experience – I can say that God’s Spirit guides us by changing us and giving us the spirit of adoption that we might do God’s appointed works.
And finally, let’s look at the last verse, 8:16. Paul says that: The Spirit himself bears witness to our spirit that we are children of God. This brings a lot of hope to us, because the Holy Spirit himself constantly testifies to us that we are God’s children. This is His ministry in us. It is also an invitation to become a disciple of Jesus. We must learn to recognise the witness of the Holy Spirit within us and pass this knowledge on to others.
In closing, I would like to quote the Bible translation of Romans 8:12-17 in Message (a little more), which can be seen as a commentary on this text:
So don’t you see that we don’t owe this old do-it-yourself life one red cent. There’s nothing in it for us, nothing at all. The best thing to do is give it a decent burial and get on with your new life. God’s Spirit beckons. There are things to do and places to go! This resurrection life you received from God is not a timid, grave-tending life. It’s adventurously expectant, greeting God with a childlike “What’s next, Papa?” God’s Spirit touches our spirits and confirms who we really are. We know who he is, and we know who we are: Father and children. And we know we are going to get what’s coming to us—an unbelievable inheritance! We go through exactly what Christ goes through. If we go through the hard times with him, then we’re certainly going to go through the good times with him!
Prayer: Father, thank you for leading us with your Holy Spirit and making us disciples of Jesus who no longer have a spirit of fear, but cry out to you: Abba, Father! Thank you for testifying to our spirit that we are your children; that you make us into your witnesses and your disciples, a people who continue to cry to you: Abba, Father! Amen.