Hi, welcome to Redeem the Commute. I’m Ryan, your host for the Daily Challenges. Yesterday we read about the role of the Holy Spirit in a Christian life.
So how does this new Spirit change us?
Paul changes gears somewhat in Romans 8:12-13, turning from what God does for us through the Holy Spirit to what our responsibility is in response to what God has done for us.
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. (Romans 8:12-17 ESV)
If we follow the leading of the Holy Spirit in our lives rather than our sinful nature, we will live. The death to sin that God has accomplished for us doesn’t mean that we don’t have to worry about sin in our lives; instead it makes it possible for us to turn from sinning and even obligates us to do so!
Romans 8:15-17 turns back to what God has done for us. When we live by God’s Spirit, not only are we able to turn from sin and be cleansed from sin through Jesus’ sacrifice, but we also are adopted as children of God himself! And in first-century culture, an adopted child wasn’t in any way inferior to a natural child. In fact, the adopted child was deliberately chosen by a father for the purpose of carrying on his name, which was a great honor.
We can call God Abba, an Aramaic word by which children would lovingly address their fathers. This passage tells us that as Christians our lives are now under the management of God’s Spirit. This implies that we must give up control of our lives and let God take over. This is what it means to belong to God. And this is what it means to be a Christian.
Imagine a child with no family, who suddenly is adopted, by anyone much less the king of the universe. Even adoption by a normal, healthy family will mean the world. Not immediately, or perfectly, of course. Children are still children, especially if they have a traumatic history. But imagine the change people would observe over time. They’d recognize the child has a new Spirit.
Question: How are the themes of life and death used in this passage?