You do not have to give in to the desires of your sin nature. By the power of the Spirit, you can slay your sin nature giving evidence that you are a child and heir of God. This message will focus on these things, as well as how we can live according to the Sprit from Romans 8:12-17.
Romans: The Glory of the Gospel Part 19
Heirs with Christ – Romans 8:12-17
Mosaic Rockford – Dave Spooner – February 11th, 2018
- There is therefore now no condemnation for those who are in Christ Jesus. This is indeed good news! If we are in Christ, we will not be condemned at the final judgment. We have been made new by the power of the Spirit once we give our lives to Christ. Now being born again, we have freedom and responsibility to produce good fruit unto God by walking according to His Spirit. We do this by “setting our minds” with intentional consistency on the things of the Spirit.
- If the Spirit of Christ is in us (evidenced by the work of the Spirit in us and through us) then we know that this same Spirit, who raised Christ from the dead, will also give life to our mortal bodies as well.
- In the passage for today, we will discover we don’t have to live according to the old nature and we have the power given to us by the Spirit to put to death the deeds of the body. In doing so, we give evidence that we are indeed children of God, and if we are children of God, we are therefore heirs with Christ provided that we suffer with Him. Let’s read this passage together.
Rom 8:12-17 ESV
So then, brothers, we are debtors, not to the flesh, to live according to the flesh. 13 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. 14 For all who are led by the Spirit of God are sons of God. 15 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!” 16 The Spirit himself bears witness with our spirit that we are children of God, 17 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.
You are not in debt to the flesh
Rom 8:12-13a ESV
So then, brothers, we are debtors, not to the flesh, to live according to the flesh. 13 For if you live according to the flesh you will die,
- Just because your flesh desires it does not mean you have to do it. Just because you want it does not mean that it is right, good or moral. The argument: “God would not give me a desire if He did not want it fulfilled.” God did not give you any unrighteous or unholy desire. Sin did. Just because you have a desire does not mean it is right, righteous or good. You don’t have to give in to the desire. The implications to this truth are multifaceted in application. The reasoning of “I can’t help myself” for the Christian does not have merit.
- If you live according to the flesh (the old nature) – taking your directives from it and giving in to its desires – you will die (and we are talking about eternal death here).
- We are in a life and death battle: you kill sin or sin will kill you.
Slaying sin is evidence we are children of God
Rom 8:13b – 14 ESV
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.
- We have responsibility in this. We must believe in Christ and receive what He did for us on the cross. He did for us what we are unable and unqualified to do. However, we also have a part to play in putting to death the deeds of the sinful nature – in doing so we will live. “He himself bore our sins in his body on the tree, that we might die to sin and live to righteousness.” (1 Peter 2:24a ESV)
- The question is: how are we to do this? The answer being: “by the Spirit.” How does this work in everyday life?
- As we talked about last week, the first thing we need to do is “set our minds” on the things of the Spirit. In doing so, we will walk according to the Spirit. This is training ourselves for Godliness (I Tim. 4:7). We have a responsibility in this. It is not just transferred to us (righteousness in Christ is). Godliness – acting like God – takes intentional training and effort, and training involves consistency in growth and improvement (which means it takes a plan and is a process). Also, by doing this we neglect the desires of the sinful nature. It then “starves,” becomes weak and goes dormant.
- We also “by the Spirit put to death the deeds of the body” by using the “sword of the Spirit which is the word of God” (Eph. 6:17). We use this offensive spiritual weapon to slay the sin nature – it is not that we “wield the Spirit” like a Jedi uses “the force.” The Holy Spirit is in us and we hold the word of God as the weapon.
- In this context, the phrase “led by the Spirit” means that we are following the leading of the Spirit to put to death the sin nature and walk according to the way the Spirit wants us to walk. (Not in the way of “the Spirit led me to do this” – which He can do as evidence in the NT, but this is not the meaning of this passage in this context).
- If we are doing this, it is evidence that we are indeed a child of God. This is the way that the “fruit unto God” is made possible in us and produces through us (think about the vine and the branches from John 15). This is also how we are identified as children of God. If there is rootedness in Christ, then there will be fruitfulness in our lives. The reverse is therefore true, that if there in no fruit, there is no root. For by their fruit you will recognize them. Next, Paul goes on to explain to us more about the work of the Spirit in our lives and our identity and the implications as adopted Children of God.
We have received the Spirit of adoption
Rom 8:15-17 ESV
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!” 16 The Spirit himself bears witness with our spirit that we are children of God, 17 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.
- God’s Spirit is not the spirit of slavery (this is talking about slavery to the law and the sin nature) that causes fear of being condemned at the final judgment. We are not “slaves,” we are “sons” because God has adopted us into His family (the chosen people of God). This is the Spirit that God has given to us: it is Holy, it causes us to stand justified in accordance with the law, it impowers us to live according to the Spirit and it identifies us as members of God’s family.
- Jesus put it this way, “I tell you the truth, everyone who sins is a slave to sin. 35 Now a slave has no permanent place in the family, but a son belongs to it forever. 36 So if the Son sets you free, you will be free indeed.” (John 8:34-37 NIV)
- The language of the relationship as family to God is intentional and powerful. There is nothing like it in other religions – that we are “children of God.” We are not children who have a distant relationship with the Father, but rather have a close connective relationship with God, knowing who He is and Him knowing us. The language is intentional – “Abba! Father!” This is a term of endearment, connection, closeness and love. This is literally “Daddy.”
- “In the Roman world of the first century AD an adopted son was a son deliberately chosen by his adoptive father to perpetuate his name and inherit his estate; he was no whit inferior in status to a son born in the ordinary course of nature and might well enjoy the father’s affection more fully and reproduce the father’s character more worthily.” (Quoted in John Stott, Romans, InterVarsity Press, 1994, p. 232)
- The Holy Spirit in us informs our spirit that we are indeed children of the most High. We can be assured that we are God’s Children because of the Spirit of adoption at work within us.
- There is more! If we are indeed children of God, then that also makes us part of the household of God. This gives us standing and access to the person and things of God, along with making us an heir of the kingdom of God alongside Christ.
- Then there is recognition that we have the benefit of being identified as a child of God, producing fruit for God, being an heir with Christ with another identifying factor is that there is also suffering that goes along with it. There is suffering with Him so we will be glorified like Him. Suffering is a prerequisite of glorification.
- In this passage, the main emphasis for the suffering is the suffering we all experience as Christians of denying and killing the sin within us. This suffering produces life that leads to glorification. It is a suffering that produces life – like a diet, like exercise, like a surgery, like childbirth this is an inward suffering of denying the sin nature. Not to say that there is not external suffering that is brought on because of our external identity with Christ, because there will be that as well – but this is not the emphasis of this passage.
- The next verse in the passage for next week gives us great hope and power in our suffering saying, “the sufferings of this present time are not worth comparing with the glory that is to be revealed to us” (Rom 8:18 ESV). These sufferings are nothing in comparison to what is yet in store for us. This gives us great reason and power to undergo and submit ourselves to this suffering. It will all be so very worth it in the end!!!!
- Understand that you and all Christians are not the sin nature and have no obligation to do what it desires you to do.
- Know that you have been empowered, and have freedom and responsibility to put to death the sin nature.
- Cherish the fact that you are a child of God, who is known by God and can have an intimate relationship with Him.
- Choose to live these truths out in your life producing fruit for God, and embrace and withstand the suffering of our flesh knowing that in so doing there is eternal glory that awaits us.
Questions for the week ahead:
- What does not being indebted to the flesh mean to you personally?
- How are you going to slay the sin nature?
- What does being adopted by God mean for you?