Romans (18): Life in the Spirit

Date: 10/12/2008
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Romans 8: An Exposition (18) - Life in the Spirit
All Saints * Dr. Gregg Strawbridge * October 12, 2008

So then, brothers, we are debtors, not to the [Adamic] flesh, to live according to the flesh. 8:13 Because if you live according to the flesh you will die, but if by the Spirit you kill the sinful actions of the body, you will live. 8:14 For all who are led by the Spirit of God are sons of God. 8:15 For you did not receive the spirit of slavery again to [return to] fear, but you have received the Spirit of sonship, by whom we cry, “Abba! Father!” 8:16 The Spirit himself testifies to our spirit that we are children of God, 8:17 and if children, then heirs—heirs of God and co-inheritors with Christ, if indeed we suffer with Him in order that we may also be glorified with Him. 8:18 For I reckon that our sufferings in the present season are not worth comparing with the glory that is to be revealed to us. 8:19 For the expectant creation awaits for the revealing of the sons of God. 8:20 For the creation was subjected to futility, not willingly, but because of God who subjected it, in hope 8:21 that the creation itself will be set free from its bondage to corruption and obtain the glorious freedom of the children of God. 8:22 For we know that the whole creation has been groaning as in childbirth until now. 8:23 And not only the creation, but we ourselves, who have the firstfruits of the Spirit, groan inwardly as we wait eagerly for our adoption, the redemption of our bodies. 8:24 For in this hope we were saved. Now hope that is seen is not hope, because who hopes for what he sees? 8:25 But if we hope for what we do not see, we wait for it with endurance. (Romans 8:11-25)

Believers Live in ___________ __________________ ____________________
Romans 8 is a new covenant manifesto (see the promises: Jer. 31:31-36, Joel 2:28-29, Is. 44:3, 59:21, Ez. 36:26-27, et al). Pentecost has happened and is an historical event. Now Paul appeals to the ongoing reality of Pentecost, as he did the cross (Rom. 6:3ff). In v. 12, Paul draws the imperative and practical point that we are now, in Christ, obliged to the new covenant identity. We live “in the [sphere of the] Spirit” by living in terms of our identity in Christ. All those who have been baptized are to reckon themselves in Christ. We are to count ourselves as partakers of the new covenant. Like the Exodus, all who are led by the Spirit of God are sons of God, like those led by the glory cloud of God in the wilderness (8:14, cf 1 Cor. 10:1-5). Those led the by Spirit receive “sonship” and need not fear a previous master, aka Pharaoh. We are sons of God and so we cry out as household children. We use the familiar name of our Father, “Abba! Father!” Adoption is premised upon our covenant membership, signified in baptism (ch. 6) and made experiential by an ever-growing faith and faithful endurance. There is both the public sign of baptism, as well as the internal testimony of the Spirit who bears witness with our spirit that we are children of God.
Believers Await ___________ __________________ ____________________
So, if we are children, we are heirs. We are inheritors of Abraham’s promise (4:16) and co-inheritors with Christ. We could say that Christ is the only heir and we just connect to Him, like an inheritance given to the eldest with the purpose that the eldest will share and care for the rest. But Paul’s point is that this shared inheritance connects us to the situation of the eldest, Christ - “we suffer with him...” and will be glorified also. Such present sufferings are not worth comparing with the glory that is to be revealed to us (8:18). Creation awaits the revealing of the sons of God or the consummation (see 1Cor. 15:22-25). Creation itself will be set free from its bondage to corruption. And now we wait (hope) for consummation of this sonship (just as Jesus has already received) “the redemption of our bodies.” This is just as certain as Jesus resurrection.
Gregg Strawbridge Gregg Strawbridge, Ph.D., is the pastor of All Saints Church in Lancaster, PA. He became a committed follower of Jesus Christ at age 20, discipled in the context of a University Navigator Ministry. As a result of personal discipleship he went on to study at Columbia Biblical Seminary (M.A., Columbia, SC, 1990), as well as a Ph.D. in education and philosophy... read more