Posted under The Rectory Bulletin | Romans

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)

You’ll recall that Paul has been making a contrast between living by the “flesh” and living by the Spirit. Here he develops his theme, and give us as an astounding explanation of what living by the Spirit actually means: “all who are led by the Spirit of God are sons of God”.

Now, some of you might be thinking “but surely I’m a daughter of God”! Well, Paul is not here only addressing the men in Rome, but is speaking about the mechanism by which we become ‘children of God’ (as he says later in the passage). He has already said that all Christians have the Spirit of Christ living within them, and this Spirit is, as he says here, “the Spirit of adoption as sons”. Christ is the son of God, so those who have his Spirit living within them are also adopted as sons of God. Male or female, all share in that adoption. We share, in other words, in Christ’s ‘sonship’. That is why we can cry out “Abba! Father!”.

The extraordinary thing here is the imagery of adoption. Adoption is permanent and legal. It makes the one who is adopted into an heir. It is a mechanism of someone fully and legally joining a family. It is permanent.

Our standing before God is not dependant on where we come from, or who we are, but simply on adoption. Adopted by God! What an image!

Hail to the Lord’s Anointed

Hail to the Lord's Anointed! Great David's greater Son; Hail in the time appointed, His reign on earth begun! He comes to break oppression, to set the captive free; To take away transgression, and rule in equity. - James Montgomery was a prolific poet and hymn writer, with over four-hundred hymns to his name. He ended up as an editor of a newspaper in Sheffield, and was twice imprisoned for publishing poems which offended the authorities.

One Bible

Now while the Pharisees were gathered together, Jesus asked them a question, saying, “What do you think about the Christ? Whose son is he?” They said to him, “The son of David.” He said to them, “How is it then that David, in the Spirit, calls him Lord, saying, “ ‘The Lord said to my Lord, “Sit at my right hand, until I put your enemies under your feet” ’? - And in the glorious sweep of the history of Israel, and the ever widening sweep of the history of God saving his people, it is always the same person ‘whodunnit’. Which is why we are called Christians.

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