23 March 2012Romans 8:12-39
"It is that very Spirit bearing witness with our spirit that we are children of God, and if children, then heirs, heirs of God and joint heirs with Christ - if, in fact, we suffer with him so that we may also be glorified with him." (vv. 16-17)
Today's passage is one of freedom, hope and love in Christ. It
shows that to live by the Spirit allows God's peace to rule in our
hearts. The Holy Spirit within us testifies that we are children of
We enter God's family by new birth, by grace through faith in Jesus' finished work on the cross. Paul uses adoption to illustrate the believer's new relationship with God pointing to the privileges and the responsibilities that are theirs.
The passage can be divided into three:
- Verses 14-17 - First century Christians experienced economic, social, and physical persecution. In many parts of today's world people face pressures, and the real threat of death, for their faith. Along with God's gifts of God's own Son, forgiveness and eternal life, we need to recognise that suffering is also a part of the Christian way of life.
- Verses 18-25 - Christian hope is anchored in Christ, and it is not a passive thing. Hope is knowing God and knowing that what God promised will be provided. To have hope, you must have faith. As the writer of Hebrews said: "Now faith is the assurance of things hoped for, the conviction of things not seen" (Hebrew 11:1).
- Verses 26-39 - It is the Spirit of God who makes the love of God real to us. When we are unsure of how to pray we have the Holy Spirit who will intercede for us in harmony with God's own will. God providentially works in all things. God's ultimate aim is to make us Christlike. By reading the Bible, applying it to our lives, spending time in prayer, worship and fellowship with others, being filled with God's Spirit and serving others - we discover the people we really are. Is there any reason why we should not be more than conquerors?
Christians are often described as people of hope. What are you hoping for, and in what are you placing your trust? In what way will you turn over each day to God, believing and trusting in God for the outcome?
How are you allowing God to transform you into Jesus' likeness through current circumstances?
How will you pray for other people and nations suffering persecution?