Friday

“For you did not receive a spirit of slavery to fall back into fear, but you have received a spirit of adoption.” (v. 15)

Romans 8:12-17 Friday 27 May 2016

Psalm: Psalm 148


Background

In this passage the Apostle Paul seeks to assure new Christiansthat their relationship with God should not be a lifestyle based onfear of what might happen to them if they do not keep the law.Rather they are people who have received the Spirit of God intotheir lives and know themselves to be in a loving relationship.

Paul uses the concepts of slavery and freedom to help peopleunderstand the nature of the relationship into which they arecalled. For most of us this is symbolic language - though sadlyeven in our own country there are people who are kept in virtualslavery by others. Slavery in Paul's time and in ours means fear,no hope and no real feeling of belonging. The opposite is to befree, a person in your own right, part of a family by birth oradoption with all the rights and responsibilities that go with themembership of a family.

The point which Paul wishes to emphasise to the new Christiansin Rome is that Christ is the Son of God and we have been adoptedto become his brothers and sisters. What a liberating andempowering message this is.

This freedom in Christ which we enjoy could be taken as licenceby some, but later on in this passage Paul makes it clear that asjoint heirs with Christ we can expect to share not only in the joysof the kingdom, but also in Christ's sufferings. Being God's veryown children and heirs comes with responsibilities as well asassurances.


To Ponder

  • To what extent do you find the concepts of slavery and freedomhelpful as you seek to live a Christian life and witness to others?Why?
  • For many decades Protestant churches including our own preacheda gospel which quite literally put 'the fear of God' into people.The pendulum has now swung and sin and judgement are rarely talkedabout in many churches. Has the pendulum swung too far? Why, or whynot?
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