Mr. Dutten, a lawyer, opened a folder and cleared his throat. “The last will and testament of Andrew Philip Blackburn,” he read. “I, Andrew Philip Blackburn, being of sound mind . . .”
What a strange thing for Grandpa to say, Andrea thought. She glanced around the lawyer’s office. She missed her grandfather so much! Everyone looked very solemn, and even the children were quiet.
“To each of my grandchildren, I leave $5,000 to be used toward their education,” read the lawyer, and Andrea’s eyes widened. Wow! All that for me? She could hardly believe it. Mr. Dutten was still reading. “To my grandson Wyatt, I leave . . .”
And so it went. Grandpa had remembered everyone–and all the children had received something special to help them remember their grandfather.
“Can we go to the farm, Dad?” Andrea asked as they got into the car after saying goodbye to the other family members. “I want to see Princess!” Grandpa had left his horse to her.
Dad nodded. “We’ll do that,” he agreed. “I want to pick up Grandpa’s Bible. I’m glad he left that for me.” So they headed for the farm, where Andrea petted her horse while Dad went to get the Bible he had inherited.
Back home, Andrea asked to see the Bible. She leafed carefully through the pages of the old book. “The New Testament of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ,” she read aloud. “That’s something like what Mr. Dutten said this morning,” she told her mother. “I think he called Grandpa’s will a ‘testament,’ didn’t he?”
Mom nodded. “That’s right. It’s an important document telling what your grandfather left to each of his family members–what they inherited. The New Testament is an important document, too. From it, we learn that those who trust Jesus as Savior become members of God’s family. They also have a valuable inheritance–everlasting life and heaven–waiting for them.”
“And everyone can have it, right?” asked Andrea.
“Right,” said Mom. “God offers it to all. It’s too bad so many refuse to accept what Jesus has done for them and miss out on the inheritance.”
Imagine for a moment that you discovered that you had a long-lost relative who made you the heir to their estate. They left you riches beyond count, your financial worries are over, and you do not have to worry about the future. If that scenario happened, how would you feel? What would you do? Would you do anything differently? What would be different about your daily activities, practice, habits, and outlook? How would knowing that your future is absolutely secure change your present? This is what the Apostle Paul is describing in Romans 8:12-25
The Greek word for adoption means to be legally installed or placed as a son or daughter. Christians have been taken from the family of Adam and placed into the family of God. Well-known preacher Donald Grey Barnhouse explains the difference between an heir and a joint heir: “If a man dies, leaving a large farm to four heirs…each heir receives a percent of the whole. But if a man leaves a farm to four …joint-heirs, then each one owns the entire farm. Each one can say, ‘this house is mine; those barns are mine; those fields are mine’…Thus when God tells us that we are heirs of God and joint-heirs of Jesus Christ, we are being informed that everything that God the Father has given to the Lord Jesus Christ has been given to us also.” God doesn’t adopt us because of what we have. He doesn’t give us His name because of our wit, our wallet or our good attitude. Adoption is something we receive, not something we earn.
As children of God we enjoy His life and resources. If we live in defiance of or indifference to the Holy Spirit, we are spiritual imposters. If we follow the Spirit’s prompting, we will be led, liberated, loved and taught. Only then will we reach our full potential.
Believers are to share the gospel with the world and to live a righteous life. Believers are responsible to live according to the Spirit, not according to the flesh. No one can destroy the flesh in this life, but they can destroy the deeds of the flesh. The indwelling Spirit gives people the ability to kill the corrupt deeds that once defined them, enabling them to taste life imperishable.
Every time people pray and call God “Father,” the Holy Spirit does the same thing-dual evidence of people’s Sonship. Sonship does not rest alone on one’s changing spirit for affirmation. The affirmation of Sonship rests on the unchanging testimony of the Holy Spirit
The rewards of Sonship are being children and heirs of God and joint heirs with Christ. An heir has not yet received his inheritance but anticipates it in the future. The biblical idea of heir implies possession in part here and now, with the promise of complete possession and enjoyment in the future.
The word translated as “futility” means the inability of something to fulfill the purpose for which it was created. It can also mean emptiness or absurdity. In contrast, to hope for something is to expect that we will get it. Hope is like faith because we can’t see hope, so we must believe in what we can’t see.
Christians groan negatively because of sin’s presence in the world, its power in their bodies, and the practice of sin around them. They positively groan for the gift of the Holy Spirit to guarantee their glory and because they are looking forward to their adoption being final and the redemption of their bodies.
Everything in our spiritual lives is important. We must not take it casually. This is dangerous for those of us who are leading comfortable lives with few (if any) challenges. They see little or no need for defining their spiritual lives. They have ceased to be ambitious for the things of the Spirit.
As believers we have two clear choices. Either we aspire toward the things of the flesh or we aspire to the things of the Spirit. Unless we can understand and identify both of them, there is the possibility that the flesh will take over. That is because the secular world that we live in is dominated by selfish interest. Believers who mind the flesh exhibit nothing but dullness and deadness.
The Bible never minimizes our difficulties or sufferings. Instead, it magnifies the rewards that accompany our faith. We can learn from our suffering. We don’t need to be angry or bitter. It is an opportunity to sense Christ’s love and compassion. He is like a parent who misses a child. He wants to communicate with us. He will always be with us. He will welcome us with open arms if we come to Him.
A young pilot had just passed the point of no return when the weather changed for the worse. Visibility dropped to a matter of feet as fog descended to the earth. Putting total trust in the cockpit instruments was a new experience for him, for the ink was still wet on the certificate verifying that he was qualified for instrument flying.
The landing worried him the most. His destination was a crowded metropolitan airport he wasn’t familiar with. In a few minutes he would be in radio contact with the tower. Until then, he was alone with his thoughts. His instructor had practically forced him to memorize the rule book. He didn’t care for it at the time, but now he was thankful.
Finally, he heard the voice of the air traffic controller. “I’m going to put you on a holding pattern,” the controller radioed. Great! thought the pilot. He knew that his safe landing was in the hands of this person. He had to draw on his previous instructions and training and trust the voice of an air traffic controller he couldn’t see. Aware that this was no time for pride, he informed the controller, “This is not a seasoned pro up here. I would appreciate any help you could give me.
“You’ve got it!” he heard back.
For the next 45 minutes the controller gently guided the pilot through the blinding fog. As course and altitude corrections came periodically, the young pilot realized the controller was guiding him around obstacles and away from potential collisions. With the words of the rule book firmly placed in his mind, and with the gentle voice of the controller, he landed safely at last.
The Holy Spirit guides us through the maze of life much like that air traffic controller. The controller assumed the young pilot understood the instructions of the flight manual. His guidance was based on that. Such is the case with the Holy Spirit. He can guide us if we have a knowledge of God’s Word and His will established in our minds.
The Holy Spirit takes hold together with us against the weaknesses in our lives. But we must be against that area of weakness first, otherwise the Holy Spirit has nothing to take hold of. He can’t do it for us. When someone says they don’t have the strength to overcome a weakness, they have said one of two things:
- “I don’t know God well enough to know if He would help me,” OR
- “I am not yet willing to turn my back on that area of compromise and take hold of God’s strength.”
God will take hold with us, but we must initiate it.
Romans 8:14 says, “As many as are led by the Spirit of God, they are the sons of God.” The word “led” comes from the Greek word ago, which described “the act of leading about an animal, such as a cow or a goat, at the end of a rope.” The owner would wrap a rope around the animal’s neck and then tug and pull until the animal started to follow him. When the animal decided to cooperate and follow that gentle tug, it could then be gently led to where its owner wanted it to go.
As Christians, God urges us to follow the tugging and pulling of the Holy Spirit in our hearts like a parent has to gently lead a small child. The Holy Spirit is a gentleman and does not force us to obey Him. He prompts us, tugs at our hearts and pulls on our spirit to get our attention. Sometimes His tugs will be so gentle that we may miss them. If we develop our sensitivity to the Holy Spirit, He will gently lead us exactly where He wants us to go with our lives.
The hope that keeps us going is not simply a belief about the future. It is already something of a pleasant reality. The Spirit is a component of a future hope which has already been given. What difference does it make that along with this hope we are unconditionally loved? What difference does it make that that no matter what we do, or what is done to us, and no matter where we go, God always loves us and cares for us.
So what does it mean for us to live knowing that we are children of God, adopted and chosen and named co-heirs with Christ? What difference does it make now? What difference does it make to know that we are unconditionally loved or that we have immeasurable value in God’s eyes? No matter what we do, or no matter what is done to us or no matter where we go, God always loves us and cares about us.
- Jeremiah, David: The Jeremiah Study Bible: New Kings James Version (Brentwood, TN: Worthy Publishing; 2013; pp. 1555-1556)
- “Grandfather’s Will.” Retrieved from email@example.com
- Briscoe, D.S. & Ogilvie, L.J.: The Preacher’s Commentary Series, Vol. 29: Romans (Nashville, TN: Thomas Nelson Inc.; 1989; pp.155-170)
- Stanley, C.F.: The Charles F. Stanley Lile Principles Bible: New King James Version (Nashville, TN: Nelson Bibles; 2005)
- Lucado, M.: The Lucado Life Lessons Study Bible (Nashville, TN: Thomas Nelson; 2010)
- Dr. Neil Anderson, “The Holy Spirit’s Guidance.” Retrieved from Crosswalk@crosswalkmail.com
- Steve Arterburn, “Learning Through Suffering.” Retrieved from Crosswalk@crosswalkmail.com
- Vikki Burke, “End Bad Habit Patterns.” Retrieved from firstname.lastname@example.org
- Pastor Greg Laurie, “Abba, Father.” Retrieved from www.harvest.org
- “Our Only Hope.” Retrieved from Christianity.email@example.com
- Rick Renner, “Is the Holy Spirit ‘Tugging’ at Your Heart Today?” Retrieved from Christianity.firstname.lastname@example.org
- Rev. David Lose, “Three-in-One Plus One” Retrieved from www.davidlose.net/2015/05/trinity-b-three-in-one-plus-one/
- William Loader, “First Thought on Year B Epistle Passages from the Lectionary.” Retrieved from http://wwwstaff.murdoch.edu.au/~loader/BEpTrinity.htm
- Rev. David Lose, “Three-in-One Plus One.” Retrieved from www.davidlose.net/2015/05/trinity-b-three-in-one-plus-one/