Monday, August 21, 2023

2023.08.21 Hopewell @Home ▫ Romans 8:16–17

Read Romans 8:16–17

Questions from the Scripture text: Who is acting in Romans 8:16? How does the text emphasize this? What is He doing? With what? What is He bearing witness that we are? Of Whom is He bearing witness that we are children? What does being children mean that we are (Romans 8:17)? Of Whom are we heirs? With Whom do we jointly do this? What else do we jointly do with Him? Then what will we jointly do with Him?

How does the Holy Spirit minister our adoption to us? Romans 8:16–17 looks forward to the midweek sermon. In these two verses of Holy Scripture, the Holy Spirit teaches us that the Holy Spirit agrees with us as we cry Abba, convincing us of our status as God’s heirs and of our union with Christ by which we came into that status. 

The Spirit Who bears witness. In Romans 8:15, we learned that all believers come to cry out, “Abba, Father.” Why? Because all believers are led along by the Spirit, and this is a necessary part of what He leads us to do. But then the Spirit adds His own voice (“The Spirit Himself””) to ours (“with our spirit) that we are children of God. As He makes these agreements with our own spirit, the Holy Spirit makes fresh communications to us of the love of God that He pours out in our hearts like a drink offering (cf. Romans 5:5).

The Father Who adopts and bequeaths. Our relationship to the Father was asserted in Romans 8:14 (“these are the sons of God”) and affirmed in Romans 8:15 as His own Spirit teaches us to call Him Father. But how “full” is this sonship? How entire is our adoption? Entirely! We are not only children but heirs. Not only does God bestow upon us the status of children, but He bequeaths to us His estate! Pause for a moment, dear Christian reader, and consider this: “God is so truly and entirely my Father that He has bequeathed to me His estate.” Of course the great thing in God’s estate is… God Himself! And, together with Him, He bequeaths to us all things (cf. Romans 8:32, 1 Corinthians 3:21–23).

The Son Who suffers and inherits. But how can God bequeath His estate to His adopted children, when it belongs already to His only-begotten Son? Because His Son has welcomed us to be united to Him. We do not (indeed, we cannot) inherit by ourselves, but only as a joint action with Christ. And in order to welcome us into union with Himself, Christ Himself had to become a Sufferer. Now, He has suffered once for all through His union with us—a suffering in which He atoned for our sins. And, He continues to join with us, by virtue of His union with us, in our suffering. How this sweetens all sufferings to us to know that it is an area of Christ’s particular focus in His union with us. 

This jointly being heirs and jointly suffering is joined by one more joint endeavor: being glorified. Now here is something marvelous: Christ is inalterably glorious forever in His person as the divine Son. And He has already been resurrected with a glorious body and seated upon the throne of glory. But He reserves the final crowning glory to share with us: when He is glorified in His bride as He presents Her to Himself glorious in the last day. Then, glorified as her Savior, Who has completed her salvation, He seats her with Himself to judge men and angels in glory. The church, indeed, is a marvel; and, how marvelous her Redeemer Who makes her so!

Dear believer, what wonders there are in your adoption! May you know the ministry of the Spirit Who communicates them to you.

What is going on when you call God “Father”? When you suffer? What will happen in the last day? With Whom?

Sample prayer:  Father, we thank You for adopting us; and, Lord Jesus, we thank You for uniting us to Yourself. And we thank You for Your Spirit. Grant that He would minister to us our adoption and our union with Christ, we ask in His Name, AMEN!

Suggested songs: ARP45B “Daughter, Incline Your Ear” or TPH400 “Gracious Spirit, Dwell with Me”

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