We are continuing our study on the topic of the Glimpses of the Almighty Holy Spirit, and today we have the privilege of looking into the passage from Rom 8:12-17. The topic of the Holy Spirit is perhaps the most misunderstood and misused topic in the bible. Some denominations make it so complex that the beauty of the concept itself is lost. The message of Christianity is simple. The beauty of Christianity is in the simplicity if the gospel. Jesus Christ died for our sins. So believe in Jesus Christ and you can have eternal life. How much more simpler can things get? One of the things we try to do at BBF is to make the concept of worship and relationship with God uncomplicated. Hence let us see if we can get some uncomplicated glimpses of the Holy Spirit from this passage before us.
Romans 8:12-17 (NKJV)
12 Therefore, brethren, we are debtors–not to the flesh, to live according to the flesh.
13 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.
14 For as many as are led by the Spirit of God, these are sons of God.
15 For you did not receive the spirit of bondage again to fear, but you received the Spirit of adoption by whom we cry out, “Abba, Father.”
16 The Spirit Himself bears witness with our spirit that we are children of God,
17 and if children, then heirs–heirs of God and joint heirs with Christ, if indeed we suffer with Him, that we may also be glorified together.
Romans 8:12-17 (MSG)
12 So don’t you see that we don’t owe this old do-it-yourself life one red cent.
13 There’s nothing in it for us, nothing at all. The best thing to do is give it a decent burial and get on with your new life.
14 God’s Spirit beckons. There are things to do and places to go!
15 This resurrection life you received from God is not a timid, grave-tending life. It’s adventurously expectant, greeting God with a childlike “What’s next, Papa?”
16 God’s Spirit touches our spirits and confirms who we really are. We know who he is, and we know who we are: Father and children.
17 And we know we are going to get what’s coming to us—an unbelievable inheritance! We go through exactly what Christ goes through. If we go through the hard times with him, then we’re certainly going to go through the good times with him!
A number of themes run through his passage. Paul starts by affirming that we do not owe anything to the flesh. In this letter Paul has spoken enough about us being sold to sin earlier. You would recall the message by Bro George Ninan on the earlier parts of this letter to Romans. Sin that dwells in us, make us do things that we ought not to do. However, we do not need to stay in sin. Romans 7:24-25 (NKJV) says 24 O wretched man that I am! Who will deliver me from this body of death? 25 I thank God–through Jesus Christ our Lord! So then, with the mind I myself serve the law of God, but with the flesh the law of sin.We have seen this. God has redeemed us paying high price and hence there is nothing we owe to the flesh. Instead, our indebtedness is to the spirit. 1 Corinthians 6:19-20 (NKJV) says 19 Or do you not know that your body is the temple of the Holy Spirit who is in you, whom you have from God, and you are not your own? 20 For you were bought at a price; therefore glorify God in your body and in your spirit, which are God’s. The flesh did not give us anything, but God bought us paying a high price, and hence our indebtedness is to the spirit. But then our bodies are carnal, and we are tempted to live by the flesh, or body, and is we live by the flesh the result is certain and eternal death. So how do we get out of this. This where we get a glimpse of the Holy Spirit. It is only the indwelling of the Holy Spirit that will free us from the body of sin. Paul is very clear. He says “If you do not kill sin, sin will kill you”. And God, through Holy spirit provides us the strength to kill sin in us. So that is the first glimpse of the Holy Spirit that we see in this passage. He is a liberator.
And then it gets even more beautiful. All of us like getting rewarded right? As if saving from sure eternal death itself was not reward enough, Paul goes on to lay out the glorious rewards that await those who follow the spirit. If we follow the spirit, we have an identity with God. We are all born with defective identity. We are all born in sin, and hence our default setting is fleshly. So how can we be sons and daughters of God? How can we be freed of this bondage? This is possible only through adoption. We who are born in sin need to be adopted by God. This is where we get the second glimpse of the Holy spirit. The Holy Spirit is our adopter. Holy Spirit is the person who adopts us into the sonship. And what does that sonship give us? It gives us the privilege to call the Creator, the Alpha and Omega, Abba Father. That term Abba Father is a very intimate term, it is father repeated twice. It was used by Jesus himself to confirm His very personal nature of relationship with God. Now through the adoption, the Holy Spirit is giving us the right and privilege to call this God Abba Father, in a very intimate and personal way. As the message translation puts it, “What next Papa”? You see, we are no more in bondage, we are no more in fear, we are free, and we have an identity as sons and daughters of the Almighty God himself. Thus the Holy Spirit acts as our Sanctifier.
The next glimpse of the Holy Spirit that we get from this passage is that of the Comforter. The Holy Spirit not only adopts us into the sonship with God, he also witnesses to the fact that we are children of God. You are aware that all legal formalities require witnesses, be it title deed, property registration, trust deed registration, will etc. Without witnesses the document is generally null and void. Here the act of adoption by God is legalized, confirmed, assured, cemented by the witness of the Holy Spirit. He witnesses this to our own souls thus comforting us that we are no more orphans; we have a Father who has adopted us completely. Romans 5:5 (NKJV) says, 5 Now hope does not disappoint, because the love of God has been poured out in our hearts by the Holy Spirit who was given to us. The message version puts it even better. Romans 5:5 (MSG) 5 In alert expectancy such as this, we’re never left feeling shortchanged. Quite the contrary—we can’t round up enough containers to hold everything God generously pours into our lives through the Holy Spirit! What a comforter the Holy Spirit is.
Paul does not stop here, and goes on to explain what more is in store for us if we walk by the spirit, if we are led by the spirit, if we live by the spirit. He says ,we become heirs to the Kingdom. Through this adoption, through His witnessing, He is giving us an inheritance. Just imagine inheriting what the Lord has. We are not looking at inhering a plot of land or a house or some bank balance here. We are talking about inheriting the Kingdom of God, God the creator, God the provider, God the owner of everything. And the Holy Spirit has a role in this inheritance. 2 Corinthians 1:22 (NKJV) says God has sealed us and given us the Spirit in our hearts as a guarantee. 2 Corinthians 1:22 (MSG) says 22 By his Spirit he has stamped us with his eternal pledge—a sure beginning of what he is destined to complete. So that is the last glimpse of the Holy Spirit we see in this passage, as a guarantor of the inheritance from God.
So to summarise, we see four distinct glimpses of the Almighty Holy Spirit in this very short passage. First He is the liberator. He liberates is from the body of Sin. The second glimpse is that of the Sanctifier. He adopts us into sonship with God Himself. The third glimpse is that of the comforter, by bearing witness to our adoption and thus making us legally children of God. The fourth glimpse is that of a guarantor, guaranteeing the inheritance from God.
Of course there is a small condition to this inheritance. This inheritance is ONLY along with Christ. It is a co- inheritance. We cannot claim this inheritance without Christ. We can only be co-heirs with Christ. And since Christ suffered to give us the inheritance, we must be prepared to suffer, and bear afflictions to be able to inherit this along with Christ. In other words, we cannot be “fair weather friends”. Have you heard the term “fair weather friends”? Have you had friends who are always with you while you are laughing and joking and generally upbeat, but who go missing altogether when things get rough? It is for a reason that the marriage vows say, for better or for worse. This morning the question we need to ask ourselves is will we stick to Jesus through afflictions? Will we still praise God when things go wrong? Will our faith be strong as before when everything seems to go wrong? The word says it is possible through the Holy Spirit. Ephesians 1:13-14 (NKJV) 13 In Him you also trusted, after you heard the word of truth, the gospel of your salvation; in whom also, having believed, you were sealed with the Holy Spirit of promise, 14 who is the guarantee of our inheritance until the redemption of the purchased possession, to the praise of His glory.
Or as the message bible puts it. Ephesians 1:13-14 (MSG) 13 It’s in Christ that you, once you heard the truth and believed it (this Message of your salvation), found yourselves home free—signed, sealed, and delivered by the Holy Spirit. 14 This signet from God is the first installment on what’s coming, a reminder that we’ll get everything God has planned for us, a praising and glorious life.
Let us look forward to that Praising and Glorious Life
Benediction: Ephesians 3:20-21 (NKJV)
21 to Him be glory in the church by Christ Jesus to all generations, forever and ever. Amen.