Tuesday, December 06, 2011

Reflections on Romans 8: 12-17--CEB Blog Tour




12 So then, brothers and sisters, we have an obligation, but it isn’t an obligation to ourselves to live our lives on the basis of selfishness. 13 If you live on the basis of selfishness, you are going to die. But if you put to death the actions of the body with the Spirit, you will live. 14 All who are led by God’s Spirit are God’s sons and daughters. 15 You didn’t receive a spirit of slavery to lead you back again into fear, but you received a Spirit that shows you are adopted as his children. With this Spirit, we cry, “Abba, Father.” 16 The same Spirit agrees with our spirit, that we are God’s children. 17 But if we are children, we are also heirs. We are God’s heirs and fellow heirs with Christ, if we really suffer with him so that we can also be glorified with him.

The Bible Study this Wednesday is on Romans 8:12-17. The topic in the curriculum is confident Christians. The idea being that the evidences of God's presence mentioned in these few verses, when taken to heart, creates confident Christians.

When I look at this passage, the language that stands out to me is "child of God". This concept is repeated 3 times in five verses. Simply put, this is where our confidence, if you want to put it that way, comes from.

Specifically, our confidence is exercised in relationship with God in this passage. Self-judgment leads to fear. Fear leads us to try harder. Trying harder leads us to live in self-centeredness and selfishness. Selfishness leads to death.

On the other hand, life in the Spirit leads to us being adopted as God's children. Seeing ourselves as treasured and loved by God as chosen children means that we do not see him as a slave master, but rather as a father that loves us that we want to please. When we understand that we are truly God's child, we realize that everything in his hands is also ours, either now or in the future. Also, everything in the universe is accessible to us.

Also, it becomes clear then that when we are God's heirs, we inherit his treatment. Therefore, rejection and suffering is part of being a disciple. It is not due to failure or a strained relationship. Thus, we need not fear we are being condemned when circumstances go wrong. It is part of what it means to be part of the family of God to experience suffering..

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