Adopted into Suffering - As Seen On Sunday
I am not ready for today.
I'm not ready to put to death the deeds of the body.
But I am ready for your help and guidance.
I am ready to be called your Child.
12 So then, brothers, 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.
“So then, ” tells us that everything that Paul is about to say is in light of “having no condemnation in Jesus” and having “the Spirit dwell in us.” which we talked about in the first 11 verses. So Paul starts out this section saying that we have a debt to something but it is NOT a debt to the flesh. In fact, if our debt is to the flesh then we die. This is the problem: debt forgiveness. Romans 8 tells us that being in the Spirit allows our debt to be forgiven by God, but when the debt is still against us, death is payment. In reality, death is always payment, it just comes down to who died for it. I like the contrast that Paul gives us here, if we live according to the flesh we die, but we put the flesh to death when we live by the Spirit. Specifically, he says, “the deeds of the body,” I think this is an interesting distinction from the abstract fleshly nature. I take this to mean that there are still those sinful hungers of the flesh but the Spirit helps us put to death indulging in them.
14 For all who are led by the Spirit of God are sons of God. 15 For you did not receive the spirit of slavery to fall back into fear, but you have received the Spirit of adoption as sons, by whom we cry, “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 fellow heirs with Christ, provided we suffer with him in order that we may also be glorified with him.
Here we are at the culmination of all the ifs. All those who allow themselves to be led by the Spirit of God are sons of God. This idea of adoption is not a strange one in the ancient world. Nobles would take less fortunate sons from poor families to be apart of their family. Many rulers that continued on a family name were not biologically tied to that family. Before Saul went crazy, David was treated as one of his sons.
I think that Josh has been hinting for days now that he is going to have a lot to say about the abba father aspect of this verse in the context of adoption but I would like to touch on this anyway. The spirit has adopted us so that we can address the Almighty, Creator God as Daddy. And no, not in the weird way girls have been calling cute guys lately - Daddy being a term of endearment, less formal than Father. I knew a guy in college who would pray to daddy God, and I remember that school staff or an equivalent authority figure had criticized him for being too familiar. I don't know the story behind how he started praying that way, but it was so genuine! If we are called to have a relationship with God, I personally want to address God in such a way that denotes love and affection for Him. Abba, Daddy, does this.
We can come into the throne room with boldness because we are His children! He wants to see us. We are the ones who do not come to see Him. I think God laughs when we step on the toes of convention when it comes to being His children.
Paul says we are co-heirs with Christ. This means we will receive the same inheritance as Jesus. This is both the spiritual blessings that believers receive on earth as well as the being reunited with God in the kingdom of heaven. This is why Jesus says that he is going to prepare a place for us. It is this place that is a part of our inheritance.
But it's not only the #blessings aspects of the inheritance that we are "entitled" to. It also says "provided we suffer with him in order that we may also be glorified with him."
Provided we suffer?
like we need to suffer in order to share in Jesus’ glory?
We are adopted into suffering.
Our adoption into the family of God goes hand in hand with suffering. When the Bible talks this way it makes me think that anything we think we are entitled to in this life, might be the Holy Spirit helping us endure suffering and persecution for the name of Jesus.
I find it very strange that people seek blessings from God but not God. When we have Jesus telling that we will be persecuted for his name and that we’ll be glorified with Jesus due to suffering with him.
It is almost like it’s telling us that sure it rains on the just and the unjust, but our rain will be devastating floods and when there is no rain it will be a devastating drought, all while we look at others over there with perfect weather.
If we come full circle now, sometimes I feel as if as Christians we want to worship God in fleshly ways rather than be adopted, putting to death those fleshly ways.
Here is a biblical example: Saul is told to kill all the animals of a rival nation during battle, but he does not. When Samuel confronts Saul, he says he kept them to offer as a sacrifice to God. And Samuel respond with, “Has the LORD as great delight in burnt offerings and sacrifices, as in obeying the voice of the LORD? Behold, to obey is better than sacrifice, and to listen than the fat of rams.”
Obedience within our verses is found that we are not under obligation to the flesh. We are free to follow God as His children.
Despite the suffering and persecution, we must have faith to obey our heavenly father and know that we are the children of God.
Identify one of those baggage points that you carry over for your earthly father and then talk to God about how this affects how you see Him and how you trust Him.