The Epistle to the Romans

Romans 8:14‑18  •  6 min. read  •  grade level: 8
Chapter 8:14-18ROM 8:14-1814For as many as are led by the Spirit of God, they are the sons of God. 15For ye have not received the spirit of bondage again to fear; but ye have received the Spirit of adoption, whereby we cry, Abba, Father. 16The Spirit itself beareth witness with our spirit, that we are the children of God: 17And if children, then heirs; heirs of God, and joint-heirs with Christ; if so be that we suffer with him, that we may be also glorified together. 18For I reckon that the sufferings of this present time are not worthy to be compared with the glory which shall be revealed in us. (Romans 8:14‑18)>
Great and exceedingly precious truths have been before us in connection with the Holy Spirit's presence on earth, dwelling in each believer, but much remains to engage our attention in the division of the chapter which begins with the 14th verse. The Spirit is the strength, the power of the new life; and the thoughts, desires and affections of the new nature are ours, practically, by His action in our souls, as we have seen; but there is another part of the work of God in us which is directly associated with the presence and operation of the Holy Spirit, and that is our relationship to God.
Here in verse 14 God's evident purpose is to contrast the position of believers in this time of free grace to Jew and Gentile alike with that of Israel under law.
“As many as are led by the Spirit of God"-the true mark of the Christian-"they are the sons of God. For ye have not received the (or a) spirit of bondage again to fear, but ye have received the Spirit of adoption, whereby we cry, Abba, Father.”
How great is the difference-not a slave in bondage, but a son, adopted by God!
By the Spirit then we cry, Abba, Father. So also is it written,
“And because ye are sons, God hath sent forth the Spirit of His Son into your hearts, crying Abba, Father." Gal. 4:66And because ye are sons, God hath sent forth the Spirit of his Son into your hearts, crying, Abba, Father. (Galatians 4:6).
“Abba" is Aramaic, the language used by the Jews when the Lord was on earth; "Father" is the translation of the same term of relationship (Pater), from the Greek in which it was written-the commonly used language of Gentiles in Palestine and other lands at that time. This expression is found in a third place in Scripture. (Mark 14:3636And he said, Abba, Father, all things are possible unto thee; take away this cup from me: nevertheless not what I will, but what thou wilt. (Mark 14:36)), where the Lord is praying in the garden of Gethsemane. Does it not make known to both Jewish and Gentile believers that God desires to be known as Father by everyone who comes to Him through Christ?
The Holy Spirit is called the Spirit of adoption because He it is Who brings us into everything that is attached to this precious relationship of sons, and as we get presently, of children before God. Mark how completely it is the Spirit's working in believers and directing their thoughts, words and actions that characterizes their position according to the Scriptures. We, believing God in what He has said concerning His Son, Jesus Christ our Lord, are justified from all sin, are born again and given eternal life and a new nature; given the Word of God, too; but the presence and indwelling of the Spirit gives power, hope, love, joy, peace, intelligence, and very much more in the path of faith.
And now, in verses 16 and 17, a further unfolding is given of our relationship to God.
“The Spirit itself beareth witness with our spirit, that we are children of God; and if children, then heirs, heirs of God, and joint heirs with Christ; if so be that we suffer with Him, that we may be also glorified together.”
Our position then, in contrast with that of the believers under the law, is that we are sons, but our proper relationship is that of children; "sons" suggests the thought of privilege, a state into which we are brought before God, while "children" implies intimacy of relationship.
The sixteenth verse makes plain that the Holy Spirit is a person, distinct from the believer in whom He dwells, for "the Spirit bears witness with our spirit." He takes part in all that I have from God through Christ. Observe here too, that we have the positive witness that we are, and do not merely hope to be, children of God.
Ah, dear young Christian, are you in the conscious enjoyment of this precious relationship with God? The Spirit of God dwells in you; does His leading give character to your life?
How, do you ask, is this bearing witness by the Holy Spirit carried out in the believer? It has been very simply explained. Dwelling in me, acting in me, He has produced in me the affections of a child of God, and by these affections the consciousness that I am one of His children. Then, though I have the written and infallible Word of God to give me the assurance that I am His child (see John 20:1717Jesus saith unto her, Touch me not; for I am not yet ascended to my Father: but go to my brethren, and say unto them, I ascend unto my Father, and your Father; and to my God, and your God. (John 20:17); 1 John 3:1, 21Behold, what manner of love the Father hath bestowed upon us, that we should be called the sons of God: therefore the world knoweth us not, because it knew him not. 2Beloved, now are we the sons of God, and it doth not yet appear what we shall be: but we know that, when he shall appear, we shall be like him; for we shall see him as he is. (1 John 3:1‑2), where "children" should be read instead of "sons"; and other passages) the indwelling Spirit tells me Himself that I am. I have this testimony in my heart, in my relationship with God, but the Holy Spirit as distinct from me bears testimony to me.
Verse 17: "And if children, then heirs; heirs of God and joint heirs with Christ; if so be that we suffer with Him that we may be also glorified together." We who believe in Christ are heirs of what God possesses; Christ is the constituted heir of all things (Heb. 1:22Hath in these last days spoken unto us by his Son, whom he hath appointed heir of all things, by whom also he made the worlds; (Hebrews 1:2)), but in Him we have obtained an inheritance, and the Holy Spirit is the earnest of it (Eph. 1:11, 1411In whom also we have obtained an inheritance, being predestinated according to the purpose of him who worketh all things after the counsel of his own will: (Ephesians 1:11)
14Which is the earnest of our inheritance until the redemption of the purchased possession, unto the praise of his glory. (Ephesians 1:14)
). We are to share it with Christ. Amazing grace!
There is a condition attached to this sharing of His inheritance; it is, "if so be that we suffer with Him." Not all of us are permitted to suffer for Him, but all who are genuinely His, suffer with Him. If the Holy Spirit dwells within us, He must necessarily bring out in us feelings that correspond to Christ's.
When that blessed One passed through this world, He suffered because everything was opposed to Him, and we who have the divine nature pass in measure through the same suffering. Sin has put its stamp on everyone here; misery abounds; man is at a distance from God, the victim of his own desires and the prey of Satan. Having the life of God, a nature suited to Him, we suffer at every token of dishonor done to Christ. How precious is this tie which binds us to Christ, by reason of which we, joint-heirs with Him of coming millennial glory, are permitted to taste a little of what He suffered in a world where sin has placed its stamp on all, ere we go to be with Him in a scene where sin and death can never come!
In the 18th verse the apostle compares the sufferings of believers in the present period with the coming glory, and out of his own experience, far beyond that of any other follower of Christ, he tells us that these sufferings are of no account in comparison with that glory.
(To Be Continued. D. V.)