Romans 8:14-17 Pastor Kenneth Frey
Trinity Sunday 5/27/18
Romans 8:14-17 For all those led by God’s Spirit are God’s sons. 15 You did not receive a spirit of slavery to fall back into fear. Instead, you received the Spirit of adoption, by whom we cry out, “Abba, Father!” 16 The Spirit himself testifies together with our spirit that we are God’s children, 17 and if children, also heirs—heirs of God and coheirs with Christ—if indeed we suffer with him so that we may also be glorified with him.
1. Led by the Spirit
2. Heir of the Father
3. Suffer with the Son
I think we will all agree that we can often take things for granted. We take for granted those things that are especially important to us: our spouse, food on the table and clothes in the closet. Most of us have so many clothes, we can’t decide what to wear on a given day. And food – we have fruit from all over the world. Pineapples, watermelon, cantaloupe and grapefruit. Avocados and kiwis and more can be found in our stores.
And what about clean water coming right from the faucet in our kitchens? We don’t have to haul water from a spring a mile away – it’s right there. Even the air we breathe is vital for our life and yet we so often don’t think about it or we take it for granted.
The same can be said about our Christian faith. We learned it in catechism and we know it: God is Triune. We know it, but we often take it for granted. We don’t give it much of a thought. So today we want to take time thinking about what the Trinity means to us. Today we focus on Trinitarian Christianity.
So often we hear people say, “I gotta be me. I have to be who I am. I have to be true to myself.” It’s almost as if they were saying they are obligated to the sinful nature they were born with. The man who constantly looks at porn on line is living for the sinful nature. The woman who hates her husband is living for the sinful nature. The child who enjoys going behind his parents back is living for the sinful nature and Paul said in the verse before our text that leads to death, spiritual and eternal death. That is not the way people live who have the Spirit of God.
Paul said, For all those led by God’s Spirit are God’s sons. Often people are identified by their occupation. In fact, years ago a person’s occupation often became part of his name. John, who ran the blacksmith shop down at the corner, became know as John Smith. Henry who farmed over by the creek, became known as Henry Farmer. And George, who didn’t do anything but fish all day, became known as George Fisher.
How do you identify a son of God? This verse says it is those who are led by the Spirit. Do you want to be one led by the Spirit? Let’s look at those who were led by the Spirit in the Bible. Mary was filled with the Spirit and she became a pregnant teenager. Jesus was led by the Spirit into the wilderness for 40 days of temptation. When the Apostles received the Spirit, they preached Jesus and were thrown in prison. Stephen was full of the Spirit and he was stoned to death. Do you really want to be led by the Spirit?
But what’s the other option? Without the Holy Spirit, you will be lost in your sins and spend eternity in hell. Only when you are led by the Spirit are you a child of God.
You did not receive a spirit of slavery to fall back into fear. Instead, you received the Spirit of adoption, by whom we cry out, “Abba, Father!” A good father loves his children. He goes to work to make a living so he can support his family. He works to provide food, clothing, shelter and an education for his children. A good father spends time with his children. He shows an interest in what they do and like. A good father will listen to his children and take care of their needs.
Through the Spirit in baptism, we have been adopted into the Father’s family. Of course, no adoption can happen without the proper legal work. Jesus took care of that. He satisfied all the laws demands with his perfect life and innocent death. Through the sacrifice Jesus made for us we can call God our Father. In fact, we can call him “Abba,” “Daddy.”
Imagine for a moment that you discovered that you had a long, lost uncle or aunt who made you the heir of their estate. You have been left riches so vast that you will never have another financial worry. If that happened, how would you feel? What would you do? What would you do differently? How would attitude, habits and outlook change? Adopted by the Father changes how we live.
Do I have to? We often hear that, don’t we? Do I have to go to church? Do I have to read my Bible? Do I have to obey my parents? Do I have to love my spouse? Do I have to be content with what I have? Do I have to? Paul says no. Slaves are those who do things because they have to. We are not slaves, but sons. Jesus has turned our “have to” into a “want to.” In another letter Paul wrote, “For Christ’s love compels us, because we are convinced that one died for all, and therefore all died. 15 And he died for all, that those who live should no longer live for themselves but for him who died for them and was raised again.” (2 Corinthians 5:14-15)
We are compelled by Christ’s love, not driven by fear of the Father. Fear has no place in the lives of those who are led by the Spirit. In fact, rather than be afraid – of the future, of what people may think of us, of our status, of our standing with God – Paul invites us to imagine a life of courage, the courage of those who have been adopted by God and invited into the full measure of God’s blessings and riches.
Of course, we still struggle with sin; we always will. Christians give into the temptation of lust, laziness and gossip. It’s an ongoing battle for every Christian and we often lose those battles. Just because we lose the battles on a regular basis, doesn’t mean that we don’t have the Holy Spirit. It’s when we stop battling it and decide to not fight it – when we accept our weakness as a way of life – that’s a sign of a lack of the Holy Spirit.
By saying that the Spirit leads us, Paul is reminding us that we can battle sin in our lives. We are not just miserable sinners dragging ourselves along in the battle against sin. The Spirit never leads us to sin. The Spirit leads us to glory.
Paul said, The Spirit himself testifies together with our spirit that we are God’s children, 17 and if children, also heirs—heirs of God and coheirs with Christ. We are not only the Father’s children, we are his heirs. He says that we are co-heirs with Christ. All that the Father will ever give his only begotten Son will also be given to us, his adopted children. No matter what our situations in life may be we have a guaranteed future so glorious that we can’t imagine it.
If President Trump adopted you, you would be the heir of a good-sized fortune. But with the name of Trump would also come the hatred of North Koreans and Muslims and illegal aliens.
We are co-heirs with Christ. With faith in Christ, the Father identifies us with Christ. His blood is put on our souls. His righteousness is put on our account. We are connected with Christ. This means that not only does the Father identify us with Christ, so does the world. If the world looks at us as Christ, then that means that the world will hate us as it hates Christ.
The Spirit himself testifies together with our spirit that we are God’s children, 17 and if children, also heirs—heirs of God and coheirs with Christ—if indeed we suffer with him so that we may also be glorified with him. Being connected to Christ means that we share everything of Christ’s. We can’t just share the glory and not the suffering. If you give up one, you give up the other. That’s why Paul told the Philippians his ambition: “My goal is to know [Christ] and the power of his resurrection and the fellowship of his sufferings, being conformed to his death.” (Philippians 3:10)
Is that our goal, too? Of course, it’s our goal to share the glory of heaven, but is it our goal to be so Christ-like in this life that we always put others before ourselves. Is it our goal to be so Christ-like that the world would see Christ in us? Is it our goal to be so Christ-like that we would suffer with Christ?
Trinitarian Christianity means that we have been adopted by the Father, we are led by the Spirit and we identify with the Son, both in his sufferings and his glory. Trinitarian Christianity means that you are God’s beloved child, adopted and named co-heir with Christ! By God’s grace you will share in His glory forever. May you look forward to that glory with confidence as heirs of the Triune God.