There are two ways the Spirit leads. The Holy Spirit gave us the Bible and the first way is the Holy Spirit illuminates to our minds that Scripture.
The second way is sanctification. Here is the idea that once He has shown us what it means, He then assists us in applying that in the progress of spiritual growth. The Holy Spirit not only illumines the mind, but He stirs the heart and the will.
I believe the Spirit of God leads us by prompting the heart.
In Psalm 119:35, the psalmist says: "Make me to go in the path.” God, don't just show me the path, make me to go in it, shove me. And in Psalm 119:133 it says: "Order my steps in Thy word and let not any one iniquity have dominion over me." And so, the cry is not just, may I understand you with my mind? But may I act in response to my understanding with my will. So, the Spirit of God is illuminating the mind and activating the will. The second is sanctification, the process of spiritual response of separation unto God in acts of obedience.
It's a present tense, verse 14, as many as are being continually led by the Spirit of God through the illumination of the Word of God and the sanctification of obedience to it, prompted by the Spirit of God, they have the confidence in their hearts that they indeed are the children of God. when you have those times in your life that you're not in the Word and you're not walking in obedience, you will not have that confirmation. You will not have that affirmation. And that's why Christians will fall into times of doubt because they are not under that direct leading ministry of the Spirit of God. And that's why, you see, the New Testament is filled with exhortations. If we were always led by the Spirit of God all the time, we were always responding to illumination and sanctification, we wouldn't need any exhortations, would we? So, we say this. It is true that all Christians are led by the Spirit, but it's also true that we're not as good at following as we ought to be, right? If we're truly saved, we will follow, but we could follow better.
It's a way of life. It's the constant thing.
Ro 8:15 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."
V15 but you received the Spirit of adoption
Paul continued his discussion of the privileges that believers receive as full heirs of Abraham through faith in Christ. Paul used the family metaphor "adoption" of our salvation while John and Peter used the family metaphor "born again." The adoption metaphor was used primarily in two contexts in Roman culture. In Roman law, adoption was very difficult. A long, involved and expensive legal procedure, once enacted adoption afforded several special rights and privileges.
1. All debts were cancelled
2. All criminal charges were dropped
3. They could not be legally put to death by their new father
4. They could not be disinherited by their new father
In legal terms, they were a completely new person. Paul was alluding to the believers' security in Christ by using this Roman legal procedure (cf. Rom. 8:15, 23). When a father publicly adopted a son, he officially and permanently became his heir. Also, the metaphor was used in the official ceremony of a boy becoming a man, held on the 17th of March each year.
One of the most tender & loveliest adoption story of all of Scripture is found in 2 Samuel 9.
Here is an adoption, an adoption of grace, an adoption of mercy, an adoption of love. And as you read it through, we are struck at how similar it is to our adoption into the family of God.
David took the initiative. In adopting Mephibosheth. And the Lord takes the initiative in adopting us.
1. David showed mercy to one who was unworthy, one who had descended from an evil enemy. So does the Lord seek among the children of the devil His sons to adopt.
2. David was motivated by love for Jonathan. And in our case, God was motivated by love for Christ and He redeemed us for Christ's sake, it says.
3. David desired to show kindness, and so Ephesians 2:6 says that we've been saved in order that God might show us eternal kindness.
4. David chose one who was outside the standard of perfection. And so God has chosen those who are outside the standard of perfection. By the way, Mephibosheth means "a shameful thing." And he lived in Lo-debar, which means "the barren land," or literally a place of no pasture. He was a nobody from nowhere. And those are just the kind of people God takes as His sons.
5. And then the climax, David brought him to his own table to feed him as one of his own. And so does the Lord bring us to His table. And then David gave him an inheritance. And so does the Lord promise to us. And the analogy goes on and on. It is a beautiful picture of spiritual adoption where God takes men and by His own initiative and based on His own love and not anything to do with their worthiness and for the sake of Christ whom He loves, takes as sons those who formerly were enemies.