31
August
2016

ROMANS 8:15-16 THE SPIRIT HIMSELF BEARS WITNESS WITH OUR SPIRIT THAT WE ARE CHILDREN OF GOD

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Romans 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."  16 The Spirit Himself bears witness with our spirit that we are children of God,

In the Roman adoption system, four things were consequential to adoption.

First thing that happened was the adopted person lost all relationship to his old family. Everything was gone and he gained all rights to the new family.

Second thing, it followed that he became heir to all the new father's estate.

The third thing that happened, according to Roman law, was that the former life of the adopted person was completely wiped out. All his legal debts were cancelled. They were wiped out as if he had never existed. And the adopted person was given a new name and it was as if he had just been born. Sound familiar? When you came to Jesus Christ and were adopted into the family of God, all your past debts were what? Cancelled, and you became a co-heir of all that the born son, the Lord Jesus Christ, possesses.

               The fourth thing was in the eyes of the law the adopted person was literally and absolutely the son of his new father. And so, when we were adopted, all these things, no doubt, are in the mind of the apostle and the Spirit, and we know they took place in our adoption. We have cut the cord with the past. We have become co-heirs to God's kingdom. All the old debts are wiped out and we are absolutely and legally and forever the son of God.

           Adoption gives us the name of sons. Adoption gives us the title to the inheritance. Regeneration gives us the nature of sons and gives us the fitness for that inheritance. Both are important.

"testifies with our spirits that we are children of God" As noted in Rom. 8:13, one aspect of faith assurance is the believers' changed and changing lives (cf. the NT books of James and 1 John). Another aspect of assurance is that the indwelling Spirit has replaced the fear of God with family love (cf. 1 John 4:17-18). "when we cry, Abba! Father! It is the Spirit Himself bearing witness with our spirits that we are children of God" (cf. Gal. 4:6). This implies that the assurance comes when believers can call God, Father, by the Spirit.

               So he says you didn't become Christians to be put again in a spirit of bondage to fear. You're in a no-condemnation status and the Spirit of God doesn't want to bring you back under some bondage of fear. That's an unhealthy kind of fear, not a reverence for God, but the fear of punishment, the fear of ultimate damnation, the fear of losing salvation, the fear of having to pay for your sin. He didn’t come into your life to bring you under that.

               Cry is krazō, a loud cry signifying deep emotion. And "Abba" is the Aramaic word for "papa, daddy." You reserve that name daddy for just one person. That's very intimate. And that's what Abba means. In Jewish Families They call their dad "abba." "Hey, Abba!" Who goes into the presence of holy God and says, "Papa," "Daddy?" That is really shocking news to the average Jew.

The internal witness of the Spirit is not audible, but practical. It causes

1. guilt over sin

2. desire to be like Christ

3. desire to be with the family of God

4. hunger for God's word 

5. a sense a need to do evangelism

6. a sense a need for Christian sacrificial giving

These are the kinds of internal desires that provide a faith evidence of conversion.

Ro 8:16 The Spirit Himself bears witness with our spirit that we are children of God,

Assurance of salvation has been turned into a denominational issue.

1. Roman Catholic theology denies the possibility of assurance in this life but bases confidence in one being a member of the "true" church

2. John Calvin (Reform tradition) based assurance on election (predestination), but one could not know for sure until after this life on Judgment Day

3. John Wesley (Methodist tradition) based assurance on a perfect love (living above known sin)

4. Most Baptists have tended to base assurance on the biblical promises of free grace (but ignoring all the warnings and admonitions).

There are two dangers related to the NT paradoxical presentation of Christian assurance.

1. The overemphasis on "once saved, always saved"

2. The overemphasis on human performance in retaining salvation.

Hebrews 6 clearly teaches "once out, always out." Human effort (good works) does not keep believers saved (cf. Gal. 3:1-14). But good works are the goal of the Christian life (cf. Eph. 2:10). They are the natural result of meeting God and having the indwelling Spirit. They are evidence of one's true conversion.

Assurance is not meant to soften the Bible's call to holiness! Theologically speaking, assurance is based on the character and actions of the Triune God.

1. The Father's love and mercy

2. The Son's finished substitutionary sacrificial work

3. The Spirit's wooing to Christ and then forming Christ in the repentant believer

               The evidence of this salvation is a changed worldview, a changed heart, a changed lifestyle and a changed hope! It cannot be based on a past emotional decision that has no lifestyle evidence (i.e., fruit, cf. Matt. 7:15-23; 13:20-22; John 15). Assurance, like salvation, like the Christian life starts with a response to God's mercy and continues that response throughout life. It is a changed and changing life of faith!

               In that Roman adoption system, do you know what you had to have to get the adoption final? Seven witnesses. That's right. According to a study of the Roman law, it says there had to be seven witnesses. So that's how important adoption was. You get the picture? What happens if you get adopted in a family and say, "Hey, I'm adopted into this family, I'm the rightful heir." And they say, "Hey, the father's dead, friend, the father is dead now, it's coming to us." Right? You'd have a fight on your hands, wouldn't you? With all the kids who were born into the family naturally? So you had to have seven witnesses. I mean, it would be tough to kill off seven witnesses, wouldn't it? And so as soon as the father died, all these witnesses would surface. "Oh yeah, we were all there." Seven witnesses.

When Satan, who is the great accuser, wants to come in and accuse us and say, "You don't belong to God, who do you think you are? You with all the sin in your life? You who fall short? You don't belong to God." Something in our heart says, "Yes I do." And the Spirit comes along side and says, "Yes you do." And He, by the way, is called by Isaiah "the seven-fold Spirit." Interesting coincidence?

               2Pe 1:3

               You see the point of the passage? Assurance of salvation comes by the fruit produced in your life through the walk in the Spirit.          So, assurance in our salvation is the ministry of the Spirit.

               1 John 3:18-24. "

               As you walk in obedience, as you keep His commandments, your heart doesn't condemn you. You say, "I'm not condemned

               Think about what the Spirit is doing for us, all the things He does for us, freeing us from the law of sin and death, equipping us to kill sin, confirming to us that we are the children of God. How glorious.

               Ro 8:17 and if children, then heirs--heirs of God and joint heirs with Christ, if indeed we suffer with Him, that we may also be glorified together.

"if" There is a series conditional sentences in Rom. 8:9,10,11,13 (twice), and 17 (twice). These are all first class conditional sentences which are assumed true from the author's perspective or for his literary purposes. Paul assumed his readers in the Roman church were Christian.

1. Believers share heirship with Christ

2. Believers share sufferings with Christ

3. Believers will share glory with Christ

BELIEVERS' INHERITANCE (from 1 Peter 1)

In the OT every tribe except Levi received a land inheritance (cf. Joshua 14-22). The Levites, as the tribe of priests, temple servants, and local teachers, were seen as having YHWH Himself as their inheritance (cf. Ps. 16:5; 73:23-26; 119:57; 142:5; Lam. 3:24). NT writers often took the rights and privileges of the Levites and applied them to all believers. This was their way of asserting that the followers of Jesus were the true people of God and that now all believers were called to serve as priests to God (cf. 1 Pet. 2:5,9; Rev. 1:6), as the OT asserts of all Israel (cf. Exod. 19:4-6). The NT emphasis is not on the individual as a priest with certain privileges, but on the truth that all believers are priests, which demands a corporate servant attitude (cf. 1 Cor. 12:7). The NT people of God have been given the OT task of world evangelization (cf. Gen. 12:3; Exod. 19:5b; Matt. 28:18-20; Luke 24:46-47; Acts 1:8; see

The Scriptures talk about believers inheriting (cf. Acts 20:32; 26:18; Eph. 1:4; Col. 1:12; 3:24) many things because of their family relationship with Jesus who is heir of all things (cf. Heb. 1:2). Therefore, they are coheirs (cf. Rom. 8:17; Gal. 4:7) of

1. the kingdom (cf. Matt. 25:34, 1 Cor. 6:9-10; 15:50; Eph. 5:5)

2. eternal life (cf. Matt. 19:29; Heb. 9:15)

3. God’s promises (cf. Heb. 6:12)

4. God’s protection of His promises (cf. 1Pe 1:4 to an inheritance incorruptible and undefiled and that does not fade away, reserved in heaven for you, 5 who are kept by the power of God through faith for salvation ready to be revealed in the last time.

Suffering is the norm for believers in a fallen world (cf. Matt. 5:10-12; John 15:18-21; 16:1-2; 17:14; Acts 14:22; Rom.5:3-4; 8:17; 2 Cor. 4:16-18; Phil. 1:29; 1 Thess. 3:3; 2 Tim. 3:12; James 1:2-4; 1 Pet. 4:12-19). Jesus set the pattern (cf. Heb. 5:8). The rest of this chapter develops this theme.

·        "glorified with Him" In John's writings whenever Jesus talked of His death, He called it "being glorified." Jesus was glorified by His suffering. Believers, positionally and often experientially, share Jesus' life events (cf. Romans 6).

1. Father adopts us

2. Spirit indwells us

3. Son crowns us

Lessons

1.     If you are adopted, you should honor the one who adopted you – are you promoting the Kingdom

2.     If you are adopted, you should love the other family members

3.     If you are adopted, you should be a responsible family member – don’t sit and soak