Romans 8:12-17 (ESV)
“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. (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.”
Jesus Christ is our Messiah. He is our savior. As God, he took on flesh and dwelled among us. Jesus only did the Father’s will. In John 5:19 Jesus states, “Truly, truly, I say to you, the Son can do nothing of his own accord, but only what he sees the Father doing. For whatever the Father does, that the Son does likewise.” Through the Holy Spirit, Jesus learned the Father’s will for his life on earth. Through the Holy Spirit, Jesus walked in obedience, following the Father’s heart.
When Jesus began to proclaim the gospel (good news) on earth, he did this in and through the power of the Holy Spirit. The gospel of Luke uses phrases such as “full of the Holy Spirit,” “led by the Spirit,” or “in the power of the Spirit” to define the work of Jesus (Luke 4:1,14). Before and after his death and resurrection, Jesus told his disciples that their ministry on earth would also be a ministry of the Spirit. In the gospel of John he promised us that he would “ask the Father” and the Father would give us “another helper” to be with us “forever” (John 14:16-17).
Before he left the disciples, the Scripture says Jesus “breathed on them and said to them, ‘Receive the Holy Spirit’” (John 20:22). The book of Acts tells us that the pouring out of God’s Holy Spirit, upon all flesh, is a clear sign that Messiah has come, that Christ has risen from the grave, and that God’s presence now dwells in the midst of His children (Luke 2). We are no longer aliens to God presence or glory. Rather, we have the glory of God in us through the Holy Spirit. The Holy Spirit testifies to the resurrected Lord and to our resurrection that is to come (Romans 8:11). We now have confidence that we are children of God, the temple of the Lord, the place where His glory dwells.
The Old Testament prophets pointed to the day we are living in. They referred to this day as the “last days” (Joel 2:28-30). The last days were ushered in by Christ and will be finally revealed in the Second coming of Christ and the resurrection of our mortal bodies.
We live in an age where God’s future glory has broken into our present reality. We, through the Holy Spirit, can have communion with God, intimacy with our creator. We, like Jesus, can begin to know the Father’s will for our lives. Through the Holy Spirit, we can live as ambassadors of Christ’s love.
When we receive Christ, we receive the Holy Spirit (Romans 8:9-10). However, we are not forced to follow the Father’s will, as if we are slaves without a choice (Romans 8:15). No, through the cross of Christ, we now walk as fully loved sons and daughters of our heavenly Father. The Holy Spirit confirms this adoption process in our hearts (Romans 8:15-17).
We are not forced to follow the will of the Father and we certainly do not obey the Father out of fear and condemnation. Rather, we follow the Father as Jesus followed the Father. We seek God’s will because it is our pleasure through the Holy Spirit. Empowered by, led by, and full of the Holy Spirit, we live a life of sweet surrender.
Even though we are full of God’s Spirit, we are not foolish to believe that this life will not bring us trials. Just as Christ had to live out his life on earth in the weakness of flesh, so we must walk out this life in our weak flesh. Even saved flesh can be bruised, can be harmed, and can face death (Romans 8:12-13). However, just as Christ learned obedience through the things he suffered, so will we.
Obedience activates the Spirit-led life. Daily we can choose to live according to the desires of our flesh or to God’s desires. The flesh says live for self preservation, the Holy Spirit says “not my will be done, but my Father’s in heaven.” This is the Lord’s prayer, “Our Father in heaven, hallowed be your name. Your kingdom come, your will be done, on earth as it is in heaven” (Matthew 6:7-10).
When we walk in submission to God’s will, the Father’s heart for us is revealed. We begin to understand our “Abba Father” (Daddy Father) relationship with God. Obedience places us not only in the path of God’s righteousness, but in the path of His goodness, kindness, gentleness, and love. Obedience allows us to feel God’s full hug! So many of us fall far short of receiving God’s full embrace. The Spirit-led life is a love relationship. As we seek the Father’s will, through the Holy Spirit, we learn how to walk in the Spirit while in these mortal bodies. As we walk in the Spirit, we begin to sense, feel, and know the Father’s pleasure.
We must all do our best to engage the habit of daily, completely surrendering our will to God’s Holy Spirit!
There is so much more, but this is only a very short devotional! If you want a detailed theological explanation than purchase God’s Empowering Presence by Gordon Fee. His masterpiece is worth every penny!
Live the Word
Father, help me to yield completely to your Holy Spirit. I want to walk in the fullness of your Holy Spirit. Please baptize me fresh in your loving, powerful, Holy Spirit. I desire intimacy with you! Amen.