“Wrestling With Romans”
His for Ever (Chapter 8 Verses 1-17)
The slavery, and the fear that slavery produces, has been left behind (v15). Our new life of willing slavery to Jesus (Romans 1.1) is true freedom and without fear (1John 4.18). The slavish fear of punishment is lifted because the condemnation has been removed (v1), you know, that fear expressed by the ungodly, even the hardened atheists who in time of calamity call out for God to be merciful to them. What else dispels the fear is the wonderful assurance we have of belonging we are sons and daughters of God, our adoption. This is what our baptism or our sealing with the Spirit is about (Ephesians 1.13-14) at the time of our conversion. Do you remember when Jesus was baptised in the Jordan River he too was wrought upon by the Holy Spirit (Luke 3.21-22), and the consequences of that anointing by the Spirit was a deep assurance of his being the Son of God ‘thou art my beloved Son; in thee I am well pleased (Luke 3.22b). Now directly following that experience, what happened? Jesus was led by the Holy Spirit into the desert to be tempted by Satan. Well look again at the words of temptation, particularly verses three and nine, “if thou be the Son of God”, note the word if, which could be translated since. Well, Jesus knows only too well that he is the Son of God, his Father has just assured him of that fact, as the Holy Spirit descended upon him, so Satan uses that very fact. Well now, since you are the Son, why do you not tell this stone etc., etc. Later on Jesus instructs his own disciples, converted men, to pursue God for that same assurance of belonging, through a continual supply of the same Spirit (Luke 11.11-13), on the basis of, yes, his own experience (Luke 3.21-22).
Well here is a major consequence of being Spirit-filled, assurance of belonging to the family of (v15), it is the inner witness of the Spirit, it is by or through him we are able with a reassured, filial love to cry out from our inner-most being, Abba, Father! Now that is the relationship we are brought into through Jesus and assured of by the Holy Spirit, the life we have been given, it is an inalienable and unchangeable relationship, once a son or daughter, always so, that never changes. No not even when we incur our Father’s displeasure (Hebrews 12.5-11), or when he hides his face from us. It is not changed by affliction or adversity, by poverty or prosperity, or any thing else in life. Dare I say it, yes, it is not even changed by our own sinfulness, we may be disobedient children but still children no less. You may even doubt your position for whatever reason, but that does not alter it. God will never give us up, we are his, for ever, trust him.
(© James R Hamilton, written September, 1997)