Seventh Sunday After Pentecost
July 23, 2017
- First reading and Psalm
- Second reading
Romans 8:12-25 | New Living Translation (NLT)
Therefore, dear brothers and sisters, you have no obligation to do what your sinful nature urges you to do. For if you live by its dictates, you will die. But if through the power of the Spirit you put to death the deeds of your sinful nature, you will live. For all who are led by the Spirit of God are children of God.
So you have not received a spirit that makes you fearful slaves. Instead, you received God’s Spirit when he adopted you as his own children. Now we call him, “Abba, Father.” For his Spirit joins with our spirit to affirm that we are God’s children. And since we are his children, we are his heirs. In fact, together with Christ we are heirs of God’s glory. But if we are to share his glory, we must also share his suffering.
Yet what we suffer now is nothing compared to the glory he will reveal to us later. For all creation is waiting eagerly for that future day when God will reveal who his children really are. Against its will, all creation was subjected to God’s curse. But with eager hope, the creation looks forward to the day when it will join God’s children in glorious freedom from death and decay. For we know that all creation has been groaning as in the pains of childbirth right up to the present time. And we believers also groan, even though we have the Holy Spirit within us as a foretaste of future glory, for we long for our bodies to be released from sin and suffering. We, too, wait with eager hope for the day when God will give us our full rights as his adopted children, including the new bodies he has promised us. We were given this hope when we were saved. (If we already have something, we don’t need to hope for it. But if we look forward to something we don’t yet have, we must wait patiently and confidently.)
We continue in Paul’s letter to the church at Rome. Last week, Paul argued that those who are in Christ live by the Spirit and if you don’t live by the Spirit you aren’t in Christ. If you don’t live by the Spirit, you are controlled, still, by your sinful nature. Just before we get into today’s scripture, we are reminded that:
The Spirit of God, who raised Jesus from the dead, lives in you. And just as God raised Christ Jesus from the dead, he will give live to your mortal bodies by this same Spirit living within you.
This is what the “therefore” is there for in verse 12. Because of this wonderful promise, we now have no condemnation, nor do we have any obligation to live by the sinful nature. The Holy Spirit helps us “put to death” the old way and through the Holy Spirit we are led by God.
I love this and it is the reason that I put the picture at the top. We are God’s children and he is our Father. We are reminded that we no longer have to live in fear, because God has adopted us as his own children. I think that’s amazing. We who were enemies of God (chapter 5) have been adopted by God. Even further we can call him (in the Greek) Abba – which means daddy. I think most of us remember when we were afraid as a child. The thing that would make us less afraid is the presence of one of our parents. Isn’t amazing that God not only is our Father, but he is our Daddy. That makes us heirs of the Father – heirs of God’s glory. That’s cool. But we are reminded that if we want to share in God’s glory, we must also share in his suffering.
We then go on to find out about God’s glory and the future glory that awaits to those who believe in Christ – to those who call upon his name. What is the reward for the child of God?
First, we are reminded that what is going on here – on this earth – nothing compares – nothing – absolutely nothing – compares. Instead of death and destruction – which, let’s face it describes our world. I am an optimist, but when I compare to what we’ve got going on here compared to what’s described in the future – “You ain’t seen nothing yet!” Paul reminds us of the struggles on this earth – the way things are – that creation even groans – it eagerly expects the future glory, but we are not there yet. Even as believers – we groan because we long to be released – as Paul says – from sin and suffering. Yes, we are free from sin – meaning that we don’t have to live there, but that doesn’t mean that we are free from it’s effects – for now we still deal with the effects of sin in the world and that causes suffering for both the just and the unjust.
That is why we wait for the future hope. We have already received part of the blessings of the adoption in that we are free from the power of sin in our lives, but there is coming a day, when we will receive the full package – when we will be released from this body and be given new bodies that are free from the effects of the first Adam.
I love the statement Paul makes. There is a hope that comes when we are saved. There is a hope…when we hope for something, it means that we have not obtained it yet. If we have it, we don’t need to hope for it. This is the point that Paul is trying to make. Paul says something awaits – the future glory awaits – the complete packages awaits – but we hope for it – it’s not here yet. How do we wait? We wait patiently and confidently. Those are two tough words. Last week, we looked at patience – as it relates to the fruit of the Spirit. Most times patience means waiting. So today we wait – patiently. But then there’s that word confidently. When we are confident, we know something is coming, but we don’t know when. We are not under-confident – we are not over-confident. Soon the future glory of the Father will be revealed – for now we patiently and confidently wait.