Happy Saturday, my friends! How are you doing? Feeling more empowered yet? Still soaking in the truths from Romans 8:9-11? I loved your comments on Wednesday, and I love that we’re on this journey together. Please keep sharing your thoughts in the comments. We inspired and encourage one another when we do that.
Today we’ll dig into Romans 8:12-17. I’m only using the NIV and Voice translations to keep things a little less cumbersome, so pull out your favorite translation and be sure to read it there as well.
NIV: 12 Therefore, brothers and sisters, we have an obligation—but it is not to the flesh, to live according to it. 13 For if you live according to the flesh, you will die; but if by the Spirit you put to death the misdeeds of the body, you will live. 14 For those who are led by the Spirit of God are the children of God. 15 The Spirit you received does not make you slaves, so that you live in fear again; rather, the Spirit you received brought about your adoption to sonship. And by him we cry, “Abba, Father.” 16 The Spirit himself testifies with our spirit that we are God’s children. 17 Now if we are children, then we are heirs—heirs of God and co-heirs with Christ, if indeed we share in his sufferings in order that we may also share in his glory.
The Voice: 12 So, my brothers and sisters, you owe the flesh nothing! You do not need to live according to its ways, so abandon its oppressive regime. 13 For if your life is just about satisfying the impulses of your sinful nature, then prepare to die. But if you have invited the Spirit to destroy these selfish desires, you will experience life. 14 If the Spirit of God is leading you, then take comfort in knowing you are His children. 15 You see, you have not received a spirit that returns you to slavery, so you have nothing to fear. The Spirit you have received adopts you and welcomes you into God’s own family. That’s why we call out to Him, “Abba! Father!” as we would address a loving daddy. 16 Through that prayer, God’s Spirit confirms in our spirits that we are His children. 17 If we are God’s children, that means we are His heirs along with the Anointed, set to inherit everything that is His. If we share His sufferings, we know that we will ultimately share in His glory.
In this section of Romans 8, Paul brings us to a conclusion about our relationship to sin—basically that we don’t have one. We have a relationship with the Father, as we are His children. And living as such is truly living. The part I’m still wrapping my brain around completely is in verse thirteen.
The NIV translation says, “but if by the Spirit you put to death the misdeeds of the body, you will live.”
But if we look at the Voice translation, this nugget is more fully revealed: “But if you have invited the Spirit to destroy these selfish desires, you will experience life.”
The NIV translation makes it clear that we can’t put a stop to sin in our lives by our own ability, strength, or power. If we could, then the law would still stand and Jesus wouldn’t have needed to come and die for us. We need the help and power of the Holy Spirit.
The Voice translation brings out an additional nugget of wisdom to this process though. We must invite the Holy Spirit to destroy these selfish desires, sin and strongholds. Sometimes we know exactly where the battle lies. Other times we don’t and we need to ask the Holy Spirit to reveal these areas to us.
And more than likely He will show us one of two things:
- We are living in sin. Remember, He will not condemn us, just lovingly convict us and empower us to walk away from this sin and/or ask for help.
- It’s a lie that has permeated our thinking and understanding of who we think we are in relationship to who God says we are. This revelation will bring relief and, again, empowerment to overcome.
- The issue is actually a demonic influence. Again, this will bring relief and understanding, as well as tools (our authority in Jesus for starters) to rebuke it in the name of Jesus, and to recognize this influence if it tries to come back.
Often times the lie has allowed the enemy a foothold in our lives, or we’ve become entrenched in a lie that the enemy shot at us to begin with. Figuring out which happened first is kind of like the old chicken and egg question—which came first. But you know what, it doesn’t matter. Invite the Holy Spirit to help you identify it and show you how to root and boot it out.
However, as it is written:
“What no eye has seen,
what no ear has heard,
and what no human mind has conceived” —
the things God has prepared for those who love him—
these are the things God has revealed to us by his Spirit.
The Spirit searches all things, even the deep things of God. For who knows a person’s thoughts except their own spirit within them? In the same way no one knows the thoughts of God except the Spirit of God. What we have received is not the spirit of the world, but the Spirit who is from God, so that we may understand what God has freely given us. — 1 Cor. 2:9-12
That help will come from Scripture and prayer, from the still small voice of our Abba (which is Greek for “Daddy”) telling us the truth, from the Holy Spirit in a clear thought or leading that we know didn’t come from ourselves, and may even come externally in a timely phone call, email, or a book or Bible study that seems to be exactly what we need at that moment.
Just tune in and you’ll see those answers to prayers to be freed from ongoing issues in your lives. Some answers come and the “fix” is immediate. Other times it will take time and we must persevere and remember that verse from 2 Corinthians 12:9 where God tells Paul that His power is made perfect in weakness. We can take comfort and place our hope in this powerful truth, that in our weakness, God’s power is exhibited to it’s full capacity and will bring us to freedom and healing, in His way and His timing.
And finally, there are more promises here, my friends. Take a look:
Vs. 14: The Holy Spirit declares us children of God. We don’t have to prove ourselves to be His children. The Holy Spirit SAYS we are. (i.e. You don’t have to earn God’s acceptance and approval.)
Vs. 15: The Holy Spirit frees us from fear and deepens our relationship with God the Father, “as we would address a loving daddy.”
Vs. 16: The Holy Spirit confirms to our own spirit that we are God’s children.
(Do you see in vss. 15 and 16 how the Holy Spirit tirelessly works to bring the Father to us and us to the Father?)
Vs. 17: We are God’s heirs, just like His Son Jesus, with full benefits. We will share some of His sufferings, yes, but we will ultimately share in His glory too.
Look what He said in John 16:
Very truly I tell you, you will weep and mourn while the world rejoices. You will grieve, but your grief will turn to joy. A woman giving birth to a child has pain because her time has come; but when her baby is born she forgets the anguish because of her joy that a child is born into the world. — John 16:20-21
The analogy of the pain of childbirth becoming joy is a perfect analogy, my friends. Many of us are feeling a bit “pregnant” with promise (I actually noticed I was waddling the other day, the way I did when I carried my girls!) and some of us are struggling to give birth to those promises, but that’s a topic for another day.
My friends, I’ll stop here. Just know that this is all building to what I consider to be two of God’s greatest promises to us near the end of this amazing, truth-packed chapter.