Some of you reading this meditation may be adopted, and some of you may be adoptive parents. Here in this passage from Paul’s letter to the church in Rome he speaks of adoption, an adoption so much more special and lovely than any other one, and that is God adopting everyone who puts their faith and trust in the Lord Jesus, and making them His children. That is one of the blessed truths we will read about as we study this passage.
When we accept Christ as our Savior the Holy Spirit comes and indwells us. God’s very Spirit and life is now in us. He has made His home in us. If someone has never been saved, they do not have the Holy Spirit (vs. 9). While we act in our flesh or human nature we cannot do anything to please God, but we can when we live and act through His Holy Spirit.
We cannot live the Christian life in our own strength and power (vs. 13). God gives us His life through the Holy Spirit. Sin leads to death. Through the power of the Holy Spirit we can put to death our sinful desires and urges. The Holy Spirit gives us the power to gradually kill sin and its power in us. This continues on till we enter heaven. We need to consider as dead the power of sin in our bodies. If we consider it dead we can hold that temptations have lost all of their power over us.
Paul states in verse 14 that as Christians we are led by the Holy Spirit. One of the most important ways that the Holy Spirit leads us is by opening up the Scriptures to us, and making them understandable. Paul refers to this in both I Corinthians 2:14-16 and in Ephesians 1:17-19. The Holy Spirit also leads us by sanctifying us and giving us the power to obey the Scriptures.
Now in our passage Paul brings us to the discussion of being considered children of God, adopted children. In Roman culture the adopted person lost the identity of his old family, and now had the rights and identity of the new family. He had the same rights as a legitimate, blood-born child. It is the same with Christians. When we have accepted Jesus as our Savior we now have all of the rights and privileges as a child of God. We are no longer a slave of the world or of Satan. We are a child of God, and an heir of heaven.
The Holy Spirit shows us that we are God’s children (vs. 15). One way He does that is that we have no need to fear or hesitate to come to God now. Before salvation we had no access or rights to come before the throne of God except to receive salvation. Now we are His children, and as children of a loving and caring father can always approach their father, we too can freely come to Him. We are His children, and can call Him “daddy”, which is what the word Abba translates as.
Another way that the Holy Spirit reveals that we are His children is by the fruit that He produces in us (vs. 16). Paul lists the fruits of the Spirit in his letter to the Galatians (Galatians 5:22-23).
One of the biggest blessings of being an adopted child of God is that we then become an heir of God, and are joint-heirs with the Lord Jesus (vs. 17). The Jews at this time always gave the lion’s share of the inheritance to the first born. The rest of the siblings would have to divide up the remainder. Under Roman law, though, everything that was left when a parent died was equally divided between them all. We are joint-heirs with Jesus. As God’s adopted children we will inherit along with Him.
Isn’t it wonderful that the God of the whole universe would stoop to concern Himself with mankind, and then of all things, to actually adopt us into His family? Each of us who have accepted Jesus as our Savior are as much a part of God’s family as Jesus Himself. God is truly our Father, not just a “father-figure”. When we know that, we should rest assured that God, who is our most loving Father, will truly care for our every need.