In Romans eight, it is clear we are being restored as His own children, His heirs.
Romans 8:14-17 “For all who are being led by the Spirit of God, (those who don’t live according the flesh of self-direction and self-sufficiency) these are sons of God. For you have not received a spirit of slavery leading to fear again, but you have received the Spirit of adoption as sons by which we cry out, ‘Abba! Father!’ The Spirit Himself bears witness with our spirit that we are children of God, and if children, heirs also, heirs of God and fellow heirs with Christ, if indeed we suffer with Him in order that we may also be glorified with Him.”
The suffering spoken of here, we talked about in previous lessons, gets Self out of the way so the Spirit can lead. Do you see now how Jesus is recognized living through us when we let His LIFE be our life and we let the Holy Spirit lead us to do what the Father has planned for us.
There is so much Grace in this passage, but you must understand the meaning of adoption here or you will miss it. It is not the adoption that we know today in America where parents legally take into their family a child who is not born naturally to them and make that child their legal heir. What is being spoken of here is adoption as in the Jewish culture. It’s known as the ceremony of Bar Mitzvah for boys and Bat Mitzvah for girls. The child is naturally born to the parents but is only an heir-to-be remaining under the parents’ authority. When that child reaches a certain age, usually 13, they are declared an adult and become the rightful heir with all the privileges and responsibilities of rightful owners. Before their “adoption,” they are only “heirs-to-be.” At their adoption, they are said to have matured into their inheritance and have come into it fully.
Father God considered us to be immature, unable to handle the inheritance, until our spirits were born again, free from the sin nature, and indwelt with the Holy Spirit. When we come into Christ’s LIFE and are led by the Spirit, we have matured. We cry “Abba, Father,” because our soul receives the revelation of His fatherly love and acceptance of us. In our born-again state, we now have a knowing; a witness, that we are His children, the heirs of God, joint heirs with Christ. The passage also teaches that this inheritance of ours won’t be fully known until it passes through suffering that deals that death blow to living according to the flesh and gets Self out of the way, self-sufficiency, self-determination, self-everything else. Since we looked at suffering unto the death of self, last week, can you see why this is an essential part of the process to being conformed to the image of His Son? Understanding inheritance in this light, consider what the following scriptures are saying:
1 Corinthians 6:9–10 (NASB) Or do you not know that the unrighteous shall not inherit the kingdom of God? Do not be deceived; neither fornicators, nor idolaters, nor adulterers, nor effeminate, nor homosexuals,10 nor thieves, nor the covetous, nor drunkards, nor revilers, nor swindlers, shall inherit the kingdom of God.”
Galatians 5:19–21 (NASB) 19 Now the deeds of the flesh are evident, which are: immorality, impurity, sensuality,20 idolatry, sorcery, enmities, strife, jealousy, outbursts of anger, disputes, dissensions, factions,21 envying, drunkenness, carousing, and things like these, of which I forewarn you just as I have forewarned you that those who practice such things shall not inherit the kingdom of God.
Dead to sin, made righteous, letting Christ live through us to bear fruit for God is evidence that we are born-again. Recognizing the fruit of living according to the flesh, experiencing death to self and being led by the Spirit brings us into this adoption, revealed as heirs and joint heirs with Christ, sons of God; heirs of the Kingdom, owners, not slaves nor just visitors in the house.
Galatians 3:23-4:7 “But before faith came, we were kept in custody under the law, being shut up to the faith which was later to be revealed.24 Therefore the Law has become our tutor to lead us to Christ, that we may be justified by faith.25 But now that faith has come, we are no longer under a tutor.26 For you are all sons of God through faith in Christ Jesus.27 For all of you who were baptized into Christ have clothed yourselves with Christ.28 There is neither Jew nor Greek, there is neither slave nor free man, there is neither male nor female; for you are all one in Christ Jesus.29 And if you belong to Christ, then you are Abraham’s offspring, heirs according to promise. 1 Now I say, as long as the heir is a child, he does not differ at all from a slave although he is owner of everything,2 but he is under guardians and managers until the date set by the father.3 So also we, while we were children, were held in bondage under the elemental things of the world.4 But when the fullness of the time came, God sent forth His Son, born of a woman, born under the Law,5 in order that He might redeem those who were under the Law, that we might receive the adoption as sons.6 And because you are sons, God has sent forth the Spirit of His Son into our hearts, crying, “Abba! Father!”7 Therefore you are no longer a slave, but a son; and if a son, then an heir through God.”
The Law was given to lead us to Christ. That may sound strange until we understand how it did that. The Law kept us in custody and curbed sin’s destruction. The Law is like the tutor of the ancient world who was given the responsibility for walking the child to the schoolmaster. Notice not once does it say anything about the Law saving us or transforming us. It is not able to do so and was never meant for that purpose.
But now the way to God, faith, has come. We become sons through faith and are placed in Christ. It doesn’t matter what you are outwardly, male, female, Jew, Gentile, bond or free; there is no difference. Immersed into Christ, the Seed, we are now Abraham’s offspring, heirs according to the promise. As believers, we are not slaves to the law of sin and death any longer, but full grown heirs of the kingdom.