The Spirit of “sonship” (a look at Romans 8)

I was reading my bible this afternoon and meditating on my favorite chapter in the whole bible…Romans 8.  As I was reading, I took great notice of Rom.8:15  “For you did not receive a spirit that makes you a slave again to fear, but you received the Spirit of sonship.  And by Him we cry, “Abba, Father.”  This one verse caused me to weep as I thought about the amazing love that God has for me where He would give me the Spirit of sonship.  What a joy!!  What an honor!!  What amazing grace!!  Why would He choose to do this for me?  Doesn’t He know who I am? 

Doesn’t He know how wicked and ugly my heart can be?  Doesn’t He know how awful my thoughts and attitudes can be?  Doesn’t He know the things I’ve done and said…not only years ago, but just hours ago.  The answer, of course, is a resounding “Yes”.  He does know.  He is God and He knows all things.  He knows my deeds, and even more scary, He knows my thoughts.  That is why I am left in awe to see that He has still chosen to give me the Spirit of sonship.  So, what does that really mean anyway…sonship?

Well, to get a real understanding, you certainly have to read at least the whole chapter of Romans 8.  And to get even a greater understanding than that, you should read the whole book of Romans.  But for the sake of this entry, let me just share how this verse spoke greatly to my heart.

First of all, the context is all about receiving the Holy Spirit through placing our faith in Jesus Christ and the sacrifice for our sins that He made on our behalf when He went to the cross.  As a result of placing my trust in Jesus and  this sacrifice that He made, I am free from living in fear of being under the judgment of God.  I do not have to worry about being under His wrath if I sin.  The opposite of the Spirit of sonship is also mentioned in that verse…it is the spirit that makes us a slave again to fear.  If you read the beginning of Romans 8, you will see that the spirit that makes us a slave to fear is the whole concept of living under the law. The bible says that the law only brought sin and death because we were not able to keep the whole of the law due to the fact that our bodies are so prone to sin (I know my body is certainly prone to sin).  So basically, before Jesus, the only way that we were able to live without fearing the judgment and wrath of God was by following God’s laws completely, not breaking any of them.  But the bible says that the law was powerless to save us because we simply just can’t follow it completely…we are just too sinful.  and that is why Jesus came…so that through His perfect fulfillment of the law, as we place our trust in Him, God can see us as righteous…as if we too have fulfilled the law.  Therefore, through putting our faith in Jesus, we are given the Spirit of sonship.  We are no longer bound by the law…we are set free by His grace.  Our relationship immediately moves from fear to freedom.

Here is an example of what this all means:  Take 2 types of relationships:  An employer/employee relationship, and a father/child relationship.  If I make a major screw-up in both of those relationships, with whom would I fear most might cause me a complete severing of that relationship?  Now, if you have or had somewhat decent parents, then the answer to that question is clear:  the employer/employee.  I mean, if I am in a contractual agreement with a company where they say, “Cody, as long as you do these things, we’re good, and you’ll get your check.  But, if you make any major screw-up and fail to do these things, then you’re done and we will fire you.”  But, would a father say that to his children?  I really doubt it.  Sure, there might be consequences, but the relationship will always remain as a father and child.  Therefore there is much more security in the relationship of father/child than there is of employer/employee.

That is the same concept of the spirit that leads to fear (because of having to follow the law and fearing the judgment if that law is broken) versus the Spirit of sonship, which brings tremendous freedom and security knowing that, no matter what, you will never have that relationship severed…it will forever be a Father/son relationship.  How amazing!!!

I thought about my little girls and the unending and ever strong love that I have for them.  I tell my 4 yr old daughter Isabela all the time, “I love you so much”  And then I ask her, “How does that make you feel?”  And she always, with a smile on her face, says, “good.”  And then I thought about God saying that to me…”Cody, I love you so much…How does that make you feel?”  And I can’t think of a better feeling in all the world.  It brings my heart to a place of such great security, rest, and an overwhelming gratitude.  I just know that He loves me so much.  He may discipline me when I do something stupid and foolish…just as I discipline my daughter…but, just as she is still so completely confident in Daddy’s love for her no matter what, so too does this make me completely confident in my Heavenly Father’s love for me no matter what. “…but you received the Spirit of sonship.  By Him we cry, Abba, Father.”  Abba is the Hebrew word for Daddy.  So, the Spirit of sonship that I have been given causes me to look to God in such a way that I would call Him “Daddy”  Just like my little 4 yr old, resting so securely in my love for her no matter what, runs to me all the time calling me “Daddy”.

So, being told through the word of God that I have been given the Spirit of sonship just caused me to weep today…thinking how much He loves me.  I am so undeserving of such love.  I blow it all the time.  I stumble and fall, I doubt in His truth, I do my own thing, I run to other places instead of running to Him, I just would never choose myself as the one who would be given the position of “sonship” under the God of this universe. And yet…He has given me the Spirit of sonship…by which I am able to call Him Abba Father.  I stand amazed by His love.

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