I Have An Inheritance!

Today’s text in the daily questions for the “A View From The Top:  What Does God Say . . . About Me?” series seems to make two distinct statements that God says about me as His child.  My previous post, I Have An Obligation, covers the first statement and I will consider the second statement in this post.

As you read the following words, listen closely to what Paul says about life as a child of God.

“For those who are led by the Spirit of God are the children of God.  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.’  The Spirit himself testifies with our spirit that we are God’s children.  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.”  Romans 8:14-17

Wow!  Did you catch it?  I have an inheritance!  Not just any inheritance, but an inheritance from God.  As a child of God, I am a co-heir with Christ.  The Spirit of God has freed me to live as a son because the Spirit has brought about my adoption as such.  As a son, I can have confidence in my inheritance — an inheritance I share with Christ himself.  I suffer in the sufferings of Christ.  I endure with the endurance of my Lord.  My inheritance is more than a future reward — yes, that is coming.  My inheritance includes taking on the characteristics of my Father. 

It is slow and often painful process, this becoming like my Father.  I’m not a natural son.  I’ve developed habits and tendencies that are not like my Father at all.  Yet, I watch Him.  I listen to Him.  I imitate Him because I want to be like Him.  And I’m not alone in my efforts.  He understands my weaknesses and my sinful nature — my flesh that wars against me.  He knows I need help and He provides it.  He gives His Spirit — a “down payment”, if you will, of the current and future inheritance that is mine.  His Spirit is transforming my mind into the mind of Christ and replaces my heart with a heart for God.  The Spirit has set me free from the slavery of sin and releases me from the master of destruction. 

Has God’s Spirit brought about your adoption as a child of God?  He wants you to be His child.  He longs for you to allow His Spirit to live in you and be who you are.  He has an inheritance for you — an inheritance that has the power to transform you into the image of Christ. 

I pray that you are a part of God’s family and that you have taken your adoption seriously.   May you live a life in the power of the spirit that seeks to imitate your Father and live like your co-heir, Jesus.  May you endure the family difficulties — the persecution and suffering — knowing that they are not worth comparing to the glory of the final inheritance.  I have an inheritance!  An inheritance that cannot be diminished by the number of people laying claim to it.  I pray that you also have this inheritance.

I Have An Obligation!

This week’s writings will focus on various aspects of God’s view of me as His childYesterday, I wrote about the right we have to become children of God.  As incredible as that right is, like every right that we claim, it comes with an obligation.  An obligation is the backside of a right — a side we would often just as soon ignore.

There is a statement that I was told by my parents countless times during my childhood.  It is, “Your rights only go as far as to the point that you are stepping on another’s toes, or infringing on their rights.”  Now I understand that there are times that we all need our toes stepped on.  We need them stepped on by a brother who is rebuking, correcting, or challenging us in love, not by the “rights” of someone else.  If I am exercising my “rights” in a way that is harming or restricting someone else in their rights, then I have overstepped my bounds — particularly when we are talking about our rights in becoming children of God.

Paul puts it this way when he writes about the power of God’s Spirit within us:

“Therefore, brothers and sisters, we have an obligation — but it is not to the sinful nature, to live according to it.  For if you live according to the sinful nature, you will die; but if by the Spirit you put to death the misdeeds of the body, you will live.”
“For those who are led by the Spirit of God are the children of God.  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.'”  Romans 8:12-15

Paul tells us that because of Christ dwelling in us through the presence of His Spirit, we have an obligation.  This is not a natural obligation to live according to my desires and wants.  That is an easy excuse.  We word it in many ways — “This is just the way I am.” . . . “I can’t help it, I have desires.” . . . “I’m just not a friendly person” . . . “You don’t understand what I’ve been through.” . . . and on the list could gojustification as to why we live according to an obligation to the flesh.

Paul says we have a different obligation — an obligation that comes from, and shows, that we are indeed children of God.  This is an obligation to live by the Spirit and in the power of the spirit, putting to death the “obligations” of the body.  This rejecting of the misdeeds of the body brings life because it shows that we are indeed children of God, being led by His Spirit.

Who are you giving the greater power in your life today?  Is it the sinful nature of the flesh or the presence of the living God whose Spirit brought about your adoption as God’s child?

I pray that as you experience the freedom of crying out to God, “Abba, Father”, you will embrace the obligation to live in the power and presence of the Spirit so that you may truly live.  As a child of God, you and I have an obligation.

What, Then, Shall We Say?

Have you ever been speechless?  Confronted with such knowledge, wisdom, and truth, that there is absolutely nothing that your mind can think of to say in response.  Or maybe you’ve been in the presence of such foolishness, ignorance, and lies that there is nothing that you can think of saying that would be profitable to anyone.  For many, being speechless is a rare thing.  We have a response for everything.  We must have the last word, so we’ll say something — anything at all, really.  Just don’t let me get caught without an answer.

Paul gives us one of those statements of knowledge, wisdom and truth as he writes in Romans 8:28-30:

“And we know that in all things God works for the good of those who love him, who have been called according to his purpose.  For those God foreknew he also predestined to be conformed to the image of his Son, that he might be the firstborn among many brothers and sisters.  And those he predestined, he also called; those he called, he also justified; those he justified, he also glorified.” 

What depth of truth!  No wonder Paul raises the question in verse 31, “What, then, shall we say in response to these things?”  What can you say in response to a Sovereign, Almighty God who conforms, calls, justifies, and glorifies according to his incredible knowledge — a foreknowledge that knows what was, what is, and what will be in your life and mine more clearly than we know our self this moment.  Because of what God knows about those whom He has already seen that choose to pursue Him in obedient trust, God can state that He works to the good in all things for those who have been predestined to be conformed to the image of his Son.  He can do this because He knows in advance what our choice about Him will be.

And so Paul asks, if this is the kind of God we serve, what can we say?  “If God is for us, who can be against us?”  I’ve always looked at this thirty-first verse of Romans eight and thought, “That’s an easy question.  No one, of course!”  Yet there is one, isn’t there?  If God is for me, who can be against me?  Me!  The Bible teaches that God allows me to choose my master.  God has chosen to limit His sovereign, almighty nature by giving mankind choices — free-will to do either right or wrong.  The decision is ours to accept or reject the very grace and mercy that defines God’s love for us. 

The part that is so hard for me (and you?) to fathom is that God knew every day of my life before I was even born.  He knew how I would respond to the missionary speaker at The Country Church calling for people to surrender to the Lordship of Jesus.  He knew the times I would drift and wander — both away from Him and back toward Him.  He even knows if I’m finally back in submissive obedience to Him for the rest of my life or if there are still periods of wandering yet to be lived.  I choose. 

I choose to be done with wandering.  I choose Jesus as my Sovereign, Almighty Lord.  Because God knows I choose, He is faithful and just and will conform me to the image of His Son — calling me, justifying me, and glorifying me as He brings me to maturity in Christ.  What, then, shall I say?  If God is for me, who can be against me?  No one!  Because I choose Him, no one can be against me and win.