What does it mean to be a child of God? Can we take a look at Romans chapter 8?
Verse 1 says:
“There is therefore now no condemnation to them which are in Christ Jesus, who walk not after the flesh, but after the Spirit.”
So what is the definition of ‘flesh?’ Google defines it as ‘the soft substance consisting of muscle and fat that is found between the skin and bone.’
I come from the twin island republic of Trinidad and Tobago (TT) where every year we have a big pageant called Carnival. In 2018, the Central Statistical Office of TT reported that over 30,000 people visited the islands during the carnival period which consists of 19 days prior to the main celebrations on ‘carnival Monday and Tuesday.’ Visitors spent over $318m TT dollars (the exchange rate is close to $7.TT to $1.US. Do the math. 😊) So what happens during the carnival period? Is it all debauchery, wining and grinding, revelry and fornication? In my opinion, I wouldn’t say so. There are amazing costumes designed. There are creative musical compositions and presentations including instrumental and vocal performances second to none. The steelpan competition and ‘extempo?’ Well. Food in the islands is usually well seasoned and tantalizing. Many choose to avoid the party crowds and often flock to various beaches or remote areas for a different scenery. Some folk stay in their homes and enjoy the long carnival weekend away from work. To each his own. The choice is yours to decide how much of the culture you would like to imbibe.
Let’s look at verses 2-4:
“For the law of the Spirit of life in Christ Jesus hath made me free from the law of sin and death. For what the law could not do, in that it was weak through the flesh, God sending his own Son in the likeness of sinful flesh, and for sin, condemned sin in the flesh: That the righteousness of the law might be fulfilled in us, who walk not after the flesh, but after the Spirit.”
What does this mean really? I’m not entirely sure; however, notice the emphasis on the Spirit throughout this chapter. Let’s keep reading. 😊 Verses 5-13:
“For they that are after the flesh do mind the things of the flesh; but they that are after the Spirit the things of the Spirit. For to be carnally minded is death; but to be spiritually minded is life and peace. Because the carnal mind is enmity against God: for it is not subject to the law of God, neither indeed can be. So then they that are in the flesh cannot please God. But ye are not in the flesh, but in the Spirit, if so be that the Spirit of God dwell in you. Now if any man have not the Spirit of Christ, he is none of his. And if Christ be in you, the body is dead because of sin; but the Spirit is life because of righteousness. But if the Spirit of him that raised up Jesus from the dead dwell in you, he that raised up Christ from the dead shall also quicken your mortal bodies by his Spirit that dwelleth in you. Therefore, brethren, we are debtors, not to the flesh, to live after the flesh. For if ye live after the flesh, ye shall die: but if ye through the Spirit do mortify the deeds of the body, ye shall live.”
We all want to live. My father in law would say he’s never experienced death so he really doesn’t know what death is all about. In the mean time we need to enjoy life.
Let’s skip verse 14 for now. Let’s go to verses 15 – 25:
“For ye have not received the spirit of bondage again to fear; but ye have received the Spirit of adoption, whereby we cry, Abba, Father. The Spirit itself beareth witness with our spirit, that we are the children of God: And if children, then heirs; heirs of God, and joint-heirs with Christ; if so be that we suffer with him, that we may be also glorified together. For I reckon that the sufferings of this present time are not worthy to be compared with the glory which shall be revealed in us. For the earnest expectation of the creature waiteth for the manifestation of the sons of God. For the creature was made subject to vanity, not willingly, but by reason of him who hath subjected the same in hope, Because the creature itself also shall be delivered from the bondage of corruption into the glorious liberty of the children of God. For we know that the whole creation groaneth and travaileth in pain together until now. And not only they, but ourselves also, which have the firstfruits of the Spirit, even we ourselves groan within ourselves, waiting for the adoption, to wit, the redemption of our body. For we are saved by hope: but hope that is seen is not hope: for what a man seeth, why doth he yet hope for? But if we hope for that we see not, then do we with patience wait for it.”
Patience is truly a virtue to be applied to so many areas of our lives. In our work – we hope that sales would increase; in our marriages – we hope that things would get better; in our finances – we hope we’d see a pay increase; we hope and hope. We need patience to wait for the right person and to wait to do the things we know we should wait for.
“Likewise the Spirit also helpeth our infirmities: for we know not what we should pray for as we ought: but the Spirit itself maketh intercession for us with groanings which cannot be uttered.”
God knows our desires.
“And he that searcheth the hearts knoweth what is the mind of the Spirit, because he maketh intercession for the saints according to the will of God. And we know that all things work together for good to them that love God, to them who are the called according to his purpose.”
Sometimes we forget the last part of verse 28. We just say, ‘all things work together for good to them that love God.’ We don’t finish the verse. Are our lives in line with His purpose? What is ‘his purpose?’ This is something we need to find out, otherwise anything could seem to be working for our good.
“For whom he did foreknow, he also did predestinate to be conformed to the image of his Son, that he might be the firstborn among many brethren. Moreover whom he did predestinate, them he also called: and whom he called, them he also justified: and whom he justified, them he also glorified. What shall we then say to these things? If God be for us, who can be against us?”
If God has predestined my salvation, why do I need to worry? I’d have to choose against his predestination to be lost, not so? If God has predestined my success, the success of the organization in which I work, the church in which I serve, the success of my family, my children, my finances, and every aspect of my life, then regardless of circumstantial evidence, ultimately, success is guaranteed.
“He that spared not his own Son, but delivered him up for us all, how shall he not with him also freely give us all things? Who shall lay any thing to the charge of God’s elect? It is God that justifieth. Who is he that condemneth? It is Christ that died, yea rather, that is risen again, who is even at the right hand of God, who also maketh intercession for us. Who shall separate us from the love of Christ? shall tribulation, or distress, or persecution, or famine, or nakedness, or peril, or sword?”
Is tribulation, distress, persecution, famine or nakedness an indication of the lack of success? In whose eyes? This goes back to the question of purpose. What is His purpose? And is my life in line with it?
Let’s not lose sight of verse 35, ever. Who or what shall separate us? Even though we mess up from time to time, God still loves and cares for us. Like a stamped on, crumpled $100 bill, we still have value. However, let’s not take God’s love for granted. We need to embrace it and at the same time share it.
“As it is written, For thy sake we are killed all the day long; we are accounted as sheep for the slaughter. Nay, in all these things we are more than conquerors through him that loved us. For I am persuaded, that neither death, nor life, nor angels, nor principalities, nor powers, nor things present, nor things to come, Nor height, nor depth, nor any other creature, shall be able to separate us from the love of God, which is in Christ Jesus our Lord.”
Done! Now let’s go back to verse 14 which says:
“For as many as are led by the Spirit of God, they are the sons of God.”
I pray today and each day that we would all be led by God’s Spirit. I encourage us all to seek God’s face, and to learn more about him. Seek God’s guidance and invite him into our planning and daily living so that we know who to credit for our success and how to first get there.
Lord forgive me where I may have failed to rightfully represent you. Through your Spirit, help me this day to be a blessing to those with whom I come in contact. Hear the request of my heart for you know it. Help me to be your son.
Romans 8. KJV
CSO info: news.gov.TT