I love walking, love getting out in the lakes for a number of reasons really. The exercise, the fresh air, I really do feel closer to God when I’m in the mountains. But the other reason is the breath taking views. I love climbing over a ridge to suddenly find an amazing view right there in front of me – Looking down on amazing scenery. And the reading from Romans is a bit like this, from this point on we can see in astonishing clarity the whole plan of salvation for all of God’s creation. Once you’ve glimpsed this view, you will never forget it!
So lets take a look at it.
The Holy Spirit is here ! v9-13
We are told in this passage that every Christian has the Holy Spirit living in him v 9.
As Christians our bodies are Temples of the Holy Spirit, He lives in you! God lives in you!
The gift of the Holy Spirit is a wonderful blessing, received when we first put our trust in the Lord. God lives in you as a Christian, what a thought that is!
The first consequence of the Spirit living in us is LIFE. The flame of life is there for all to see.
The Greeks had a race in their Olympic games that was unique. The winner was not the runner who finished first. It was the runner who finished with his torch still lit. As Christians we should run all the way with the flame still lit for Jesus. Do you have your flame lit? Is it burning brightly?
The second consequence is an obligation v 12 therefore brothers and sisters we have an obligation. In other words we are debtors! And what is this debt? It is to live according to the desires of the Spirit of God living in us!
Paul is saying the spirit has given us life, we cannot therefore live according to our sinful nature because that brings death. We are called to put to death everything which threatens it or compromises the Spirit of LIFE in us.
The indwelling Spirit of God leads us to LIFE. He directs us, He sometimes nudges us.
He is with us, not that we might feel great, but to lead us in the way we should go. And that means as individuals but also as his church, in this place, we need to be seeking the Holy Spirits will and direction for St. Anne’s. And that means prayer!! We need to be a people of prayer.
God is here.
Notice here that we are called Children of God, this privilege is the work of the Holy Spirit.
V16 the Spirit testifies that we are children of God, He assures us, and He makes all the difference. What differences are we talking about?
The Spirit leads us to holiness. As I have already said He leads us to LIFE but He also leads us to a new and set apart LIFE for God, this is HOLINESS.
The Spirit leads us to freedom. We are no longer slaves we are sons and daughters, we are FREE!!! We are adopted by our Father in heaven. In the time Paul was writing this letter the Roman people would understand what Paul was getting at. Adopted children were deliberately chosen by their adoptive Father, in order to keep the family name and to become heirs. Adopted children where in no way inferior to natural children they were equal in all things and in fact they might receive a little more affection!
The Holy Spirit helps us in our prayers, He prompts us to call God Father. I love it when my kids come up to me and start telling me stories about their days. Sometimes, if I’m being honest, I switch off. But I love the intimacy, and their freedom and willingness to share and talk. Here we are reminded of the relationship we have with Almighty God. The Spirit will help us to come in to His presence as little children telling our Father everything, and the great thing is He never tires of hearing our stories!
The Spirit assures us that we are heirs with Christ. What is this inheritance? Well certainly a heavenly one that will never perish, spoil or fade, but it is probably even greater than that, our inheritance is God Himself. This idea would be understood by the Jews; the Levites for example knew that they had been given no inheritance among their brothers because the Lord Himself was their inheritance. Godly individual Jews could claim God was their portion! This is simply beyond our comprehension but there is more; we are joint heirs with Christ. Jesus Himself prayed we might be with Him Jn 17:24
So the Spirit equips us to live a Godly life (Holiness) He gives us freedom to be the people God has called us to be. He helps us in our prayers and assures us that the best is yet to be!
But it is not all a bed of roses! If we share in His Glory we also share in His sufferings.
Jesus is here.
Suffering and glory in the Christian life belong together, this after all was the example of Jesus. The ultimate glory for the lord was at Calvary, where He suffered for us on that cross.
Suffering and glory represent the two ages that Christians wrestle with. The contrast between this age and the age to come, between the present and the future, between the already and the not yet!
Sufferings include not only the opposition from the world but our human frailty as well; both physical and moral. We can suffer for being a Christian in so many ways. We can be persecuted and so many of our brothers and sisters around the world do on a daily basis. So many martyrs have gone before us. In fact we, in the west are fairly privileged. Its quite easy to be a Christian in this country. But we can suffer in other ways. There is the ongoing battle that rages within us, we long to live a life that is pleasing to God, yet we wrestle with the earthly life, and the temptations of this world. It’s a constant battle that goes on and we need to constantly check ourselves to ensure that we are not becoming encamped in the ways of this world. But that we have our focus on higher and eternal places.
The fact is, no matter how hard the suffering might be; it cannot be compared to the glory that will be revealed.
This glory is the unimaginable splendour of God, which is eternal, immortal and incorruptible, one day we are promised it will be revealed to us and we will be partakers in it!
V22 “We know that the whole creation has been groaning as in the pains of childbirth right up to the present time” The pains of labour will be followed by the joys of birth.
This is how it is for Christians living in the world today, we are caught in the tension of the not yet. The indwelling Spirit gives us joy, and the coming glory gives us hope, but living in the not yet gives us pain!
Paul tells us we are the first fruits, the full harvest will follow in Gods good time.
We can look forward to the wonderful day when we are fully adopted. We have already been adopted by God v15 and the spirit assures us that we are His children. Yet there is an even deeper and richer Child – Father relationship to come, when we are fully revealed as His children, conformed to the likeness of His Son, on that day our bodies will be transformed, they will become like His glorious body, immortal.
The spirit has come. He lives in us. He makes all the difference in our lives, He makes everything real.
Yes we will suffer in this life, but there will come a day when all that suffering will disappear.
So in the mean time it is vital for each one of us to keep the flame burning!
Remember The Spirit is here
God the father is here.
Jesus is here.