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Those who are led by the Spirit of God are the children of God.
The Greek word oikia can mean “house,” as in the physical building. It can also mean “household” or “family,” the people who live there, as well as “extended family” or “clan,” the entire family tree. The term can also indicate the “estate,” that is, wealth and property belonging to the family. This makes the New Testament metaphor of believers being a family or “household of faith” a rich one (see Gal. 6:10)!
Part of this powerful metaphor declares believers to be “heirs of God and fellow heirs with Christ” (v. 17). To be an heir of God means we live by the Spirit; we have been transformed through our spiritual rebirth (vv. 5–8). We have a different life purpose, with our minds now set on what God desires. Our lives lead to a different outcome, life rather than death. This is because we have a different relationship with God, one in which we now seek to please, obey, and submit to Him (see 1 John 3:10).
Life by the Spirit is the evidence that our salvation is real (vv. 9–11). If one is in God’s kingdom, one has the Spirit and a certain hope of resurrection. Conversely, not to have the Spirit indicates one does not belong to Christ at all. Therefore, we have an obligation to live in line with our new spiritual life and identity (vv. 12–13). We should cooperate with the Spirit in putting sin to death in our lives.
The Spirit is the One who brings us into the Father’s family, an adoption made possible by the Son (vv. 14–17). Jesus is, as it were, our older brother, and through Him we have the privilege of calling God “Abba.” Thanks to the Trinity, we’re no longer slaves to sin but are instead children of God!
Apply the Word
What are your “inheritance rights” as a child of God? They include new spiritual life and the promise of bodily resurrection. But they also include a promise of suffering (v. 17). No doubt we prefer to think of blessings and rewards, and these are very real. But we should also rejoice in the privilege of suffering for His name (see Matt. 5:11–12; Acts 5:41; Phil. 1:29).
Pray with Us
Dr. James Spencer, dean of the Undergraduate School, appreciates prayer for his colleagues in the Dean’s Office, Claudia Beguin, Miriam Mast, Paula Siebold, and Larry Davidhizar, that they would continue to serve God faithfully.