Sunday Sermons

Sunday Sermons

Sons of God

Sons of God

“Romans 8 begins with a sentence which gathers up the achievement of Christ’s work for us as expounded in the previous chapters (3:21-7:25), ‘Therefore, there is now no condemnation for those who are in Christ Jesus’ (8:1). Because of Christ’s sacrifice (3:25), His dying ‘for us’ (5:8), we are free from the guilt that otherwise attaches to us as sinners. Because we are ‘in Christ Jesus’… God the Righteous no longer condemns us. We no longer anticipate ‘wrath and anger… trouble and distress’ (2:8-9), but rather ‘eternal life… glory, honor and peace’ (2:7,10). The dread of hell is gone; we are on the path of heaven” (The Message of Heaven and Hell, Bruce Milne, p. 226).

The New Mind Set

“The mind set on the Spirit is life and peace” (Romans 8:6). No longer are our minds consumed with the here and now, the immediate, the desire of this moment, my needs to the exclusion of all others – what I selfishly want. I have been raised to a new life, which includes a new way of viewing myself and the world. This new mindset refuses to bow and rollover in the face of temptation (6:12-13).

A New Spirit

“But if the Spirit of Him who raised Jesus from the dead dwells in you” (8:11). This is a Spirit which the Christian chooses and embraces, we voluntarily open up our lives to His teachings (“if”; 8:9-11,13). We have asked Him in, opening up every room in our hearts, and letting His teachings settle down and fill every thought, motive and action (Ephesians 5:18 “be filled with the Spirit). As a result:

  • He helps us battle ongoing temptations: “If by the Spirit you are putting to death the deeds of the body, you will live” (8:13). He has given us a lot of information, incentives, reasons, and encouragement concerning why and how to get rid of the persistent temptations.

  • He is our new leader: “For all who are being led by the Spirit, these are sons of God” (8:14). No longer do we allow the world (Romans 12:1), or our feelings to set the direction for our lives. The path He has charted for us is clear (Galatians 5:22-24). Through Him Jesus has set the course. 

  • He offers freedom rather than fear: “For you have not received a spirit of slavery leading to fear again” (8:15). The Spirit’s message declares God’s love for me (Romans 5:6-8), a message that should drive any honest person into the arms of God, crying “Abba Father”. If I stay in the world “fear” will instead be my lot. 

  • He vouches for us: “The Spirit Himself bears witness with our spirit that we are children of God” (8:16). He laid down the conditions for salvation (Acts 2:38), and we know without any doubt that we have fulfilled those conditions. No matter what others say, the Spirit set the conditions, we have met them, and are therefore true sons of God. The Spirit pauses for a moment to also remind us that remaining children of God is conditional (8:17). 

  • He is on our side: “In the same way the Spirit also helps our weakness… the Spirit intercedes for us” (8:26). The Spirit assists us during this time on earth wherein we are waiting for our hope to be revealed (8:25). Through His revelation He encourages us:
    1. The wait and effort will be more than worth it: Romans 8:18

    2. Each day we are drawing nearer to the reward: Romans 13:11

    3. Do not grow weary! Do not give up! Galatians 6:9

    4. Remember those who went before us, imitate their faith: Hebrews 13:7

“What marvelous encouragement this represents in portraying a God who identifies deeply with our human struggles and helps us in the midst of them” (Milne, pp. 239-240).

Anxious Longing

We have been saved to serve and wait, and during this period life will, at times, not be easy, yet God knows what we endure. It is said of Jesus, “for we do not have a high priest who cannot sympathize with our weaknesses, but One who has been tempted in all things as we are, yet without sin” (Hebrews 4:16), and “In the days of His flesh, He offered up both prayers and supplications with loud crying and tears to the One able to save Him from death” (Hebrews 5:7). Jesus is quite familiar with the tears and fears associated with this life.

The Longing of the Creation

Christians are not alone in the aches and pains of this earthly life, the entire Creation is pictured as eagerly awaiting its release from the curse imposed in the Garden (8:19-22). “Thus we are part of a created order in which there are unfulfilled possibilities, and inarticulate longings for a fulfillment which can only be realized ‘when the sons of God are revealed’ (8:19), i.e., when at the coming of the Son of Man in glory His children will experience their true liberation” (Milne, p. 235). Thus, we should not be surprised to find ourselves in a world filled with frustration, unfulfilled dreams, people living in despair, cynicism, corruption, the endless cycle of futility – the perfect world always eluding man’s grasp.

We Groan as Well

“And not only this, but also we ourselves, having the first fruits of the Spirit (the first down payment of our eternal salvation), even we ourselves groan within ourselves, waiting eagerly for our adoption as sons, the redemption of our body” (Romans 8:23). Even with all of God’s earthly blessings and our spiritual blessings in Christ (Ephesians 1:3), the Christian still groans for a better world. This does not mean we are ungrateful, instead it reveals who we are, a spirit in a body who was created for a higher world. “This tension is clearly evident in our physical bodies. Salvation here and now does not deliver us from weakness, disease, aging or death… the ending of the long night of evil, sin, pain and death. No-one who identifies with the agonies of the world, to say nothing of the agonies which are personalized in a regular way among family and friends, can do anything but long fervently for the coming resurrection of all things” (Milne, p. 238). Thus, instead of thinking of ourselves as being out-of-place in heaven, rather, we should remind ourselves that we are out-of-place here. We were created for a much better environment. When discouraged, remember it is only reasonable for a spirit be discouraged by the limitations of this life. Groaning simply means that you are awake and alive!

God and All Things

“And we know that God causes all things to work together for good to those who love God, to those who are called according to His purpose” (Romans 8:28). The Spirit is not saying that God causes all things, that is, God is not the author of cancer, the innocent suffering, or all the horrible things that people do to each other. Neither is the verse saying that all things just naturally work together for good to everyone. “He is not promulgating his version of the idea taught by the Enlightenment philosopher Leibnitz, that ‘this is the best of all possible worlds’; nor is he proclaiming, like Deepak Chopra in our own time, that ‘everything is good’” (Milne, p. 240). The verse is only a promise to “those who love God”, to “those who are called”, that is, who accept the gospel call – we, His children! If I am a child of God, then with God on my side, He and I can turn anything that comes my way into a blessing; even trials (Romans 5:3-5), even division (1 Corinthians 11:18), even false doctrine (2 Timothy 3:12), and ungodly men (Romans 9:22-23). Some rejected the gospel?

God’s Perspective

God has a plan, that despite human rebellion, He has been successfully working in every generation (8:30). The noble and amazing goal is to become conformed to the image of His Son (8:29), so that God will have many sons. Christ is seeking to expand His family and He is looking for “many brethren”.

But… What about the Opposition?

“What then shall we say to these things? If God is for us, who is against us?” (8:31). This is the only conclusion we can reach from reading these verses. God is definitely “for us”, this conclusion cannot be challenged. “God being ‘for us’, in one sense, is all we need to know. But can we be sure that He is, and will continue to be ‘for us’? Paul answers in radiant confidence, ‘Yes, He is, and will be forever!’” (Milne, p. 241).

Who Can Condemn Us?

There is another threat – ourselves. We have sinned (3:23), and we continue to sin (1 John 1:9). “What about the fact that charges can be brought against us? What about the sins that litter our lives?” (Milne, p. 242). But the good news is that Jesus is the Judge (8:34), and it just so happens that this Judge is likewise my advocate with the Father; He is My Savior!

Threats from Other Forces

“What of more sinister enemies, the spiritual forces that might assault us in this life or in the dark, unknown world beyond the grave?” (Milne, p. 242). Paul has an answer – Is God is for us in His love, then He is more than a match for all such spiritual powers!“