Faith in Romans - Chapter 8, Part 2: The Believer’s “Abba Father,” Present Suffering & Glory to Follow:Volume 5, Number 19
Created Date: September 18, 2020
Posted Date: September 18, 2020
Our last study covered, recapping the good news that there is no judgement against believers in Christ Jesus who formerly were sinners condemned to death. Today, we continue with that begins with the word “therefore,” which means “accordingly, consequently, those things being so,” introducing the statement “…. we are debtors, not to the flesh, to live after the flesh,” Romans 8:12. Thus, since believers are no longer under condemnation, they no longer owe or have an obligation to live after the lusts of the sinful flesh in which they were born. But the next verse reads “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.” . Unfortunately, some take this out of context, misconstruing it to teach that believers have to work to maintain their relationship with God, that is, if they backslide into sin, they could lose their salvation. We will see that this cannot be. Believers are members of the Body of Christ having been baptized therein by the Holy Spirit, ; and being in Christ they are new creations, old things having passed away, all things having become new, ; they are crucified with Christ, but they live because Christ lives in them by the faith of the Son of God Who gave Himself for them, . And nothing can separate believers from the Love of God that is in Christ Jesus our Lord, Romans 8:31 - 39.
Yes, believers do sin even though Christ Jesus condemned sin in the flesh,, because they continue to live in the flesh they inherited from Adam, . This results in warfare between their sinful flesh and “the law of Spirit of life in Christ Jesus” that freed them from the law of sin and death, ; . Because of this, believers are to: reckon themselves dead unto sin but alive unto God through the Lord Jesus Christ; not let sin reign in their bodies by obeying the lusts thereof; not yield their bodies as members of unrighteousness but yield themselves as alive unto God with their bodies as instruments of righteousness unto God, because sin does not have dominion over them because they are not under the law but under Grace, . These passages make it clear that Romans 8:13 simply means that unbelievers live after the flesh and die while believers put to death the deeds of the flesh through the Spirit and live. The next 4 verses further explain the believer’s experience:
• “For as many as are led by the Spirit of God, they are the sons of God.”. The true believer is a son of God, and thus are led by the Spirit of God.
• “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,”. Believers are adopted as full sons of God as emphasized by the term “Abba, Father” which is found 3 times in the New Testament (NT). Jesus Christ Himself uttered “Abba, Father” when He prayed in Gethsemane while facing His coming agony and death: “And he said, Abba, Father, all things are possible unto thee; take away this cup from me: nevertheless not what I will, but what thou wilt.” .
The other time this word is used is in; “And because ye are sons, God hath sent forth the Spirit of his Son into your hearts, crying, Abba, Father. Wherefore thou art no more a servant, but a son; and if a son, then an heir of God through Christ.”
The Greek-English Lexicon indicates that at the time Jesus walked this earth, “Abba” was the pronunciation of the Hebrew word for “Father.” So it is that Jesus Christ referred to God as “Father, Father,” and from Romans 8:15 & Galatians 4:6 believers today, being in Christ, have the same personal and intimate relationship with Almighty God as Jesus Christ. Believers have received the Spirit of adoption so are able to call God “Father, 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.”. Believers are “heirs” (one who receives his allotted possession by right of sonship) of God and “joint heirs” with Christ (joint participants with Christ in the inheritance as sons of God). This is an amazing fact to grasp!
But, what about the last phrase of, “if so be that we suffer with him, that we may be also glorified together?” How do, or how can believers suffer with Christ? He was beaten, scourged and hung on a cross. Many Monks and Priests of old whipped themselves, traveled long distances or repeatedly climbed stairs on their hands and knees until bloodied, wore rough garments that scratched their bodies, ate meagerly, slept on hard surfaces, etc., by which they sought to suffer for God. Even today we read of men whipping themselves, carrying crosses, etc., ostensibly to “suffer with Christ.” However, all such efforts have been and are in vain. To understand how we suffer with Christ, we must first ask why Christ suffered? The answer is simple, He suffered for the sin that Satan introduced into the world via Adam, which has polluted not only mankind, but the universe. “For Christ also hath once suffered for sins, the just for the unjust, that he might bring us to God, being put to death in the flesh, but quickened by the Spirit:” . Because God is Righteousness, it was necessary for Jesus Christ to suffer in order to defeat Satan, as Christ disclosed: “Now is the judgment of this world: now shall the prince of this world be cast out.” . Right after the Lord Jesus Christ saved Saul of Tarsus who later became the Apostle Paul, He told Ananias to tell Saul: “For I will shew him how great things he must suffer for my name's sake.” .
Paul set the standard in the suffering befalling all believers who have followed; from some being burned alive at the stake to comparatively minor suffering by others. Contrary to the “name it and claim it” message preached by many today that if believers live right they will prosper, suffering is the lot of all true believers: “For unto you it is given in the behalf of Christ, not only to believe on him, but also to suffer for his sake;”. Paul wrote to the believers in Thessalonica: “So that we ourselves glory in you in the churches of God for your patience and faith in all your persecutions and tribulations that ye endure: Which is a manifest token of the righteous judgment of God, that ye may be counted worthy of the kingdom of God, for which ye also suffer:” . And to Timothy: “Yea, and all that will live godly in Christ Jesus shall suffer persecution.” . Believers today can expect suffering because of sin and that Satan is still the Prince and Power of the air, but we rest in the assurance that: “There hath no temptation taken you but such as is common to man: but God is faithful, who will not suffer you to be tempted above that ye are able; but will with the temptation also make a way to escape, that ye may be able to bear it.” .
As stated in the following verses, the entire creation suffers from the result of Satan and sin but look forward to the glory to come: “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 (should be “creation”) waiteth for the manifestation of the sons of God,” . (The next verse is a parenthesis, except for the last two words): “For the creature (should be “creation”) was made subject to vanity, not willingly, but by reason of him who hath subjected the same,” a; the last two words “in hope,” Romans 8:20b, should read “waiteth I say, because the creature (creation) itself also shall be delivered (“set free,” the same Greek word as in Romans 8:2) 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.” .