This past Sunday, we continued along in our series on Romans 8, looking at the truth that “in this hope, we are heirs“. In Christ Jesus, we are:
- heirs to a new identity (v.15)
- heirs to a redemption (v.12-14)
- and fellow heirs to glory (v.16-17)
As we’ve studied this incredible passage of Scripture over the past two weeks, one recurrent theme is the certainty with which God will bring the work of grace to completion in the life of his people. In v.1-11, we saw the reality that God’s work of grace was not merely to cover our sins and leave us to our imperfections; he is bringing the work to completion by empowering us to live righteously. By the power of His Spirit, we continue to “put to death the deeds of the body” (v.13), dying to sin, but living to righteousness. And this work of the Holy Spirit is a sure work and one we can hope in because the same power that raised Jesus from the dead lives in us (v.11). While, in this life, we will continue on in the battle against our sinful flesh, we know that Jesus Christ is able and sin won’t have the final authority and power over us. Therefore, this promise that by the power of the Spirit “you will live” (v.13) should come to us as the “highest of assurances” (Calvin) because we know that in Christ we will “reign in life” (Romans 5:17) and be enslaved to our sin no longer. Therefore, in Christ, sin is not our terminal state, redemption is. That is the ultimate trajectory for the people of God – that we will be “set free from our bondage to corruption” (Romans 8:21) and be “confomred into the image of Jesus” (Romans 8:29).
This 30,000-foot level vision for God’s redemptive work is important for us as we live day to day, so that we don’t lose hope from within the battle. But also, we must be constantly reminded that the victory is decidedly won and will continue to be accomplished by the work of the Holy Spirit. We certainly do not have within us the strength to conquer sin, but One has; and he didn’t merely defeat sin in a “legal” sense so that we are forgiven. Rather, Christ’s defeat of sin has, is, and will continue to become a reality in the lives of his people by the power of the Holy Spirit. We pointed out this Sunday that in this one chapter of Romans 8, the Holy Spirit is mentioned 19 times. That should tell us something. God isn’t calling you to righteousness by your own strength. The gospel isn’t a call to pick yourselves up by your bootstraps and try harder. The gospel is that God has secured the victory in Christ and is completing the work of redemption in the lives of his people. Our effort, therefore, is an effort to live by the power of the Holy Spirit – to practice the presence of God such that our living under the guidance of Spirit becomes second nature, like muscle-memory. As we study God’s Word daily, pray continusously and meditate on the incredible truths of Scripture, we place ourselves in line to experience the flourishing that comes from an “in-tune” life with the Spirit.
Yet, in all of these things, we do so with the peculiar hopefulness that Christ will complete the work. How do we know? Because in this hope, we are heirs. As the newly adopted sons and daughters of God, we are not kept at arms length from God, our Father. We don’t occupy the guest houses of God’s Kingdom. We sit at the table as fully loved, fully justified, and fully accepted children of God and our inheritance from our Father is sure to come. Let us, then, seek to stand in, rejoice in and strive in the power of God that lives in us until that day when He will crush sin and death forever and glory becomes our final reality.