Wait on the LORD: be of good courage,
and he shall strengthen thine heart;
wait, I say, on the LORD.
- Psalm 27:14
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Pastor's Blog

No Fear! 8.6.2017
Dear friend, May grace, mercy and peace be unto you from God our Father and from His Son, our Lord and Saviour Jesus Christ now and forever, amen!

I would like to preface our time together today with a question: What does it mean to be a Christian? We could say that it contains mainly two parts: Being rescued from slavery and brought into sonship, or into the family of God whereby He is our Father.

For the Jewish believer in the Old Testament, their knowledge of God was not as their father, but through many names which identified aspects of his character.

God was referred to as "our Father" 13 times in the Old Testament, Jesus' frequent use of this title brought a whole new understanding of our relationship with God. Jesus referred to God as His father over 150 times, and He spoke of God as being our father 30 times.

For the Jewish worshipper of God to refer to His as Father was entirely foreign to them. They lived in fear and awe of Him, and so over time their worship was primarily involved in making sure that God was pleased with them and that they did not offend His holiness.

Today we sang a number of songs that had to do with what our God who is holy and Who cannot look upon sin, did to rescue us back to Himself. And we sang of the joy in our hearts at being rescued through the love of God demonstrated through God and Jesus jointly rescuing us from sin¿½¬¢s penalty which is death. We have been hearing of how we are no longer subject to the power of sin in our lives, for the Holy Spirit¿½¬¢s indwelling presence has freed us from the power of sin to put us to death. So as we look at our continuing progression through the letter of Apostle Paul to the Romans, let us see what else the Holy Spirit ministers to us.

Romans 8:12 Therefore, brethren, we are debtors, not to the flesh, to live after the flesh.
13 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.
14 For as many as are led by the Spirit of God, they are the sons of God.
15 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.
16 The Spirit itself beareth witness with our spirit, that we are the children of God:
17 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.

The power of sin over us is broken, says Paul in Romans 6-8, by the Spirit of God. And one of the things the Spirit does in liberating us is to convince us that we are the beloved children of God. The cross of Christ demonstrates that God loves us as our Father, and the Spirit of Christ completes the circle of love by assuring us that we are now the adopted children of God.
Possessing all this, why would we ever think about paying any kind of allegiance to the flesh? For what the Spirit has brought to us through faith, how would it make any sense to live after the flesh? When all it can to is bring us to death?

We are now indwelt by the Holy Spirit, by whom Christ our Lord lives within us. This life which throbs in our heart beats also in the pulse, so the very life which is in Christ in glory is also in our hearts. We are to resist every effort of our body of sin which would attempt to restrict the experience and expression of life in the Spirit. This is what the Apostle means by doing to death the practices, stratagems, and lawless promptings of the body, which are ever calling for ease and self-indulgence. There is no stage of our earthly journey at which we can dispense with the power of the Spirit of God for deliverance from the deeds of the body.

But there is another most blessed function of the divine Spirit, Romans 8:14. He is willing to lead us, to prompt our actions, to inspire our purposes, and to mold our characters.

The Spirit we received does not make us slaves, so that we live in fear again; rather, the Spirit we received brought about our adoption to sonship. And by him we cry, "Abba, Father." ¿½¬€ Romans 8:15

The more we yield to Him, the deeper becomes our awareness of that filial relationship with God which breathes in the cry, Abba, Father. But note the wonderful climax, Romans 8:17. When we yield to the Holy Spirit, He will conduct us into the divine treasure-house and bid us avail ourselves of the infinite resources which are there stored for our use, not in the next life, but in this.

Hebrews 2:14 Forasmuch then as the children are partakers of flesh and blood, he also himself likewise took part of the same; that through death he might destroy him that had the power of death, that is, the devil;
15 And deliver them who through fear of death were all their lifetime subject to bondage.

As is seen in the case of the slave-made-son adoption, this process occurred in a change of social status for the person being adopted. Obviously, for the Romans this movement of status was a serious matter. The purpose of adoption in Roman culture was to secure the benefits of having a son in a family who has either no son or an estranged son. The primary motivation for adopting was to continue the family line and practices. It was not necessarily for the protection or maintenance of the one being adopted; the focus was on the benefits the family as a whole gained through the process.

What is the Father/ Son relationship between God and Jesus?
1. Authority and Mission
John 6: 38 For I came down from heaven, not to do mine own will, but the will of him that sent me.

2. Affection: John 5:20 For the Father loveth the Son, and sheweth him all things that himself doeth:

3. Fellowship: John 8: 29 And he that sent me is with me: the Father hath not left me alone; for I do always those things that please him.

4. Honor: John 5: 22 For the Father judgeth no man, but hath committed all judgment unto the Son, 23 That all men should honour the Son, even as they honour the Father. He that honoureth not the Son honoureth not the Father which hath sent him.

Romans 8:17 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.
God only has one Son, Jesus, and we have been brought into Jesus so that we are in Him and He in us. God has given us sonship, we have an inheritance that is incorruptible, does not fade away and is reserved in heaven for us. Since God has only one Son and we are the brothers of Jesus, we are also sons, but by adoption. Yes we were adopted as an object of His love and also for Him to carry on His Name in order that it He might be glorified by gathering many into His family through us.

What a joy to be a child of God!!! May the Lord open our understanding so that we could experience a greater appreciation of his gracious forgiveness, but perhaps more than that, that He would open up our understanding of what it means to be in His family. We have the blessing of being loved as well as the joy of sonship which when properly understood and experienced, moves us to desire to care for and to increase His family.

A couple of questions: Do we know the forgiveness of sins in Christ? And, do we understand that we are now in His great family of believers, who are loved and cared for by our Father? Are we being led by His Spirit? Is our spirit giving witness to His Spirit that we are His family members?

May the grace of God in Christ Jesus be with us always!
Pastor Orval Wirkkala
Posted on 06 Aug 2017 by Pastor Orval Wirkkala
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