Romans 8:12-16, “12 Therefore, brethren, we are debtors—not to the flesh, to live according to the flesh. 13 For if you live according to the flesh you will die; but if by the Spirit you put to death the deeds of the body, you will live. 14 For as many as are led by the Spirit of God, these are sons of God. 15 For you did not receive the spirit of bondage again to fear, but you received the Spirit of adoption by whom we cry out, “Abba, Father.” 16 The Spirit Himself bears witness with our spirit that we are children of God”
The life of a Christian is a life owned, governed and led by Christ. Not only is Christ our Savior, He is also the Sovereign Lord over our lives. We are no longer slaves to sin to obey it’s lusts, we are now slaves to righteousness. Paul says, Vs. 12, “Therefore, brethren, we are debtors—not to the flesh, to live according to the flesh”. We are indeed debtors but not debtors to the flesh, we owe it all to Jesus not to repay for what He has done, but a life of gratitude for what He has done. Once we were sold under sin (Romans 7:14); but now that we have been set free from that hard master and become servants to Righteousness (Romans 6:22), we owe nothing to the flesh, we disown its unrighteous claims and are deaf to its superior demands.
Vs. 13, “For if you live according to the flesh you will die; but if by the Spirit you put to death the deeds of the body, you will live”. This is about who is the master. If you are no longer a debtor to the flesh, then you no longer live in its bondage but rather you live by the Spirit that gives you the drive and the ability to mortify (put to death) the flesh. The apostle is not only telling us what we are not under, he also encourages us to fight and not be entangled by the things believers have been freed from. In other words, “if you do not kill sin, sin will kill you”. This is the reason the life of a Christian is a battle, a battle to stay free by the power of the Holy Spirit we yield to.
Vs.14,”For as many as are led by the Spirit of God, these are sons of God”, the previous verse apostle Paul speaks of the Spirit of God as simply the power through which believers mortify sin. He now speaks of the Spirit of God, the Holy Spirit who leads believers, giving them identity, a confirmation that they belong. The Spirit of God leads from sin and from a dependence on self. He leads to the person, blood, and righteousness of Christ, and to the fullness of grace in Him; into the presence of God.
Vs. 15, “For you did not receive the spirit of bondage again to fear, but you received the Spirit of adoption by whom we cry out, “Abba, Father.” Many outside the Christian circle see a Christian life as a life of bondage, however, those who are not saved are the ones in bondage. The Spirit received at the time of conversion is not a Spirit of bondage but a freeing Spirit. I believe this is seen clearly in Matthew 11:28-30, which reads “28 Come to Me, all you who labor and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest. 29 Take My yoke upon you and learn from Me, for I am gentle and lowly in heart, and you will find rest for your souls. 30 For My yoke is easy and My burden is light.” What appears to be a yoke and a burden is light.
In the light of this freedom, we cry “Abba, Father” who has adopted us. As a Father, His aim is not to put on us things that lead to destruction but things that lead to freedom. We find comfort in knowing that we are His children and He loves us and, Vs. 16-17, “16 The Spirit Himself bears witness with our spirit that we are children of God, 17 and if children, then heirs—heirs of God and joint heirs with Christ, if indeed we suffer with Him, that we may also be glorified together”, “The testimony of our own spirit is borne in that cry of conscious sonship, “Abba, Father”; but we are not therein alone; for the Holy Ghost within us, yea, even in that very cry which it is His to draw forth, sets His own distinct seal to ours; and thus, “in the mouth of two witnesses” the thing is established. The apostle had before called us “sons of God,” referring to our adoption; here the word changes to “children,” referring to our new birth. The one expresses the dignity to which we are admitted; the other the new life which we receive. The latter is more suitable here; because a son by adoption might not be heir of the property, whereas a son by birth certainly is, and this is what the apostle is now coming to” ,Jamieson, Faussett, and Brown commentary. To continue, Blessings Ev