12 So then, brethren, we are under obligation, not to the flesh, to live according to the flesh—13 for if you are living according to the flesh, you must die; but if by the Spirit you are putting to death the deeds of the body, you will live. 14 For all who are being led by the Spirit of God, these are sons of God. 15 For you have not received a spirit of slavery leading to fear again, but you have received a spirit of adoption as sons by which we cry out, “ Abba! Father!” 16 The Spirit Himself testifies with our spirit that we are children of God, 17 and if children, heirs also, heirs of God and fellow heirs with Christ, if indeed we suffer with Him so that we may also be glorified with Him.
Summary – This passage is pertinent to our season after Pentecost. Paul explains that a Christians’ righteous living can not be attained through the exercise of their personal human energy and effort, but only through the Spirit’s work through their efforts. This fact is what makes one a Son or Child of God: the Spirit’s presence.
Insight – Being a child of God comes with more perks than just a fancy-sounding name! Notice here that if we are “children” of God, then “heirs also . . . with Christ.” Christ inherits a kingdom, and we as co-heirs have a share in it as well (cf. Sermon on the Mount). The Holy Spirit is our proof that we are God’s Children, and He gives us the grace and strength to live in ways befitting of God’s Children.
Catechism – How do you know that you are God’s child? By the Holy Spirit’s work in my life.
Prayer – Father, thank you for adopting us as sons. Though we were born as part of Adam’s family, your grace transferred us into Christ’s family. Give us the strength to put to death the deeds of the flesh through your Spirit. Amen.