15For you did not receive a spirit of slavery to fall back into fear, but you have received a spirit of adoption. When we cry, “Abba! Father!” 16it is that very Spirit bearing witness with our spirit that we are children of God, 17and if children, then heirs, heirs of God and joint heirs with Christ—if, in fact, we suffer with him so that we may also be glorified with him.
Romans 8:15-17 (NSRV)
There is within this passage an image that I don’t think comes fully into view until you look at the practice of adoption under the Roman law. This is what I found from William Barclay’s commentary on this passage. Under Roman law, the father wishing to adopt someone goes to their father/guardian and offers money. There is a ritual that follows of paying the money and the father buying back his child. The third time, the father does not buy back his child and the adoption is finalized. At this time, a new name is given, taking no part of the individual’s previous name. The person then becomes completely part of that household - completely. They share equally in any inheritance that comes to the children after the death of the father.
Considering the above, there are some things that are illuminated about our life as a disciple of Jesus. God has sought us out, called us by name to be one of His children. God has paid the price in sending His Son to us, knowing that He would have to die to complete the payment. We have a new name – Christian. We become sisters and brothers of our Lord Jesus. And, maybe this is the best part; we will share equally in His inheritance. Think about it. All that God has done for His Son, Jesus the Christ, he is going to do for us.
The problem is that living as a disciple of Christ is not an easy task – in fact, it is impossible on our own. Paul reminds us that there is hope - by living our lives in the spirit, not the flesh. Jesus told us that we were not being left orphaned, that he was sending an Advocate, the Holy Spirit, God’s Spirit to live in us. When we live trusting that Spirit to guide and teach us, we live in the Spirit, not the flesh. By flesh Paul means living in the culture of the world.
God chose us! God paid the price for our adoption! We are joint heirs with Christ. The reflection of Christ burns brighter as a result.
Thank you, Father God. Thank you for choosing us. Thank you for paying the price. Continue to mold and shape our lives. Amen.
Always, to God be the glory!