Separated, saved and adopted. These three words capture the progression of our relationship with God from unbelief to belief in Christ which we explored last week. We also looked at the spiritual privileges we receive as we become members of God’s family. Now we shall explore two more privileges of adoption and how they influence our interaction with fellow believers.
The Spirit of Grace
A fourth privilege of adoption is that we are led by the Holy Spirit – the Spirit of grace. The Holy Spirit is the third Person of the Trinity – God the Holy Spirit. As Jesus departed the earth, He sent the Holy Spirit to permanently live in the believer upon their salvation. (John 14:16-17; 26; 16:7; Ephesians 1:13; Galatians 3:2). The work of the Holy Spirit and the grace of God are intertwined. The Holy Spirit is the means by which we obtain the grace to do that which pleases God.
The Holy Spirit helps us to grow in the grace of God, this simply means maturing as a Christian. We must scrap all our self-efforts to please God (Galatians 5:24) through actively walking in and keeping in step with the Spirit (Galatians 5:25). We depend on the Spirit by trusting in Him, reading God’s Word and prayer which empowers us to live in obedience to God’s commands. He works in and through our lives, producing traits which glorify God and reflect His nature by His grace (Galatians 5:16-18; 23-24).
The Spirit of Holiness
Lastly, children of God are led by the Holy Spirit into holiness.
So then, brothers, we are debtors, not to the flesh, to live according to the flesh. 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. For all who are led by the Spirit of God are sons of God.Romans 8:12-14
Whilst it is true that we are led by the Spirit into knowledge of the wisdom and power of God (1 Corinthians 2:10-11) and guided by Him into the truth of God’s Word (John 16:13-15), this is not what is being referred to in Romans 8. This speaks of being led into holiness.
To be holy is to be sanctified. This means being set apart unto God, for His special use and purposes. This occurs once saved (1 Corinthians 1:30; 6:11 Hebrews 10:10), but is also progressive. God gradually frees us from sin, making us more like Jesus in character and nature by the work of His Spirit (2 Corinthians 3:18; 2 Peter 3:18) as we actively pursue holiness (Hebrews 12:14).
We strive to please our earthly parents, not to gain their favour, but because we are their children. This is no different with our heavenly Father. We obey God in response to His love for us, out of love for Him and through the Spirit. Therefore, as Romans 8:12-14 indicates, we are being led by the Spirit into holiness which requires that we put to death particular sins in our life as the evidence of our faith and being born again into the family of God (Philippians 2:12-13).
This is not passive, but intentional and rigorous. We are not to rest in sinful habits and behaviours, but to kill the sin in our lives by submitting to God and resisting the devil when temptation creeps up on us (James 4:7). How so? By strengthening our faith through reading of the Word and prayer (Ephesians 6:16-17). Addressing temptation with the truth of God’s Word is crucial because God sanctifies us by His Word. (John 17:17).
Let not sin therefore reign in your mortal body, to make you obey its passions. Do not present your members to sin as instruments for unrighteousness, but present yourselves to God as those who have been brought from death to life, and your members to God as instruments for righteousness.Romans 6:12-13
Therefore, my beloved, as you have always obeyed, so now, not only as in my presence but much more in my absence, work out your own salvation with fear and trembling, for it is God who works in you, both to will and to work for his good pleasure.Philippians 2:12-13
Pursue God Together
Belief in Jesus sees us enter into a family with billions of brothers and sisters in the faith, united by the same Gospel. By diving into Christian community, we are led by the Spirit of grace and holiness with greater effectiveness. I know it can be daunting, but reach out to your siblings in Christ. Gather together in churches, Bible studies or small friendship groups to study the Bible and pray. Few things compare to the joy of maturing in Christ fellow believers, sharpening and motivating each other as we grow in grace and knowledge of our Lord Jesus Christ (2 Peter 3:18).
As iron sharpens iron,Proverbs 27:17
so one person sharpens another.
Let us think of ways to motivate one another to acts of love and good works. And let us not neglect our meeting together, as some people do, but encourage one another, especially now that the day of his return is drawing near.Hebrews 10:24-25
Heavenly Father, thank you for saving me from my sins, bringing me to belief in your Son and adopting me into Your family. Help me to experience the joys of the privileges of adoption. Please help me to submit to the leading of Your Spirit into grace and holiness, matured by Your Word, Spirit and my brothers and sisters in Christ. Please give me the boldness to share this with others that they may also believe in Your Son, In Jesus’ name I pray, amen.