What better news could you ponder than to know that the God of all creation, the God who controls every detail and atom in existence, is your Father. Consider that personal pronoun, your. You are his child, and he your Father. Stand tall, dear Christian, and remember who your beloved and loving Father is.
For all who are led by the Spirit of God are sons of God.
Is there anything more comforting in all of God’s revealed word than the thought that in Christ we are sons of God? We are finding ourselves climbing higher and higher up the mountain peak of Romans 8 and now in verse 14 we have stepped out on to one of those rare ledges where we can look out and take in one of the most beautiful views in all the landscape of God’s Scripture: the glorious doctrine of our adoption in Christ. The air up here is fresh and breathing it in brings an exhilarating assurance to any Christian who takes the time look and take in the wonder of its truth.
The first thing we need to notice is the immediate logic which leads Paul to declare this stunning truth. He’s just been arguing that since Christians are people who have the Spirit of Christ indwelling them, and therefore the Spirit works within them to put to death the deeds of the body, to mortify sin within our lives. But notice the move he makes here in verse 14. It’s as if he’s saying, how could our lives look any different! Of course, Christians put sin to death because “all who are led by the Spirit of God are sons of God.” In other words, if you have the Spirit of God within you, you will necessarily act and live your life in such a way that shows you are a part of God’s family. “All who are led by the Spirit of God are sons of God.”
I remember in High School my father pulling me aside anytime I was ready to go to some get together with friends, and he’s always say the same thing: “Remember who you are. Remember your last name, that you are an Unthank.” His point was clear. How I acted at this High School party represented my whole family and therefore he was reminding me to not act in such a way that was contrary to how he and my mom raised me. To my shame I didn’t always heed his advice well, but looking back I know those brief reminders kept me out of far more trouble then had he never said anything at all.
In one sense, Paul is doing the same thing here. He’s reminding us of who we are. Do you see the objective reality of his statement. It’s a statement of indicative truth. If you are led by the Spirit of God, then, says Paul, that means you are a son of God. He doesn’t say “All who live a life of righteousness will one day, maybe, gain the status of being God’s son. No, if you have his Spirit then, de facto, you are God’s son. On one level, this is nothing more than Paul reminding us, you’re a Christian; God is now no longer your judge but your Heavenly Father, and because of that you yourself are a changed person! Live like it! “For all who are led by the Spirit of God are sons of God.”
But there’s more to what Paul is saying here. He’s also reminding us that we are in Christ. Remember, that’s been the major thrust of Paul’s argument so far in Romans 8. He began by declaring the wonderful good news that “there is therefore now no condemnation for those who are in Christ Jesus.” And we’ve seen how all the benefits of our salvation and redemption aren’t gifts given to us out of thin air; no, everything we have in terms of salvation we have by being found in Christ. He is our Righteousness (1 Cor. 1:30) and so by faith in him and becoming one with him, his righteousness becomes our righteousness. He is Wisdom (Proverbs 8) and so by becoming one with him through faith, his wisdom becomes our wisdom. And now Paul is telling us, “Look, Jesus is the Son of God. And so, by believing in him and thus becoming one with him, his sonship now becomes our sonship.” It’s a staggering reality! Because of Jesus Christ we are now adopted as sons in the Son. Incidentally, I think this is why Scripture always uses the language of “son” rather than “sons and daughters.” The emphasis is on our union in Christ. We are all sons, whether we’re male or female, simply because we’re united in the Son. Ladies, don’t fret, all believing men are caught up in the image of the church as the Bride of Christ, so it all evens out.