There is therefore now no condemnation for those who are in Christ Jesus. For the law of the Spirit of life in Christ Jesus has set me free from the law of sin and death. For God has done what the law, weakened by the flesh, could not do: sending his own Son in the likeness of sinful flesh and for sin, he condemned sin in the flesh, . . .in order that the just requirement of the law might be fulfilled in us, who walk not according to the flesh but according to the Spirit.
For all who are led by the Spirit of God are sons of God. For you did not receive the spirit of slavery to fall back into fear, but you have received the spirit of sonship. When we cry, "Abba! Father!" it is the Spirit himself bearing witness with our spirit that we are children of God, and if children, then heirs, heirs of God and fellow heirs with Christ, provided we suffer with him in order that we may also be glorified with him. (Romans 8:1-4, 14-17 RSV)
“The law” becomes our salvation, our source of strength, our life-sustaining guide when it is intertwined with the fact of Jesus Christ. We obey the law because of our love for Christ. We have the desire to obey, now, not out of fear of retribution alone, but out of gratitude for the gift of Jesus.
He was just like us—tempted in every way—yet he did not succumb to his human instincts. I can’t help but think that he was able to resist sin not because of his divinity—but rather that he was able to avoid it because, in his humanity, he knew he had to rely upon the Father.
He suffered as a man. He was beaten and tortured in his human form. He was able to take it—the punishment for all our sins, because of his divinity. God gave him super-human strength to endure what he took upon himself. So how do we become like Christ? By calling upon the same God upon whom Jesus called.
We are heirs—fellow heirs with Christ. Wow! That means we’re “like Christ.” That we are afforded the same privileges and can expect the same reward: eternal life in heaven. To be like Christ is not easy! Remember, he called upon his father (Our Father) every time he needed to resist his human inclination to sin. Every time. Before he acted, he prayed. Before he chose a path, he turned the decision over to God. He called out to his “Abba,” his “daddy.” And the Abba God answered.
That’s our promise, too. That if we call out to him, he will answer. Thankfully, we also possess the spirit living within us. That spirit, sent by Abba God and our co-heir, his son, our brother, causes us to desire the path of righteousness. That spirit, and our gratitude to Abba God for sending his son, is why we keep at it, day after day, year after year. Our co-heir, our brother Jesus, is why we never give up. He gave us every part of his human self—and then reached deep down inside to reveal his divinity.
It's breathtaking to think about how passionately, deeply, completely God loves me; to be my daddy-God, to adopt me into a family where Jesus is my brother; to remember me in his will—as if I were his own from the beginning of time—Oh, yeah! I was! And so were you. We suffer the limitations of our human form, so that we may rejoice one day in our spiritual beings with Christ. He waits—the perfectly perfect big brother—to reach out a hand and hike us up that last little way to the top of the mountain. He waits—with our Abba, our Daddy-God.
I hope today you rejoice at being adopted into God’s family. And that you rely upon your brother Jesus to direct your speech and guide your actions as you look to the future inheritance you share with him.
Blessings on your journey,