For all who are being led by the Spirit of God, these are the sons of God.
Being led by the Holy Spirit refers to divine guidance, which is the doctrine of determining the will of God for your life. Divine guidance is the communication of God’s will through God’s revelation, the Bible. Divine revelation in our dispensation is strictly limited to the Word of God. The canon of Scripture contains all knowledge related to divine guidance. There is guidance from God in a sense for the reversionist who receives warning discipline and then intensive discipline from God. This discipline merely tells him he is on the wrong path in life. The only classification for positively knowing the will of God is related to Bible doctrine, which means that you cannot know the will of God apart from knowing the Word of God. (Romans 12:1-3)
The sons of God refers to mature believers. The Greek word for sons is “huios,” which is used here in its correct Greek sense of “mature son.” The absence of the definite article with “huios” helps us to understand that this is used here for mature sons. Therefore, it emphasizes the maturing believer. If it were referring to an immature believer, the Greek word for child, “teknon,” would have been used.
Guidance through maximum doctrine in the soul and the filling of the Spirit is for advancing believers. For the immature believer guidance comes through divine discipline as a warning to get back to learning and applying Bible doctrine. The carnal believer is guided through discipline.
One of the results of divine guidance is the utilization of Bible doctrine that a believer has stored in his/her soul. Over time this can mean reaching a stage of spiritual maturity resulting in a person becoming spiritually self-sustaining, i.e. not depending on anyone by being counselled and not consulting with someone who will give you misinformation about any given course of action or what decision should be made. The worst thing that can happen to any believer is to start depending on unbelievers or immature believers for their guidance or counsel. Only the mature believer is completely spiritually self-sustaining, making his/her own correct decisions and possessing total confidence about the will of God in any situation or circumstance of life. The best counsel for a believer is application of Bible doctrine. However, you cannot apply what you do not know. This does not exclude the growing believer from seeking advice from spiritually mature believers.
For you have not received a spirit of slavery leading to fear again.
The new life in Christ Jesus is not designed by God to be a life of slavery to fear. Assurance and confidence are characteristics of the normal Christian way of life. However, it isn’t self-confidence so much as confidence in the integrity of God and assurance based on doctrine resident in the soul. The life of the unbeliever is obviously going to be unstable. The more unstable the historical situation the more unstable the unbeliever will be. The life of slavery here is marriage to the sin nature, but we are positionally free from the sin nature through retroactive positional truth and this has potentially freed us from the life of slavery. Furthermore, the purpose of our life has changed. The purpose of our life is the glorification of the Lord Jesus Christ as members of the Royal Family of God. Therefore, fear is incompatible with this purpose and should not be a part of the Royal Family of God. Fear and instability in the believer indicate lack of the filling of the Spirit and failure to assimilate Bible doctrine on a consistent basis.
But you have received a spirit of adoption as sons by which we cry out, “Abba Father.”
In contrast to the first marriage to the sin nature that is characterized by fear, the second marriage to Christ is characterized by the Spirit of adoption. The Greek word for spirit is “pneuma,” and refers to God the Holy Spirit as the author of the baptism of the Spirit at salvation. Adoption in Biblical times meant to place as an adult son, and it follows the Roman custom at the time of writing. The Romans had a custom of “adopting” their own children at the point of maturity, and it refers to that. It doesn’t refer to the adoption of a baby which was born to other parents, but to the Roman custom of adoption.
Then we have the Greek verb “krazo,” which means to shout. It means a shout of victory or a shout of happiness. This is the expression of great happiness when we finally realize that God has a perfect plan for us, and that it includes a day-by-day plan in life, and that it provides everything in a wonderful way. There are no accidents with God and all things work together for good for those who are advancing spiritually.
When Paul finally caught on to adoption he shouted out “Abba” in the Jewish language. Paul is a Jew and a Roman citizen. He is recognizing for the first time as a mature believer the great structure of the plan of God, and he is using the Roman system in order to recognize it. Adoption has the connotation of great blessing. It means plan, purpose, power, blessing, and eventually glory. So here is the expression of this wonderful plan; this wonderful relationship we have with God. (Galatians 4:6)
The Spirit Himself bears witness with our spirit that we are children of God.
The Holy Spirit takes doctrine in the human spirit and transfers it to the soul, which can help the believer make the proper application to life. You cannot face life properly as a believer unless you face it from the divine viewpoint. Divine viewpoint demands the use of doctrine in any given circumstance or situation. Doctrine is the mind of Christ. Awareness of our family relationship with God comes from two sources: 1) the filling of the Spirit and 2) Bible doctrine in the human spirit.
The reality of any spiritual phenomena is accomplished by the teaching ministry of the Holy Spirit. The subject taught by the Holy Spirit is Bible doctrine. The reality comes from the Bible doctrine resident in your soul. The verses for the teaching ministry of the Holy Spirit are John 14:26; 16:12-15; 1 Corinthians 2:9-16; 1 John 2:27. Reality about our relationship with God, our purpose in the plan of God, the mechanics of the plan of God and our objectives for life on this earth after salvation originate from the transfer of Bible doctrine from the page of the Scripture to the soul of the believer. This is accomplished through the ministry of God the Holy Spirit.
Reality from doctrine becomes the basis for confidence and security in our relationship with God. The reality of God, the integrity of God, the plan of God and blessings from God stem from the same root: doctrine resident in the soul. Doctrine resident in the soul is the reality of our relationship with God in time, as well as the greater blessings from God in eternity. There is no substitute for Bible doctrine resident in the soul. And there is no way to get it there apart from the teaching ministry of God the Holy Spirit.
And if children, heirs also, heirs of God and fellow-heirs with Christ, if indeed we suffer with Him in order that we may also be glorified with Him.
Inheritance implies a family relationship. This is certainly the case for every Christian. At salvation, every believer becomes a child of God. One of the amazing things is that, as children of God, we also become heirs of God and joint-heirs with Jesus Christ. This means that we share in Christ’s inheritance. The Bible declares that it has not even entered into the mind of man what God has prepared for him. (Galatians 3:26; 4:26; Romans 8:17)
In eternity past, when God was designing a plan for your life, He included as part of His plan an inheritance. God was thinking of you in eternity past and predesigned a magnificent plan for your life on earth. He also designed a plan for you for the eternal state. God’s plans are always a matter of His grace. (Ephesians 1:11)
Paul took all of these great thoughts in the first part of the chapter and put them together with something at the end of this sentence which seems to be opposed to all he’s said thus far. He put them together with suffering. Suffering as a believer is a way to develop capacity for blessing.
As believers in Jesus Christ, we identify with the suffering of Christ on the Cross. The Greek word for suffer means to suffer at the same time, to suffer with, to suffer the same as, but primarily to suffer at the same time but not to the same degree or content. The sufferings of Christ on the Cross were absolutely unique. Paul is not saying that we will suffer in the same manner as Christ. Paul is saying that the believer identifies with Christ’s suffering when that person believes in Christ for eternal salvation. The next verse will address Christian suffering.
The Greek word for glorified is “sundoxazo,” which means to be glorified with someone, to be fellow-glorified or to share in someone else’s glory. The fact that Christ is glorified means that the way is now open for any member of the Royal Family of God to share in His glory. This glorification equates to the rewards and blessings of eternity. However, it depends on the believer’s execution of the Christian Way of Life while on earth.