Embracing our divine inheritance

A happy boy with a Bible

Have you ever been given a gift so profound that it left you feeling deeply indebted? Paul taps into this sentiment in Romans 8:12–17, revealing the transformative power of adoption into God’s family. Saved by grace, we are not mere recipients; rather, we become integral participants in God’s divine plan—the resurrection life.

12 Therefore, brothers and sisters, we have an obligation—but it is not to the flesh, to live according to it. 13 For if you live according to the flesh, you will die; but if by the Spirit you put to death the misdeeds of the body, you will live.

14 For those who are led by the Spirit of God are the children of God. 15 The Spirit you received does not make you slaves, so that you live in fear again; rather, the Spirit you received brought about your adoption to sonship. And by him we cry, “Abba, Father.” 16 The Spirit himself testifies with our spirit that we are God’s children. 17 Now if we are children, then we are heirs—heirs of God and co-heirs with Christ, if indeed we share in his sufferings in order that we may also share in his glory.

Romans 8:12–17, NIV

Verse 14 illuminates the notion of being led by the Spirit of God. Consider a child raised in a thriving family enterprise; their future responsibilities are not burdensome obligations but exciting opportunities to contribute. Similarly, the Holy Spirit instills within us a fervent eagerness to partake in God’s work.

Paul employs a poignant analogy by referencing Julius Caesar’s adoption of an heir to his throne, a recognizable concept to Roman Christians. In verses 15–17, Paul unveils the extraordinary truth: we are not merely servants but adopted sons and daughters. The Aramaic term “Abba! Father!” underscores the intimacy of our relationship with God, signifying a closeness reserved for cherished family members. This adoption grants us access to the very presence of God.

Jesus himself emphasized the need to approach the Kingdom with childlike faith—dependent, trusting, and unafraid to bring our heartfelt desires before our heavenly Father (Matthew 18:3, 19:14; Luke 18:17). As heirs, we inherit not only blessings but the very promises of God. The love depicted in Romans 8:12–17 surpasses comprehension; we are not just followers but beloved members of God’s family.

Take comfort in verse 16: The Spirit himself testifies with our spirit that we are God’s children. Let us embrace this calling with purpose, guided by the Spirit and empowered by the profound privilege of being adopted into the divine lineage of the Most High.