For all who are led by the Spirit of God are children of God. For you did not receive a spirit of slavery to fall back into fear, but you have received a spirit of adoption. When we cry, “Abba! Father!” it is that very Spirit bearing witness with our spirit that we are children of God, and if children, then heirs, heirs of God and joint heirs with Christ—if, in fact, we suffer with him so that we may also be glorified with him.
Our conversations at the LSG focused on the second line: “For you did not receive a spirit of slavery to fall back into fear.” Sometimes it seems like we live as slaves to fear, whether as individuals, as a congregation, or as a culture. We fear so many things: death, of course, but also loss of control, loss of freedom, loss of meaning. This text calls us to boldness. We are “heirs of God and joint heirs with Christ” — an amazing calling. But there is one little caveat: “if, in fact, we suffer with him.” Christ suffered because he loved. (The word “passion” has this double meaning: both what we’re passionate about (what we love) and also what causes us to suffer (as in, The Passion of the Christ).) We live out our bold calling by loving what Christ loved, being passionate about what Christ was passionate about.