Rom 8:15-17 “For ye have not received the spirit of bondage again to fear; but ye have received the Spirit of adoption, whereby we cry, Abba, Father. The Spirit itself beareth witness with our spirit, that we are the children of God: And if children, then heirs; heirs of God, and joint-heirs with Christ; if so be that we suffer with him, that we may be also glorified together.”
Those that are led by the Spirit of God are the children of God (Romans 8:14). As a result of this truth, we have not received the spirit of bondage again to fear. The Greek word translated as “not” in this instance is “the absolutely negative adverb” according to Strong’s dictionary. We absolutely have not taken hold of (received) the spirit of bondage again to fear. Again, Strong’s is absolutely clear that the word translated as received here does NOT mean “to have something offered.”
While all mortal descriptions are flimsy when speaking of the things of God, consider this. When a piece of mail comes to our mailbox, we have received mail. It was not “offered” to us but rather it came to us. We might not have been looking for it; we might think it is something we do not want; we might cast it aside; but the fact still remains that we received it. If we are the children of God, then there is a Spirit that came to us without our request and without being offered to us: the Spirit came.
This is not a spirit of bondage again to fear. By the Holy Spirit, we are wonderfully bound to the gift of God. So while this Spirit does bind us, it is not the bondage of fear where we once lived. Instead, it is the Spirit of adoption that binds us to God our Savior for all eternity: by this Spirit we are able to look to Him as our Abba.
The term Abba implies an intimate and personal relationship with our Father. We have this boldness because the divine Spirit bears witness with our spirit (corroborate by evidence – see Strong’s) that we are His children! Notice that this is not just a wishful thought or uncertain desire. According to the words used, we have evidence to support this relationship.
Seeing that we are children of God, we are heirs of God. Furthermore, as adopted heirs, we can never be cut out of our inheritance. As children of God, we are joint-heirs with the Only Begotten Son who has always done the Father’s will. By Jesus Christ, we have obtained an inheritance incorruptible reserved in heaven for us (1 Peter 1:4).
However, to fully appreciate that joint-heir status while we live here, there is a responsibility laid before us. To be join-heirs with Christ, we must endure the same kind of persecution that He was willing to bear. We cannot be a friend to Christ and a friend to the world. Jesus told us that if the world hated Him then the world would hate us also (John 15:18).
May God help us to live a life here that glorifies us together with Him!