by Darrel Cline (darrelcline biblical-thinking.org)
Chapter # 8 Paragraph # 2 Study # 3 February 26, 2017 Humble, Texas
15 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.
16 The Spirit itself beareth witness with our spirit, that we are the children of God:
17 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.
1901 ASV Translation:
15 For ye received not the spirit of bondage again unto fear; but ye received the spirit of adoption, whereby we cry, Abba, Father.
16 The Spirit himself beareth witness with our spirit, that we are children of God:
17 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 with [him].
I. The Spirit of Bondage That Leads to Fear.
A. The "again" is significant.
1. These readers once lived under a "spirit of bondage unto fear". This is the crux of Paul's words to the Galatians in 4:8-10, and they were written on the heels of 4:5-7. In that context, the issue is "redemption from" the judicial consequences of "Law" and the outcome was the giving of God's Spirit unto "adoption" and the consequent cry, "Abba" ("The Father").
a. This "cry" indicates a very real and fundamental alteration of the recipient's "T"heology from The God of Justice to The Father of Mercies (2 Corinthians 1:3) rooted in Grace.
b. It is this receipt of the High King of Heaven's identity as "my Abba" that constitutes the actual reconciliation that is the goal of the Gospel. Thus, it can be said that no one is converted who does not view The Father in this light.
2. These Galatians words are the same as the words of Romans 8. The twin passages clarify the point: the "spirit of fear" is the message of "Law" which ultimately results in "rejection" ("...cast out the bondwoman and her son...").
3. This means that the "fear" is not rooted in the creation reality that if we live according to flesh we will die. This is something to "fear", but it is not what Paul is addressing. It is, instead, rooted in the relational reality of final rejection by "The Father". Since "The Father" does not reject His people, the fear is totally unfounded.
4. This is not to be taken as an opportunity to live according to flesh (Galatians 5:13) because the relational reality of security in the Father will not alleviate the creation realities of life by the flesh for the flesh.
B. The bottom line is that a "spirit of bondage unto fear" is totally incapable of producing "life" at any real level mechanicallyorrelationally. "Fear" is a relational disaster of great magnitude, driving the participants far from each other.
1. This "fear" issue is at the heart of Hebrews 2:14-18. There, the "devil" keeps men in bondage through this "fear" and this "fear" is completely addressed by the Son's participation in flesh and blood to become the faithful and effective High Priest to the "seed of Abraham".
2. This "fear" is not of "oblivion" (a cessation of existence); it is a "fear" of legal retaliation without mitigation or end (the smoke of the torment of the wicked ascends up forever and ever -- Revelation14:11).
3. This is a very real possibility; but it has been adequately addressed by the Son of God.
II. The Spirit of "Adoption".
A. This "adoption" is defined by Paul in Galatians 4:2 as "the event/time in which/at which the Father places his "child/heir" into the position of "lord of all".
B. Thus, this "Spirit of Adoption" is the Spirit of the Father Whose plan includes bringing His children to the maturity of "sons" so that they may become "lords over all".
1. According to 8:23, this "adoption" does not occur until "the redemption of the body". It is a "hope", not a current reality.
2. At issue is the fact that we have received God's Spirit with the commitment on God's part to eventually bring us to "adoption".
C. The Point: the Father has given us His "Spirit" so that we may experience what it means to be His "children" being "schooled" (Galatians 4:2) to the point of "son-placement". This "schooling" includes a significant degree of "suffering" (Hebrews 10:33-36) just as 8:17 declares.