by Darrel Cline (darrelcline biblical-thinking.org)
Chapter # 8 Paragraph # 2 Study # 4 March 5, 2017 Humble, Texas (Download Audio)
(075)Thesis: God's most significant initial grace to us in the giving of His Spirit is the "persuasion" that we have become children of God.
Introduction: In our last study we saw that the most fundamental impact of the gift of the Spirit of God is His entrance into our hearts with the impact of identifying God as The Father. This is the Spirit of Freedom as the One Who generates our expectation for eventual "adoption" by That Father into the actual position as "lords" over all.
But, in our context we have some tension. On one hand we are told that the "sons" of This Father are those who follow the leadership of His Spirit. This means that "sons" go about generating what Paul told the Corinthians was "an aroma of life unto Life and of death unto Death" (2 Corinthians 2:14-16) that has the impact of making God known in every place. But on the other hand, we are told that for the "children" of This Father, He has given His Spirit so that we might have a legitimate conviction that we are "children of God". This, on the face of it, means at least a couple of things. One is that being convinced one is a "child of God" is, apparently, no small issue; and Two is that one cannot count on the things accomplished as "sons" to qualify us as "children".
I. Jesus' Own Teaching: Matthew 7:21-23.
A. Jesus' "big" issue: the one "doing" the will of My Father.
1. This puts "performance" on the table in some way.
a. According to John 6:28-29, some felt this pressure and asked what it was that they had to "do", and Jesus gave them His answer: Believe.
b. However, with "performance" on the table, there is a serious potential for confusion as is shown by Matthew 7.
2. Those whose take on "performance" is flawed are banished.
a. There are those who understand this "performance" to be the Spirit's doing through His leading, are clear on one fact: their "following" is not "qualifying" them as "children".
b. Those who are immersed in legal thought take this "performance" to be meritorious and a basis for leveraging God for a place in His kingdom.
3. But, here is the deal: "sons" who follow the leading of the Spirit end up "doing" the various things that are the "will of The Father"; yet Jesus does not encourage anyone to hang his/her hat on this.
B. Jesus' shocking declaration: those who base their qualification for entrance into Jesus' kingdom upon what they have said and done are rejected as "workers of iniquity".
II. Paul's Teaching.
A. Sons do get to be "sons" by allowing the Spirit to lead them into their activities.
B. But, sons do not get to be "children" by following the Spirit's leadership into their activities.
1. One must be a "child" before he/she can ever become a "son".
2. One cannot become a "son" after becoming a "child" without solid confidence in the initial reality of Abba/child.
3. Therefore, a solid conviction of one's identity as a "child" of God must precede any growth into confidence that leads to the submission of "following" the lead of God's Spirit.
4. Since this prior issue must be settled before any real progress can be made, we are cast upon the question of how a person actually comes to the persuasion that he/she is a child of God.
C. Paul's answer: Grace provides the solution by means of the "witness together" of the Spirit with our spirit.
1. This "Spirit to spirit" witness is, at root, inexplicable except through its consequent reality.
2. According to Romans 2:15 and 9:1 a "witness together with" has a solid result: subsequent confidence.
a. In Romans 2:15 the subsequent confidence is seen in the fact that those who have it, do... .
b. In Romans 9:1 the subsequent confidence allows Paul to make his "unbelievable claim" in inspired Scripture.
3. Thus, we can say (as John also says in 1 John) that we "believe" that we are children of God, even if all we have is the confidence that it is true and cannot explain it to someone else.