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Waggoner on Romans

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    Sons of God

    May 14, 1896

    The eighth chapter of Romans is full of the glorious things that God has promised to them that love him. Freedom, the Spirit of life in Christ, sons of God, heirs of God and with Christ, glory and victory, are the words that outline the chapter. Our last lesson closed with the ninth verse, but we will include it in the present lesson in order to get the connection better.WOR 129.1

    “But ye are not in the flesh, but in the Spirit, if so be that the Spirit of God dwell in you. Now if any man have not the Spirit of Christ, he is none of his. And if Christ be in you, the body is dead because of sin; but the Spirit is life because of righteousness. But if the Spirit of Him that raised up Jesus from the dead dwell in you, He that raised up Christ from the dead shall also quicken your mortal bodies by His Spirit that dwelleth in you. Therefore, brethren, we are debtors, not to the flesh, to live after the flesh. For if ye live after the flesh, ye shall die; but if ye through the Spirit do mortify the deeds of the body, ye shall live. For as many as are led by the Spirit of God, they are the sons of God. 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.” Romans 8:9-17.WOR 129.2

    Questioning the Text

    What have we learned to be impossible for them that are in the flesh?WOR 129.3

    “They that are in the flesh can not please God.”WOR 129.4

    Then how can we serve the Lord?WOR 129.5

    “But ye are not in the flesh, but in the Spirit.”WOR 129.6

    How is it that we are “in the Spirit”?WOR 129.7

    “If so be that the Spirit of God dwell in you.”WOR 129.8

    What if one has not this Spirit?WOR 130.1

    “If any man have not the Spirit of Christ, he is none of his.”WOR 130.2

    But if Christ by his Spirit be in us, then what?WOR 130.3

    “The body is dead.”WOR 130.4

    Why is the body dead?WOR 130.5

    “Because of sin.”WOR 130.6

    And the Spirit?WOR 130.7

    “The Spirit is life because of righteousness.”WOR 130.8

    Of what may we be sure if the Spirit of God dwells in us?WOR 130.9

    “He that raised up Christ from the dead shall also quicken your mortal bodies by his Spirit that dwelleth in you.”WOR 130.10

    In the first chapter we learned that we are debtors; but to what do we owe nothing?WOR 130.11

    “We are debtors, not to the flesh, to live after the flesh.”WOR 130.12

    For what only can the flesh give us?WOR 130.13

    “If ye live after the flesh, ye shall die.”WOR 130.14

    How shall we live?WOR 130.15

    “If ye... do mortify the deeds of the body, ye shall live.”WOR 130.16

    How are we to mortify the deeds of the body?WOR 130.17

    “Through the Spirit.”WOR 130.18

    Who are the sons of God?WOR 130.19

    “As many as are led by the Spirit of God.”WOR 130.20

    What spirit have we not received from the Lord?WOR 130.21

    “Ye have not received the spirit of bondage again to fear.”WOR 130.22

    What Spirit have we received?WOR 131.1

    “Ye have received the Spirit of adoption.”WOR 131.2

    What does this Spirit enable us to do?WOR 131.3

    “Whereby we cry, Abba, Father.”WOR 131.4

    To what does the Spirit witness?WOR 131.5

    “That we are the children of God.”WOR 131.6

    What necessarily follows?WOR 131.7

    “If children, then heirs.”WOR 131.8

    Whose heirs?WOR 131.9

    “Heirs of God.”WOR 131.10

    With whom do we have common heirship?WOR 131.11

    “Joint-heirs with Christ.”WOR 131.12

    Since we are joint-heirs with Jesus Christ, what shall we enjoy with him?WOR 131.13

    “We may be also glorified together.”WOR 131.14

    Under what conditions?WOR 131.15

    “If so be that we suffer with him.”WOR 131.16

    Opposing Forces.-The flesh and the Spirit are in opposition. These are always contrary the one to the other. The Spirit never yields to the flesh, and the flesh never gets converted. The flesh will be of the nature of sin until our bodies are changed at the coming of the Lord. The Spirit strives with the sinful man, but he yields to the flesh, and so is the servant of sin. Such a man is not led by the Spirit, although the Spirit has by no means forsaken him. The flesh is just the same in a converted man that it is in a sinner, but the difference is that now it has no power, since the man yields to the Spirit, which controls the flesh. Although the man’s flesh is precisely the same that it was before he was converted, he is said to be not “in the flesh,” but “in the Spirit,” since he through the Spirit mortifies the deeds of the body.WOR 131.17

    Life in Death.-“And if Christ be in you, the body is dead because of sin; but the Spirit is life because of righteousness.” Here we have the two individuals of which the apostle speaks in 2 Corinthians 4:7-16. “For we which live are alway delivered unto death for Jesus’ sake, that the life also of Jesus might be made manifest in our mortal flesh.” Then he says that “though our outward man perish, yet the inward man is renewed day by day.” Though our body should fail and be worn out, yet the inward man, Christ Jesus, is ever new. And he is our real life. “Ye are dead, and your life is hid with Christ in God.” Colossians 3:3. This is why we are not to fear them that can kill only the body, and after that have no more that they can do. Though the body be burned at the stake, wicked men can not touch the eternal life which we have in Christ, who can not be destroyed. No man can take his life from him.WOR 132.1

    The Surety of the Resurrection.-“But if the Spirit of him that raised up Jesus from the dead dwell in you, he that raised up Christ from the dead shall also quicken your mortal bodies by his Spirit that dwelleth in you.” Jesus said of the water that he gave, which was the Holy Spirit, that it should be in us a well of water springing up unto eternal life. John 4:14; compare John 7:37-39. That is, the spiritual life which we now live in the flesh by the Spirit is the surety of the spiritual body to be bestowed at the resurrection when we will have the life of Christ made manifested in immortal bodies.WOR 132.2

    Not Debtors to the Flesh.-“Therefore, brethren, we are debtors, not to the flesh, to live after the flesh.” We are indeed debtors, but we do not owe anything to the flesh. It has done nothing for us, and can do nothing. All the work that the flesh can do avails nothing, for its works are sin and therefore death. But we are debtors to the Lord Jesus Christ, “who gave himself for us.” Consequently, everything must be yielded to his life. “For if ye live after the flesh, ye shall die; but if ye through the Spirit do mortify the deeds of the body, ye shall live.”WOR 132.3

    Sons of God.-Those who yield to the strivings of the Spirit, and continue so to yield, are led by the Spirit; and they are the sons of God. They are taken into the same relation to the Father that the only-begotten Son occupies. “Behold, what manner of love the Father hath bestowed upon us, that we should be called the sons of God; therefore the world knoweth us not, because it knew him not. Beloved, now are we the sons of God, and it doth not yet appear what we shall be; but we know that, when he shall appear, we shall be like him; for we shall see him as he is.” If we are led by the Spirit of God, we are now just as much the sons of God as we can ever be.WOR 132.4

    Sons Now.-There is a notion held by some people that no man is born of God until the resurrection. But this is settled by the fact that we are now sons of God. “But,” says one, “we are not yet manifested as sons.” True, and neither was Christ when he was on earth. There were but very few that knew him to be the Christ, the Son of the living God. And they knew it only by revelation from God. The world knows us not, because it knew him not. To say that believers are not sons of God now because there is nothing in their appearance to indicate it, is to bring the same charge against Jesus Christ. But Jesus was just as truly the Son of God when he lay in the manger in Bethlehem, as he is now when sitting at the right hand of God.WOR 132.5

    The Spirit’s Witness.-“The Spirit itself beareth witness with our Spirit, that we are the children of God.” How does the Spirit witness? This is answered in Hebrews 10:14-17. The apostle says that by one offering he hath perfected them that are sanctified, and then says that the Holy Spirit is a witness to this fact when he says, “This is the covenant that I will make with them after those days, saith the Lord; I will put my laws into their hearts, and in their minds will I write them; and their sins and iniquities will I remember no more.” That is to say, the Spirit’s witness is the word. We know that we are children of God, because the Spirit assures us of that fact in the Bible. The witness of the Spirit is not a certain ecstatic feeling, but a tangible statement. We are not children of God because we feel that we are, neither do we know that we are sons because of any feeling, but because the Lord tells us so. He who believes has the word abiding in him, and that is how “he that believeth on the Son of God hath the witness in himself.” 1 John 5:10.WOR 133.1

    No Fear.-“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.” “For God hath not given us the spirit of fear; but of power, and of love, and of a sound mind.” 2 Timothy 1:7. “God is love; and he that dwelleth in love dwelleth in God, and God in him. Herein is our love made perfect, that we may have boldness in the day of judgment; because as he is, so are we in this world. There is no fear in love; but perfect love casteth out fear; because fear hath torment. He that feareth is not made perfect in love.” 1 John 4:16-18. Christ gave himself to deliver them who through fear of death were all their life subject to bondage. Hebrews 2:15. He who knows and loves the Lord can not be afraid of him; and he who is not afraid of the Lord has no need to be afraid of any other person or thing. One of the greatest blessings of the Gospel is the deliverance from fear, whether real or imaginary. “I sought the Lord, and he heard me, and delivered me from all my fears.” Psalm 34:4.WOR 133.2

    Heirs of God.-What a wonderful inheritance that is! It does not merely say that we are heirs of what God has, but that we are heirs of God himself. Having him we have everything, as a matter of course; but the blessedness consists in having him. “The Lord is the portion of mine inheritance and of my cup.” Psalm 16:5. This is the fact; it is a thing to be meditated upon rather than talked about.WOR 133.3

    Joint-heirs with Christ.-If we are sons of God, we stand on the same footing that Jesus Christ does. He himself said that the Father loves us even as he loves him. John 17:23. This is proved by the fact that his life was given for ours. Therefore the Father has nothing for his only-begotten Son that he has not for us. Not only so, but since we are joint-heirs with Jesus Christ, it follows that he can not enter upon his inheritance before we do. To be sure, he is sitting at the right hand of God. But God in his great love for us “hath quickened us together with Christ, and hath raised us up together, and made us sit together in heavenly places.” Ephesians 2:4-6. The glory which Christ has he shares with us. John 17:22. It means something to be a joint-heir with Jesus Christ! No wonder the apostle exclaims, “Behold, what manner of love the Father hath bestowed upon us, that we should be called the sons of God.”WOR 133.4

    Suffering with Him.-“If so be that we suffer with him, that we may be also glorified together.” “For in that he himself hath suffered being tempted, he is able to succor them that are tempted.” Hebrews 2:18. Suffering with Christ means, therefore, enduring temptation with him. The suffering is that which comes in the struggle against sin. Self-inflicted suffering amounts to nothing. It is not in any honor to the satisfying of the flesh. Colossians 2:23. Christ did not torture himself in order to gain the approval of the Father. But when we suffer with Christ, then we are made perfect in him. The strength by which he resisted the temptations of the enemy is the strength by which we are to overcome. His life in us gains the victory.WOR 134.1

    The remainder of the verse, concerning being glorified together, may well be left until next week, since it forms the principal part of the verses which follow. WOR 134.2

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