Romans 8:12-17 Obligated

12 So then, brothers, we are debtors, not to the flesh, to live according to the flesh. 13 For if you live according to the flesh you will die, but if by the Spirit you put to death the deeds of the body, you will live. 14 For all who are led by the Spirit of God are sons of God. 15 For you did not receive the spirit of slavery to fall back into fear, but you have received the Spirit of adoption as sons, by whom we cry, “Abba! Father!” 16 The Spirit himself bears witness with our spirit that we are children of God, 17 and if children, then heirs—heirs of God and fellow heirs with Christ, provided we suffer with him in order that we may also be glorified with him.


There are some things that are fitting, given the circumstances.  There are others that are not.  For example, if someone hands you their new born baby, it is fitting to treat them gently and to tell the parent kind things about their child.  If a person invites you to a banquet to celebrate the school that they have invested in, it would not be fitting to run down the achievements of the school with those around you.  We have been give the greatest honour.  We have been adopted into the family of the High King of Creation.  We have been given the opportunity to live the lives that we have been created for.

It baffles me, then, ho many Christians do not embrace the life which they have been given.  They meet Jesus in a business transaction where they receive eternal salvation and Jesus is meant to make all of life a little more manageable for them.  They do not really change life goals.  People who call themselves Christians live out the same values with the same desires as everyone else.  This is a kind of blindness at best and willful ingratitude at worst.  We were not created to live out our own goals, but his goals.  We need to pause and reflect until we know what those goals might be.  Then we walk in a new life day-to-day.  We adopt different postures on issues.  We embrace a significance greater than we could imagine because we are ambassadors for our Heavenly Father.

The irony is that in spite of our great status we may suffer and live a life of deprivation.  When we suffer for the sake of something as glorious as our calling, though, it is a wonderful thing to endure.  Wonderful achievements can feel horrible, but the value of our lives in Christ transcends feelings.


Father, we really don’t know who we are or what we have inherited.  Give us a vision of the life we are meant to live.  Let everything be directed toward you.


  1. How are Christians obligated to live?
  2. Why are they obligated to live that way?
  3. How do you think the Roman believers were living when they received this letter?
  4. How can we see Christians today are unaware of the life they are called to live?
  5. How can you be a light to others which shows them more of the life we were created to live?

About Plymothian

I teach at Moody Bible Institute in Chicago. My interests include education, biblical studies, and spiritual formation. I have been married to Kelli since 1998 and we have two children, Daryl and Amelia. For recreation I like to run, play soccer, play board games, read and travel.
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2 Responses to Romans 8:12-17 Obligated

  1. Meditating on the contrast found here between “the spirit of slavery to fall back into fear” and “the Spirit of adoption as sons, by whom we cry, ‘Abba! Father!'” When we live according to the flesh, we remain as fearful slaves. But God has so much more for us as sons and heirs. Through His Spirit may we put to death the “deeds of the body” and live.

  2. Pingback: 10 Tips Toward Making Resolutions that Stick | This Odd House

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