The Spirit’s Most Important Gift [Part 1]
By Alan Wright — January 30, 2018
Are you ready for some good news?
The best and most important gift you could ever receive from the Holy Spirit is His first gift to you: the revelation that you are a child of God!
Today’s Text: “The Spirit himself bears witness with our spirit that we are children of God, and if children, then heirs—heirs of God and fellow heirs with Christ …..” (Romans 8:16–17, ESV)
As we begin our classic radio broadcast series on the Holy Spirit today, we turn our attention to one of the most precious and powerful revelations you could ever receive. Through simple trust in the sacrifice of Christ for you, you are adopted as if a firstborn son. As soon as you accept Christ, the Holy Spirit begins His work of convincing you of your new identity.
In the first seven chapters of Romans Paul describes God’s plan, His provision, and the means by which He reconciled us through the cross, but Paul hardly mentions the Holy Spirit until Romans 8. In Romans 8, Paul cannot stop talking about the Spirit as he moves towards the great crescendo: “For you did not receive a spirit that makes you a slave again to fear, but you received the Spirit of sonship…” (Romans 8:15) The literal rendering of this should be, You received adoption as sons.
It is best not to change the language of sonship to make it gender inclusive here because the word for sonship conveys a particularly powerful concept. In that culture, it was the firstborn son who would receive a double portion of the inheritance. So, if there were two sons, the firstborn son would receive two-thirds of the inheritance because he would be expected to oversee the estate. That firstborn son was the delight and crowning prize of the family. The whole community celebrated him. Paul is not being gender-specific here to exclude women, but instead is emphasizing that in the Spirit we must understand that our adoption is like that of a firstborn son. We did not receive a spirit that makes us a slave to fear, but a Spirit that has shown us our adoption like a firstborn son. “And by him we cry, ‘Abba, Father.’”
The Holy Spirit indwells every believer and His first, most important gift is to convince you of the glory of your inheritance and your permanent place in the family of God. And that’s the Gospel!