Paul shows an interesting contrast in Romans 8:14-16: “For as many as are led by the Spirit of God, these are sons of God. For you did not receive the spirit of bondage again to fear, but you received the Spirit of adoption by whom we cry out, “Abba, Father.” The Spirit Himself bears witness with our spirit that we are children of God.”
Now, keep in mind that this is available to everyone, but not everyone will choose to be led by the Holy Spirit. Being led by the Holy Spirit means that you’re not going to follow what everyone says or obey your flesh. It means you’ve made the decision to have a personal relationship with God, getting to know His Word, and living your life led by Him. It means that through this adoption, you’re going to display the same characteristics of your Father. It means you’re going to look like your daddy.
When Paul writes to the Romans, he points out the different spirits that might try to operate in a person’s life. He says that we didn’t receive the spirit of bondage, but we received the Spirit of adoption. This Spirit of adoption isn’t a separate spirit in addition to the Holy Spirit. It’s a title that emphasizes the different characteristics of the Holy Spirit.
It’s similar to the Old Testament names for God, like Jehovah-Rapha, The Lord That Heals, and Jehovah-Jireh, The Lord Will Provide. They’re different characteristics of-of the same God.
Paul’s point in writing this is to highlight the relationship between the spirits. Bondage brings fear and fear brings bondage. We’re subject to bondage through fear, and and we’re subject to fear because of being in bondage.
When you’re trying to hear from God, it’s important to remember that the Lord isn’t going to bring you bondage or fear. If you think you’re hearing from God, and your response is that you feel bound, or fear, you need to stop and think about what you’re hearing. You’ll realize one of two things:
- I’m not hearing from God.
- My response to what God is saying is incorrect.
God won’t bring you fear or bondage, but that might be your response. God wants to help us, make our lives better, and give us life more abundantly. Sometimes, though, we hear His will for our lives and we respond in fear, which brings us into bondage.
Paul points out that the Spirit of adoption, on the other hand, allows us to call out, “Abba, Father.” While there’s no great translation, the closest we can get in English is the word daddy. It’s showing us the extreme welcoming we have in God’s presence. It’s Paul’s extreme desire to make us understand that we should be comfortable in God’s presence. God’s will for us is the exact opposite of what the spirit of bondage and fear brings.
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