Romans 8:15 - The Son’s Spirit in your Heart
At one point Yahweh brought his people out of slavery. That was a huge task.
But with that, all was not yet done by far.
Now he still had to get the slavery out of his people…
The Misery of the Slave
Israel did not know any better than what the life of a slave was like. For generations, the Jews had been humiliated. They were beaten, jaded and robbed of their children. They cried out from fear and misery. They had nothing to say.
In that atmosphere they had come to know the gods of Egypt and had to serve them (Joshua 24:14). Gods? They were worshipped in a snake; people were kneeling in the dust, literally and figuratively. A beetle was also a holy creature, the scarab. People were of less value than that scarab. This way they were robbed of their ego and of any feeling of self-worth.
In that situation they heard a saving sound: “let my people go, it is my son!” No slave, but child!
The Father moved heaven and earth.
Deeper than Egypt
This is how Israel came out of slavery.
But the slave mentality was deeply embedded in them. Trust had to be built up from the beginning. Love was paper thin. When the very least thing happened, it showed that they had not learned to give their hearts to God. A slave is not used to doing that. A slave does what he must do because he has no choice. And when he thinks that his master is not watching him for a moment, he tries to skip his duties and does something for himself. He must look after himself, so that he survives it all. He does not know any better, right?
Also because of that, there was this heartlessness time and again in the wilderness, and the lack of trust in the LORD. When centuries have passed, then God is still sending his prophets with the message: “give me your heart, not your behaviour”. One after the other must warn the people in the temple, even send them out of the temple. God is Father! He does not want to interact with people who act like slaves. With people who deep down are more afraid of him, than that they love him. And who serve him because they have no choice, but in the meantime take their pleasure elsewhere, in their own way.
Give me your heart, not your behaviour.
With godly patience the LORD has declared his love to his people over and over again. You are my girl; you will be my bride. I will carry you in my hands; place the world at your feet, and much more. Intermittently, the message reached them. And yet, the slave came back again and again. For that mentality was deeply ingrained in them, deeper than Egypt. Even at the farewell in Paradise, we had already forgotten to give our hearts to God.
In Jesus’ time, the people carried heavy yokes. They were bent under it. The heavy burden of rule upon rule and command upon command took away all their freedom. In that slave atmosphere there was no place for the Son. His words did not come across, he was made suspicious, rejected. His soft yoke for tired people (fulfilled commandments, love, and thankfulness) was not accepted. What to do with that?
Why do people, while so close to God, choose the attitude of a slave?
It is typical of our misery.
The Central Motive
Years later Paul writes to the Romans: “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’” (Rom. 8:15)!
Note that contradiction!
It is the central motive that plays throughout the centuries, and in your whole life. God does not give you the heart of a slave, so that you are unsure of things your whole life, while battling for an encouraging word (that can also easily be a reprimand).
And especially: God does not give you the heart of a stranger, who always wants to retreat and takes a reserved position, who never wants to go full steam ahead for the sake of his Father.
God does not give you a heart without love, without spontaneity, without being connected to him. That is how you were, but this has changed, and this is exactly the point in all the works of the Holy Spirit. This is what it is about, in the midst of all the fruit and gifts and discussions about those. He ensures that you know yourself to be a child. A child, at home with God, who wants to be there and has its life-roots there. A child, to whom he can say: “all that is mine is yours” (Luke 15:31). Not because you earned it, but because you are my child; completely.
I love you as much as my eternal Son. You are also my heir. Through the death of my only born Son, heaven and earth are open for you, with all that they contain.
Are you now open for me also?
The Son’s Spirit
The “Spirit of Sonship” comes to our aid. A name that is full of meaning. To indicate where the pinnacle is of His work program.
Spirit from above,
teach us to believe,
that we are God’s sons.
Hallelujah! Songbook, hymn 477
He shows us Who the Son is. And he brings us to him, connects us with him. Even stronger: he in us, and we in him.
This is how you learn to think like Jesus: you learn to think from God.
And you learn to see like Jesus: to see with eyes that are searching to save.
You receive the disposition of Jesus: truth, compassion and straight forward for God’s sake.
And above all: you share with Jesus everything that is in him. His life, his love, his being a child of God. He is God, you remain human, and yet, you receive the same love as the only born Son. God sees you in his Son, in his heart. This is how he sees you as his child. And his Son he sees as the firstborn among many brothers and sisters (Rom. 8:29).
Now you must learn to think quite differently. Not conformed to this world (Rom. 12:2), but conformed to the Son (Rom. 8:29).
The wrong thinking is rooted as deep as the fall into sin. The thinking from yourself, passing by God, the urge to save your own life.
The Spirit teaches something else. He asks for the sacrifice of your mind. Not to rob you of your mind, but to renew it. For God is Father. It is his great sorrow when his children think they are slaves, when they act aloof in their desires and in their words.
You are not a slave, you are free! More free than through Christ you cannot be.
The Spirit Wants To Teach You
Throughout the centuries it has always been questioned if this is not stated too easily.
In this manner, the freedom of the child was repeatedly threatened, even taken away. While the question has a clear answer: for people after the fall into sin, who landed in the house of slavery, it is easier to just be a slave. It is much more difficult to stand up in freedom.
As we are not used to this anymore, we must learn it from the beginning, and get the feeling of it. The disposition of a slave (tell me what I must do and keep it simple please) is easier for a sinner (and shallower) than the relationship of a child to his father (from heart to heart, deep and real).
That is why this is such a great work of the Son’s Spirit. He wants to teach us. His work fills the centuries. For in every life of a child of God this is new again. So, this is not to lose heart (do we never learn it?). But to thank God: he really wants children. Children who love him and long to be with him. Children who show this in kind words and spontaneous deeds. Who are happy with him and (to their own surprise) notice that their heart is filled with this.