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Children and Heirs
Preparing for the Day of Pentecost: Two Days before Sunday (Year A)
Psalter: Psalm 33:12-22
Old Testament: Exodus 19:16-25
Epistle: Romans 8:14-17
Remember, O Lord, what you have wrought in us and not what we deserve; and, as you have called us to your service, make us worthy of our calling; through Jesus Christ our Lord, who lives and reigns with you and the Holy Spirit, one God, now and for ever. Amen.
For those who are led by the Spirit of God are the children of God. The Spirit you received does not make you slaves, so that you live in fear again; rather, the Spirit you received brought about your adoption to sonship.[a] And by him we cry, “Abba, Father.” The Spirit himself testifies with our spirit that we are God’s children. Now if we are children, then we are heirs—heirs of God and co-heirs with Christ, if indeed we share in his sufferings in order that we may also share in his glory (Romans 8:14-17).
In Romans 8:14-17, Paul gives us a proto Trinitarian passage. These verses do not present a fully developed doctrine of the Trinity. That is to come later in the church’s theological reflection. But here we see Father, Son, and Spirit together. Their work in the world is one of cooperation. We are led by the Spirit of God, Jesus promised after his ascension and departure. The Holy Spirit is now present to guide and direct us. In that relationship, in our prayer life, we cry Abba father. Some have suggested that the word Abba, the Aramaic word for father is an endearing term. It is almost like “daddy.” Recently, some have questioned that. Whether the term should be understood in that sense of closeness is not certain, but there is no doubt it is a relational term.
We have the Spirit, thus we are indeed the children of God. Jesus is our adopted brother. We are received into the Kingdom because we are co-heirs with Christ. When parents die, they leave the inheritance to their children. Paul tells us that in Jesus because of his death and resurrection, he has received all things in obedience to the Father. God also includes us as co-heirs of the promises of salvation. We are not God’s children by birth. We are not God’s children because we have been created. We are God’s children because we have been adopted into the family of God through our brother, Jesus Christ.
In receiving the inheritance, we also participate in the sufferings of Christ. Paul has already indicated this previously in Romans. We share in all the good things of being part of God’s family, but we also share also in the challenges. We share in the sufferings. We share in the difficulties. In times of trouble, families come together. Paul is telling the Romans, who are divided by Jew and Gentile that all of them participate in and partake of one family. There’s an old saying that states we can pick our friends, but we’re stuck with our relatives.
We are all stuck with each other as followers of Jesus. We live together. We worship together. We serve together; and we struggle together. We face difficulty together. We persevere under the leadership of God’s Spirit that guides us and directs us. In all things, we are family; and our God, the head of the household is with us. In Jesus Christ, we know that God has not abandoned us.
PRAYER: Grant, O Lord, that the course of this world may be peaceably governed by your providence; and that your Church may joyfully serve you in confidence and serenity; through Jesus Christ our Lord, who lives and reigns with you and the Holy Spirit, one God, for ever and ever. Amen.
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