JourneyOnline

Romans 8:14-17 Assurance of Salvation

Author: Dr. George M. Flattery

Romans 8:14-17 Assurance of Salvation

sun rays over city buildings

Thoughts from Romans 8:14-17.

In today’s world, millions of people subscribe to the view that “all roads lead to heaven.”  Well-known pastors and evangelists, in TV interviews, are often asked whether people can go to heaven without believing in Christ.   One gets the feeling that the interviewers are very convinced that faith in Christ is not necessary, so they are OK whether or not they believe.

On the other hand, many people have come to Christ who needs to know the full assurance of their salvation.   At times, they may have great doubts about their faith.  Some of them are grappling with new age philosophy or what they have learned from another religion.  It is important for them, as well as all others, to understand what the apostle Paul says about the assurance of salvation.

Paul writes about both the objective and the subjective aspects of salvation.  There is an objective side to such great themes as union with Christ, justification, sanctification, and adoption.  All this begins when we believe in Christ.  Also, the work of the Spirit is involved in all of these aspects of salvation.  He does His work whether or not we have any great felt experience in connection with them.

However, Paul is equally concerned about the subjective aspects of salvation.  All that takes place in our objective relationship with God should be worked out in our experience.  Our God is personally involved with us.  Through faith in Christ and the presence and work of the Spirit, our experience constantly is enriched and the quality of the relationship is improved.

Our text, which is Romans 8:14-17, deals mainly with our subjective assurance of salvation.  In this text, Paul gives us four pieces of evidence of our salvation.  These include:  (1) being led by the Spirit, (2) the Spirit of adoption, (3) the witness of the Spirit with our spirit, and (4) the sufferings that we endure.  We will discuss this evidence in our upcoming “thoughts.”

More Thoughts from Romans 8:14-17. 

In this text, Paul gives us four pieces of evidence of our salvation.  These include:  (1) being led by the Spirit, (2) the Spirit of adoption, (3) the witness of the Spirit with our spirit, and (4) the sufferings that we endure.

Paul deals with the first evidence in verse 14 where he says: “For all who are being led by the Spirit of God, these are sons of God.”  Another translation of “for all who” is “as many as.”  According to some scholars, this phrase has the force of “only those.”  The sons of God are in some measure sensitive to the leadership of the Spirit.

The Spirit leads us, as believers, in all aspects of life.  However, in this instance being led by the Spirit emphasizes our walk with Christ.  Although our ministry cannot be excluded, Paul’s emphasis here is on our behavior.  Our behavior should demonstrate that we are being led by the Spirit.

Moreover, the verb “are being led” is in the present tense.  Our salvation is past, present, and future, but the emphasis here is on the present.  We are being led now in our walk.  In Galatians 5:22-23 Paul greatly amplifies this thought by listing the fruit of the Spirit.

We know that when we believe in Christ, we are saved through faith.  This is an objective fact, no matter how we feel at the moment.  However, in verse 14 Paul stresses our subjective realization of our salvation.  As believers, we have the privilege of personal experience that gives us an immediate perception of salvation. In a subjectively knowable way, we are led by the Spirit of God.

Let us begin every day by asking the Spirit of God to lead us.  When we submit to His leadership we walk with the Triune God.  We experience His love, His guidance, His righteousness, and His victory!
14 For all who are being led by the Spirit of God, these are sons of God.

15 For you have not received a spirit of slavery leading to fear again, but you have received a spirit of adoption as sons by which we cry out, “Abba! Father!”

16 The Spirit Himself testifies with our spirit that we are children of God,

17 and if children, heirs also, heirs of God and fellow heirs with Christ, if indeed we suffer with Him so that we may also be glorified with Him.

More Thoughts from Romans 8:14-17.

We are discussing the evidence that gives us our assurance of salvation.  The first evidence was that we as believers are led by the Spirit.  In verse 15 Paul speaks about the second evidence.  He states: “For you have not received a spirit of slavery leading to fear again, but you have received a spirit of adoption as sons by which we cry out, “Abba! Father!”

Many people who are without Christ live in fear.  People quickly become slaves to sin.  They have addictions to many things: drugs, tobacco, evil thoughts, pornography, and sex.  Many indicate that they simply cannot help themselves.  In contrast, being in the control of the “spirit of slavery” we as believers in Christ have received the Spirit of adoption as sons of God.

We have been adopted as sons by the Father.  Therefore we have received the Holy Spirit who, in this case, is the Spirit of adoption.  The Greek word translated as “adoption” literally means “placing as sons.”  As believers, we have the rights, position, and privileges of sons of God.  Paul regarded Old Testament believers as “children,” or “minors,” but he indicated that New Testament believers are both “children” and “adult sons.”

There is a sense in which the Spirit of God adopts us and this makes us sons.  In an objective sense, we become sons whether we feel like sons or not.  However, the emphasis of verse 15 is on the Spirit of adoption making us conscious of our sonship.  The Spirit of adoption enables us to dry out “Abba! Father!”  This consciousness greatly strengthens our experience of the assurance of salvation.  We should be at home crying out Abba! Father!

More Thoughts From Romans 8:14-17. 

In this text, Paul lists several pieces of evidence that increase our assurance of salvation.  We have discussed (1) being led by the Spirit and (2) the Spirit of adoption enables us to cry out “Abba! Father.”  Today, we will consider (3) the witness of the Spirit together with our spirit.

In verse 16 Paul writes “The Spirit Himself testifies with our spirit that we are children of God.”  Some expositors interpret “with” loosely in the sense of “to,” thus yielding the view that the Spirit witnesses “to” believers that they are children of God.  However, the Greek verb has a prefix meaning “together with.”  Given this, the correct interpretation is that the Spirit Himself bears witness together with the believer’s spirit.

The Spirit together with our spirit bears witness to God and others that we are the children of God.  Jointly, our spirit unites with the Spirit of God to call God “Father.”  We are not alone in bearing witness concerning our salvation.  Our spirit unites with the Spirit of God to make this truth known.

We may add that this joint witnessing strengthens our sense of assurance.  It would be impossible for an individual’s spirit to unite with the Holy Spirit in witness without his or her convictions being strengthened.  So, in this sense, the witnessing is indirect to the believer as well as being together with him or her.

More Thoughts from Romans 8:14-17. 

In this text, Paul lists several pieces of evidence that increase our assurance of salvation.  We have discussed (1) being led by the Spirit, (2) the Spirit of adoption enables us to cry out “Abba! Father,” and (3) the witness of the Spirit together with our spirit.  Today, we will focus on our fellow heirs and sufferers with Christ. As fellow heirs, we are heirs of God.

Paul has just said that the Spirit witnesses together with our spirit that we are children of God.  A logical conclusion follows from this.  Paul says, “and if children, heirs also, heirs of God and fellow heirs with Christ.”  This is, indeed, a marvelous truth.  Our inner assurance of salvation leads us to know that we are joint-heirs with Christ.  The entire universe will be under His supervision.  What an inheritance we share with Him!

Next, Paul adds a point when he says, if indeed we suffer with Him so that we may also be glorified with Him.”  Many times in our walk with Christ, we experience victories and the joy that goes with them.  What this verse tells us is that even our sufferings help us identify with Christ.  Ultimately, our sufferings lead to our glorification along with Christ.

Let’s just take a moment to summarize our text.  We are led by the Spirit of God.  This is evidence that we are sons of God.  We have not received a spirit of fear but the Spirit of adoption.  That Spirit enables us to cry out Abba! Father!  The Spirit witnesses with our spirit to God and to others that we are children of God.   Indirectly this witness is to us as well.  Our great assurance grows.  And we know that we are joint-heirs with Christ.  When we encounter suffering, it tells others that we are united with Christ and will be glorified with Him.
14 For all who are being led by the Spirit of God, these are sons of God.

15 For you have not received a spirit of slavery leading to fear again, but you have received a spirit of adoption as sons by which we cry out, “Abba! Father!”

16 The Spirit Himself testifies with our spirit that we are children of God,

17 and if children, heirs also, heirs of God and fellow heirs with Christ, if indeed we suffer with Him so that we may also be glorified with Him.

George M. Flattery, Ph.D., is the founder of Global University and Network211.

 

Excerpts transferred from a series originally posted on Dr. George's Facebook.

What's Next

We would love to answer any question you have or help suggest next steps on your journey.