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Romans 8:14-17

Embrace Your New Identity

  • Jean Marais
  • Sunday Night Messages
  • December 03, 2023

We are continuing in Romans 8, one of the most powerful chapters written by Paul as it addresses critically important principles of what Christ has done for us and who we are as a result of that.

  • Sermon Notes
  • Scripture

Embrace Your New Identity
Romans 8:14-17
December 3, 2023

We are continuing in Romans 8, one of the most powerful chapters written by Paul as it addresses critically important principles of what Christ has done for us and who we are as a result of that.

Last time we focused on the fact that there is now no condemnation for those who are in Christ Jesus. The law of the Spirit of life in Christ Jesus has set us free from the law of sin and death. There is a new law operating in our souls.

This has an incredible effect on our lives. If people can take hold of what Paul writes in the next few verses, it will radically change their lives.

It has everything to do with how you see yourself and if you have embraced that which God did for you, how He sees you, and if you live your life from that perspective.

We cannot build our lives on other people’s opinions of us or let them or even the whisperings of the enemy define our identity.

 Even your feelings cannot be trusted, as feeling is an emotion. The Bible does not say that the just shall live by feeling, but the just shall live by faith. They place their faith in God’s faithfulness. God is faithful and His word is true. So, what He says about you is the truth and that is what we build our lives on.  He is the only one who can really validate you.

Illus – When you need to certify your identity at any organization, they ask for your passport or driver’s license, which was given by the highest authority to validate your identity. You cannot just take a picture and write your name on the back.

          In the same way, the only one who can validate your identity is the highest authority of all time, the One who made you.

          People run into the most horrendous trouble when they want to be validated by any other person, entity, or try to validate themselves. It always ends in tears.

We will see how our new identity impacts our lives and the freedom we have through the Spirit of God leading us and living in us. It is critical to your life to embrace that identity.

I. Be Led by the Spirit

It is quite an obvious statement to say that if you follow something or someone you will go in the direction that it or they lead you. Although this is obvious, many people live as if they blindly follow without thinking about where they are going.

Therefore, it is important to know who or what you are following and where they are going, because that is where you are going to end up.

Some people follow the world, the lies of the world, or the enemy. We, as God’s children, should be led by the Spirit.

We ended the previous study with verse 13, which says that if you are living according to the flesh, you must die but if by the Spirit you’re putting to death the deeds of the body you will live. For all who are being led by the Spirit of God, these are the sons of God.

A. Break free from the spirit of slavery

  • Many people, although they have received Jesus as their Savior, still walk in the spirit of slavery. They live with a mindset that is still trapped by wrong thought patterns about themselves and God.

Illus – Many years ago there was a movie called Gladiator starring Russell Crowe. In this movie, he is a commander in the Roman legions, but he is double-crossed and left for dead. He is then picked up by a slave owner who sells him as a slave gladiator. It is interesting when you look at movies reflecting that period, that you see a different spirit when you look at the slaves. There is fear. Fear of when the next whip will crack over their backs. There is a hopelessness of all being lost. There is sadness and mourning over friends and family that they might never see again. Their fate has been sealed. There is no joy, life, peace, or hope left. The Gladiator though, had a different spirit. Deep down he had a different identity that defined him.

  • This is a good picture of the spirit of slavery. Paul says that we have not received a spirit of slavery leading to fear again. We have a different spirit. In other words, we are not like a slave sold by one slave owner to another just to stay in the same condition, living under fear and hopelessness.
  • No, we have been bought with a price by the precious blood of Jesus Christ to be ransomed and be set free from slavery. But following Him and being set free is a choice. God does not force you.

Galatians 5:1, It was for freedom that Christ set us free; therefore keep standing firm and do not be subject again to a yoke of slavery.

  • A slave is driven by fear. But the good news of the gospel is that God, through the finished work of Jesus, took the yoke of slavery off us and put us in a new, different relationship with Him through the Spirit of God living in us.
  • But you might say, let’s back up a little. How do I know that the Spirit of God is in me?

Romans 8:9, However, you are not in the flesh but in the Spirit, if indeed the Spirit of God dwells in you. But if anyone does not have the Spirit of Christ, he does not belong to Him. 

  • In other words, the condition for belonging to God is that the Spirit of God dwells in you. So how do I know the Spirit of God lives in me?? Glad you asked. The Bible gives us the answer.

1 John 4:15, Whoever confesses that Jesus is the Son of God, God abides in him, and he in God. 

  • Do you believe in Jesus as the son of God, and have you asked Jesus Christ to be your Lord and Savior? If the answer is yes, then on the authority of His word that is faithful and true, He says that God now abides in you, and you in Him.

1 John 4:16,18, We have come to know and have believed the love which God has for us. God is love, and the one who abides in love abides in God, and God abides in him.  There is no fear in love; but perfect love casts out fear, because fear involves punishment, and the one who fears is not perfected in love. We love, because He first loved us. 

  • This is the antidote to the spirit of fear. The perfect love which God has for us as demonstrated by the sacrifice of Jesus, casts out fear.
  • If you still fear judgment and punishment from God, still fear that you will not make it and are not good enough, still fear that you will die in the stranglehold of sin and will never be able to be strong enough to get rid of it, you have not yet had a revelation of the fullness of the love of God.
  • Fear keeps you away from the love of God.

Illus – Let’s use these two scenarios as an illustration. I want you to imagine a Roman slave owner in the context of the story. Let’s say a Roman slave, who has been working in the quarry, being beaten by the slave drivers, runs into the opulent marble house of the master and tells him: I have a splinter in my finger. Can you please help me get it out? Something like that might get him killed. But it’s a totally different story if the owner’s three-year-old son comes to him and says, “Daddy, can you please take the splinter out of my finger ?”

  • Your relationship with someone has a radical impact on your privileges and their actions towards you.
  • It is very important to realize that the interaction between the master and the slave in this illustration is not the heart of God as some people wrongfully think. It is a picture of the one who owned you before you came to Christ: the enemy. He has no love for you. He wants to use you, abuse you, and kill you if he can.
  • But when we are in Christ, we are transformed and rescued from the dominion of darkness and placed into the kingdom of God. This brings us into a different type of relationship.

B.  The spirit of adoption brings relationship

  • Verse 15 – …but you have received a spirit of adoption as sons by which we cry out, “Abba Father.’ This is a radical shift. From death to life, from night to day.
  • It has two implications. Firstly, it shows God’s heart. Jesus revealed this radical way of speaking to God in a personal affectionate relationship.
  • When He taught His disciples to say, ‘Our Father, who art in heaven…”, it was shocking. Remember, in that time they didn’t even write out the full name of God because of fear and awe. God was far above, majestic, the I AM.
  • Although none of these attributes of God were diminished, Jesus revealed the heart of the Father wanting to be in a relationship with us. Even more shocking, he used the word “Abba”. This translates more clearly as “Daddy”.
  • This is exactly what Paul reiterates in these scriptures as well. The spirit of adoption as sons is so intimate that we can cry out to God the Father, the most high one, “Daddy!”
  • Just for a moment, pause and think of the implication of this. This is more than an associate, more than a friendship, it speaks of a deeper level of intimacy, dependence, and privilege.

Illus -Those of you who have kids, will be able to relate to this. I remember when our kids were small, they would run into our room and jump on the bed saying, “Hey Mommie, Hey Daddy!” If they were cold, they would jump in under the covers and even shove us half off the bed. They would have the freedom to take certain things out of the cupboard, out of the fridge, and take some ice cream if we said it was okay. They would get a blanket and put their feet up on the couches, snuggling in front of the television, because they were in their father’s house. Their father’s house is their house. There is still respect, but there is a deeper love and understanding of their privileges and identity. My kids are older now and moving into the season where they might be leaving the house in a few years, but I hope they always have the bold confidence to feel at home in their father’s house.

Now if you were to come into my house, run to my room, and jump on my bed, that might create some problems and would definitely be frowned upon!

  • This is the revelation that we should take hold of. We are now brought into the household of God. We can come boldly into his presence.

Hebrews 4:15-16, For we do not have a high priest who cannot sympathize with our weaknesses, but One who has been tempted in all things as we are, yet without sin. Therefore let us draw near with confidence to the throne of grace, so that we may receive mercy and find grace to help in time of need.

Illus – Let’s use the analogy of a young child again. Let’s say your child becomes sick at night. Fever, vomiting, the whole nine yards. What does he do? Does he stay in his room, not wanting to bother you, fearful that you might give him a hiding? Thinking he should rather try and get better on his own. No, that is ridiculous. He cries out, Mommy, Daddy! And what do you do? You run to help. How about a nightmare?…

  • He loves us, and his heart is that we would know Him as our Abba Father.


II. Take Hold of Your New Identity

It is one thing to hear this truth as a theological concept, but another thing to take hold of it and apply it in your life. This is the second implication of calling him Abba. It asks for a renewing of the mind, a change in how you see yourself and how you see God. This is where the Holy Spirit comes into the picture.

A. Believe the Spirit’s testimony

  • Verse 16 – The Spirit Himself testifies with our spirit that we are children of God. I have heard many new believers struggle with this concept. Especially that they say that they do not feel like they are children of God.
  • What does it mean when the Bible says the Spirit himself testifies with our spirit?
  • In Romans 6:20, we read that when you were slaves of sin, you were free in regard to righteousness. In other words, when you are dead in your sin, you don’t even think of all the wrong things you are doing and aren’t trying to live right.
  • Then in Romans 7, Paul describes the battle between the flesh, and the soul longing to do what is right.
  • The moment you give your life to Christ, the Holy Spirit comes to live inside of you and your spirit comes alive, fused with the Holy Spirit.
  • Now, although you might still stumble and struggle with sin as seen in Romans 7, there is another ‘law’, the ‘Law of the Spirit’ at work in you.
  • You can test it by the fact that, if you do something wrong, immediately, deep in your heart, there is a voice that says, ‘I cannot believe I did that! I do not want to do that!’
  • That is a sign that your spirit has been made alive and the Holy Spirit is testifying that you are a child of God. It is the Holy Spirit convicting you and encouraging you, saying, “Come on. This is not who you are. You are a child of God.”
  • Remember, this does not mean that you do not struggle with the flesh, but the more you agree with the Holy Spirit, realizing and taking hold of the revelation that you are a new creation and the child of God, the things that do not look like a child of God starts to fall off. It just doesn’t compute anymore.

Illus- There once was a famous sculptor that was asked how he was able to sculpt a beautiful horse from a slab of marble…

B. You are God’s Heir

  • But it does not stop there. Paul goes on to say that if we are His children, then we are also heirs of God and joint heir with Christ.
  • This is a powerful, and quite frankly, shocking concept.
  • How can we be heirs? For there to be an heir, someone has to die. And when someone dies, there is a last will and Testament.
  • This is exactly the case. Jesus died for us, and His death ratifies the will and Testament of God. This is the New Testament that we received. In the Testament is unlocked the blessings of God towards us. We inherited it because of our oldest brother, Jesus Christ.

Romans 8:29, … to become conformed to the image of His Son, so that He would be the firstborn among many brethren;

  • We were conformed, (became similar in type or form). In other words, God sees us as holy and as righteous as Jesus. Now, we are not Jesus, we don’t have the same inherent authority in ourselves as Jesus.
  • We don’t become saviors and all-powerful. He is the one and only Christ the Messiah to whom every knee shall bow, who has received all authority and heaven and on earth.
  • But by His grace He freely bestows blessings on us, giving us authority in His name when we operate according to His will. He paid the price so that we could receive all the blessings.

Ephesians 1:3, Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, who has blessed us with every spiritual blessing in the heavenly places in Christ.

  • There are many blessings and many promises that we are now heirs of. Part of that blessing is that we do not stand under the authority of the evil one anymore.

Luke 10:19-20, Behold, I have given you authority to tread on serpents and scorpions, and over all the power of the enemy, and nothing will injure you. Nevertheless, do not rejoice in this, that the spirits are subject to you, but rejoice that your names are recorded in heaven.”

  • This text is misunderstood by some people who think they should prove their faith by handling snakes and be bitten to show that God has said that nothing will harm them. Jesus was clearly using this as a metaphor for the power of satan, as in verse 18 He says that He saw satan fall like lightning, in other words falling from his position of authority.
  • Jesus has given us authority in His name over the power of the enemy, but we must remember that it is HIS power, not ours.

Illus – An ambassador has the authority to speak on behalf of his country, but only if he speaks aligned with the will and policy of his government and the president. Without that backing, he has no authority.

  • The same with us. Many think that they can claim and proclaim anything in the name of Jesus, and then it must come to pass. But then if it doesn’t, their, and the faith of others, are shipwrecked.
  • We must remember that we have authority when aligned with God’s will and power through the Holy Spirit to accomplish what He wants.
  • Yet Jesus immediately focuses them back on their identity and the greatest gift and miracle of all. Rejoice that your name is written in the Lamb’s Book of Life. That is the foundation of our greatest hope; no matter what happens or what may come. Our identity and position are secure in Christ.

Romans 8:14-17    NASB

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.


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