Romans and the Reformation
A Series of Sermons Commemorating the 500th Anniversary of the Reformation
16 July – Proper 10 – Romans 8:12-17
Heirs with Christ
As “the rain and the snow come down from heaven.” And “waters the earth…making it bring forth and sprout.” (Isaiah 55:10) So the Word of God accomplishes the purpose for which the Father speaks it. Granting joy and peace through the forgiveness of sins. Producing the fruit of faith. Demonstrating acts of charity. Kindness. And love. In the lives of those who are called by His name.
Christ Jesus. The Incarnate Word. Opens our ears to hear. Opens our minds to understand. And penetrates our cold broken hearts. To believe His Word. Lest the evil one come. And snatch it away. He thus transforms our rocky hearts into good soil. Which, clings to the Gospel. And, “indeed bears fruit.” (Matthew 13:23).
The Preaching of the Word of Christ Bears the Good Fruits of Faith and Love making us Heirs with Christ.
1. Well, of course, it's all about Jesus.
A. He is Himself the first-fruits of all who “have received the Spirit of adoption as sons.” (Romans 8:15).
B. Believers have received the Holy Spirit. For Paul, whoever confesses Jesus as Lord does so by the power of the Spirit. Therefore I want you to understand that no one speaking in the Spirit of God ever says “Jesus is accursed!” and no one can say “Jesus is Lord” except in the Holy Spirit (1 Corinthians 12:3). That is evidence enough for being a person in Christ. They have thus already been adopted as God’s children. By faith and baptism and through the power of the Spirit they have a new relationship with God.
C. There is evidence of this whenever they cry out “Abba, Father.” The word “Abba” is an Aramaic term for “father.” Abba was usually the word used in the home, as children addressed their fathers.
It is easier for a child to use a two-syllable word ending in a vowel than to use a single syllable word ending with a consonant. Every parent knows this! At ten months, Daniel can now say, "Momma" "Dadda" and "Egg!" “Daddy” is easier to say than “Dad,” “Mommy” is easier than “Mom.”
But “Abba” is the word used by Jesus in the crucifixion scene in the Gospel of Mark. Jesus prayed, “Abba, Father, for you all things are possible… ” The use of “Abba” must also have been characteristic of Jesus’ prayers, as in the use of “Father” in the Lord’s Prayer.1 God would by these words tenderly invite us to believe that He is our true Father, and that we are His true children, so that with all boldness and confidence we may ask Him as dear children ask their dear father. 2 This term was familiar to the Christians at Rome. The audience to whom Paul is writing.
D. Being a son makes you an heir. And a member of the family. Being a citizen gives you rights, privileged, responsibilities. The Inheritance is yours. Because you belong to Christ.
2. Thus being “led by the Spirit of God,” we are not afraid, but we cry out in faith to our Father in heaven. (Romans 8:14–15)
A. Fear leads to isolation. This leads to withdrawal. Which leads to depression. Which leads to alienation. Which leads to death. Notice the downward spiral.
B. Which was Luther's journey. How can I find a loving God? One who is not angry? Luther finally understood what Paul wanted: to preach a righteousness that was a gift—a gift by which God mercifully justifies us through faith in His Son. Paul was not describing a cold-hearted standard that could only lead to our condemnation. That would hardly be Gospel, “good news!” Paul was speaking of the righteousness of God that was revealed at the cross—God’s great love for us. When Luther realized this, his whole world turned upside down, the bitter became sweet, and the locked door sprang open:
“I extolled my sweetest word with a love as great as the hatred with which I had before hated the word ‘righteousness of God.’ Thus that place in Paul was for me truly the gate to paradise.” While wrestling with Paul, Luther found himself also wrestling with God, and like Jacob of old, Luther would never be the same. 3
3. For as we suffer with Christ, the beloved Son we look for a glorious future.
A. So shall we “also be glorified with Him.” (Romans 8:17). One characteristic of the son is that he is his father’s heir. So it is with the Christian. He, too, has an inheritance—an inheritance of glory which he will share with Christ. But he must not be surprised if, before sharing the glory, he also shares the sufferings. All who suffer for the sake of the gospel are regarded as suffering with Christ. They “drink of the cup” that He drank.
B. Yet, any suffering we endure will only last for a season. We have this promise. You shall live and reign with Christ throughout all eternity.
1. Then in glory. A place chosen especially for you! You shall reign with Him.
2. Yet even now. As we serve our neighbor. Says St. Paul “For the whole law is fulfilled in one word: “You shall love your neighbor as yourself.” (Galatians 5:14)
a. So tomorrow. When you wake in the morning. And your feet hit the floor…Thank God. As the devil says to himself, “oh, know…she’s up! Its and opportunity to praise God as you serve your neighbor. S0, stop your griping. It won’t help anybody.
b. Instead…Pick up a shovel.
c. And go merrily about your business. With a grateful heart.
Passive Sentences –5%
Reading Level -4.6
Luther’s Seal © Ed Riojas, Higher Things
1. In Matthew 6:9; the Greek “pater” of the prayer is probably a translation of the Aramaic Abba).
2. Explanation to the Introduction to the Lord’s Prayer Luther’s Small Catechism.
3. LW 34:337