by Darrel Cline (darrelcline biblical-thinking.org)
Chapter # 8 Paragraph # 2 Study # 8 September 18, 2007 Lincolnton, N.C.
15 For ye have not received the spirit of bondage again to fear; but ye have received the Spirit of adoption, whereby we cry, Abba, Father.
16 The Spirit itself beareth witness with our spirit, that we are the children of God:
1901 ASV Translation:
15 For ye received not the spirit of bondage again unto fear; but ye received the spirit of adoption, whereby we cry, Abba, Father.
16 The Spirit himself beareth witness with our spirit, that we are children of God:
I. The Spirit of Bondage Unto Fear.
A. "Bondage" is not...
1. A sense of "necessity". Even the most pure freedom of love senses "necessity". Even the God Who cannot lie senses the necessity to tell the truth.
2. A sense of "inadequacy". As long as there are available resources so that the lack of personal ability does not mean that a necessity will go unmet, there is no "bondage".
3. A sense of "anguish". Emotional trauma arises automatically from love denied and, since love often involves the determinations of others, there is nothing that can be done to stave off anguish if love is denied by those others (Mark 14:34-36). Just because there are times when "Love's interests" are divided and one must "settle" the division by choosing the "most" beloved, we have no reason to call this "bondage": it is not.
B. "Bondage" contains several factors.
1. Primary to "bondage" is the issue of "unwillingness". No one feels "bondage" when they are doing what they want to do. Even a "slave" is not under "bondage" when he is doing what he enjoys. But, no one does what he/she is unwilling to do without being in "bondage".
2. Other factors of "bondage" fit under the thesis of "unwillingness". All that is included in a person feeling "forced" to do something that runs contrary to his Love/Faith complex is included in "bondage". The bottom line in all of these factors is "fear". No one can be "forced" who is unafraid. It simply cannot be done. At some point, "fear" is always the trump card of bondage.
a. Thus, if the problem ultimately boils down to "fear", the solution is always going to have to be either the elimination of the thing feared, or the embracing of the thing feared as a function of love.
b. For this cause, God had two primary tasks before Him as means to the elimination of fear. On the one hand, He had to eliminate Death because, according to Hebrews 2:15, this is the object of fear. But, He could not eliminate Death as a consequence of Sin; therefore, He had to do something to eliminate Sin. So, on the other hand, He "regenerated" those enslaved to Sin so that they would have a "nature" that was free from Sin and was capable of Love. The essence of the New Covenant is the inscription of the Law of God upon the hearts of His people so that they "naturally" do what is in harmony with God. Thus, on the one hand, we have the iron-clad promise of God that Death has been eliminated by means of the vicarious work of Jesus Christ and the imputation of that work to those who believe. This eliminates "Death" as a producer of fear. But, since there can be no severing of the cause/effect link that exists between Sin and Death, the promise is dependent upon the elimination of Sin. This can only be done by the creation of a "nature" that has no proclivity to sin. It is this creation of a new nature that seems to be the rationale for the way things currently work in Time. Apparently it is not possible to create a personalnature that cannot sin apartfrom the issues involved in "learning". Robots can be created to do anything that the Creator desires, but persons have to get to a point in understanding where the Creator's desires are most beloved. Even Jesus "learned" from the things He suffered (Hebrews 5:8).
II. The Spirit of Adoption.
A. Adoption involves becoming an heir. Why, given the necessity of a new nature, did Paul not write of "a spirit of regeneration"? In 8:23 he links "adoption" to "redemption". He does this also in Galatians 4:5. But, where is the linkage between redemption and regeneration? In Matthew 19:28, "regeneration" is tied to that time in the future when "this mortal has put on immortality", and in Titus 3:5 we are saved by "the washing of regeneration" and renewal by the Holy Spirit. Apparently Paul was more interested in providing a focus upon the freedom from fear through "son placement" than he was on attempting to provide freedom from fear through "legitimate behavior". The former is the result of vicarious action; the latter is the result of one's own behavior. It is clearly less intimidating to be under divine provision than it is to be under one's own abilities, choices, and actions.
1. This word, being a transliteration of an Aramaic word, is only found three times in the New Testament
2. This word is used in highly sensitive contexts.
a. In Mark 14:36 it is used when Jesus, in the agony of Gethsemane, called upon His "Father" with His submissive appeal.
b. Paul uses it in Galatians 4:6 to express the impact of God's sending forth of the Spirit of Jesus into a person's heart. In this context, redemption leads to adoption and adoption results in the gift of the Holy Spirit and that gift, producing the cry, "Abba", is supposed to move a person beyond servanthood to sonship and by that to the status of an heir.
c. So, in the text before us (Romans 8:15) we have a potent contrast between the spirit of bondage and the Spirit of Adoption, but that contrast has Mark 14:36 hovering over it: Jesus was not under a "spirit of bondage unto fear" in Gethsemane even though His "soul was exceeding sorrowful even unto death" (14:34). Sorrow is not the same thing as "the fear of bondage" and "bondage" is not tied to emotion.