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. 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.
With these verses, Paul begins the final argument to demonstrate his proposition that grace brings victory over sin. Paul’s final point is that the victory of grace over sin is completely assured. This argument is broken into four sub points, the first of which is comprised of verses 14-17. The first sentence is the transition from the previous passage into the new subject which is that grace has assured that we are God’s children.
Of course, “the Spirit you received” refers to the presence of the indwelling Holy Spirit through whom we have been adopted to sonship. Because we have become God’s children by having been born again of the Spirit, we can truly call God “Father”. Our assurance of this is that the Spirit who indwells us testifies with our spirits that we are His. Because we are now His children, we are also His heirs, co-heirs with Christ; that is borne out by our willingness to suffer with Christ in this life.
The second of the four sub points is found in 8:18-25, and is truly amazing: As co-heirs with Jesus Christ, we will inherit the universe. I realize that most preachers don’t preach sermons on this and most Sunday school lessons aren’t about it either, maybe that’s because they fear that we will let our imaginations get carried away. For just a moment, however, try to imagine what that would look like; the whole universe, restored to its pristine condition. Our present circumstances are nothing when you consider what we will have in Christ; why obsess about circumstances? The entire creation is yearning for the day when God’s children are revealed! (8:18-19). Sin has had a terrible consequence on the creation, this wonderful world that God created has been in decay ever since, but it will not always be this way, for it will be redeemed as we have been (8:20-21).
The creation groans in anticipation of that great day just as we do, we who have the firstfruits of sonship, who eagerly await the fullness of sonship when even our mortal bodies will be redeemed (8:22-23). The final two verses are a little different, an odd way of putting it, yet they make a great point. We are eagerly awaiting the final part of the promise we have received from God, and the very fact that we are still hoping demonstrates that it has not yet been accomplished. For in this life we still must deal with pain, suffering, sickness and physical death. So, we will continue to wait eagerly and patiently until Christ completes the last bit of His work upon His return.