By Ashton Holt
“For all who are led by the Spirit are sons of God. For you did not receive the spirit of slavery to fall back into fear, but you have received the Spirit of adoption, by whom we cry “Abba! Father!” The Spirit himself bears witness with our spirit that we are children of God, and if children, then heirs– heirs of God and fellow heirs with Christ, provided we suffer with him in order that we may also be glorified with him.” Romans 8:14-17
The baptismal liturgy features one of my favorite components of the Episcopal Church. I love the corporate nature of it as the church comes together to renounce sin, affirm their faith, and vow their commitment to the building up of the body of Christ. After the person is baptized in the name of the Father, the Son, and the Holy Spirit, they are “sealed by the Holy Spirit and marked as Christ’s own forever,” (Book of Common Prayer, p.308) as members of the household of God. I find this language of being “marked and sealed” comforting as we consider what it means to be a child of God.
The Holy Spirit brings this privilege of adoption to life within each of us individually. Paul speaks to the very personal nature of the work of the Spirit– he bears witness with each of our spirits that we are children of God. He testifies constantly to our hearts we are God’s beloved children with whom he is well pleased. Not only are we God’s children but also heirs with Christ. In time, we will receive the fullness of our adoption through the redemption of our bodies. We will be in glory with God.
What does it mean for you to be a child of God? God has compassion for you like a loving father has compassion for his children. He delights in his relationship with you and longs to relieve you from the burdens you may carry. Just as it has been affirmed in baptism, by the Spirit your status and relationship with God is eternally sealed. Nothing can separate you from the love of God in Christ Jesus our Lord.
Are you living in the joy of the assurance that you are “marked and sealed as Christ’s own forever”? We would love to hear your thoughts in the comments.
Jesus calls the Holy Spirit a "gift" who will guide us, lead us, and empower us. Yet many believers don't experience the power and presence of the Holy Spirit in their lives. This unique Christian small group Bible study provides a space in which we can explore what it truly means to "walk in the Spirit" on a daily basis. The Spirit-Filled Life small group curriculum centers on a 6-part video teaching series examining the life-giving and creative work of the Holy Spirit in our lives. Begin to experience the gift today!
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