August 14, 2007

Children and Heirs, Not Slaves

Romans 8:9-17

You did not receive a spirit that makes you a slave ... you received the Spirit of sonship. Romans 8:15


We had a phrase at the bank: "C.B.S." Sometimes an edict would come down from bank headquarters that seemed to make no sense for employees, for customers, or even for the profits of the bank. If any employee asked why this policy had to be followed, someone would say, "C.B.S." ("'Cause the Boss Says"). Once we heard that, we knew there was no use asking questions.

One bank officer was immune from those edicts. He did not need his job at the bank because he was an heir in a very wealthy family. As a result, he usually felt free not to follow nonsensical directives from the bank headquarters or to respond so slavishly as the rest of us felt we had to.

The apostle Paul could identify himself as a servant or slave in his service to God, his Master. But in Romans 8, Paul makes clear that his relationship to God was not the kind of servanthood that involved cowering fear and humiliation. His obedience wasn't an unthinking submission to nonsensical edicts.

By the Holy Spirit, believers have a new relationship: God, the Father of Jesus, is also our Father. As God's children, the Father welcomes us into his inheritance and teaches us with love how to live in the way that's best for us--even if we don't always understand it. We are heirs to all the good that God is planning to share.

Father, "listen to your children praying." Send your Holy Spirit on us today, that we may have confidence to receive your love, power, and grace. In our brother Jesus' name, Amen.

About the author — Fred Bultman

Fred Bultman began a “second career” as a pastor in 1997, after a first career in the banking business.  He served as pastor to congregations in the U.S. and Canada. In retirement, he continues to enjoy sharing in the ministry of the churches in and around his home in Fremont, Michigan.

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