A woman had just returned to her home from an evening worship service and was startled to find an intruder in her house.
Catching the man in the act of burglarizing her home, she decided to rely on Scripture for her defense and get the fear of God in the young burglar so she yelled, "STOP! Acts ! Acts " ("Repent and be baptized, every one of you, in the name of Jesus Christ so that your sins may be forgiven.")
As the burglar stopped dead in his tracks, the woman calmly called the police and explained what she had done. Shortly, several officers arrived and took the man into custody.
As he was placing the handcuffs on the burglar, one of the officers asked, "Why did you just stand there? All the lady did was mention a scripture verse."
"Scripture?" replied the burglar.
"I though she said she had an axe and two 38's!"
You know a lot of people have a misunderstanding as how the Bible uses the phrase “fear of God”. Does God want us to fear Him? Are we to be afraid of God? Some Christians actually believe that. They have a fear that God is looking over them with a baseball bat ready to hit them if they ever do anything wrong. I have a friend who grew up believing this and to this day she has problems praying. Every time she goes before the throne of grace she feels condemned, bad and filled with self loathing. It is so bad, she can’t seem to pray most of the time, she is in bondage..trapped by the fear of God. While as Christians we are to have a healthy respect for God, of course, but to many fear means punishment and condemnation.
Today’s scripture talks about the fear of God. Romans 8:14-17 says, “For as many as are led by the Spirit of God, these are sons of God. 15 For you did not receive the spirit of bondage again to fear, but you received the Spirit of adoption by whom we cry out, “Abba, Father.” 16 The Spirit Himself bears witness with our spirit that we are children of God, 17 and if children, then heirs—heirs of God and joint heirs with Christ, if indeed we suffer with Him, that we may also be glorified together”
Today as we celebrate Pentecost, the day we commemorate the pouring out of God’s Spirit to empower the church, our scripture tells us of one of the chief ministries of the Holy Spirit to the church. The Holy Spirit lets us know that we are children of God. We did not receive a spirit of fear to be enslaved. We have received the Holy Spirit. We have received grace bought by the very blood of Jesus Christ himself. There is no condemnation to those who are in Christ Jesus. We have been forgiven and we have been adopted into the family of God. So can praise and thank God, He has forgiven us and showered His grace and love upon us. What else can we feel but thanks! Thank you father! Abba Father!
Thank you so much!
We are the adopted Children of God. The heirs of God and join heirs with Jesus Christ. It is interesting, in the original greek the word in verses 15 and 23 for “of adoption” or “adoption to sonship” in some versions is huiothesias. This is a term referring to the full legal standing of an adopted male heir in Roman culture. The heir has all the rights and legal standing as a naturally born son. It is legal, it is binding. We are fully adopted into God’s family, no matter what we have done or who we are. The struggles we might have or the personality we have. We are adopted.
I am a big comic book fan. When I was a kid, I had boxes and boxes of comic books. I collected Iron Man, Hulk, Thor and the Avengers. So with all these superhero movies coming out lately, I am in my heyday. Brinton and I saw the Avengers when it came out and we loved it. It was dramatic, action packed and funny, a great movie. Now the villain of the movie is Loki the Norse god of mischief, in the movie the Norse gods are just aliens and Loki is the hero Thor’s adopted half brother. Well Loki is a bad guy, he kills innocent people and wants to destroy the earth. In one scene in the movie Thor and the other super heroes are gathered around a table discussing how they are going to stop Loki, and some of them talk about killing Loki, which makes Thor upset. Thor says very forcefully, “But we cannot do that he is my brother” And throughout the whole movie no matter how bad it gets, Thor still has hope for his brother.
It’s the same for us. We are God’s adopted children, legal fully binding. No matter what happens with us, no matter how far a child of God falls God still has hope. God believes in His children and loves His children no matter what.
I remember sitting through a sermon in a very legalistic church and the pastor was speaking on Romans 8:35-39 which tells us that nothing shall separate us from the love of Christ, Paul says in verses 38-39. “For I am convinced that neither death nor life, neither angels nor demons, neither the present nor the future, nor any powers, neither height nor depth, nor anything else in all creation, will be able to separate us from the love of God that is in Christ Jesus our Lord” and the preacher said, “You see there is one thing that Paul left out, what can really separate us from the love of God. That is sin. Sin separates you from the love of God”
Now I have real problems with that. Paul tells us nothing will separate us from the love of God. Nothing. Sin might separate us from fellowship with God because we have guilt, but that does not stop God from loving us. If you have a child who does something bad, even something horrible , you don’t stop loving that child. You might grieve or not understand. But stop loving? That would be a cold and inhuman family indeed. A parent always hopes and loves deep down inside.
Today as we celebrate Pentecost, let’s thank God for our adoption into the kingdom and family of God. Let us thank God for the Holy Spirit who dwells in our heart. And let us thank god for His steadfast and undying love.