Romans 8:14-17

14 For those who are led by the Spirit of God are the children of God. 15 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.’ 16 The Spirit himself testifies with our spirit that we are God’s children. 17 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.

  1. J. I. Packer said this in his book, “Knowing God” … “What is a Christian? The answer can be answered in many ways, but the richest answer I know is that a Christian is one who has God for his Father.” Do you find a quote like that helpful/unhelpful? How does it impact you or the way you engage with those who do not know God?
  2. I would suggest that many people today, believe that God is the Father of us all but do you think that is a biblical concept. In what sense is God the Father of us all (universal) and in what sense is God the Father of his people (particular)?
  3. What do you think of this quote from J.I. Packer, “The revelation to the believer that God is his Father is in a sense the climax of the Bible?” and have you ever thought that?
  4. J.I. Packer wrote this about the Old Testament, “Again and again it was stressed that man must keep his place, and his distance, in the presence of a holy God. The emphasis overshadowed everything else. But in the New Testament things have changed. God and religion are not less that they were… but something was added.” Could you flesh this out a bit and speak about how we still hold on to the holy but describe what now is new? (Ref. Hebrews 10:19f).
  5. Some people have suggested that the divine fatherhood can mean nothing to those whose human father was inadequate, lacking wisdom or affection. J.I. Packer suggests that this is silly. Why is that? In terms of marriage or Fatherhood, where do we get the right picture?
  6. J.I. Packer writes… “Our first point about adoption is that it is the highest privilege that the Gospel offers; higher even than justification.” Thoughts? Why does he say that?
  7. When you think of the Fatherhood of God as a Christian, what are you thinking about? For example “authority”. What other things come to mind?
  8. What role does the Holy Spirit play in all this and why is He mentioned so often when it comes to adoption and assurance?
  9. Jesus said this…. “34 Jesus replied, ‘Very truly I tell you, everyone who sins is a slave to sin. 35 Now a slave has no permanent place in the family, but a son belongs to it for ever. 36 So if the Son sets you free, you will be free indeed (John 8). Why are these words so relevant to the Christian?
  10. J.I. Packer writes… “One more thing might be added to show how great is the blessing of adoption – namely, this, “That is the blessing that abides.” Family experts drum into us that the family unit needs to be stable and secure, that any unsteadiness in that parent-child relationship takes its toll in strain, neurosis, and arrest development. But things are not like that in God’s family! Why? On what basis?
  11. What are some things you can learn for life in having God as your Father and Jesus as your Lord and Saviour? An example would be Matthew 6:25f about not worrying.
  12. J.I. Packer writes, “Were I to ask to focus the New Testament message in three words, my proposal would be “Adoption through propitiation.” Thoughts?