Each sentence of Romans eight is so dense with truth that we could easily justify spending far more time wading into its depths. This certainly holds true for verses 12-17. The great London pastor, D. Martin Lloyd-Jones, in his famous series of 366 sermons from the Book of Romans, preached fully 27 sermons from this single passage. In these verses we hear the soaring promises that are so much a part of chapter eight. And alongside those promises is the call to live in a way that harmonizes with those promises. Specifically, since we are no longer of the flesh we must not live according to the flesh. Indeed, we must put to death the deeds of the flesh.
As he does so often, Paul highlights the full unity of the Persons of the Godhead – Father, Son, and Holy Spirit – as wholly invested in our salvation. Through the Spirit, Christians are the adopted children of the Father and co-heirs with Christ. The Christian’s status as an adopted child of God confers immeasurable blessings both here and in the age to come. This act of adoption is a sign of God’s enduring love for his people and constitutes a permanent and unbreakable commitment both now in the midst of suffering and sorrow and in the glory of eternity.
From the very beginning, Christians have often found themselves living in societies that marginalize, misunderstand, and even punish them for their commitment to Christ. And this is why Paul’s words to the Roman church continue to comfort every generation of Christians. As Paul indicates here, in this world we will suffer for the name of Christ. But not even the world’s cruelest mistreatment can undo the glory of our adoption by the Spirit. Indeed, the glory of the Kingdom of God is gained as we participate in Christ which includes joining him in his suffering.