Paul on the Spirit in Romans 8 (2)
For as many as are led by the Spirit of God, these are sons of God. Romans 8.14
What is it to be led by the Spirit? How can we know when the Spirit is leading us?
These are questions of great importance, for they bear on our adoption and calling as children of God. They are children of God who demonstrate their adoption by being led by the Spirit. What does this entail?
The Spirit leads us to Jesus, first, that we may come to know Him for salvation (v. 15), and thereafter, that we may be daily transformed into His image (2 Cor. 3.12-18). He does this by teaching us the things of Christ, and bringing them to our remembrance, from which He testifies of Jesus (Jn. 16.13, 14; 14.26;15.26).
The Spirit’s work is to conform us to Jesus, increasingly now, and finally on that day when we see Him as He is (1 Jn. 3.1-3).
As He does this inward and transforming work, the Spirit assures us day by day that we are children of God. He bears witness to the new heart He is constructing within us so that we have no doubt about who we are, what we are to be about, or where we are bound (vv 16, 17; cf. Eek. 36.26, 27)..
The Spirit also teaches us how to pray, so that we may pray always and not grow weary. In prayer we come alongside Him Who knows the mind of the Spirit and ever lives to intercede for us, that is, Jesus (vv. 26, 27). Thus we are being led of the Spirit whenever we come before the Lord in prayer.
We are being led by the Spirit as, increasingly, we set aside all fleshly thoughts, ways, and means, and set our minds on spiritual matters, especially the Law of God and the unseen things of Christ (vv. 5-9; Col. 3.1-3).
And we are being led of the Spirit as we manifest the righteousness of Christ in fruit and gifts and witness for Him (vv. 10, 11; Gal. 5.22, 23; 1 Cor. 12.7-11); Acts 1.8). We are being led by the Spirit as we participate in His work of building the Church (Eph. 2.19-22).
Clearly, we must devote every moment of our lives to being filled with the Spirit (Eph. 5.18), and to walking in Him (Gal. 5.16ff.), for only thus can we grow as true children of God.
We'll look more closely at the details of the Spirit's leading in subsequent installments. For now, ask yourself: In how many of ways mentioned here am I conscious of being led by the Spirit.