Obligation? Adopted? Inherited? Sharing?
Romans 8:9–17 (NIV): 9 You, however, are not in the realm of the flesh but are in the realm of the Spirit, if indeed the Spirit of God lives in you. And if anyone does not have the Spirit of Christ, they do not belong to Christ. 10 But if Christ is in you, then even though your body is subject to death because of sin, the Spirit gives life because of righteousness. 11 And if the Spirit of him who raised Jesus from the dead is living in you, he who raised Christ from the dead will also give life to your mortal bodies because of his Spirit who lives in you.
12 Therefore, brothers and sisters, we have an obligation—but it is not to the flesh, to live according to it. 13 For if you live according to the flesh, you will die; but if by the Spirit you put to death the misdeeds of the body, you will live.
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. (Italics added)
If anything, this last years has taught us is that when fear rises in our lives, the results either way can be fatal. You might believe that COVID-19 is nothing to be concerned about. Talk to people who lost a loved one. Talk to ICU nurses, ask them how traumatic it was for them. Talk to patients who barely recovered. Not many of them were afraid initially, until they had to deal with it personally. Talk to those who didn’t care about COVID and took none of the precautions. Ask them if they would like their Grandmother or Grandfather back, Mother of Father back, their child back. When the accurate numbers are finally tallied, COVID 19 will be the most lethal virus to have hit the ENTIRE world, ever! We are fortunate to be in a nation that is wealthy. Wealthy enough to make sure that all its citizens could get vaccinated if they so chose to be. Second and third world countries are not so fortunate. Unless for the charity of other neighbors, despair continues to darken their hearts when it comes to hope. COVID 19 has reminded us, right in front of our faces, something human beings almost constantly ignore. And no matter how ignorant we can be, it is something that cannot be avoided. What is it? Our mortality! We will all take the big dirt nap at some point. It is unavoidable. Here are biblical examples:
Job 4:19 (NLT): 19 how much less will he trust people made of clay! They are made of dust, crushed as easily as a moth.
Job 10:9 (NLT): 9 Remember that you made me from dust— will you turn me back to dust so soon?
Psalm 89:48 (NLT): 48 No one can live forever; all will die. No one can escape the power of the grave.
Ecclesiastes 3:20 (NLT): 20 Both go to the same place—they came from dust and they return to dust.
2 Corinthians 5:4 (NLT): 4 While we live in these earthly bodies, we groan and sigh, but it’s not that we want to die and get rid of these bodies that clothe us. Rather, we want to put on our new bodies so that these dying bodies will be swallowed up by life.
Hebrews 9:27 (NLT): 27 And just as each person is destined to die once and after that comes judgment,
What Paul records in Romans deals with the way we should all as followers of Jesus should live, and Paul points towards, using key words, to help us to understand transformation of life and thought when it comes to ourselves and our interaction with “others”. Those key words are obligation, adoption, inheritance, sharing (charity). I could have added the word “liberty” as well, but that word has been abused so much in our American culture, I doubt most could understand biblical liberty. Paul answers the following questions:
What is our OBLIGATION?
Are we ADOPTED?
What have we INHERITED?
What are we SHARING?
I think Jesus says it best:
Mark 8:34–38 (NLT): 34 Then, calling the crowd to join his disciples, he said, “If any of you wants to be my follower, you must give up your own way, take up your cross, and follow me. 35 If you try to hang on to your life, you will lose it. But if you give up your life for my sake and for the sake of the Good News, you will save it. 36 And what do you benefit if you gain the whole world but lose your own soul? 37 Is anything worth more than your soul? 38 If anyone is ashamed of me and my message in these adulterous and sinful days, the Son of Man will be ashamed of that person when he returns in the glory of his Father with the holy angels.”