Sunday, January 2, 2011
Led By The Spirit of God
“For as many as are led by the Spirit of God, these are sons of God.”
(Rom. 8:14; ASV) The American Standard Version is very true to the “form”of the Greek text in its rendering of this verse. It makes very little modification and gives us a great translation of this passage. Today’s New International Version (TNIV) makes more adjustments in English as it deviates more from the Greek text than the ASV, yet it clearly brings out the sense of the text.
It says, “For those who are led by the Spirit of God are the children of God.” Both translations have the phrase “led by the Spirit of God.” How does the Spirit of God lead?
First, the Spirit of God does not mysteriously lead. It is not impossible or difficult to explain , nor is it incapable of being understood. The word translated “led” is ago and it is used figuratively in Rom. 8:14 of the influence of God’s Spirit, hence to lead or guide. This tells us what he does; the question is how
does he do it?
Second, the Spirit of God does not miraculously lead. The time during which God miraculously worked through men on earth had ended. Complete revelation has been given, so the miracles by which God was adding his testimony as to the validity of the message declared by men have ceased. (1 Cor. 13:8-10; Heb. 2:3-4)
Third, the Spirit of God does not directly lead. If he did, it would be a miracle. The Holy Spirit no more directly leads a person to remain a Christian than he directly leads a person to become a Christian. Does the Spirit of God lead a person to become a Christian? Yes. How? By the preaching of the word, the message of salvation. (Acts 11:14; 15:7; 1 Cor. 1:18, 21; Jas. 1:21) Every
person who has ever obeyed the gospel was “led” to do so by the Spirit of God.
He was the revealer of the word of God through the apostles and prophets (Eph. 3:5), and when his word is preached, he leads people to become Christians through the instrumentality of the word he revealed.
The same is true with regard to the expression “led by the Spirit of God” in Rom. 8:14. The irresistible conclusion is, the Spirit leads through the words he has given through Paul and the other apostles of Christ. The Spirit tells people how to live in the gospel. This “clue” is found on the very surface of the book of Romans. It is in the “keynote” text. “For I am not ashamed of the gospel;
for it is the power of God for salvation to everyone who believes, to the Jew first and also to the Greek.” (Romans 1:16) “But thanks be to God, that you who were once slaves to sin, have obeyed from the heart the pattern of teaching to which you were committed.” (Rom. 6:17)
The believers in Rome were being led by the Spirit of God through the gospel, which is the pattern of teaching that emanated from God, and was preached by Paul. Therefore, Paul could say in Rom. 8:2, “For the law of the Spirit of life in Christ Jesus has set me free from the law of sin and death.”
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