Sovereign Grace Baptist Church

Free Grace Media

Of Princeton, New Jersey


AuthorClay Curtis
TitleNot Bondage But Adoption
Bible TextRomans 8:12-15
Synopsis Ye have not received the spirit of bondage again to fear; but ye have received the Spirit of adoption, whereby we cry, Abba, Father. Listen
Series Romans 2018
Article Type Sermon Notes
PDF Format pdf
Word Format doc
Audio HI-FI Listen: Not Bondage But Adoption (32 kbps)
Audio CD Quality Listen: Not Bondage But Adoption (128 kbps)
Length 41 min.

Series: Romans

Title: Not Bondage but Adoption

Text: Romans 8: 12-15

Date: January 6, 2019

Place: SGBC, NJ


Romans 8: 12: Therefore, brethren, we are debtors, not to the flesh, to live after the flesh.


“Therefore.”  We are not debtors to our flesh because it was God the Holy Spirit, not our flesh, that conceived us through the gospel and freed us (v2)  It was not of us, but Christ that condemned our condemnation and made us righteous (vv3-4).  Our flesh could never please God and still cannot (vv7-8).  We are not debtors to our flesh because it is not our flesh, but the Spirit of Christ within the believer, that continues to quicken us and mortify our flesh (vv10-11).


Romans 8: 12: Therefore, brethren, we are debtors, not to the flesh, to live after the flesh.  13: For if ye live after the flesh, ye shall die: but if ye through the Spirit do mortify the deeds of the body, ye shall live. 14: For as many as are led by the Spirit of God, they are the sons of God. 15: For ye have not received the spirit of bondage again to fear; but ye have received the Spirit of adoption, whereby we cry, Abba, Father.


Title: Not Bondage but Adoption


Proposition: “Ye have not received the spirit of bondage again to fear; but ye have received the Spirit of adoption, whereby we cry, Abba, Father.”




Romans 8: 15: Ye have not received the spirit of bondage again to fear…


Believer let us get this comforting word of truth down in our hearts.  When we were born again of the Holy Spirit, God gave us a new spirit that was not there before.  But we have not received the spirit of bondage again to fear.


Most preach contrary to this.  Most preach that the believer is now in greater bondage to the law than he was before given the Holy Spirit.  As soon as sinners confess Christ they send them straight from Mt Zion back down to Mt Sinai, from liberty back to bondage, from life and peace of minding things of the Spirit straight back to minding the flesh and death.


We are familiar with the verse that declares why Christ came


Hebrews 2: 14: Forasmuch then as the children are partakers of flesh and blood, he also himself likewise took part of the same; that through death he might destroy him that had the power of death, that is, the devil; 15: And deliver them who through fear of death were all their lifetime subject to bondage


That is why Christ took flesh and blood.  Through death he took away all the sins of his people.  That was the devil’s power.  The devil is the accuser of the brethren.  Through fear of death the devil kept us subject to bondage using our sin.  Christ brought in everlasting righteousness delivering all his people from the fear of death


Romans 8: 10: And if Christ be in you, the body is dead because of sin; but the Spirit is life because of righteousness.


The Spirit is life inside every regenerated child of God because of Christ our Righteousness.  Life and Righteousness are one like death and sin are one.  The Spirit of Christ which is in believers is our Life and our Righteousness.  We would not be born of his Spirit if we yet owed anything to the law of God.  We would not have life if we were not righteous before the law of God, before God himself.


Isaiah 54: 13: And all thy children shall be taught of the LORD; and great shall be the peace of thy children.  14: In righteousness shalt thou be established: thou shalt be far from oppression; for thou shalt not fear: and from terror; for it shall not come near thee.  15: Behold, they shall surely gather together, but not by me: whosoever shall gather together against thee shall fall for thy sake.  16: Behold, I have created the smith that bloweth the coals in the fire, and that bringeth forth an instrument for his work; and I have created the waster to destroy.  17: No weapon that is formed against thee shall prosper; and every tongue that shall rise against thee in judgment thou shalt condemn. This is the heritage of the servants of the LORD, and their righteousness is of me, saith the LORD.


If we truly believe this word of the LORD—that our righteousness is of him and he is all our righteousness—then the law has nothing else to say against us.  That is why Christ said,


John 6: 54: Whoso eateth my flesh, and drinketh my blood, hath eternal life; and I will raise him up at the last day.


John 11:25: Jesus said…I am the resurrection, and the life: he that believeth in me, though he were dead, yet shall he live: 26: And whosoever liveth and believeth in me shall never die. Believest thou this?


Colossians 3:3: For ye are dead, and your life is hid with Christ in God. 4: When Christ, who is our life, shall appear, then shall ye also appear with him in glory.


Scripture says Christ died for his people and rose again so that we might live unto him!  Then why would God give us “the spirit of bondage AGAIN to fear?  We were already bound and full of fear?  Does it make any sense that God would send his Son to suffer the justice of God in our place, to fulfill all righteousness for us, to redeem us from bondage, only to give us the Spirit of bondage again to fear?  Of course not!




Romans 8: 14: For as many as are led by the Spirit of God, they are the sons of God. 15: For ye have not received the spirit of bondage again to fear; but ye have received the Spirit of adoption, whereby we cry, Abba, Father.


If we believe on Christ, trusting him to be all our righteousness, it is because we have received the Spirit of adoption.  God gave us the Spirit of adoption, not to fear, but to cry unto God.


If we are led of the Spirit of God, why would we need to be led of Moses and the law?  God did not allow Moses to lead the children of Israel into Canaan; he raised up Joshua to lead them into Canaan.  It pictured the truth that the law cannot lead us into heaven’s glory, only Christ can!


Consider what it took to give us the spirit of adoption.


Galatians 4: 1: Now I say, That the heir, as long as he is a child, differeth nothing from a servant, though he be lord of all; 2: But is under tutors and governors until the time appointed of the father. 3: Even so we, when we were children, were in bondage under the elements of the world: [Paul always calls the law elements of the world] 4: But when the fulness of the time was come, God sent forth his Son, made of a woman, made under the law, 5: To redeem them that were under the law,…


This religious world has no clue what it is to be redeemed from under the law.  What an insult against Christ to say he redeemed his people from the curse of the law, yet, insist believers are under the law and bring them into bondage and fear!


Galatians 3: 13: Christ hath redeemed us from the curse of the law, being made a curse for us: for it is written, Cursed is every one that hangeth on a tree:


Think of what Christ suffered!  Think of the shame of the cross that he endured!  Think of how well-pleased the Father is with Christ’s Righteousness—“he hath honored the law!”, God said.  Christ declared “It is finished!”  He declared that he accomplished the redemption of his people from the curse of the law! No condemnation means no bondage and no fear!  It means all his people have fulfilled the law in precept and in penalty so that we are free from the law forever!  Why did he do it?


Galatians 4: 5:…that we might receive the adoption of sons. 6: And because ye are sons, God hath sent forth the Spirit of his Son into your hearts, crying, Abba, Father. 7: Wherefore thou art no more a servant, but a son; and if a son, then an heir of God through Christ.


Do you see why the apostle Paul was fearful for the Galatian believers who were being told they must go back to the law for sanctification?  Let’s read on.


Galatians 4: 8: Howbeit then, when ye knew not God, ye did service unto them which by nature are no gods.  9: But now, after that ye have known God, or rather are known of God, how turn ye again to the weak and beggarly elements, whereunto ye desire again to be in bondage? 10: Ye observe days, and months, and times, and years.  11: I am afraid of you, lest I have bestowed upon you labour in vain.  12: Brethren, I beseech you, be as I am; for I am as ye are: ye have not injured me at all.  13: Ye know how through infirmity of the flesh I preached the gospel unto you at the first.  14: And my temptation which was in my flesh ye despised not, nor rejected; but received me as an angel of God, even as Christ Jesus.  15: Where is then the blessedness ye spake of?  for I bear you record, that, if it had been possible, ye would have plucked out your own eyes, and have given them to me.  16: Am I therefore become your enemy, because I tell you the truth?


Paul said, “My message has not changed from then till now!  Back then you spake of being blessed by the messages!  Why not now?”  Do you see how lies will affect a believer in a negative way? 


Galatians 4: 17: They zealously affect you, but not well; yea, they would exclude you, that ye might affect them.


Galatians 5: 12: I would they were even cut off which trouble you.


When those men came down telling baptized Gentile believers that they must be circumcised or they could not be saved, Peter said that God,


Acts 15: 9: put no difference between us and them, purifying their hearts by faith.  10: Now therefore why tempt ye God, to put a yoke upon the neck of the disciples, which neither our fathers nor we were able to bear?  11: But we believe that through the grace of the Lord Jesus Christ we [Jews] shall be saved, even as [these Gentiles]


Romans 9: 30: What shall we say then? That the Gentiles, which followed not after righteousness, have attained to righteousness, even the righteousness which is of faith.  31: But Israel, which followed after the law of righteousness, hath not attained to the law of righteousness.  32: Wherefore? Because they sought it not by faith, but as it were by the works of the law. For they stumbled at that stumblingstone;


Believer, “Ye have not received the spirit of bondage again to fear; but ye have received the Spirit of adoption whereby we cry Abba, Father.”


We have a couple in our congregation expecting their first child.  When that little fellow is born they will not have to teach him to cry out for them.  When he needs them then he will cry! And cry!  And cry!  And cry!  A child of God is the same way!  We are always wanting evidences.  Do you cry, “O Father, please save me from myself!”


The word “Abba” means “my father.”  Abba is “Aramaic” and “Father” is Greek—his elect are Gentile and Jew.   Abba is spelled the same forward and backward—God is our Father in adversity and prosperity.  They say the servants could not call the master of the house father, only sons and daughters.  Hence Paul’s illustration in Galatians, you are no longer servants but sons crying, Abba, Father.


1 John 3: 1: Behold, what manner of love the Father hath bestowed upon us, that we should be called the sons of God: therefore the world knoweth us not, because it knew him not. 2: Beloved, now are we the sons of God, and it doth not yet appear what we shall be: but we know that, when he shall appear, we shall be like him; for we shall see him as he is.


Believer, do not listen to anyone telling you that you have to go back to the bondage of the law.  We are not motivated by law.  We are not ruled by law.  We do not learn love and mercy and longsuffering from the law because it deals in none of those things, only guilt and innocence.


Believers are “under grace.”  We cry unto our Father to be our guide!  We are under the dominion of Christ our Head who fills all in all!  We are led of the Spirit.  Christ said the Spirit shall guide you into all truth!


Galatians 5: 1: Stand fast therefore in the liberty wherewith Christ hath made us free, and be not entangled again with the yoke of bondage.  2: Behold, I Paul say unto you, that if ye be circumcised, Christ shall profit you nothing.  3: For I testify again to every man that is circumcised, that he is a debtor to do the whole law.  4: Christ is become of no effect unto you, whosoever of you are justified by the law; ye are fallen from grace.  5: For we through the Spirit wait for the hope of righteousness by faith.  6: For in Jesus Christ neither circumcision availeth any thing, nor uncircumcision; but faith which worketh by love….13: For, brethren, ye have been called unto liberty; only use not liberty for an occasion to the flesh, but by love serve one another.  14: For all the law is fulfilled in one word, even in this; Thou shalt love thy neighbour as thyself.  15: But if ye bite and devour one another, take heed that ye be not consumed one of another.  16: This I say then, Walk in the Spirit, and ye shall not fulfil the lust of the flesh. 17: For the flesh lusteth against the Spirit, and the Spirit against the flesh: and these are contrary the one to the other: so that [your sinful flesh] cannot do the things that ye would. 18: But if ye be led of the Spirit, ye are not under the law.