“Therefore, brethren, we are debtors—not to the flesh, to live according to the flesh. For if you live according to the flesh you will die; but if by the Spirit you put to death the deeds of the body, you will live. For as many as are led by the Spirit of God, these are sons of God. For you did not receive the spirit of bondage again to fear, but you received the Spirit of adoption by whom we cry out, ‘Abba, Father.’ The Spirit Himself bears witness with our spirit that we are children of God,”
Paul the Apostle, as a man who received salvation from God, said that the born-again believers should not live according to the flesh, but the Spirit. In particular, Paul said that if we, who have the righteousness of God, live according to the flesh, we will die, but that if we live by the Spirit, we will live. We must thus believe in this truth. What, then, should those who believe in God’s righteousness live by? Should they live according to the righteousness of God or the lust of the flesh? They must know what is right and discipline their bodies to devote themselves to the righteous works of God.
The unavoidable obligation
Paul claimed that we have an obligation to live according to the Spirit, not our sinful nature, because we Christians have been saved from God’s wrath and led into His righteousness. Before we became aware of the righteousness of God and believed in it, we could not live according to the Spirit. But now that we know and believe in God’s righteousness, we can devote our hearts, thoughts, talents, bodies, and time to His righteous works. We should use ourselves as tools in preaching the righteousness of God and doing His righteous works.
Living according to the flesh
If you are in Christ and live by your sinful nature and not by the Spirit, the Bible states that you will perish just like all unbelievers. That is because even though you are a born-again Christian, you do not in fact live according to God’s righteousness. If you are to be a true Christian, you should no longer live by the flesh, but by the righteousness of God, for you are destined to serve His righteousness because you believe in it. If you live only according to the flesh in spite of this, your spirit will die. However, if you live according to the righteousness of God, you will live in peace forever.
Sons of God
“For as many as are led by the Spirit of God, these are sons of God” (Romans 8:14).
Those who believe in God’s righteousness received the Holy Spirit as a gift, and the Holy Spirit leads them. These are the “sons of God.” The “sons of God” have the Holy Spirit dwelling in them. As such, those who do not have the Holy Spirit dwelling in them are not His. The starting point in following God begins with faith in His righteousness. It starts by believing in the Word of the gospel of the water and the Spirit to become a child of God. In other words, becoming God’s child begins by believing in the gospel of His righteousness. It means that you become a family member of God by believing in His righteousness, and that God has given His righteousness to save you from your sins.
When Jesus was visited by Nicodemus, a Jewish leader, Jesus told him that no one could become a child of God unless he/she is born again of water and the Spirit. Nicodemus was marveled by this and asked, “How can a man be born when he is old?” (John 3:4). Jesus answered, “Most assuredly, I say to you, unless one is born of water and the Spirit, he cannot enter the kingdom of God. That which is born of the flesh is flesh, and that which is born of the Spirit is spirit. Do not marvel that I said to you, ‘You must be born again.’ The wind blows where it wishes, and you hear the sound of it, but cannot tell where it comes from and where it goes. So is everyone who is born of the Spirit” (John 3:5-8).
Jesus said that one who is not born of water and the Spirit cannot understand the meaning of being born again. The faith in the baptism that Jesus received from John the Baptist and the blood that He shed on the Cross enables those who believe in His righteous act to receive the righteousness of God. Those who believe in the Word of the gospel are able to receive the Holy Spirit as a gift. One can reach the righteousness of God by believing in the gospel of the water and the Spirit. Everyone who accepts God’s righteousness can become a child of God. Those who become His people are our brothers and sisters.
The Spirit bears witness that we are children of God
“For you did not receive the spirit of bondage again to fear, but you received the Spirit of adoption by whom we cry out, ‘Abba, Father.’ The Spirit Himself bears witness with our spirit that we are children of God” (Romans 8:15-16).
There are only two ways in which we can bear witness to the fact that we are the children of God. First, the righteousness of God that is revealed in the gospel of the water and the Spirit has made us His children; and second, the Holy Spirit comes to us. The Holy Spirit works within the gospel of the water and the Spirit. God planned all these things. Having faith in the gospel of the water and the Spirit is the witness in ourselves that tells us that we have become the children of God. Those who have become God’s children by knowing and believing in the righteousness of God have the right to pray to God as “Abba,” our Father.
Let us try to think rationally. How can someone with sin in his/her heart call God his/her Father? God the Father has never kept a sinner as His child, and a sinner has never served God as the Father. You must look inside yourself and see if, by any chance, you are also making a mistake like this. Those who bear witness to becoming the children of God through the Holy Spirit are those who believe in the righteousness of God. We must think deeply about God’s righteousness.