Home Pastors Pastor Blogs A Favorite Biblical Chapter: Romans 8 (Part 1)

A Favorite Biblical Chapter: Romans 8 (Part 1)

I’m co-teaching through Romans in several church contexts at the moment, and today I’ll begin a short series discussing some aspects of perhaps my favorite chapter in the Bible: Romans 8.

I’m not going to go verse-by-verse. Instead, I’m going to start with one main theme that really jumps out from the chapter-sonship-and try to build on that theme in future posts. We’ll start in the middle of the chapter, and move backward and forward in future posts as needed.

Paul ties our humanity to Jesus’ humanity when he says that, having received full adoption by the Spirit, “we cry out Abba (Father)” (Rom 8:15). “Abba” is important not because it means Daddy, Pops, or some other affectionate term, but because Jesus used this term in his native Aramaic. Our use of the same language is a sign that we receive the Father’s love for Jesus and his status as heir of all things: “heirs of God and co-heirs of Christ” (8:16).

Paul takes this teaching straight into imitation. He follows Jesus in noting that a path of suffering is non-negotiable: “If we are God’s children, we are heirs: heirs of God and co-heirs of Christ, if we share in his suffering in order that we might share in his glory.” (Rom 8:17).

Later in the same chapter, Paul describes the glorious destiny of believers. They are “predestined to be conformed to the image of the Son” (Rom 8:29), “glorified” (8:30): they are destined to be Truly Human after the pattern of Jesus. But verse 17 stands as an affront to easy-believism and the “cheap grace” critiqued by Dietrich Bonhoeffer, a grace that grabs the benefits of Jesus while refusing his burdens.[1]

[1] The English title of his classic reference is Cost of Discipleship, but I’ve always been struck by the German title, which is simply, “Discipleship”.