Principle for Bible Reading
The Bible often argues in “if/then” statements, and the context will help us clarify exactly what the conditions are. In this lab, John Piper shows us where to find assurance that we are the children of God.
Review Romans 8:12–13 (00:44–03:11)
- We do not owe the flesh anything. It’s done nothing but harm and ruin us. We would be foolish to look to it for happiness. (Romans 8:12)
- If you live to the flesh, you will die a forever death (not just a physical death). (Romans 8:13).
- If by the Spirit you kill sin, you will live forever. (Romans 8:13)
- You really do put sin to death, but you do it by the power of God — that is, by the Spirit. (Romans 8:13)
The Sons of God (03:11–06:00)
- All who are led by the Spirit (Romans 8:13) reveal that they are the true sons of God. IF you are being led by the Spirit to put to death the deeds of the body (Romans 8:13), THEN you are a child of God. (Romans 8:14)
- To be led by the Spirit (in this specific passage) is to be led into war against our sin. (Romans 8:13)
- Paul’s point in these verses is to encourage us to confront and conquer sin in our lives by the Spirit in order to enjoy greater assurance that we are God’s children.
Children Never Die (06:00–07:37)
- The children of God do not die. They inherit the estate of God. (Romans 8:17)
- The condition in Romans 8:17 is the same as in Romans 8:13. Putting sin to death is hard, and it hurts, but it brings joy and glory in the end.
- Based on Romans 8:14, how do we know if we are children of God? Restate the conditional statement in your own words.
- What might it mean to “be led by the Spirit”? Does the immediate context in Romans 8 help you answer that question?
- Read Romans 8:12–17. What are the benefits of being a child (son) of God?
Piper: “Putting sin to death hurts in the short term, but it is filled with joy and glory in the end.”
‘The Greatest Chapter’ Series
This lab is part of a series through Romans 8. Taking a verse or two at a time, John Piper unfolds the other-worldly realities in these thirty-nine verses, all along pointing out general, practical principles for understanding and applying the Bible’s meaning. Visit ‘The Greatest Chapter’ series page to see all the labs in this series.
Childlike, Not Childish (interview)
The Spirit-Led Are the Sons of God (sermon on Romans 8:14)