Tim Keller | March 6, 1994
The Bible tells us that when we become Christians, the Spirit of God comes into our lives. What is the nature of the Spirit? 1) The Spirit is not a spirit of fear and 2) The Spirit is a spirit of adoption.
The death of Jesus shows two deep truths about us: our mistakes are so big that only Jesus dying could fix them, but we are also so valuable that Jesus was willing to pay the ultimate price. When we truly understand these truths, they change how we see ourselves. We start to see ourselves as loved even in our mistakes, and this allows God’s Spirit to make us bold, confirming that we are God’s children and changing us to be more like Christ.
1. The Spirit is not a spirit of fear
The Holy Spirit frees us from fear, changing us from being scared all the time into being God’s children. The Spirit helps us to understand God’s laws in our hearts, promoting good qualities like honesty, kindness, and generosity, and inspiring us to live good lives because we love and are thankful, not because we are afraid. If we live in fear, we won’t have joy, we may become addicted to harmful things, and we will always feel insecure. But the Spirit gives us confidence and thankfulness as God’s children.
2. The Spirit is a Spirit of adoption
In the Roman world, adoption was a way to change a person’s legal status and give them new rights and privileges. This is a good way to understand how believing in Jesus changes us. We don’t just become better people; we become children of God, with a spiritual inheritance. Recognizing ourselves as God’s children, praying boldly to Him, and understanding the meaning of Jesus’ sacrifice, allows us to live great lives that are not full of jealousy and defensiveness, but filled with excitement for the wonderful future God promises us.
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In his book Counterfeit Gods, Tim Keller shows us how a proper understanding of the Bible reveals the truth about societal ideals and our own hearts — and that there is only one God who can wholly satisfy our cravings and fulfill our hopes.
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