Lesson 33—Romans 8:14-21

The Sons and Heirs of God

In this lesson we continue the subject of sonship and consider together the blessings that belong to us as the children of God. We will notice seven of them here.

1. The Leading of the Spirit of God, vs. 14

The mark of sonship is Guidance. The sons of God travel a different road than the children of this world.

When Israel left Egypt and went through “all that great and terrible wilderness” God bore them as a man doth bear his son, in all the way that they went (Deut. 1:19, 31).

We are on our way up to our Father’s house and the Holy Spirit is our Leader and Guide.

2. The Spirit of Adoption, vs. 15

The privilege of sonship is adoption.

Adoption in Scripture is the placing of sons. When a man takes another’s son and places him as his own giving him all the rights of the children we call that adoption. God gives to us the very place that His own dear Son has in His heart and home. We are His sons but because we have been born into the family we are His children as well. And as sons we enjoy the liberty of the home. We are not slaves under bondage but sons looking up into our Father’s face and in sheer delight exclaiming, “Abba Father.” Nothing can exceed this joy that is ours.

3. The Witness of the Holy Spirit, vs. 16

The witness is the evidence of sonship.

We know that we are the children of God for the Holy Spirit dwells within us. This heavenly Guest came to dwell in us the moment we trusted Christ and when we receive His witness to us as given in the Word of God (Heb. 10:15) we can enjoy all the things our Father gives us and feel at home in His presence because of His witness in us. (1 John 5:10). Then there will also be the witnessing with us. We will not be ashamed of our Father but be glad to confess Him before men.

4. The Inheritance of the Children of God, vs. 17. The Resources of Sonship

In Jer. 3:19 we read of God asking, “How shall I put thee among the children, and give thee a pleasant land, a goodly heritage?” God has put us among the children and if we are children then we are heirs also and we have a goodly heritage for we are the heirs of God, joint heirs with Christ. What a portion is ours! To possess all that God possesses all that Christ has. What earthly inheritance can compare with this? This exceeds our wildest fancies. To think that lost sinners of Adam’s race should become the heirs of God!

We know that Christ is God’s appointed Heir of all things. He is going to come into the possession of all things. But the wonder of it all is that we are His joint-heirs. We know a

“Love that gives not as the world but shares
All it possesses with its loved co-heirs.”

But there are two sides to this possessing with Him. Suffering comes before the glory. We are to suffer with Him now, we shall be glorified together soon. And the thought of the coming glory encourages us to endure the sufferings of this little while.


1. Why are there so few verses in the Old Testament that speak of God as a Father?

2. What does the Scriptural expression “adoption” mean?