Romans 8:12-17


This section begins the exhortation but focus is still on the Holy Spirit.


Topics are:

1)      Progressive sanctification

2)      The “leadership” of the Holy Spirit

3)      Adoption

4)      Inheritance


Human activity or effort in sanctification is involved but never without the aid of the Holy Spirit.

The Holy Spirit is present in the believer and is the very life and nature of the born again man’s core.
The Holy Spirit will lead the sons of God to sanctification but men have an obligation to pursue the same.

Men still have to resist the sin nature, but with the leadership of the Holy Spirit it is possible. 

In Romans 7 it was not possible for a wretched man to do so without the Spirit

These verses are similar to Galatians 4:1-7.


Arminians believe that the believer can fall back into the sin nature and the threat of 8:13 is a reference to the eternal life.

Calvanist believe that the believer will be prevented from living a fleshly lifestyle by the Spirit within them.


This verse states our obligation in the negative.

We have an obligation, but our obligation is not to the sin nature.


Literally it says: “So then, brothers, debtors we are, not to the flesh, according to flesh to live”


We have an obligation to respond appropriately but it is only by the Spirit we can.

Just like we are saved by grace and continue our Christian lives in grace, so also,

We are saved by the power of the Spirit but we also live by the power of the Spirit.


We are to cooperate with the Holy Spirit as he leads us through progressive sanctification.


Progressive Sanctification is the Peter’s theme in 2 Peter 1:3-11

a)      Faith, goodness, knowledge, self-control, perseverance, godliness, brotherly kindness, love


“debtors” is ofeilethV and means one who owes a moral debt, or a debtor



 “put to death” is qanatoute is the present active  and means “to put to death”

Living according to the sin nature will produce death in your life. 

This is not eternal death but death as a separation from:

1)  physical body

a)      1 Corinthians 11:30

b)      1 John 5:16

c)      1 Corinthians 5:4

2) people as in family or social relationships

a)      Titus 3:10

b)      Romans 16:17

c)      1 Thessalonians 3:6, 14

d)      2 Timothy 3:5

e)      2 John 10, 11

3) yourself as in psychological disorders

a)      King Saul



osoi  AS MANY AS       gar  FOR         pneumati  BY [THE  SPIRIT           

qeou  OF GOD            agontai  ARE LED          outoi  THESE    

eisin  ARE                   uioi  SONS                      qeou  OF GOD.


Notice the “FOR” in the Greek which means this verse explains why verse 13 is true.

osoi   means  “as many as”

agontai  ”are led” is present indicative passive of agw “to lead”

a)      Passive means it is being done to them

b)       Indicative - The mood of reality.  It means the event actually occurred as indicated.  Jn.  1:1                                                                                                                          (The subjunctive mood is the mood of potential meaning it could happen potentially.)


1)       The Law led us to Christ in Gal. 3:24

2)       Now the Spirit leads up into the truth (John 16:13) and taking what is Jesus’ and making it known to you.

John 16:13, 14                                                                                                              

16:13 otan  de BUT WHEN       elqh MAY HAVE COME ekeinoV  HE        to THE        pneuma  thV SPIRIT                       alhqeiaV OF TRUTH      odhghsei HE WILL GUIDE   umaV YOU eiV INTO     pasan ALL     thn THE                             alhqeian  TRUTH   ou NOT gar FOR    lalhsei HE WILL SPEAK    af FROM    eautou HIMSELF                                                 all BUT     osa  an WHATSOEVER   akoush HE MAY HEAR     lalhsei HE WILL SPEAK     kai AND                                   ta THE THINGS    ercomena COMING anaggelei  HE WILL ANNOUNCE         umin TO YOU


16:14ekeinoV HE     eme ME     doxasei WILL GLORIFY     oti FOR        ek  tou OF       emou MINE                                      lhyetai HE WILL RECEIVE     kai  AND anaggelei WILL ANNOUNCE     umin TO YOU


a) odhghsei HE WILL GUIDE   - future indicative active and means “to                                                                                                   show the way; a guide who introduces the traveler into an unknown country.

b)      NIV’s “he will tell you” and “making it known to you” – are the same                                                                                                                        Greek word.  Both are future indicative active and mean to proclaim.

3)      Galatians 5:18 says “But if you are led by the Spirit, you are not under  law.”

a.       Here “led” is agesqe is present indicative passive of agw which means “to lead; or, in the passive “to be led” 

b.      The Holy Spirit is a guide that the believer is to trust and to follow.



“sonship” is uioqesia and means “adoption”  This word shows two things:

a)      a new family relationship has been formed

b)      all the rights, privileges and responsibilities are included in this adoption


“abba” is Aramaic for father



“testifies” is “summartuei” in present active.  It means to bear witness with someone in order to confirm and                                                                         testify in support of that person.  We find this used in the papyri writings when someone would sign the document as a witness.                                                            The words “I bear witness with and I seal with.”


Galatians 4:6 the Spirit calls out or “cries out” “abba” 

This is a different relationship with God than before and different leadership than in bondage to sin and under the law.


At any time in our Christian lives the Spirit is calling out to our relationship with God the Father.                                                                         

This applies not only when we are progressing in our daily sanctification but when we are NOT progressing as we should be. 

The Spirit cries out bearing testimony to the relationship with the Father even to the believer who is not growing as they should.



“heirs” is klhronomoV.


“co-heirs” is sugklhronomoV .


Romans had the practice of taking a slave and adopting them as a son.  Then once they were a son they could share in the family inheritance.


The same process is seen here:

a.       We are slaves to sin

b.      We are adopted into the family of God as sons

c.       We are partakers in the family inheritance or called co-heirs with Christ.