12 So then, brethren, we are under obligation, not to the flesh, to live according to the flesh— 
13 for if you are living according to the flesh, you must die; but if by the Spirit you are putting to death the deeds of the body, you will live. 
14 For all who are being led by the Spirit of God, these are sons of God. 
15 For you have not received a spirit of slavery leading to fear again, but you have received a spirit of adoption as sons by which we cry out, “Abba! Father!” 
16 The Spirit Himself testifies with our spirit that we are children of God, 
17 and if children, heirs also, heirs of God and fellow heirs with Christ, if indeed we suffer with Him so that we may also be glorified with Him.

Name tag. Work badge. Driver’s license. Gym membership ID. We have dozens of ways to identify who we are. 

After all, how would we get past the welcome desk at the gym if we didn’t verify that we’re a member? Identity is important. 

In Romans 8:12-17, the Apostle Paul wrote about our identity in Christ and what it means to be a child of God. This brief passage brims with good news: the Holy Spirit works within us, leading us to follow Christ and affirming our new identities as children of God.

The Holy Spirit indwells each Christ follower. 

Because of this great truth, we are not powerless when faced with temptations to sin. The Holy Spirit enables us to fight the temptation to sin, lessening sin’s power over us. Each time we yield to the Spirit’s leading and not our own selfish desires, we choose righteousness. 

This righteousness is a right standing with God—the life we were meant to have all along. When we fail to yield to the Spirit’s leading, we encounter the consequences of our sin and place distance between ourselves and Jesus. The Holy Spirit is at work within us, guiding us to follow Jesus in obedience so that we will experience a life of righteousness.

The Holy Spirit affirms that we are children of God. As such, verse 17 calls us “heirs of God and coheirs with Christ.” Christ followers are adopted into God’s family and will enjoy an eternal inheritance of being with Him. In the meantime, we’re given the Holy Spirit. 

One day, we will be glorified, given the privilege of spending eternity in the presence of God, our Father.

Romans 8 teaches us who we are in Christ. We are children of God, adopted into His family and led by the Holy Spirit. 

The apostle Paul is clear: being a Christ follower isn’t just something we do—being a Christ follower is our identity.

  • What steps can you take to recognize and follow the Holy Spirit’s leading? What is your role in your relationship with the Holy Spirit?
  • What has the Holy Spirit been leading you to do lately? What’s keeping you from following in obedience?


Thank God for sending Jesus, who made it possible for us to become children of God. Praise God for the Holy Spirit who constantly teaches us how to follow Him in obedience and love!