LED OF THE SPIRIT
For as many as are led by the Spirit of God, these are sons of God” (Romans 8:14)
As our Lord prepared to depart from his followers, he consoles their hearts with the promise of the Spirit, saying that “when he, the Spirit of truth, is come, he shall guide you into all the truth.” This is what we read in that significant discourse of his that John has preserved for us (John 16:13).
However, the leading of the Spirit described in our current passage is significantly different from this guidance into truth by the Holy Spirit, and it is fittingly stated by a different phrase.
Luke uses our term in Luke 4:1-2 to describe our Lord’s temptation, saying that he was “driven by the Spirit in the desert for forty days, being tempted of the devil.”
Although this paragraph unquestionably sheds light on the way the Spirit functions as indicated in our scripture, it hardly qualifies as a comparable passage.
The only other verse that explicitly refers to the leading of the Spirit in the sense of our text is Galatians 5:18, where Paul uses the same term once more in a context that is very similar to ours: “But if ye are led by the Spirit, ye are not under the law.”
We must get our understanding of what the Bible means by “the leading of the Holy Spirit” primarily from these two verses.
A Special Perk
As a result, many people now perceive “the leading of the Spirit” to have a fanatical ring to it. Many of the most devoted Christians would recoil in something akin to revulsion if they claimed to be guided by the Spirit of God, and they would view such an assertion on the part of others with skepticism as a sign of an unbalanced religious mentality.
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One of the worst results of extravagant spiritual claims is that they frequently discourage the simple hearted people of God from taking advantage of their advantages.
However, reading the serious words of our text, “As many as are led by the Spirit of God, these are sons of God,” should be enough to spur us on to a careful study of Scripture in order to understand what it means to be led by the Spirit of God.
If this is the case, it behooves everyone who sincerely want to call themselves a child of God to understand what the guiding of the Spirit is.
So let’s devote ourselves to Paul’s teaching and try to understand from him what this great privilege means. And may the Spirit of truth be with us here as well, leading us to the truth.
Who Is the Spirit Leading?
The apostle claims that “those who are led by the Spirit of God are sons of God.” In essence, what we have here is a definition of God’s sons. In fact, giving this definition is not the sentence’s main goal.
However, the way the sentence is written equates the two members and especially emphasizes how the two designations are coextensive. “These and these alone are sons of God, as many as are led by the Spirit of God.”
As a result, the guiding of the Spirit is portrayed as the very trait of God’s children. They stand out from all other people because of this. No one who is not led by the Spirit of God can claim the lofty title of son of God, and all who are led by the Spirit of God are thereby made to be sons of God. Thus, it seems that the essence of sonship is the Spirit’s guiding.
Furthermore, we cannot pretend that we are not being directed by the Holy Spirit lest we betray our commitment to living a Christian life. Our text precisely parallels the statement that comes before it in this regard, which it then does by saying it again: However, if a person does not possess the Spirit of Christ, they are not His (Romans 8:9).
Therefore, it is manifestly incorrect to interpret the assertion that one is led by the Holy Spirit as proof of arrogance. It rather serves as a symbol of spiritual humility. This spiritual guidance is not some odd gift given just as a reward for exceptional effort or saved for rare sanctity.
It is the common gift given to all of God’s children in order to meet their common need, and as such, it serves as evidence of their common frailty and unworthiness.
It is the prerequisite for every spiritual development; it is not the reward of any special spiritual attainment. Without it, we should continue to be helplessly devil’s children; its presence alone makes us God’s children.
We can only call out, “Abba, Father,” because of the Spirit of God who has been poured out within our hearts (Romans 8:15).
The Spirit’s Leading: What Is Its Objective?
If the former had been its goal, it may have been a special favor bestowed upon a small group of God’s offspring, and their possession of it may have distinguished them from their fellow humans as the peculiar favorites of the Deity.
However, since the latter is its intended recipient, it is the proper gift of all sinners and the prerequisite for their victory over even the most little of their transgressions.
Paul shows us our inborn sin in all its festering rottenness in the preceding context. However, Jesus also shows us that the Spirit of God resides within us and creates the foundation for a brand-new existence.
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We are freed from sin and are no longer obligated to live according to the flesh since only the Spirit’s presence in us can break the bondage that we are by nature held to sin.
This new way of thinking manifests in our awareness as a force that demands regulative control over our behavior, guiding us, in other words, toward holiness.
If we evaluate our life of new obedience from the perspective of our own actions, we may refer to it as “fighting the good battle of faith” (see 1 Timothy 6:12); nevertheless, a more thorough analysis reveals that it is the result of God working in us through his Spirit.
We refer to this holy operation taking place within our souls in terms of the culmination of the entire process as sanctification.
We refer to it as spiritual guiding when we think about the process itself as we navigate the often difficult and always rocky route that is life.
Therefore, when viewed from the perspective of the pathway itself, through which we are led by the Spirit as we more and more move toward that conformity to the image of his Son, which God has set before us as our great goal, the leading of the Holy Spirit is revealed to us as simply a synonym for sanctification.
It is immediately clear, then, how gravely it is misunderstood when it is viewed as a particular instruction given by God to his distinguished workers in order to ensure their worldly safety, comfort, and even financial gain.
The Holy Spirit always guides for good, but not just any good, but precisely for spiritual and eternal benefit.
I don’t mean to imply that a good man won’t be protected from many of life’s hardships and disappointments just because of his inherent goodness.
We will never be able to determine how many of life’s ills and difficulties are caused by certain faults.
Thankfully, it is kept from us how frequently failure in company can be directly linked to a lack of business ethics rather than to external pressure or corporate incompetence.
I also do not imply that the kind Lord is unconcerned with his people’s daily lives outside of worship. However, it is clear from the text that the leading of the Spirit is not intended to persuade men to purchase materialistic items.
And it should not be assumed that it is absent when difficulties such as suffering, loss, and worldly despair arise. It is deliberately done in order to lead them toward eternal good—to make them holy and sinless rather than rich, carefree, or free from suffering.
It is not intended to shield us from the repercussions of our business negligence or ineptitude or to replace common sense in the management of our operations.
It is not intended to shield us from the need for laborious preparation for the tasks at hand or from the hassle of making decisions during severe life crises.
It is given expressly to keep us from committing sin and to guide us toward purity and the truth.
When Does the Spirit Lead?
As a result, we next notice that the spiritual leading Paul refers to is constant, affecting all of a Christian man’s operations throughout every instant of his life, rather than sporadic, given just on occasion due to some unique requirement of supernatural direction.
It only has one goal—saving from sin and guiding toward holiness—but it influences every action taken, whether it is mental, bodily, or spiritual, bending it to that goal.
We may in fact anticipate it to be more sporadic if it were intended for other purposes. It might only be sporadic and short-lived if it were just God’s omniscience made available to his favorites, which they could use when they were confused or doubtful.
But because it is nothing else but God’s power to save, it is necessary that it stay with the sinner, work constantly on him, enter into all of his deeds, condition all of his doings, and lead him onward gradually toward the one big goal.
So it is simple to see how the “leading of the Spirit” is perverted when this immense saving activity of God, which is always at work in the sinner, is lost and the name is given to some fictitious sporadic supernatural guidance in the mundane spheres of life.
Let’s not pretend that God is unconcerned with even the most little worries of his children because of his magnificence or neglect the reality of providential guidance.
But let us keep in mind that sin is the great evil that we are suffering from, and that the great promise that has been made to us is that we won’t be left to wander aimlessly down the paths of sin that our feet have wandered into, but that the Spirit of holiness will dwell within us, releasing us from our captivity and guiding us down the other pathway of good works that God has previously prepared for us to walk in (Ephesians 2:10).
Bible Verses about Led of the Spirit
Since You are My God, Teach Me to Do Your Will. May Your Good Spirit Guide Me on Level Ground.
These are God’s sons because they are all following the guidance of the Holy Spirit.
However, if you follow the Spirit, you are not subject to the Law.
The Lord’s hand was upon me, and He led me out by the Spirit of the Lord and placed me in the midst of the valley, which was littered with bones.
Then the Spirit took Jesus into the wilderness where he was tempted by the devil.
He was immediately *driven by the Spirit to leave for the desert.
“Come near to Me and hear this: From the beginning I did not speak in secret, and from the moment it occurred, I was present.
The Lord God has now sent both His Spirit and Me.
He then entered the temple in the Spirit. When the parents brought their son Jesus in to fulfill the Law’s ritual for Him, he said,
Philip was then instructed by the Spirit to “get up and join this chariot.”
The Spirit informed Peter that three men were searching for him as he was thinking about the vision. However, get up, head downstairs, and follow them without hesitation because I sent them personally.
“Because it appeared right to the Holy Spirit and to us to place no heavier burdens on you than these necessities:
They traveled through the Phrygian and Galatian region when the Holy Spirit forbade them from preaching the gospel in Asia;
And when they reached Mysia, they sought to enter Bithynia, but the Spirit of Jesus forbade them;
Paul therefore resolved in the Spirit to travel to Jerusalem after passing through Macedonia and Achaia, declaring, “After I have been there, I must also see Rome,” after these things were concluded.
I should follow them without hesitation, the Spirit instructed me. Along with me, these six brethren entered the man’s home.
The Holy Spirit spoke, “Set apart for Me Barnabas and Saul for the job to which I have called them,” as they were fasting and serving the Lord.
Thus, after being sent by the Holy Spirit, they descended to Seleucia and sailed from there to Cyprus.
And now, as you can see, I am traveling to Jerusalem while being bound by the Spirit without knowing what would happen to me there.
As soon as I entered the Spirit, I saw a throne in heaven with a person seated upon it.
And he took me away in the Spirit into a wilderness, where I saw a woman seated on a scarlet beast with seven heads and ten horns that was covered in profane names.
He then took me up a big, high mountain in the Spirit and showed me the holy city of Jerusalem as it descended from heaven.
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