In Romans 8:15, Paul distinguishes between two ways in which we can approach the Christian life.
- A Slave.
- A Son.
It is possible, having trusted Christ to make us righteous, to have the spirit of a slave again, to return to an attitude of performance-based acceptability, acting as if God’s blessing is maintained or increased by our work.
A child of God is never afraid of being “fined.” A parent/child relationship is based on unconditional love, not performance standards.
The “Spirit of Sonship” that Paul speak of is, therefore, an ability that the Holy Spirit gives us to approach God as a father instead of as a boss or slavemaster.
A slave obeys under compulsion, because they have to. A son obeys out of love and joy in “daddy.”
A slave works under the threat of loss or “payback.” A son is disciplined to loving instruct, not retribution.
A slave is insecure because if he slips up…. A son is secure because his father will forgive him.
A slave concentrates on external behavior. A son concentrates on attitudes and relationships.
A slave has to work but given no honor. A son is honored and invited to join the work.