I came across this sentence as I was skimming Stibbe’s ‘From Orphans to Heirs’ this morning:
The role of the Spirit is…to make the objective fact of our adoption a subjective reality in our experience.
I smiled because I wrote almost exactly the same thing in an essay two years ago comparing the Lukan and Pauline presentations of the Spirit. Yet when I wrote it then, I had my academic spectacles on. I wrote it because it was true but it didn’t penetrate my subconscious in the same way that Stibbe’s sentence did this morning.
Isn’t it amazing? Our sonship was objectively accomplished in the Christ-event. But without the gift of the Spirit, there would be no mediation to us of that sonship as a subjective experience. Dunn describes him as granting ‘felt assurance’ of sonship; Fee describes him granting evidence of sonship. Without the Spirit, I would not know in subjective experience what it means to be an adopted son.
That has got to be something worth being happy about this morning!