Spirit of Bondage (Part 1) (Romans 8:14-17)


Kathy L McFarland


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 Spirit of Bondage (Part 1) (Romans 8:14-17)


Teachings by Kathy L McFarland


Many times, in our studies of the different Spirits of the Holy Spirit of God, you will notice that sometimes we cover them in two places.  Every Spirit gets their own study.  But often they are connected to another Spirit.  For instance, we studied the Spirit of Adoption, and we learned about the Spirit of Bondage, because they are opposite to each other, and Scripture explains them in this manner. Regardless of seeing some of this material before, I have decided to cover each Spirit as if we have no knowledge.  Sometimes it will be a review of information at first.  But I promise to develop it as deeply as I can so you can learn more about the Spirit of Bondage than you did with the Spirit of Adoption paper.  Let’s get started!

Romans 8:14–17 (KJV 1900)

14 For as many as are led by the Spirit of God, they are the sons of God. 15 For ye have not received the spirit of bondage again to fear; but ye have received the Spirit of adoption, whereby we cry, Abba, Father. 16 The Spirit itself beareth witness with our spirit, that we are the children of God: 17 And if children, then heirs; heirs of God, and joint-heirs with Christ; if so be that we suffer with him, that we may be also glorified together.

1.               Christians are led by the Holy Spirit of God.

2.               Christians led by the Holy Spirit of God are the sons of God.

3.               Christians had the Spirit of Bondage before their salvation

4.               Upon their salvation through acceptance of Christ as Savior, their Baptism in Christ leading to their born-again status, and their Baptism with the Holy Ghost, the spirit of bondage is removed.

5.               The spirit of bondage is replaced by the Holy Spirit with the Spirit of Adoption.

6.               When the born-again Christian receives the Spirit of Adoption, the fear that is within them from the Spirit of Bondage is removed.

7.               The Spirit of Adoption gives believers the ability to call the LORD God “Abba, Father.”

5 Ἀββά (Abba): Semitic; ≡ Str 5; TDNT 1.5—LN 12.12 Father (a title for God) used in prayer and communion with God (Mk 14:36; Ro 8:15; Gal 4:6+)[1]

4252 πατήρ (patēr), πατρός (patros), (ho): n.masc.; ≡ DBLHebr 3; Str 3962—1. LN 10.14 father, male parent.[2]

8.     There are two spirits within followers of Jesus Christ. There is our own spirit, and the Holy Spirit.

9.     Both our spirit and the Holy Spirit bear witness that we are children of God.  This signals the Spirit of Adoption to come upon us, through the Spirit of Christ.

Teachings of Kathy L McFarland

 10. There are actually a total of seven other parts of the Holy Spirit that come upon Followers of Christ.  They are:

         Jesus Christ spirit which rests on Christians

a.     Spirit of Christ (Philippians 1:19)

b.     Spirit of Truth (John 15:26)

c.     Spirit of Life (Romans 8:2)

d.     Spirit of Adoption (Romans 8:15)

e.     Spirit of Promise (Galatians 3:14)

f.       Spirit of Grace (Hebrews 10:29)

g.     Spirit of Holiness (Ephesians 4:30)

 11. So, a faithful, baptized in Christ, baptized in the Holy Spirit, born-again believer has nine different spirits including their own spirit and the Holy Spirit. (We will learn more about each of these soon).

 12. Each of the spirits of Jesus Christ are there for the duration.

 13. Note how there is no Spirit of Bondage.

 14. The Spirit of Bondage leaves at the moment of faith confession in Christ. In a “Pilgrim’s Progress” like moment, the Spirit of Bondage leaves the body of the unsaved person, and Jesus Christ’s Spirit’s come upon the new Believer.

 15. Baptism in Christ and the Holy Spirit brings the Holy Spirit to dwell with a Believer also.  This allows the Follower of Christ to ask the Holy Spirit to send the other Spirits that normally don’t dwell with the Christian but can be called for as needed. 

 16. Most of the time, the Holy Spirit sees the need, and calls on particular Spirits on His own.  But sometimes, in our powerful prayers with the Holy Spirit, we can focus on our needs by recognizing the different Spirits that we can call for aid.

 17. We will be studying each of these Spirits, how they all work, and how the entire spectrum of the Holy Spirit stands ready to assist the Christian.  If I could teach anything to strong Christian leaders, that seems to be neglected in ministry today, it would be this:

 18. The Holy Spirit equips every Christian with power from the LORD God and from the Lord Jesus Christ that far exceeds those currently embraced by Christians.  Understanding the different Spirits gives the Christian leader empowerment and extra knowledge of the LORD God and His only begotten Son, Jesus Christ.

 19. But one caution. The Holy Spirit normally does not make a spectacle of His power.  When He acts, God’s Will is accomplished swiftly and specifically.  He will not put on a “show” or a “play” or an “entertainment” for others.

 Isn’t it mind-blowing that an unsaved people have exactly one spirit? Themselves.  The servants called closer to God religiously with law but still unsaved person, have two spirits, themselves, and the Spirit of Bondage.  Declared faith in Jesus Christ gives seven Spirits to the Believer.  Baptism of the Holy Spirit gives Himself, making a total of nine different Spirits in a Follower of Christ, with the potential to call for help with many more parts of the Holy Spirit.

 Can anyone explain why you would fear anything on this earth when as a Follower of Christ, you are equipped with so powerful of an entourage? Learn the powers of the Holy Spirit available to you!  Know that the fear of death is given to those who have the Power of Bondage.  If you are a Born-Again follower of Jesus Christ, you have at least seven more Spirits in you than those that carry the Spirit of Bondage!  You should not fear death ever! Halleluiah!

 20.  As we learned a couple weeks ago, when the Spirit of Adoption comes upon a person, the Spirit of Bondage leaves.

 21. It does not take Holy Spirit Baptism for the Spirit of Bondage to leave.  By merely confessing faith in Christ, the Spirit of Adoption removes the Spirit of Bondage.

 22. Remember, the Spirit of Bondage is upon those that follow the LORD God with the law.  This includes some Jews and some Muslims and before-called, potential Christians and some others that follow laws to get closer to God.

 23. The Spirit of Adoption declares newly saved Christians as Children of the LORD God, “heirs of God, and joint-heirs with Christ; if so be that we suffer with him, that we may be also glorified together.”

 24. Thanks be to God, Christ, and the Holy Spirit!

 Romans 8:21–23 (KJV 1900)

21 Because the creature itself also shall be delivered from the bondage of corruption into the glorious liberty of the children of God. 22 For we know that the whole creation groaneth and travaileth in pain together until now. 23 And not only they, but ourselves also, which have the firstfruits of the Spirit, even we ourselves groan within ourselves, waiting for the adoption, to wit, the redemption of our body.

 Teachings of Kathy L McFarland

Caution!  There are at many types listed for causing bondage that are named in Scripture. When the Holy Spirit of Bondage lights upon those people that are judged under God’s law, rather than faith in Christ.  But there is a second type of bondage that unsaved people suffer from, and are fearful of death from, and that is the condition of bondage due to sin.  The Holy Spirit of Bondage is different from the condition of bondage, even though the resulting tribulations that come to those in bondage are similar sometimes. Look upon Romans 8:21-23, that names bondage of CORRUPTION that changes into glorious liberty for the children of God. This is two different types of bondage; don’t get them confused.

 But here is a most important consideration.  Whether it is the Holy Spirit of Bondage, or if it is bondage of sin and corruption, the actual bondage of both are released with the arrival of the Spirit of Adoption through Jesus Christ.  Though the bondages are different, the rewards to new Christians are the same!

 Deep Dish Discussion

 1.     What is the difference between the Holy Spirit of Bondage and the condition of bondage that is mentioned in Scripture?

 2.     What other causes of bondage condition are spoken about in Scripture?

 3.     Discuss the moment you realized that you were free from Bondage and the resulting emotions and actions.

 4.     Discuss the moment you realized that you had the power of God within you, with nine different Spirits to assist you in this life.


[1] James Swanson, Dictionary of Biblical Languages with Semantic Domains: Greek (New Testament) (Oak Harbor: Logos Research Systems, Inc., 1997).

[2] James Swanson, Dictionary of Biblical Languages with Semantic Domains: Greek (New Testament) (Oak Harbor: Logos Research Systems, Inc., 1997).

Last modified: Saturday, 19 March 2022, 11:13 AM