ROMANS 8:1-11, 21.05.20
Chapter 8 in Romans has been acknowledged by the majority of theologians, Pastors, Biblical scholars as the New Testament writing most representative of foundational, or doctrinal teachings representing the faith of believers in Jesus Christ/Yeshua Messiah.
It is useful to probe and review and re-study these most important concepts, principles, Biblical truths from time-to-time, even for those of us who assume considerable familiarity. Let us have a look at the first set of such passages in Romans 8, and just see where the Holy Spirit takes us . . .
1 There is therefore now no condemnation to those who are in Christ Jesus, who do not walk according to the flesh, but according to the Spirit.
- Oh, wait a minute . . . some versions omit this second half of verse one. What does that mean? Maybe it’s a mistake? Maybe it doesn’t really count (hope, hope)?
- Before you get too excited and/or relieved, thinking that this means it doesn’t apply, doesn’t count, take a look ahead, in verse 4, where it is restated.
- Generally speaking, people do not hear many sermons/messages on this topic – not a popular subject; rather, one which is most preferably avoided and ignored. We will return to this matter at verse 4.
2 For the law of the Spirit of life in Christ Jesus has made me free from the law of sin and death.
- So how does this work?
- If I am “free from the law of sin and death,” doesn’t that mean that I need not take responsibility for any of my failings?
- Doesn’t that mean that I’m free from sin; don’t even sin any more?
- Whoa! Not so fast! ‘Fraid not . . .. Nope!
Doesn’t quite work that way – i.e., not like auto pilot, autodownload, or default position as on computer.
- The believer is still responsible for the decision to set his/her will to be under the authority of the Holy Spirit in every decision, behaviour, every aspect of life (ref. Rom.6:12-14), because the flesh is still very much present, and in constant rebellion, in opposition to the leading of the Holy Spirit.
- Each day; every hour of each day, the believer must choose to whom he/she will yield/surrender/submit each thought, action, decision, etc. – i.e., will it be yielded to the desires and weaknesses of the flesh, or to the Holy Spirit’s leading?
- “The law of the Spirit,” as J. Vernon McGee (ref.McGee, p.137, Romans Commentary) points out, represents “the authority which is exercised by the Spirit,” but the individual believer must submit to that authority before deliverance/freedom from sin is realized.
- In the same way, “”The law of sin and death” is the authority that sin had over our old nature,” (McGee, p.137) which of course is still present; and so must be brought into submission under the obedience of Christ (2 Cor. 10:5) in order to be defeated and overridden in each instance of temptation.
3 For what the law could not do in that it was weak through the flesh, God did by sending His own Son in the likeness of sinful flesh, on account of sin: He condemned sin in the flesh,
- “It was impossible for the Law to produce righteousness in man. This is not the fault of the Law. The fault lay in man and the sin in his flesh . . . (Rom.7:18) . . Man is totally depraved” (McGee, p.138).
- But because of Christ’s death on the Cross, because of His gift of the Holy Spirit, believers have the power of the Spirit which enables those who would choose to submit to following Him, and walking in His Ways.
4 that the righteous requirement of the law might be fulfilled in us who do not walk according to the flesh but according to the Spirit.
- And it is through that very channel (i.e., the deposit of the Spirit) that each believer has it within to make the right choice: to walk according to the Spirit and not according to the flesh.
- “Sin has been condemned in these bodies of ours. It has not been removed, in spite of the belief of some very sincere people. These bodies are to be redeemed – “raised a spiritual body . . ” (1 Cor.15:44) . . . The Holy Spirit furnishes the power; the decision is ours” (p.139,140, McGee).
- So despite the false teachings of many, such as the hyper grace movement, having “Christ’s righteousness,” intends for believers to walk in the potential of that which has been given. Think of it as a gift card which can be initialized upon its use, or kept unused in a wallet, pocket, drawer, or shelf.
5 For those who live according to the flesh set their minds on the things of the flesh, but those who live according to the Spirit, the things of the Spirit.
- “A believer has been given a new nature, and now he can yield himself to the new nature. And this is an act of the will” (p.140, McGee). It is always our choice.
- In order to “live according to the Spirit,” it is necessary that we turn it over to The Only One Who can accomplish this. “The Holy Spirit indwells believers. He wants to do that for us, and He can!”(p.141, McGee).
- If the believer chooses to hold onto their fleshly impulses, thoughts, desires, etc., and acts on them, there is nothing upon which the Holy Spirit can act, for He requires our cooperation.
6 For to be carnally minded is death, but to be spiritually minded is life and peace.
- It is when the believer yields, submits, surrenders to the life in the Spirit, following the Holy Spirit’s leading in decisions, behaviours, actions, interactions, every step taken, that the believer walks in freedom, peace, victory.
- It is not that the believer will die physically at every carnal thought, action, or interaction; but there is a spiritual death – a break from our relationship with our Lord – unless, and until that sin brings one under conviction and into repentance, for “He will not fellowship with you or with me if we are committing sin and are continuing to live in the flesh” (p.143, McGee).
7 Because the carnal mind is enmity against God; for it is not subject to the law of God, nor indeed can be.
8 So then, those who are in the flesh cannot please God.
- As underscored by McGee (p.145, McGee),
“Man in his natural condition, if taken to heaven, would start a revolution . . . Anything that the flesh produces is not acceptable to God.” How great is the depraved condition of humankind!
9 But you are not in the flesh but in the Spirit, if indeed the Spirit of God dwells in you. Now if anyone does not have the Spirit of Christ, he is not His.
- This is simply a restatement, a reminder that the believer has been empowered by the gift of the Spirit to conquer that flesh.
- Paul is saying that if anyone who calls themselves a born-again believer, yet says they “can’t” walk in the Spirit, they can’t live the life of righteousness, does NOT have the Spirit of Christ, and therefore does not have the resource for doing so. Only those truly born again have the Spirit of God residing within.
10 And if Christ is in you, the body is dead because of sin, but the Spirit is life because of righteousness.
- When truly surrendered to Him, the body/the flesh will become dead to sin, because the flesh has yielded to the power of the Spirit which is bringing new life, a life that can embrace the righteousness of Christ, which He demonstrated and called His followers to emulate, for
11 if the Spirit of Him who raised Jesus from the dead dwells in you, He who raised Christ from the dead will also give life to your mortal bodies through His Spirit who dwells in you.
- The Holy Spirit has the power to deliver believers from ALL power and temptations of the flesh by that same resurrection power by which God raised Christ from the dead (Eph.1:20).
- The KEY to its enactment is surrender.
Finding God’s peace that passes all understanding occurs by living in the Word, going deeper, living a life of daily surrender, and walking in the Spirit.
May the Holy Spirit bring new revelations, conviction, repentance, whatever is called forth, and may each visitor to this STUDY be BLESSED!
Thru-The-Bible Commentary Series, Romans Chapters 1-8, Vol. 42, J.Vernon McGee, Thomas Nelson Publishers, 1991.
© 2020 by Verna Crowther. All rights reserved.
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