Wednesday, July 12, 2017

Romans 8:1-11 Life in the Spirit

KEY TEXT: Romans 8:5-9 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 set their minds on the things of the Spirit. To set the mind on the flesh is death, but to set the mind on the Spirit is life and peace. For the mind that is set on the flesh is hostile to God, for it does not submit to God's law; indeed, it cannot. Those who are in the flesh cannot please God. You, however, are not in the flesh but in the Spirit, if in fact the Spirit of God dwells in you. Anyone who does not have the Spirit of Christ does not belong to him.

KEY THOT: Once we have become Christian, we are no longer under condemnation of the law, for we live by a different law--the law of life of the Spirit: "For the law of the Spirit of life has set you free in Christ Jesus from the law of sin and death" (v.2). As believers, we have been set free from the power of sin and its penalty. However, as sin still dwells in our flesh, we still have to choose daily between obeying the desires of the flesh or impulses of the Spirit: "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 set their minds on the things of the Spirit " (v.6). To set our mind on the flesh is death. But to set our minds on the Spirit is life and peace.

What is the flesh? Paul enumerates the flesh in Galatians 5: "sexual immorality, impurity, sensuality, idolatry, sorcery, enmity, strife, jealousy, fits of anger, rivalries, dissensions, divisions, envy, drunkenness, orgies, and things like these" (Galatians 5:19-21). To set our mind on the flesh means to continue to indulge in the above activities: illicit sex, impurity of all sorts (verbal or visual), pleasure-seeking, worshipping of idols (inanimate or human), sorcery (occult or witchcraft), hatred and strife; anger, unhealthy competition, quarrels, drunkenness, sensual parties, etc. 

Grace is not a license to sin but the power of God to obey His Spirit. 

But the good news is that the Spirit of God dwells in every believer. And from within, He brings life even to our mortal bodies--healing from sicknesses and deliverance from evil spirits: "If the Spirit of him who raised Jesus from the dead dwells in you, he who raised Christ Jesus from the dead will also give life to your mortal bodies through his Spirit who dwells in you" (v.11). So, we have a choice--life or death. Life if we focus on the things of the Spirit (e.g. scriptures, prayer, worship, gospel ministries, spiritual disciplines, etc). Or death if we focus on the pleasures of the sinful flesh: sexual immorality, uncontrolled passions like anger and envy, antagonistic relationships, and self-indulgence. 

Abba-Father, thank You for Your Spirit that indwells us. Grant us more grace to walk by Your Spirit, and not after our flesh. Amen.

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