Romans 8: Life in the Spirit


Key Verses:

Those who live according to the sinful nature have their minds set on what that nature desires; but those who live in accordance with the spirit have their minds set on what the spirit desires. The mind of sinful man is death, but the mind controlled by the spirit is life and peace; the sinful mind is hostile to God. It does not submit to God’s law nor can it do so. Those controlled by the sinful nature cannot please God.
— Romans 8:5–8
Therefore, there is now no condemnation for those who are in Christ Jesus, because through Christ Jesus the law of the spirit of life set me free from the law of sin and death. For what the law was powerless to do in that it was weakened by the sinful nature, God did by sending his own son in the likeness of sinful man to be a sin offering. And so he condemned sin in sinful man, in order that the righteous requirements of the law might be fully met in us, who do not live according to the sinful nature but according to the Spirit.
— Romans 8:1–4
And if the Spirit of him who raised Jesus from the Dead is living in you, he who raised Christ from the dead will also give life to your mortal bodies through his spirit, who lives in you.
— Romans 8:11

Daily Message:

Paul often refers to his own struggle with his sinful nature long after his Damascus Road experience. In Chapter 8, verse 7, he says the sinful mind “does not submit to God’s law nor can it do so.” However, in Chapter 8 he reveals that help is on the way in the form of the Holy Spirit.

The law revealed to Old Testament believers what should and should not be practiced in their daily lives; it also revealed the nature of God and served to convict them of their sinful nature. However, the law not only identified what constituted sin, but in doing so, it may have often awakened or energized sin. Paul suggests that by focusing our attention on the sins identified in the law, we don’t conquer sin but may instead become controlled by it. Verse 8 says, “Those controlled by the sinful nature cannot please God.”

Paul tells us that even in Old Testament times, believers did not relate to God by way of the law (see 1 Timothy 1:8). Rather, believers were moved by Scriptures and faith to respond to God in a personal way.

But now, through Christ and the indwelling of the Holy Spirit, we can turn our focus to the Spirit and to the guidance that can, in fact, lead us to a more righteous way of life and free us from the constant reminders of our sinful nature. We remain sinners, but by focusing on Christ and by listening to the guidance of the Holy Spirit, we can please God and continue to progress toward God’s goal for us — and that is becoming more Christ-like.

A Moment to Reflect:

I’m virtually certain that your sinful nature has been at least occasionally revealed, even well after you became a Christian. As indicated in an earlier posting, God never promised us perfection; nor does He expect it. However, by focusing your attention on the cross and on the Holy Spirit within you, you can continue to grow toward His likeness, and that pleases God.

Have you experienced in your own life a shift away from trying to obey the commandments to instead focusing on developing a personal relationship with God through His son Jesus and the indwelling Holy Spirit?