Romans 8: Life in the Spirit
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?