Teacher – Senior Pastor Doug Schmidt
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After reminding believers that there is no longer any condemnation (8:1), Paul tells them they should no longer live according to the sinful nature. Going back to chapter 7, living without constantly sinning seems to be an unwinnable battle.
“We know that the law is spiritual; but I am unspiritual, sold as a slave to sin. I do not understand what I do. For what I want to do I do not do, but what I hate I do. And if I do what I do not want to do, I agree that the law is good. As it is, it is no longer I myself who do it, but it is sin living in me. I know that nothing good lives in me, that is, in my sinful nature. For I have the desire to do what is good, but I cannot carry it out. For what I do is not the good I want to do; no, the evil I do not want to do—this I keep on doing. Now if I do what I do not want to do, it is no longer I who do it, but it is sin living in me that does it.” Romans 7:14-20
How do we experience God’s grace when the battle seems unwinnable? This next paragraph answers that question. -
We must yield our lives to the Holy Spirit who has radically changed our natures and empowers us for victory over sin.
1. We are Equipped with the Indwelling Holy Spirit of God (8:5-11)
These verses tell us that there are only two kinds of people from God’s perspective: those who are of the flesh and those who are of the Spirit. He is not referring to spiritual believers and carnal believes in this passage. Paul is referring to saved and unsaved or believers and unbelievers.
w Identification of these two groups
- “Those who live according to the sinful nature have their minds set on what that nature desires . . .” (v. 5a)
- “. . . but those who live in accordance with the Spirit have their minds set on what the Spirit desires.” (v. 5b)
w Contrast of these two groups:
|Those of the Flesh (Unbelievers)||Those of the Spirit (Believers)|
|1) Death (v. 6)
It does not say “leads to death”; it is death. Those who do not know Christ are dead spiritually (Eph. 2:1). Because they are already dead, their minds are set on the flesh.
|1) Life (v. 6)
What a contrast. The life we have because we know Christ and His Spirit lives within us, is both eternal and abundant life.
|2) Hostile to God (v. 7)
Regardless of how moral a person may seem or their denominational affiliation, a person without Christ is an enemy of God. He does not and cannot submit to the law of God.
Before we knew Christ we were enemies of God, but now because of Christ we have peace with God.
“Therefore, since we have been justified through faith, we have peace with God through our Lord Jesus Christ.” Romans 5:1
|3) Please self (v. 8)
Their direction in life is to habitually please self. They do things according to the desire of their human nature. In the flesh they cannot please God.
|3) Please God (v. 8)
The believer will please God. The Holy Spirit has changed the nature of a person and he no longer desires to live according to the flesh (see 2 Cor. 5:17, Gal. 3:20). We were created and recreated to please God.
w Test of Genuine Salvation (v. 9)
“You, however, are controlled not by the sinful nature but by the Spirit, if the Spirit of God lives in you. And if anyone
does not have the Spirit of Christ, he does not belong to Christ.” (v. 9)
Test yourself – “Examine yourselves to see whether you are in the faith; test yourselves. Do you not realize that Christ Jesus is in you—unless, of course, you fail the test?” 2 Cor. 13:5
w The Challenge (v. 10)
“But if Christ is in you, your body is dead because of sin, yet your spirit is alive because of righteousness.” (v. 10)
w The Blessing of the Spirit’s Presence
Summary of vv. 5-11 à
The unwinnable battle of trying to please God has been won by Christ who has given us the Holy Spirit who lives within us until we get to Heaven. This new Spiritual life will not be characterized by worldly concerns and sinful actions, but rather by the things of God.
2. We are Empowered by the Spirit of God (vv. 12-13)
So what? What does this mean? Even though the Spirit of God lives within us, living a holy life at times also seems to be an unwinnable battle.
“Therefore, brothers, we have an obligation—but it is not to the sinful nature, to live according to it. For if you live according to the sinful nature, you will die; but if by the Spirit you put to death the misdeeds of the body, you will live.” (vv. 12-13)