Chapter # 8 Paragraph # 1 Study # 6
Thesis: The indwelling presence of Christ makes pleasing God possible.
Introduction: As we have been working our way through Paul's thesis regarding The Law of The Spirit of The Life in Christ Jesus, we have noted at least one statement that seems, on its face, to be "over the top" in terms of what is to be: those "in Spirit" are mentally focused upon the things of the Spirit. It is not hard to turn "legal" here and say things like "to be 'in Spirit' we must mentally focus upon the things of the Spirit". This is a direct contradiction of Paul's reasoning, and its contradiction comes to the fore in the verses before us this evening. In Romans 8:9 Paul pointedly declares that everyone who belongs to Christ is "in Spirit". If we misunderstand his thought, we might conclude that if a person is a justified believer, he/she will automatically mentally focus upon the things of the Spirit. But is that what he is really saying?
February 5, 2017
- I. What We Already Know.
- A. Being a "justified believer" does not automatically lead to mentally focusing upon the things of the Spirit.
- 1. If such a reality existed, what would be the point of Paul's efforts to turn "believers" from their fixations upon fleshly things?
- 2. If such a thing was true, why would Paul tell "justified believers" that if they "live after the flesh", they will "die" (verse thirteen)?
- 3. If it is automatic that believers live with a continuing focus upon the things of the Spirit, what do we conclude from the historical reality that no believer lives like that?
- B. There is a real and powerful foundation in promises made by God that a "justified believer" can operate by The Law of The Spirit of The Life and Paul's efforts are to move these "true believers" in Rome into the habitual practice of such operation.
- 1. As in all things related to relating to God, the bottom line is always going to be His Love and His Promise(s) and those seeking to relate to Him must "believe" Him.
- 2. Without "faith" it is impossible to "please" Him and "faith" must have a legitimate foundation in both promises made and reality in history.
- II. What We Now Need to Know.
- A. First, we have a genuine reality in history of being transferred out of "the flesh" into "The Spirit".
- 1. Paul simply declares that the believers are not (emphatic) "in flesh", but (emphatic) "in Spirit".
- a. He says this to all of his readers without regard for whether they understand Romans 6 and 7, or not.
- b. He makes it a foundational reality in truth that is to affect reality in history.
- 2. He goes even further by specifically qualifying "who" is "in Spirit".
- a. If a person has the Spirit of God dwelling in him, he is "in Spirit".
- b. If a person does not have the Spirit of Christ, that person is not "of Him" (i.e., does not belong to Him).
- c. If Christ is in a person, the facts of Romans 5 come into play so that Romans 6 can be depended upon and Romans 7 can be clearly understood.
- 1) The body is dead on account of Adam's sin and its current unredeemed state (we are, according to 8:23, waiting for the redemption of the body).
- 2) But the Spirit is Life on account of Jesus's righteousness.
- a) This can be taken as a reiteration of "The Law of the Spirit of The Life" where the Spirit of God is made equivalent to "Life" as a figure of speech wherein the Spirit is life and, thus, becomes the agent of "Life".
- b) This could, instead, be taken to be a reference to the split between the "body" and the "human spirit" so that the meaning would be "the human spirit is alive".
- i. This is the more likely meaning.
- ii. At issue is how the human spirit is enabled to energize the "dead" body so that the members of that body end up doing "Life" things even though it is dead.
- 3. He then declares that the bottom line is God's Spirit dwelling in us.
- a. Nowhere does the New Testament teach that the Holy Spirit takes up the function of the human spirit in terms of its energizing of the body.
- 1) Paul makes a distinction between God's Spirit indwelling him and his spirit serving God (Romans 1:9).
- 2) At issue in all of Paul's teaching is the impact that God's Spirit makes upon our spirits as the root cause of all true godliness.
- b. In this text, the Spirit of God, the Spirit of Christ, and Christ Himself is presented as operating by resurrection power to affect the human spirit in such a way as to produce actions of righteousness out of our bodies.
- 1) Paul moves through this text from The Spirit of God to The Spirit of Christ to Christ, Himself, to, ultimately, The Spirit of Him Who Raised Jesus From the Dead.
- a) The Spirit of God focuses upon the active use of power.
- b) The Spirit of Christ is focused by 6:4; 6:8; 6:9; 7:4; and 8:11 upon resurrection and particularly 7:4 where we are "married" to Him Who was raised so that we might bear fruit unto God.
- c) The use of "Christ" in 8:10 moves directly into the personal realm, away from any form of impersonal use of power.
- 2) The plague confronting "Him Who raised Christ from the dead" is what Paul calls "our mortal bodies".
- a) This makes the problem rather large, given the need for resurrection power.
- b) The solution to this problem is This Spirit dwelling within and working directly in harmony with the level of the "faith" that exists in us by His presence and long investment in the details of our histories.
- c. The constant: Truth yielded to by Faith at the particular points of the hours of our days.