21 April 2018Romans 8:1-11 (Life in the Spirit)
“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.” (v. 11)
Psalm: Psalm 44:1-10
This week’s passages on the subject of “Alive in Christ” move us towards next week’s theme about being “Alive in the Spirit.” What a wonderful faith we enjoy that enables us to have a living relationship with God, as Father, Son and Spirit.
The first four verses today look at human nature and all its attendant weaknesses (some translations use “flesh” to describe this); and then contrast this with life as lived with, and in, the Spirit of Jesus. Examples of this sinful nature can be found in Galatians 5:19-21 where Paul describes such things as “fornication, impurity, licentiousness, idolatry, sorcery, enmities, strife, jealousy, anger, quarrels, dissensions, factions, envy, drunkenness, carousing, and things like these”. Contrast that list with Galatians 5:22-23, “ The fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, generosity, faithfulness, gentleness, and self-control”.
In chapter 8 of Romans, Paul is trying to express how his old life was swept away by the power of Christ’s Spirit in his life. This is victorious living. Such victory has been achieved because Jesus came to earth as a human being with the same tendencies as ourselves towards human frailties; but Jesus showed in life and death how such weaknesses could be overcome.
The passage continues to explore this contrast between the basic selfishness of living according to our human nature, referred to in Romans 5 as emanating from Adam; or living more lovingly and selflessly as Christ has demonstrated: “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” (v. 11).
What wonderful words of comfort and courage to finish this week’s theme!
Many of this week’s passage in Romans 5 and 6 demonstrate Paul’s helpful attempts to shape the early theological understanding of the young Church. Both for the Early Church as well as for us today, we need to translate these words into action:
- If you believe the Holy Spirit dwells in you, how might you use the “fruit” in your life today - within your own family, local community, or perhaps national and international concerns?
- All of us are ‘work in progress’. How can friends in your church or fellowship group best encourage one another in word and action?