Romans 8: Living According to the Spirit

by Bob Young
[permission is given to reprint with credit noted]

Today's Bible Reading: Romans 8

Selected Biblical Text
Therefore, there is now no condemnation for those who are in union with the Messiah Jesus. For the Spirit's law of life in the Messiah Jesus has 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 flesh, God did. By sending his own Son in the form of humanity, he condemned sin by being incarnate, so that the righteous requirement of the Law might be fulfilled in us, who do not live according to human nature but according to the Spirit. For those who live according to the flesh set their minds on the things of the flesh, but those who live according to the Spirit set their minds on the things of the Spirit. To focus our minds on the human nature leads to death, but to focus our minds on the Spirit leads to life and peace. That is why the mind that focuses on human nature is hostile toward God. It refuses to submit to the authority of God's Law because it is powerless to do so. Indeed, those who are under the control of human nature cannot please God. You, however, are not under the control of the human nature but under the control of the Spirit, since God's Spirit lives in you. And if anyone does not have the Spirit of the Messiah, he does not belong to him. But if the Messiah is in you, your bodies are dead due to sin, but the spirit is alive due to righteousness. And if the Spirit of the one who raised Jesus from the dead is living in you, then the one who raised the Messiah from the dead will also make your mortal bodies alive by his Spirit who lives in you. (Romans 8:1-11 ISV)

Reflecting and Thinking
The word "now" shines in 8:1 like a beacon. Whatever may be the case in the previous verses, those in Christ Jesus have escaped condemnation because they have been freed from the law of sin and death (the Old Testament law, see 8:3) through the sin offering of Jesus. This sacrifice meets the righteous requirements of the law for those who live in the Spirit. If the primary application for Paul is to Jews who have been converted to Christ (think of 7:1-6), the principle extends to all who are rescued by Christ's death.
The contrast and options are made clear--life according to human fleshly desires or life according to the Spirit. In Christ, it is possible to be controlled by the Spirit living in us rather than by the flesh (8:9). By the way, what does this say about the application of Chapter 7 to Christians? In what way does Chapter 8 serve as commentary on Chapter 7?

How does life through the Spirit impact our lives? What does the presence of the Spirit say about our relationship to God? What does this confidence say about the future, even in light of present sufferings, persecution, and weakness? How does the experience of Jesus shed light on our experience?
In depth: can you find five convictions, five affirmations, and five questions in 8:28-34? How do these provide the foundation for the great affirmation of 8:37-39?

Dear God, we thank you again today for the deliverance and conquest you provided in Jesus. We are grateful to be freed from sin's grasp and to know your presence in our difficulties. We appreciate the assurance that you are working for good in all things, in Jesus' name, Amen.

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Last updated November 28, 2017