Romans 8:1-18 The Life of Salvation
In chapters 6-7 Paul explained the source of our struggle to live as God desires (to be righteous). It is the continued presence and influence of our old, physical nature (which opposes God). He concludes that thought with the glorious proclamation of how to be set free from that struggle…”through the Lord Jesus Christ.”
Now, in chapter 8, he is going to explain what that means and how it functions in our life. You can almost feel Paul’s heart begin to pound as he writes…identifying the blessings of being alive to the Spirit of God. Paul has given us answers to several questions concerning how the old nature operates and that we overcome it by the power of the Holy Spirit. Having presented his case…he now celebrates how the Holy Spirit is operative in our lives:
The Law of the Spirit sets us free from the penalty of sin (:1-4)
The Presence of the Spirit empowers us to live righteously (:5-11)
The Witness of the Spirit confirms our relationship with God (:12-18)
The First Fruits of the Spirit establishes our hope for the completion of redemption (:19-25)
The Intercession of the Spirit accomplishes the purpose of our salvation (:26-30)
The Protection of the Spirit secures us in God’s love (:31-39)
Romans 8:1-4-The Law of the Spirit sets us free from the penalty of sin
In verse 1, Paul makes an incredible statement…those who have accepted Jesus as Savior will not be judged for their sins. Why? How? He explains in verses 2-4. Jesus died to pay the price for our sins…He took the judgment, the condemnation for our sins upon Himself. How was that possible and how did He do that? He fully and perfectly kept all the demands of righteousness found in the Law of God and then He offered what He had done to be applied to our debt, our inability and failure to keep all the demands of righteousness found in the Law of God. He gave us His righteousness…and in return, He took our sin. It is the great exchange. This is “the law of the Spirit of life”…meaning, this is how the Spirit works. Contrast this with how “the law of sin and death”…meaning, this is how the Law works. The Holy Spirit provides for what is impossible for us to do on our own…the result is life. The Law judges us for what is impossible for us to do on our own…the result is death.
Romans 8:5-11-The Presence of the Spirit empowers us to live righteously
But it doesn’t end there. It isn’t just a matter of how to have life. It is also a matter of how to live life. Paul now contrasts the differences between a man’s life that is led by his attempts in the flesh (by his own ability and initiative) to keep the Law and a man’s life that is led by the Spirit.
On one hand, the flesh-life actually sets it self up in opposition (hostile) to God, since it is self-sufficient and determining, and does not subject itself to the law of God (it is not even able to do so, :7). This is what is meant by “those who are according to the flesh set their minds on the things of the flesh”. It is a decision to attempt to gain God’s approval by a self-righteous life (fulfilling the Law). This life is not pleasing to God…because it is an attempt to gain self-righteousness and God’s approval by a manner other than that which God has already determined. They are trying to accomplish spiritual results through fleshly means. That is impossible and it ends in death.
On the other hand, the Spirit-life "sets its mind" on the things of the Spirit, and is dependent on the Spirit, and results in life and peace.
Obviously, since everything that is necessary spiritually is dependent upon the work and presence of the Holy Spirit, if someone does not have the Spirit he is not a true believer in Christ (:9). However, if you do have the Spirit, two things are true: one, your spirit has had a new birth…at the time that the Holy Spirit entered into your life (:10); and two, one day your body will have a new birth…at the time of the return of Christ (:11).
Romans 8:12-18-The Witness of the Spirit confirms our relationship with God
Those who are led by the Spirit are "sons of God" (:14)...having been adopted by Him...and call Him, "Abba, Father" (:15). The Spirit bears witness with our spirit that we are God's children. And, if we suffer as His children, we should keep it in mind that we shall also be glorified as His children...and the suffering that we face now is nothing in comparison with the glory that we shall ultimately share in (:19).
Prayer: Father, please teach me more and more each day how to live in the Spirit. I don't want to allow the flesh to have control. Show me how to set my mind on the things of the Spirit and to be led by the Spirit...and to put to death the deeds of the body.