Saturday, April 12, 2014

The Spirit's Presence and Attributes (Part III)

But ye are not in the flesh, but in the Spirit, if so be that the Spirit of God dwell in you. Now if any man have not the Spirit of Christ, he is none of his.” (Romans 8:9)

The opening phrase is somewhat emphatic. A literal translation would read, “But you, you are not in the flesh, but in the spirit.” Paul seems to be convinced of the spiritual condition of those to whom he is writing. Though he had not yet been to this church in Rome, he had heard of their testimony for Christ. The Spirit of God was evident in the lives of these people; however, the Holy Ghost is careful not give a false sense of assurance; therefore, the verse ends with a conditional statement. If a man does not have Christ's Spirit, he is not Christs. This statement is also emphatic. A literal rendering would read, “Now, if a certain one (the) Spirit of Christ he is not having, this one is not of Him.” The presence of Christ's Spirit, and the holy nature of that presence, is being emphasized. If a person continuously evidences a spirit that is apart from that of Christ, he belongs to Satan, not God. A person who professes to believe the Bible, yet continuously rebels against its authority would do well to prayerfully examine his condition before God. Such things are only offensive to the lost. The truly redeemed have a security that cannot be removed. A man must be cautious not to assume that people are saved simply because they attend church or show a surface interest in spiritual things. Without doubt, thousands of people are destined for a lost eternity because they “...[have] a form of godliness, but [deny] the power thereof...(II Timothy 3:5).”

And if Christ be in you, the body is dead because of sin; but the Spirit is life because of righteousness. But if the Spirit of him that raised up Jesus from the dead dwell in you, he that raised up Christ from the dead shall also quicken your mortal bodies by his Spirit that dwelleth in you.” (Romans 8:10-11)

Jesus said in John 6:63, “It is the spirit that quickeneth; the flesh profiteth nothing....” Sin has rendered the assets of this body useless to man. A man cannot trust his heart, feelings, thoughts, desires, emotions or cognizant abilities. He may not even completely trust his conscience, because it too is faulty. The body is truly dead. Therefore, it is vain for a Christian to serve it. On the other hand, the Spirit brings life, and everything done in His power brings life. This is not because of man's goodness or even his obedience to truth. Ultimately, it is due to the righteousness of Christ. The Spirit brings life because God is completely righteous, and the one who trusts in Jesus Christ will have the righteousness of God imparted to his soul.

Verse eleven gives cause for great assurance to the believer. Even though the body is dead because of sin, in the end, God will fully raise it a new body in Christ. The salvation God offers leaves nothing to chance. Even death itself will someday be done away with forever. As I Corinthians 15:26 states, “The last enemy that shall be destroyed is death.” In verse nine, the Spirit is called, the Spirit of Christ. In this verse, He is called the Spirit of Him the raised up Jesus [God the Father]. In these passages, the unity of the Godhead may be seen. All three Persons of the Trinity are working together to completely deliver the believer from death. The word dwelleth is from a root which means a house. Just as sin is housed within the flesh, the Spirit is permanently housed in the believer's soul. The sin will someday be removed, but the Spirit will forever be with the believer “...until the redemption of the purchased possession, unto the praise of his glory (Ephesians 1:14).”

Therefore, brethren, we are debtors, not to the flesh, to live after the flesh. For if ye live after the flesh, ye shall die: but if ye through the Spirit do mortify the deeds of the body, ye shall live.” (Romans 8:12-13)

What is the conclusion? The flesh's ways always breed death, so why would a man choose to serve it? The person who resists the conviction of God's Spirit and rejects Christ will die along with his flesh, and the Christian who fights submission to God's Spirit and serves his flesh will reap unrighteous results. The Spirit brings life in every way; therefore, submission to Him brings practical sanctification (the death of self) and spiritual life. He is the Giver of Life; thus, the person who truly has Him need never fear death, but the false professor is encouraged to take heed to himself, because, “...if any man have not the Spirit of Christ, he is none of His.”

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