Summary: We cannot live a successful Christian life without the presence of and dependence on God’s Spirit.
A. When we talk about the Holy Spirit or Holy Ghost, we enter an area uncomfortable for some Christians.
B. Charismatic groups give great emphasis to the work of the Spirit while mainline Protestant groups avoid over emphasis for fear it will lead them into worship practices or doctrine they feel is not scriptural or that they are uncomfortable with.
C. Charismatic groups emphasize healing and a second work of grace made evident by speaking in tongues as evidence that one is filled and growing in the Spirit while other Protestant groups question the validity of these practices.
D. Some believe the presence of the Holy Spirit comes after salvation while others believe the Bible teaches we receive the Spirit at the moment of salvation.
E. One thing is certain: we cannot live a successful Christian life without the presence of and dependence on God’s Spirit.
F. Paul has dealt with the sinful nature and its effects in the unbeliever’s life as well as how the flesh causes believer’s problems when we walk by it.
G. He will now compare life controlled by a sinful nature with life dominated by the Spirit of God.
H. One results in failure while the other leads to success.
I. Life In The Spirit (vv. 9-13)
A. The flesh cannot control where the Spirit controls. (v. 9)
1. Some translations use the word flesh while others choose sinful nature.
2. I choose the word flesh and make a distinction between it and sinful nature.
3. I see the sinful nature as what we possess before trusting Christ but what is removed and replaced with a new nature after we make that decision. (II Corinthians 5:17)
4. Thereafter, we do battle with the flesh which is our old patterns of behavior learned before our encounter with Christ. Since they are learned, it takes time to unlearn them and learn better patterns that emulate Christ.
5. Believers are no longer controlled by our flesh even though we still do battle with it.
6. As long as we live in bodies and a world tainted by the effects of sin, this battle will ensue, but we are victors in Christ as we learn to let him live through us giving us the power to live an abundant life of obedience to his commands.
7. While we will commit acts of sin occasionally, sinful habits will not be our pattern of living.
8. We learn to let God’s Spirit control our lives rather than sin.
9. What we were once comfortable with will no longer satisfy.
B. The presence of the Spirit is proof of the relationship. (v. 9)
1. At this point we run into conflict with Christian groups who teach that the Spirit is given at some point after salvation in a second work of grace.
2. Paul plainly states those who don’t have the Spirit of God are not Christians.
3. This text seems proof positive that believers are given the Spirit at the moment they trust Christ as Savior.
4. The Greek word for dwell is also interesting and comforting: oikeo (oi ke’ o)
5. It sets up the picture of a home. God’s Spirit takes up residence in us-he resides in us, and is God continually dwelling in us.
6. The Spirit’s presence is evidence we have changed positions and that God sees and considers us in a different position-no longer sinners but saints cleansed by the blood of his Son.
C. Benefits of life in the Spirit. (vv. 10-11)
1. We have eternal life. Eternal life in itself is not a benefit of being a Christian for all people will live eternally in one of two places.
2. It is the quality of eternal life that is different for the believer.
3. We begin to experience the benefits of that eternal life in part after trusting Christ and will experience it fully in the new heaven and earth and in spending an eternity with the One who redeemed us.
4. Our hope is for more than this life. Paul says in another place if we have hope only in this life we are the most miserable people. (I Corinthians 15:19)
5. Our bodies will die because of sin (Whether humans would have died had they not sinned is debated by theologians. Some maintain death was part of sin’s curse while others say God did not create the human body to live forever).
6. It would appear that sin’s effects included death of our physical bodies as well as spiritual death. Sin brought immediate spiritual separation for Adam and Eve, and each individual is now born spiritually separated from God.
7. The good news, however, is that in Christ our spirits are alive and will never die.
8. Humans are made up of spirit and body or spirit, soul and body (theologians differ in this matter as well).