LIFE IN THE SPIRIT (ROMANS 8:1-11)
A Chinese student at a local university asked me to explain the Trinity, so I did my best at a subject no one passes. I began by telling him that Father plus Son plus Spirit do not mean three Gods, but that God is three in one. Adding 1 + 1 + 1 = 3, but multiplying 1 three times is also 1, so Trinity is not 1+1+1 but 1 x 1 x 1+ 1, three Persons in one. At this he was taken by surprise. He said, The Spirit is a person. I answered, “Yes, the Spirit is a person, not a force or a thing.” He cannot be controlled, cornered or converted.
The Holy Spirit (Matt 12:31), also known as Spirit of God (Matt 3:16), the Spirit of your Father (Matt 10:20), the Spirit of the Lord (Luke 4:18) and the Spirit of Christ (Rom 8:9). The Father is the Sender, Christ is the Savior, and the Spirit is the Sanctifier. He is the eternal Spirit (Heb 9:14), the Spirit of grace (Heb 10:29), the Spirit of glory (1 Peter 4:14), the Spirit of life (Rev 11:11) and Spirit of truth (John 14:17, 15:26, 16:13). In Him there is power (Rom 15:13, 19), sanctification or holiness (Rom 15:16), love (Rom 15:30), liberty (2 Cor 3:17), communion (2 Cor 13:14), fruit (Gal 5:22) and joy (1 Thess 1:6-7).
The person of the “Spirit” occurs 21 times in the chapter, the most for a chapter in the Bible.
Who is the Spirit? How is He active in us? Why is the Spirit an unmistakable part of our lives?
Let Go the Slavish Past
1 Therefore, there is now no condemnation for those who are in Christ Jesus, 2 because through Christ Jesus the law of the Spirit who gives life has set you free from the law of sin and death. 3 For what the law was powerless to do because it was weakened by the flesh, God did by sending his own Son in the likeness of sinful flesh to be a sin offering. And so he condemned sin in the flesh, 4 in order that the righteous requirement of the law might be fully met in us, who do not live according to the flesh but according to the Spirit. 5 Those who live according to the flesh have their minds set on what the flesh desires; but those who live in accordance with the Spirit have their minds set on what the Spirit desires. 6 The mind governed by the flesh is death, but the mind governed by the Spirit is life and peace. 7 The mind governed by the flesh is hostile to God; it does not submit to God’s law, nor can it do so.
An Indian and a white man were brought under deep conviction of sin by the same sermon. The Indian was immediately led to rejoice in pardoning mercy. The white man was in distress for a long time, almost to despair. But at last he was brought to a joyous sense of sins forgiven.
Sometime after, while meeting his Indian brother, the white man said to him, “How is it that I should be so long under conviction, when you found peace at once?” “Oh, brother,” replied the Indian, “I will tell you. There comes along a rich prince. He proposes to give you a new coat; you look at your coat and say, ‘I don’t know; my coat looks pretty good; it will do a little longer.’ He then offered me a new coat. I look at my old blanket; I say, ‘This is good for nothing,’ and accept the beautiful new garment. Just so, brother, you try to keep your own righteousness. You won’t give it up; but I, poor Indian, could see that I had none, so I was glad at once to receive the righteousness of God—the Lord Jesus Christ.” (Illustrations of Bible Truths # 714)
The word “condemnation” is a theological word that occurs nowhere else but in Romans. Previously twice in the book it is bound with the word “judgment,” (Rom 5:16, 18), specifically the judgment that came upon all men to condemnation (Rom 5:18). The condemnation is not the judgment; it is the consequences, the close and conclusion of judgment. The judgment leads to or results in condemnation. Condemnation means to be judged “against” (kata) literally. The results are counter, contrary, not in the favor of the person, not friendly or fun. The condemned person has no recourse, no reprieve, no release, no rescue and no remedy. It is a detrimental, damaging and damning decision or decree.
The biblical phrase “in Christ” is a phrase debuted in Romans by Paul. It is always positive in its 48 occurrences in the Bible, and this is the only negative connotation with the word “condemnation” associated with the phrase “in Christ Jesus” but it end up positive because of the negation “no.” The negation “no” is not the common “no” (ouk) that appears 124 times in Romans, but “oudeis”–the first instance of its mere four times in Romans, translated as nothing (Matt 5:13), neither any (Mark 5:4) and none (Luke 1:61) in the Bible. Literally it means not even one (ou = not; eis – one), implying none whatsoever, not the remotest possibility or not by a long shot.