Summary: The Indwelling of the Holy Spirit assures us that we are in the closest and most intimate relationship with God -being His children.
There are many things in nature that are completely mystery for some of us. Let’s say for example the caterpillar which becomes a beautiful butterfly. How can such creature that crawls on the ground be changed into one that flies? How can a black, fuzzy, rather ugly creature be transformed into a beautiful, fascinating creature with brightly colored wings?
In similar ways, there are lots of things in the spiritual realm that are also a complete mystery to us. How can a person who is indifferent or hostile toward God becomes a deeply committed follower of Jesus Christ? In short, how can a person who is dead because of sin becomes one who is born again into a new life?
Such phenomenon is greatly expressed by the Apostle Paul in 2 Corinthians 5:17,
“Therefore, if anyone is in Christ, he is a new creature; old things passed away; behold new things have come.”
Such is the condition of a person who is “in Christ”. He is living in ‘newness’. That is the work of the Holy Spirit in every believer.
At this point, we have arrived into the climax of Paul’s discussion of the outcomes of the indwelling of the Holy Spirit in the believers’ life. This is actually the very core of the 8th chapter of Romans. This is where Paul boldly declares our special position in Christ in relation to God. Such special position is the string in which the preceding and succeeding discussions hang.
These verses advance another 3 important outcomes of the indwelling of the Holy Spirit.
I. New Motivation (vv. 12-14)
In the preceding two verses Paul indicates that a believer has a new life because the Holy Spirit resides in him and a new of hope of having a new bodies in the distant future because of the same Spirit..
But right at the middle, while waiting for the fulfillment of that hope, believers are confronted by the fact that we are still living in a fallen world and a physical body which is inclined toward evil.
But we are not alone. We have the Holy Spirit at home in us, remember? And it means we are no longer in bondage to our sin, therefore we are no longer obliged to do its prompting (v. 12).
Instead we are being led by the Spirit of God (v. 14). And the leading of the Holy Spirit has something to do with the moral character of the Christians, that is, the Holy Spirit enables us to defeat sin (v. 13).
The phase ‘put to death’ (NIV) in Greek has the meaning ‘to consider dead’. In other words, the Apostle Paul tells us to consider dead our sinful habits.
Jerry Bridges, a noted Bible teacher from The Navigator, in his book The Discipline of Grace, futher clarifies the same thought,
“[To put to death] a sin means to subdue it, to deprive it of its power, to break the habit pattern we have developed…”
As Christians we must be serious enough to purposely break such sinful habits we have. We must hate not only one particular sin, but all sin for what it really is. Because it is in realization that all sin is wrong, a rebellion against God, something that breaks the heart of God, and that despises His authority that we begin to put to death sin in our daily life.
We have to understand that it is not an easy task. Our sinful habits are so strong and deeply rooted. And no amount of cosmetics, money, prestige, and religiosity can enable us put sin to death. The passage is clear: Putting our sinful habits to death is possible only by the power of the Holy Spirit.
This is our new motivation as children of God; to put to death our sinful habits through the enabling power of the Holy Spirit.
II. New Relationship with God (vv. 14-15)
We need to understand that we are enemies of God because of sin –the gap between God and man –we are, therefore, alienated from Him.
It only means we are separated from the very source of life, peace, joy, victory, hope, salvation. Have you realized the weight of that matter?
Before we came to know Christ, we were once separated with no access whatsoever to the very Being who is the source of everything that makes sense and has significance in this world.
That is our old relationship with God. It is characterized by hostility and alienation.
But the good news is, now that we are “in Christ” the indwelling of the Holy Spirit assures us of our new relationship with God. We are not just friends or servants of God, but we are indeed children of God by virtue of adoption.