Summary: The present state of the believer is one of hope.


Romans 8:6-11.

This short passage describes two states of mind: literally, “the mind of the flesh (which is) death”; and “the mind of the Spirit (which is) life and peace” (Romans 8:6). These are two quite distinct mindsets, which lead to two differing choices of lifestyle (cf. the exhortation of Romans 12:2). Our mindset is determined not by what we do, or what choices we make; but by who we are, and whose we are: whether we are ‘in Christ Jesus’ (Romans 8:1), or not.

These two states of mind also determine our present circumstance, and our destiny: whether “death” or “life and peace” (Romans 8:6). Death arose from rebellion against God (Genesis 2:17), and has left man in a state of flesh-serving carnality ever since (Romans 8:7). Adam had but one law to keep, but his failure ushered in ‘the law of sin and death’ (Romans 8:2).

This is spiritual death, such that we are each born ‘dead in trespasses and sins’ (Ephesians 2:1). The carnal mind is dead to God, and totally unable to keep the law of God (Romans 8:7). Those whose mind is set in the flesh, and who therefore serve their own selfish interests, cannot please God (Romans 8:8).

Yet the Apostle Paul is writing to Christians, so he wants to reassure them here, after all this talk of fleshly carnality: “but you…” (Romans 8:9). First, negatively, you are not in (enslaved to) the flesh. Second, positively, “but in the Spirit” (Romans 8:9).

Paul casts no doubt on the status of his addressees. You are in the Spirit “if indeed” or rather “since” the Spirit of God dwells in you. It is a matter of fact, just like a clause in Jesus’ prayer: ‘Thou, Father, in me, and I in thee, that they also may be one in us’ (John 17:21).

This is an unashamedly Trinitarian verse. The language moves seamlessly from “the Spirit” to “the Spirit of God” to “the Spirit of Christ” (Romans 8:9). The inference is, “anyone who does not have the Spirit of Christ” does not belong to Him!

The present state of the believer is one of hope. The principle of our life is no longer based in the old ways of corrupted flesh in rebellion against God (Romans 8:7). We have a new principle: the life of the Spirit within us (Romans 8:10), arising from the fact that we have been made righteous in Christ Jesus (cf. Romans 3:21-22)

Peter says that it was God who raised Jesus from the dead (Acts 2:24), with which Paul also concurs (Acts 13:30). As the good shepherd, Jesus also claimed to have the authority not only to lay down His life, but also to take it up again (John 10:18). Paul implies the involvement of ‘the Spirit of holiness’ in Jesus’ resurrection (cf. Romans 1:4), and in our own… (Romans 8:11).

If it is indeed the Spirit who raised up Jesus from the dead who dwells in you, believer - and it is - we have the assurance that our mortal bodies shall also be raised “by His Spirit who dwells in you” (Romans 8:11).

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