The Holy Spirit is our power source. Being plugged into Him is necessary for our faith journey.
There is therefore now no condemnation for those who are in Christ Jesus. 2 For the law of the Spirit of life has set you free in Christ Jesus from the law of sin and death. 3 For God has done what the law, weakened by the flesh, could not do. By sending his own Son in the likeness of sinful flesh and for sin, he condemned sin in the flesh, 4 in order that the righteous requirement of the law might be fulfilled in us, who walk not according to the flesh but according to the Spirit. 5 For those who live according to the flesh set their minds on the things of the flesh, but those who live according to the Spirit set their minds on the things of the Spirit. 6 For to set the mind on the flesh is death, but to set the mind on the Spirit is life and peace. 7 For the mind that is set on the flesh is hostile to God, for it does not submit to God›s law; indeed, it cannot. 8 Those who are in the flesh cannot please God.
9 You, however, are not in the flesh but in the Spirit, if in fact the Spirit of God dwells in you. Anyone who does not have the Spirit of Christ does not belong to him. 10 But if Christ is in you, although the body is dead because of sin, the Spirit is life because of righteousness. 11 If the Spirit of him who raised Jesus from the dead dwells in you, he who raised Christ Jesusfro m the dead will also give life to your mortal bodies through his Spirit who dwells in you.
Paul is encouraging his readers to realize that you are either living in the Spirit, or you are living in the flesh. In other words, you are either plugged into the power or you are not. The first four verses here point us toward salvation that comes from Jesus through the revelation of the Holy Spirit. From verse five onward Paul starts to deal with living in the Spirit; walking in the Spirit; having an ongoing relationship with God.
Let’s just look at what Paul is saying are the attributes and meanings of living by the flesh and living by the Spirit.
1. Living by the flesh (v 7)
They are hostile to God – Have you ever seen a toddler chuck a tantrum because their parents won’t get them what they want? The flesh does the same with God. I want what I want. Just give it to me, if you don’t, I won’t love you.
They will not submit to God’s best way to live – This is stage two of the flesh: Because you won’t give me what I want, I won’t give you what you want. God is not a killjoy, He just knows the things that are best for us. But we need to submit to God’s care for us.
They cannot please God – Who, as parents, find it pleasing when your child is chucking a tantrum and being disobedient? You can’t be pleased with your children when they act like that. You can still love them, but being pleased is different to loving them. It’s the same with God. He is not pleased with us when we chuck tantrums and act in disobedience. He still loves us, but is not pleased.
2. Living by the Spirit (v 9-11)
The Holy Spirit guides – Living by the Spirit is about submitting to God and letting Him shape our lives. Being open and obedient to His leading.
The Holy Spirit includes – This is about adoption. In a sense the Holy Spirit is our adoption papers. If we have the Spirit, it means we belong to the family of God.
The Holy Spirit gives life – This is a “what came first?” situation. The chicken or the egg? The life that we receive by the Holy Spirit comes to us by the righteousness of Christ, but we receive the righteousness from Christ through the life we receive through the Holy Spirit. All we need to know is that we have both life and righteousness because of the Holy Spirit and the Son and the Father. They work cooperatively, and they work as one.
The Holy Spirit empowers –The only way we can do these first three points of living in the Spirit, is to be plugged into the power of the Holy Spirit. When we are plugged into the power of the Holy Spirit, our lives will look different and have a different focus.
Many of the early Christians were known as people “full of the Holy Spirit” (Acts 6:8; 11:24). Common characteristics showed that they were people of courage, they demonstrated a willingness to follow Christ regardless of the cost, and they were effective. This is a question we need to ask ourselves, “How would people describe us?”
As we plug in to the Holy Spirit’s power, we should see two things:
God’s work in us in sanctifying us. Moving us from people who live by the flesh to people who live by the Spirit.
God’s work through us to impact those around us. This is about doing things in the power of the Holy Spirit.
Let me encourage you to ask the Holy Spirit this week to shape you into the person God wants you to be. Also ask Him to empower you to do what He wants you to do.
In faith, hope and love
Steve and Cass Abram