A Voice in the
"There is therefore now no condemnation to those who are in Christ Jesus, who walk not according to the flesh but according to the Spirit. But the law of the Spirit of life in Christ Jesus has made me free from the law of sin and death." (vs1-2)
Remember that we died with Christ. (6:3) When we died to sin (6:11) we also died to the law which condemned sin. (7:4) We now are under a new law in our "marriage" to Christ (7:4); the "Law of the Spirit of life." (vs2) Since we died to the old law, we are also no longer under its condemnation.
The new life is a "spiritual" life. Yet, we are still in these bodies. But we are given a means by which to bring these bodies in line with the spiritual. The "mind". The flesh is weak, and manifested the weakness of the law. The flesh could not keep the law. By the law was death. Those who mind the things of the flesh do so unto death. (vs5-6) The 'pharisees' who try to live unto God through the Law have a losing battle, because the Law indicates the carnal mind which is enmity against God. When they have their minds on the Law, it is impossible for them to be subject to God. (vs7) The "carnal" mind is similar to the "natural" man who does not receive the things of the Spirit of God..neither can he know them, because they are spiritually discerned." (1Cor2:14) So, if you try to live according to the flesh, you -cannot- please God. (vs8)
This is why Jesus had to "come in the flesh". (1Jn4:2) In so doing, and dying in the flesh on the cross, He "condemned sin in the flesh". (vs3)
So, the life in Christ is a "walk not according to the flesh, but according to the Spirit." (vs4) We set our "minds" according to the "things of the Spirit." (vs5) "Be mindful of things above, not on things on the earth" as we "seek those things which are above..." (Col3:1-2) The Spiritual life is one of "life and peace." (vs6)
In a proper translation you will notice that "Spirit" in this chapter is capitalized; indicating the -Person- of God's Holy Spirit. Jesus had promised His coming in John16. And in this chapter (ch8) we come down to the crux of the Christian life. The nature of the Believer. How do we live for God successfully? We are "not in the flesh, but in the Spirit, if the Spirit of God dwells in you." (vs9) How do we live successfully pleasing to God? In the Holy Spirit, because He [the Holy Spirit] dwells -in- you.
Of all the verses in the N.T. this verse (Rom8:9) may quite likely be -THE- KEY to living for the Lord. It tells how to live, and defines a "Believer." A True Believer is one, by definition, who is indwelt by the Holy Spirit. Because, notice, "if anyone has not the Spirit of Christ, this one is not of Him." If you think you're a "Christian", but are also 'waiting' to receive the Spirit, you are not a Christian. At Salvation the Holy Spirit "seals" us with a "promise" (Eph1:13) and indwells us. (1Cor3:16) And so, now that the Spirit indwells us, our living is according to the Spirit, not the flesh.
It is because of the Holy Spirit that our "mortal" bodies can have life. (vs11) Remember: "this corruptible must put on incorruption, and this mortal must put on immortality." (1Cor15:53)
Therefore we are no longer "debtors" to the flesh to live fleshly lives. (vs12) Remember how we are slaves, either to sin or to God? (ch6) When we died to the flesh and the Law, we are no longer bound to the flesh to obey it. We have "freedom" NOT to. Now, if we insist on continuing in the flesh we will die. Paul spoke of "deliver [a deliberately sinning one] to Satan for the destruction of the flesh, so that the spirit may be saved..." (1Cor5:5) And again, "If anyone defiles the temple [physical body] of God, God shall destroy him. For the temple of God is holy, which you are." (1Cor3:17) But the one who "through the Spirit mortifies [kills] the deeds of the body" shall live. (vs13)
We are no longer slaves in the same sense we were "in bondage" to sin, but are "sons of God." (vs14; Gal3:26, Phil2:15) We are no longer "servants" but "friends" of Christ. (Jn15:15) We are no longer slaves who live in little cottages along the periphery of the property, but as "adopted" sons, we can run into the main living quarters and 'jump into His lap' as we cry out "Abba Father!" ...'Daddy, Daddy!' (vs15)
How do we know that we "belong"? Again, the "Holy Spirit." The Holy Spirit Who resides within us (vs9) is the One Who confirms to our heart that we belong. (vs16) Now, if that Spirit does not reside, thus indicating that we don't belong, we will not receive that "witness". If He resides and has given you the "witness", you know it. If you "don't know" or are wondering "what it's like" to know the Holy Spirit "bearing witness", then that's a pretty sure sign you do NOT 'belong'.
And be sure that Satan will give you -imitation- 'experiences' which you will "feel" in your emotions. But those are not the Real Thing. One of the best ways to know the Holy Spirit is through God's Word. The Holy Spirit propelled the writers who wrote it down. If that Word comes "alive" to you, you will know the "witness", because it is the same Holy Spirit Who wrote it in the first place. If you experience an emotional 'high' where Scripture is -specifically- Set Aside in order to conjure up these emotions, you -KNOW- that that experience is -NOT- God's Holy Spirit. This witness will not come through the highly-charged emotional meetings where the Rock band is playing, and people are jumping and swaying as they "praise the Lord"...as the "strong wind, earthquake and -fire-" are stirring you up and bowling you over. But it will come in His "still, small voice" (1Kg19:12) as you are in "your room..shutting your door" with your Father "in secret". (Mt6:6) This "witness" is the very ESSENCE of -true- "prayer".
What is the result of living the Spiritual life? Happy-happy, smiles, swoon, jump up-n-down, clapping the hands?? If we are "joint-heirs" with Christ, we will also "SUFFER with Him." But then, we will also be "glorified together." (vs17) Let us never forget that Jesus never promised a garage full of expensive cars, and earthly mansions with gold-plated fixtures; or that we would "FEEL good". We are promised "sufferings" (vs18) Jesus said, "in this world you -shall- have tribulation..." (Jn16:33) If they persecuted Jesus, they will also persecute the Believer. (15:20) Martyrdom is not the only form of persecution. "Blessed are you when men shall revile you and persecute you, and shall -SAY- all kinds of evil against you falsely, for My sake. Rejoice and be exceedingly glad, for your reward in Heaven is great." (Mt5:11-12) Paul says, "I reckon [it's my opinion] that the sufferings of this present time are not worthy to be compared with the coming glory to be revealed in us." (vs18) Just for one item of comparison: rich people have gold-plated house fixtures, but in Heaven gold is found as -street- composition! ..to be walked [trod] upon.
The sufferings and coming glory apply not only to Believers, but to creation itself. The "whole creation groans and travails in pain together until now" (vs22) because of sin's curse. One of the prophesied characteristics of Christ's coming earthly reign is that earth's violence will cease. No more "thorns" (Is55:13) and predatory animals will be at peace with their former victims. (Is11:6,65:25)
Even these bodies we inhabit will be "redeemed". (vs23) At present we "groan" in these bodies because of the "flesh" which wants us to sin, along with their frailties, illness and mortality. While we currently live in a time when Believers expect the Rapture imminently, those who continue on to physical death do so in "hope". The Hope of the resurrection. (Acts23:6,24:15) But our hope is a "living hope" (1Pt1:3) because of Jesus the "First-fruit". (1Cor15:20) It is called the "blessed hope, and the glorious appearing" of Jesus Christ. (Tit2:13)
How do we 'make it' through these sufferings and frailties? Again, the Spirit. (vs26) We are instructed to "pray" (1Th5:17,Jas5:13a) but the trouble is, we often don't know how to pray. Often, there are no -words- to adequately convey that which is in our hearts. Now, the 'pharisees' again have contrived a whole methodology regarding this, with special formulas and turns of phrase which appear to be "spiritual". And those who are "spiritual" amongst their number 'know' when a fellow-pray-er is praying "spiritually". On the other hand, there are those who claim to receive a special "spiritual language". A "prayer language". They condone themselves in this by distorting Paul's teachings in 1Cor12-14.
But notice Paul's teaching on this matter. We do not even -do- the praying! We don't know -how- to pray "as we ought." Therefore the Spirit Himself makes intercession for us. And these "groanings" are -NOT- uttered. (vs26) And notice Who else is in this prayer "partnership". The One "searching the hearts." Who is that? The "Word of God" [Jesus Christ] -Who- knows us down to our soul and spirit, our thoughts and intents. (Heb4:12-13) It is Christ Whose present "job" is that of -interceding- for us. (vs34) Not only does Christ -know- us, He also knows the "mind of the Spirit" Who is in us. Between the two of Them, our prayer comes before the Father.
With this kind of "Spiritual" life, nothing goes wrong with our lives. God "chose" us (vs29) and does a "workmanship" in us. (Eph2:10) He does not abandon us. He sees to it that "all things work together for good". (vs28) Yes, there may be sufferings, and we will make wrong choices along the way, but God knows the end from the beginning (Is46:10) He called, justified and glorified us. (vs30) So if He -did- all these things -for- us, how can anything come against us? (vs31) If God went to all the trouble to break up the fellowship of the God-head in order to "crush" Jesus in judgment (Is53:10) to inflict His wrath upon Him for our salvation; surely He is not going to abandon us to failure, but will "freely give us all things." (vs32) God "so loved" that He gave His only begotten Son. (Jn3:16) If the Lord and Creator of the universe went to all this trouble to save us, will He not also guarantee and assure our safe-keeping!
Notice the 'list' of adversities that will try us. (vs35-39) We will have trials and afflictions from earthly things and spiritual forces. But even Satan, himself (principalities-powers) cannot separate us from the "love of God which is in Christ Jesus our Lord." (vs39) Who can condemn us before God? It is God, Himself, Who justifies us. (vs33) And we've got the best "litigator" in the business Who "also intercedes for us" (vs34) since He is our "Advocate with the Father, Jesus Christ the righteous." (1Jn2:1)
The Spiritual life is a win-win situation. The Holy Spirit indwells us. He assures us through His "witness" that we belong. We are "adopted" as "joint-heirs" with Christ. We have the "hope" of the redemption of our bodies out of this flesh. Communion with the Father is jointly with the Holy Spirit and Jesus Christ. And we are safely kept in His love, and guarded against any force which would try to remove us from our standing with God.
Our only "work" in all this is to be "spiritually minded" (vs6) and allow God to "conform" us "to the image" of Jesus Christ. (vs29) And when "hope" is fulfilled, we anticipate being "like Him" when we "see Him as He is." (1Jn3:2) A person with such a "hope..purifies himself, even as [Christ] is pure." (vs3)