9 “You, however, are not in the realm of the flesh but are in the realm of the Spirit, if indeed the Spirit of God lives in you. And if anyone does not have the Spirit of Christ, they do not belong to Christ.

10 But if Christ is in you, then even though your body is subject to death because of sin, the Spirit gives life because of righteousness.

11 And if the Spirit of him who raised Jesus from the dead is living in you, he who raised Christ from the dead will also give life to your mortal bodies because of his Spirit who lives in you.” Romans 8:9-11

As we have seen in the first eight verses of Romans 8, the conflict that humanity faces is whether to rely on our own works or God’s grace for salvation. Our sinful natures (flesh) strive against God and it is only the indwelling of the Holy Spirit with our Spirit that brings us to Christ.

We, as Christians, must remember that our sinful nature (the flesh) is more than just a propensity to sin; we ARE sin. We were born as sinners and it is this condition that condemns us. Unfortunately, we all too often think of sin as acts instead of a condition. Since we see sin as an act we believe that if we just change our behavior towards the act then we will overcome sin and be right with God. Sin, however, runs much deeper than that in us humans.

It is important that we understand we are born depraved, unable to obey or please God. Without divine intervention in the person of Jesus none of us would ever be able to be saved. Ephesians 2:3 reminds us that we are “by nature children of wrath” and in Ephesians 2:1 we are told we are dead in trespasses and sins. Romans 3:11-12 states, “No one understands; no one seeks for God. All have turned aside; together they have become worthless; no one does good, not even one.”

Sin is not a simple choice we make and it is not the power of Satan to make us sin. Sin is the condition of our very being. For many years I believed that sin was an inherited weakness and I had a simple tendency to do evil and sin. That led me to believe that I could overcome my tendencies to sin through prayer and Bible study.

John 3, however, teaches that to be saved we must be born again or “born of the Spirit”. Our salvation is not dependent on our overcoming every known sin to prove to God our love for Him. Our salvation is based on the redeeming work of Jesus at Calvary where He carried our sins far away and in their place gave us the gift of grace. Our salvation is not about our making the right choices; it is being born again of the Spirit.

Now let’s look at Romans 8:9, “You, however, are not in the realm of the flesh but are in the realm of the Spirit, if indeed the Spirit of God lives in you. And if anyone does not have the Spirit of Christ, they do not belong to Christ.” In order to belong to Jesus we must have the Spirit of Christ within us. The Spirit of God must live within us. Paul is talking about putting our trust in the grace of God for our salvation and this is the work of the Holy Spirit within us.

Redemption is the most amazing concept I can think of. Remember in the flesh (our sinful nature) we are dead to God. We have no interest in spiritual things and the ways of God are foolishness to us. Yet, in the most amazing way, through the cross, the Spirit reaches deep into our hearts and brings conviction of our wretched condition and brings us hope. All the works in the world could never dig us out of the hole we are in called the sinful nature. The reason is because without the Spirit we would never understand our need of God.

When Paul says we are “not in the realm of the flesh” (v. 9) he is informing his readers that when the Spirit reaches into our hearts and convicts us of sin, we have left the realm of the flesh for the realm of grace. This doesn’t mean we won’t sin again or that we will be perfect in our actions or thoughts. What it means is that for the first time we have the assurance of salvation because it is based upon the work of Jesus and not our own.

Notice verse 10, “But if Christ is in you, then even though your body is subject to death because of sin, the Spirit gives life because of righteousness.” Christ dwells in us through the Spirit and therefore the life that we have is through His righteousness and not our own.

Verse 11 sums things up, “And if the Spirit of him who raised Jesus from the dead is living in you, he who raised Christ from the dead will also give life to your mortal bodies because of his Spirit who lives in you,”

With the Spirit of Christ living in us (being born again) we have assurance that even if we should die before the coming of Christ He will give us life anew. And what is this all based upon? His righteousness. (v. 10)

To be born of the Spirit or born again is to believe in the saving power of Jesus. “Just as Moses lifted up the snake in the wilderness, so the Son of Man must be lifted up, that everyone who believes may have eternal life in him.” John 3:14, 15

May 2016 be the year that each of us walks closer to Jesus through the indwelling of the Spirit. All the best to you and your loved ones in 2016.

Chris Tomlin – Greater is the One Who lives in me…

* Please take the time to read some of the stories of Christians who are experiencing persecution for their total commitment to Christ. They need our support and prayers..  http://thebeggardanced.com/nine-oclock-club/ there is much more on the internet…