A. When we talk about the Holy Spirit or Holy Ghost, we enter an uncomfortable area for some Christians.
B. Charismatic groups give great emphasis to the work of the Spirit while mainline Protestant groups avoid over emphasis for fear it will lead them into worship practices or doctrine they feel is not scriptural or that they are uncomfortable with.
C. Charismatic groups emphasize healing and a second work of grace made evident by speaking in tongues as evidence that one is filled and growing in the Spirit while other Protestant groups question the validity of these practices.
D. Some believe the baptism of the Holy Spirit comes after salvation while others believe the Bible teaches we are baptized with the Spirit at the moment of salvation.
E. One thing is certain: we cannot live a successful Christian life without the presence of and dependence on God’s Spirit.
F. Paul has dealt with the sinful nature and its effects in the unbeliever’s life as well as how the flesh causes believer’s problems when we walk by it.
G. He will now compare life controlled by a sinful nature with life dominated by the Spirit of God.
H. One results in failure while the other leads to success.
I. Life In The Spirit (vv. 9-13)
A. The flesh cannot control where the Spirit controls. (v. 9)
1. Some translations use the word flesh while others choose sinful nature.
2. I choose the word flesh and make a distinction between it and sinful nature.
3. I see the sinful nature as what we possess before trusting Christ but what is removed and replaced with a new nature after we make that decision. (II Corinthians 5:17)
4. Thereafter, we do battle with the flesh which is our old patterns of behavior learned before our encounter with Christ. Since they are learned, it takes time to unlearn them and learn better patterns that emulate Christ.
5. Believers are no longer controlled by our flesh even though we still battle with it.
6. As long as we live in bodies and a world tainted by the effects of sin, this battle will ensue, but we are victors in Christ as we learn to let him live through us giving us the power to live an abundant life of obedience to his commands.
7. While we will commit acts of sin occasionally, sinful habits will not be our pattern of living.
8. We learn to let God’s Spirit control our lives rather than sin.
9. What we were once comfortable with will no longer satisfy.
B. The presence of the Spirit is proof of the relationship. (v. 9)
1. Paul plainly states those who don’t have the Spirit of God are not Christians.
2. This text seems proof positive that believers are given the Spirit at the moment they trust Christ as Savior.
3. The Greek word for dwell is also interesting and comforting: oikeo (oi ke’ o)
4. It sets up the picture of a home. God’s Spirit takes up residence in us-he resides in us, and is God continually dwelling in us.
5. The Spirit’s presence is evidence we have changed positions and that God sees and considers us in a different position-no longer sinners but saints cleansed by the blood of his Son.
C. Benefits of life in the Spirit. (vv. 10-11)
1. We have eternal life. Eternal life in itself is not a benefit of being a Christian for all people will live eternally in one of two places.
2. It is the quality of eternal life that is different for the believer.
3. We begin to experience the benefits of that eternal life in part after trusting Christ and will experience it fully in the new heaven and earth and in spending an eternity with the One who redeemed us.
4. Our hope is for more than this life. Paul says in another place if we have hope only in this life we are the most miserable people. (I Corinthians 15:19)
5. Our bodies will die because of sin (Whether humans would have died had they not sinned is debated by theologians. Some maintain death was part of sin’s curse while others say God did not create the human body to live forever).
6. It would appear that sin’s effects included death of our physical bodies as well as spiritual death. Sin brought immediate spiritual separation for Adam and Eve, and each individual is now born spiritually separated from God.
7. The good news, however, is that in Christ our spirits are alive and will never die.
8. Humans are made up of spirit and body or spirit, soul and body (theologians differ in this matter as well).
9. This is variously referred to as trichotomism, dichotomism and monism. Defined they mean we are spirit, soul and body; spirit (soul) and body; or simply a radical unity.
10. Another view that has been offered and is probably the more biblical one is termed conditional unity. The normal state of the human is that he is a unity. This agrees with monism. However, this condition is broken down at death so that our immaterial part (soul or spirit) lives on while the material (our body) decomposes. At the resurrection, we will return to our material state but with new bodies that will not be subject to the effects of sin.
11. Nevertheless, there is a part within us that is not material as our bodies are and that is who we truly are and will be after our bodies die. Those who die prior to Christ’s second coming will experience a temporary non-body existence but will have their spirit reunited with a new body at the Second Coming.
12. It is this belief that comforts us and that we use to comfort others.
13. It is this belief that comforts us when friends and family members who are in Christ die. We have the hope of seeing them again.
14. The same Spirit that brought Christ back to life will cause us to live eternally.
15. Not only does the Spirit give us assurance of eternal life, but he also enables us to act as Christ directs.
16. Christ’s Spirit gives us assistance with daily problems and guidance to deal with them.
17. God’s Spirit helps us in those situations when we don’t know how to pray or what to pray for.
18. It is God’s Spirit who empowers us for Christian living and service.
19. It is the fruits, gifts and callings of God’s Spirit that enable us to effectively serve in God’s kingdom work.
D. We are under no obligation or compulsion to obey the dictates of the flesh.
1. Satan will still tempt us through our flesh. He learns our areas of strengths as well as the areas we think we are strong in-areas of overconfidence.
2. By the Spirit, we have God’s power to overcome temptations. God will not allow us to be tempted beyond what we can bear, and he will always provide the way of escape. (I Corinthians 10:13)
3. If we follow fleshly patterns of living after turning to Christ, we will be defeated in our spiritual walk and we will not realize God’s plan and purpose for us. We cannot serve two masters.
4. But if we walk according to the Spirit we will not fulfill the desires of the flesh, and this will lead to success and spiritual growth.
5. We are in debt to the Spirit for we owe our regeneration to him.
6. We make the effort to grow spiritually and to walk according to spiritual things, and God enables us to do this.
7. We note that this is also a process, not something that happens immediately. In fact, it is a life-long process that prepares us for eternity.
8. What are some of the ways we train ourselves for godliness: prayer, confession, studying the Word, fellowship with other believers, service, worship and meditation.
9. Along with the positive is the negative of putting to death anything that draws us away from God. This may be thoughts, words or actions.
II. Our Position In The Spirit (vv. 14-17)
A. We are children of God. (v. 14)
1. Possession of the Spirit is proof of our belonging.
2. In another place Paul says we are sealed with the Spirit (Ephesians 1:13).
3. A seal showed ownership. God’s mark is placed on us.
4. As God’s children, we are led by his Spirit. We ask God for this, and he is more than willing to provide it.
5. We can know the mind of Christ as well as the right decision to make in any circumstance if we will but look to God for guidance.
6. We are God’s adopted children. In Roman culture, the person who was adopted lost all rights in the old family but gained the position of legitimate child in the new family. He became a full heir to his new father.
7. As God’s children, we are joint heirs with Christ. All that belongs to him belongs to us, and that is everything.
8. One of the privileges we receive is being led by God’s Spirit. His presence reminds us who we are and who we belong to. The guidance is there whether we always feel it or not.
B. God’s children can live with boldness. (v. 15)
1. We can approach God’s throne of grace with boldness and confidence because of our position in Christ. (Hebrews 4:16)
2. We are not like cowering slaves afraid to approach their master.
3. We have the privilege of saying “Abba, Father.” Abba is the Aramaic term for father and is akin to saying daddy.
4. God has not given us a spirit of fear but of power, love and a sound mind. (II Timothy 1:7)
5. We live confidently knowing God’s Spirit is blazing a path before us.
6. Instead of acting like we did before Christ (a matter Paul has already dealt with), we are to behave like God’s children.
C. God’s Spirit assures us we belong to him. (v. 16)
1. It is that inner assurance God gives that enables us to know for sure that we are his children.
2. It is God speaking to us reminding us of his promise to forgive and redeem those who ask.
3. We can live in confidence knowing that nothing can separate us from God’s love. Once in his family, we are there to stay.
D. Everything that belongs to Christ belongs to us-including suffering.
1. Since we have identified with Christ and been adopted by God, we hold the same position and rights as Christ.
2. The same kind of relationship Jesus had with the Father during his earthly sojourn can be ours.
3. Suffering is also part of this lot-this is the part we don’t enjoy.
4. In Paul’s day, Christians faced social and economic persecution and some faced death.
5. In some parts of the world, believers face these same circumstances.
6. We must be prepared to face whatever form of persecution comes our way as part of living life in the Spirit.
7. The darkness of evil will always attempt to snuff out the light of Christ.
A. We have a wonderful privilege to be recipients of God’s Spirit.
B. No longer under condemnation, we can live with victory and confidence that we belong to God and have his direction in life.