The Holy Spirit in the Book of Romans, Second Lesson

The Holy Spirit in the Book of Romans

August 18, 2019

Daniel L. Segraves, Teacher

[1] Before we leave our discussion of the first four verses of Romans 8, let’s notice the words “who do not walk according to the flesh, but according to the Spirit” in Romans 8:1. They must not be taken grammatically as imposing a condition on the believer’s freedom from condemnation. They do not mean, “There is therefore now no condemnation to those who are in Christ Jesus, as long as or providing they do not walk according to the flesh, but according to the Spirit.” The grammar of the second half of the sentence further describes the first half. That is, those who are in Christ Jesus are identified as those who walk according to the Spirit.  It is impossible to be in Christ Jesus and to walk according to the flesh at the same time. By virtue of the fact that believers are in Christ Jesus, they draw their life from the Spirit, not from the flesh.

[2] This does not imply that believers cannot be tempted, or that they will never sin. But it does point out that those who are genuine believers cannot surrender to life “in the flesh.” If they do sin, the Holy Spirit within them will bring conviction, not condemnation, wooing them to repentance.  (See Romans 2:5.)

[3] Those who are unregenerate and who thus “live according to the flesh” are consumed with “the things of the flesh” (Romans 8:5). As Paul pointed out in Romans 6:20, those who are slaves to sin are free in regard to righteousness. But conversely, those who are regenerate, and who thus “live according to the Spirit” are consumed with “the things of the Spirit.” The “things of the flesh” involve life apart from God; the “things of the Spirit” have to do with life in fellowship with God. Believers who allow themselves to be consumed with things not having to do with fellowship with God are living as if their lives were “according to the flesh,” and if they continue this, they will be separated from fellowship with God.

[4] Some take Romans 8:5-8 to refer to believers who are not measuring up to God’s requirements. But that these verses are discussing unbelievers, and thus the unregenerate, is clear from the fact that Paul in Romans 8:9 identified as being “in the Spirit” and “not in the flesh” all those within whom the Spirit of God dwells. Those who are “in the flesh” are those in whom the Spirit of Christ does not dwell, and they thus do not belong to Him.

[5] Paul did not suggest that people are  “in the Spirit” only if and when they are living a life of sinless perfection; believers are “in the Spirit” by definition. The Spirit of God dwells within them.

[6] At this point, Paul equated the “Spirit of God” with the “Spirit of Christ.” They are the same. There is only one Spirit.  The presence of the indwelling Spirit marks a person as a Christian.

[7] The phrase “if indeed the Spirit of God dwells in you” is a conditional statement of the first class in the Greek text. The reality of the condition is assumed; the “if” means “since” or “because.”

[8] In Romans 8:10, Paul again used the first class condition to indicate the reality of the fact that Christ was indeed in the believers at Rome. In Romans 8:9-11, the interchangeable terms indicate that it is the same thing to say that the Spirit of God, or the Spirit of Christ, for Christ Himself dwells within a person. There is no idea here of a distinction between these terms.[archive]