In this study of Romans we have had Paul take us from the total depravity of sinners, to justification, and then, to sanctification. He took a moment to let us know that the work of sanctification was not easy (chapter 7), and now he tells us how we can be victors through the battles of being set apart for Him. Paul wants the believer to know that in Jesus Christ, by the Holy Spirit there is victory.
The “Spirit” has only been mentioned one time up until this present text. In this chapter alone ‘Spirit’ is mentioned at least 19 times. Without the Holy Spirit we are weak, miserable, and failures. We cannot know Christ personally without the Spirit. We can have no eternal victory whatever without the Holy Spirit’s abiding presence. Jesus promised He would send Him (John 16:7). Jesus also told us about His ministry and work (John 16:8-15). His presence abides with us forever (John 14:16). Paul writes elsewhere, “…Ye were sealed with that Holy Spirit of promise, which is the earnest (guarantee) of our inheritance until the redemption of the purchased possession, unto the praise of His glory” (Eph. 1:13-14).
In this study we will see the importance of the work of the Holy Spirit. Without the Spirit there can be no salvation, there could be no sanctifying work, and there would be no glorifying work. We would be without God (v. 9).
If we will study these next few lessons carefully we will see at least six things which reveal to us that we are walking in the Spirit. Remember the absence of these reveal the opposite. First of all we see…
NO CONDEMNATION – THE EVIDENCE OF A RESURRECTED LIFE AND LIVING (vv. 1-9).
The first verse tells us that there is no condemnation to those who are in Christ Jesus and walking in the Spirit of God. When you are walking in the Spirit you do not hear those voices telling you that you are no good. Walking in the Spirit means you are rejoicing in the fact that you are walking in the good grace and mercy of the Living Lord who died for your sins.
In these nine verses we see a contrasts between “Walking in the flesh” and “Walking in the Spirit“. If you walk in the flesh there is condemnation. Even when you are saved and you have experienced walking in the Spirit, and you backslide into self and just get sidetracked; you will experience condemnation. There will be guilt, shame, embarrassment, and just an all out feeling of disgrace. It is God’s way of letting you know where you should be.
When we were “Dead in trespasses and sin” (Eph. 2:1) we were “Walking dead”; we were outside of God. In fact this part of this chapter tells us clearly that “to be carnally minded is death” (v. 6), and “the carnal mind is enmity against God…” (v. 7). Those who are carnal are walking in the flesh, and are opposed to God. How sad it is for a redeemed individual to be walking in opposition to the One who redeemed them from their life of darkness. Oh, how the Christian must need to remain watchful, diligent, and earnest in daily Bible reading and prayer.
Before we were redeemed by the blood of Jesus we did not know God; and could not know Him without Him reaching out to us. We did not even care about the things of God, nor for God Himself. We were condemned to die, and deserving of death. The works that we worked were the works of death. Our condemnation was certain, sure, and sealed without God’s intervention.
The power and strength of the law’s condemnation was sin. This condemnation was taken away by the shed blood of Jesus Christ our Lord. Take note. It is true only for those “Who walk in the Spirit”. It is not God’s desire to condemn; as a matter of fact He does not; sin condemns us, and God offers us His salvation. Jesus Himself said, “God sent not His Son into the world to condemn the world; but that the world through Him might be saved” (John 3:17). If God sent His Son to save the world, then, it would stand to reason that the world – people – were/are condemned.
When Jesus came He became sin – when He was hanged on the cross (2 Cor. 5:21). That is, He took on Himself the sins of the whole world, and received the judgment of God on behalf of the condemned. In His work on the cross; “…In the likeness of sinful flesh…’ ‘…He condemned sin in the flesh”. In the death of an innocent, sinless, blameless, spotless, Lamb sin was defeated. It can no longer condemn anyone who puts their faith in Jesus Christ.
The person who has trusted Jesus is indwelt by the Spirit of Jesus. The Spirit is the same Holy Spirit that empowered Jesus, as a man, to walk with God. The Holy Spirit causes the inhabited person to desire to know God in a greater way. The person desires to love God, to walk with Him, and to please Him – not to obtain His favor, but because of His favor already given.
The attitude of the person who does not know Jesus, and does not have the Spirit of God; is one of the flesh. Doing only what pleases themselves; doing good only to achieve recognition from others, and maybe even trying to obtain the favor of God. These have a “carnal mind” or are worldly oriented and cannot please God. They are, in fact, hostile toward God (v. 7). They will fight, kick, and bite against the will of God all the way to Hell, and then some of those will cry out for His mercy, but too late.
The Spirit of God in you empowers you to put the flesh to death: “ Likewise reckon ye also yourselves to be dead indeed unto sin, but alive unto God through Jesus Christ our Lord” (6:11). The believer is no longer subject to sin because of the Spirit’s power. It is not the power of the individual believer, but of the Spirit. The very same Spirit that raised Jesus from the dead, “Shall also quicken [make alive] your mortal [earthly] bodies, by His Spirit that dwells in you” (v. 11). Death truly awaits all who are in the flesh – following its passions and lusts. If, by the Holy Spirit’s power we put to death our selfish passions, desires, and deeds, then, we shall live eternally. That is the work of the Spirit of God and every believer walking in the Spirit.
NO CONDEMNATION is experienced and evidenced by the faith of the child of God. In the darkest, bleakest, most severe tests and trials of life faith is strengthened. It is evidenced by following the Spirit’s direction – in accordance with Scripture – to faithfulness to Him, His ministry, and His Church.
In verse nine we are told clearly, “But ye are not in the flesh, but in the Spirit, if so be that the Spirit of God dwell in you. Now if any man have not the Spirit of Christ, he is none of his”. One thing is for certain, and that is that we are to be perfect, and perfection is a work of God’s Spirit. In the flesh there is no perfection. In the Spirit, if the Spirit dwells in us. If any does not have the Spirit we are not His. Without Him we stand condemned.
-Tim A. Blankenship