- Lesson 6 in the BaptistWay Press Connect360 unit “Living in the Spirit” focuses on Romans 8:5-11.
The Greek noun pneuma literally means “wind” or “breath.” The term is used throughout the Bible to speak of God’s personal presence: The Holy Spirit (Psalm 51:11). The Holy Spirit should not be thought of as merely a force, but as the third person of the Trinity—Father, Son and Holy Spirit. Like “wind” or “breath,” the Spirit is invisible but powerful and life-giving. For example, in the Old Testament, the Spirit is active in creation, enables God’s people to accomplish certain tasks, and empowers them with moral attributes.
Jesus described the Spirit as “another Helper” who would dwell with us and be in us (John 14:16). The Spirit convicts the world, enlightening us to know the love of God by drawing us to Jesus Christ. As Christ is magnified by the Holy Spirit, believers are transformed into the image of Christ (2 Corinthians 3:18). In this way, followers of Christ are sanctified and enjoy the “first fruits of the Spirit” (Romans 8:23).
God is pleased with the one who is in the Spirit. In the context of Romans 8, “Spirit” refers to the Holy Spirit. To “live according to the Spirit” is to be under the control of the Holy Spirit (Romans 8:5). Such a person’s daily life is determined by the Spirit of the living God. The fruit of the Spirit will be evident in their life as they turn from the deeds of the flesh to the fruit of the Spirit (Galatians 5:16-24).
Those who live in the overflow of the Spirit “set their minds on the things of the Spirit” (Romans 8:5). This means the Spirit-kind of person is focused on the Spirit, not the desires of the flesh. This new focus encourages a new mode of conduct and way of life. Instead of “gratifying the desires of the flesh,” the believer will “walk by the Spirit” (Galatians 5:16) and be “transformed by the renewal of [their] mind” (Romans 12:2).
Living in freedom
Paul concludes, “to set the mind on the Spirit is life and peace” (Romans 8:6). Instead of living as a prisoner, those filled with the Spirit live in freedom. The Spirit does what the law could not do. One might imagine a person spending life in prison. How will the prisoner be redeemed or set free from prison? Under such circumstances, the existence of the law, the prisoner’s knowledge of the law, or even the observance of the law will not result in being freed from prison. Likewise, the existence of God’s law, our knowledge of the law, or even observance of the law won’t set us free. Only a person with proper authority and power can set a prisoner free.
The good news is that God sent his Son into the world to rescue us. Christ Jesus came into the dark prison and absorbed the punishment for sin in his flesh to give us eternal life. This is what Paul meant when he said, “For God has done what the law, weakened by the flesh, could not do. By sending his own Son in the likeness of sinful flesh and for sin, he condemned sin in the flesh” (Romans 8:3). The outcome of God’s gracious act is forgiveness. Since sin was condemned in the flesh, “There is therefore now no condemnation for those who are in Christ Jesus” (Romans 8:1). Our guilt is removed in Christ. We walk out of prison free and forgiven.
Compiled by Stan Granberry, marketing coordinator for BaptistWay Press.
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