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Focal Passage:  Romans 8:1-11

Romans 8:10-11 “But if Christ is in you, although the body is dead because of sin, the Spirit is life because of righteousness.  If the Spirit of him who raised Jesus from the dead dwells in you, he who raised Christ Jesus from the dead will also give life to your mortal bodies through the Spirit who dwells in you.”

Paul gives believers amazing encouragement in these two verses.  He realizes that after what he’s said about the differences between those living according to the flesh and those living according to the Spirit that we ask, “What do I do if I see more flesh in my actions than Spirit?”  He realizes we may also question how this miraculous indwelling could and does change us.  Paul reminds us that it is God Himself who raised Jesus Christ from the dead.  He is the very same God who has given you the Spirit who gives life now and life everlasting later.  And what can we do if we don’t see enough Spirit in our lives?  The answer is nothing.  There is nothing we can offer of ourselves to merit God’s grace.  We run to Jesus.  We run to the very cross where those sins were atoned for.  “Nothing in my hands I bring, simply to thy cross I cling.”  It is God who saves and it is God who sanctifies.  The law—our actions—can never do what our Savior has already done.  We ask for mercy and He will grant sanctification.  Hallelujah!

Study/Meditation:  What does Paul mean by “the body is dead because of sin” but “the Spirit is life because of righteousness”?  How does this apply to you?

*Father, I run to You in my sin and in my fallen flesh.  I lean wholly on Your Name and Your promises for the sanctification that must occur in my life.  Thank You for saving me.  Amen.

Focal Passage:  Romans 8:1-11

Romans 8:9 “You, however, are not in the flesh but in the Spirit, if in fact the Spirit of God dwells in you.  Anyone who does not have the Spirit of Christ does not belong to him.”

Sometimes we use the term “in the flesh” to notate times when we’ve behaved badly or “un-Christian-like.”  That is not the way Paul is using this phrase.  “In the flesh” to Paul is the literal absence of Christ in a person’s life, and thereby the absence of the indwelling Holy Spirit.  He is comforting believers in verse 9, reminding us that once we accepted Christ’s salvation as ours, we were immediately indwelt by the Spirit.  That’s what makes us His.  What makes the difference between one who walks in the flesh and one who walks in the Spirit?  It’s not that one person is better than another or inherently more faithful than another.  It is the indwelling of the Holy Spirit, and that became our states the moment we accepted Christ as our Lord and Savior.  Take that comfort today and praise the Name of the One who gives it to you.
Study/Meditation:  Read John 14:15-31 in addition to today’s passage.  What did Jesus have to say about the indwelling Holy Spirit?

*Father, thank You for sending the Holy Spirit to guide and direct me in this life.  Thank You that He testifies to me that I am indeed Yours.  Amen.

Focal Passage:  Romans 8:1-11

Romans 8:7-8 “For the mind that is set on the flesh is hostile to God, for it does not submit to God’s law; indeed, it cannot.  Those who are in the flesh cannot please God.”

Paul is speaking to polar opposites in the attitudes of those walking in the flesh and those walking in the Spirit.  The truth is that without the Holy Spirit’s presence in our hearts and minds, our natures will always choose self.  Since God is central in all things and therefore demands that centrality, it is impossible to be His and place anyone or anything else in His rightful place.  Consequently, the simple truth is that without Him, one cannot and will not choose Him.  Furthermore, since man seeks to place self in the center and God rightfully demands that position, man’s reaction is hostility to all things God-centered.  We must not be surprised that the world is openly opposed to God, and thereby His children.  As Paul so aptly reminds us, those who sadly live without the guidance of the Holy Spirit have no ability to submit to and follow the Father and will therefore respond in hostility.

Study/Meditation:  Paul speaks further on this subject in 1 Corinthians 1:18-31.  Read that passage and comment more on what Paul is saying about the unbeliever and the believer.

*Father, I lift up this dying world to You right now.  Give them Your light and let them see Your majesty and Your glory, giving You all highest and perfect praise.  Amen.

Focal Passage:  Romans 8:1-11

Romans 8:6 “To set the mind on the flesh is death, but to set the mind on the Spirit is life and peace.”

Remember, Paul is contrasting the believer with the unbeliever.  He simply makes the statement that one leads to death and the other leads to life.  Now, that’s impossible to convince a person who has set his or her mind on the flesh.  Without the Spirit, people will not see that the course they’ve set will lead to only death.  After all, the world is a powerful seductress.  It promises happiness and fulfillment if one will just choose it.  However, those paths only lead to destruction.  The day of wrath will come when Jesus returns to take His children home.  That day of wrath will also be a day of reckoning for all people, and those who chose this life over eternity will know judgment.  But even before that, this life may promise happiness, but without Christ it only delivers pain.  God has only that which is good for those who love Him and are called according to His purpose.  Only good and never evil, and only He provides that.

Study/Meditation:  Why do you think Paul is emphasizing the mind so much in these verses as he contrasts the believer with the unbeliever?  How are you to take control of your mind?

*Father, help me as I seek to keep my mind ever set on You and the things of eternity.  Give me wisdom and discernment to make the right choices in this life that will glorify You.   Amen.

Focal Passage:  Romans 8:1-11

Romans 8:5 “For those who live according to the flesh set their minds on the things of the flesh, but those who live according to the Spirit set their minds on the things of the Spirit.”

Paul continues on in the next few verses contrasting for us the differences between those who are indwelled by the Holy Spirit and those who are not.  Firstly, he points out the focus of each.  Those who are living according to the flesh, or according to the sinful desires of this world, will look no further than this world for their peace and joy.  Their goals are earthly and self-centered, looking only as far as the boundaries of this time and place.  However, those who live according to the Spirit, or who follow the Holy Spirit’s direction in their lives, will live with eternity in mind, doing all things to the glory of God from whom all blessings flow.  Being indwelled by the Spirit makes a person eternally minded as opposed to temporally minded.  Literally, our minds are set on things of God and His purposes instead of on self and our purposes.  All of us must strive toward that end because the world will steal into our minds quickly and seemingly without warning.

Study/Meditation:  Read what Paul wrote in Philippians 3:17-21 and 4:4-7.  How does he instruct us to direct our minds in these passages?

*Father, keep my mind on You, my Lord, so that I may always focus on the wonders of Your majesty and grace.  Amen.

Focal Passage:  Romans 8:1-11

Romans 8:4 “In order that the righteous requirement of the law might be fulfilled in us, who walk not according to the flesh but according to the Spirit.”

Paul now tells us something more about what Christ did when He came into the world to defeat and conquer sin.  He writes that “the righteous requirement of the law” is “fulfilled in us.”  You may have expected him to write that this requirement is fulfilled “for us,” but he tells us that it is fulfilled “in us.”  God’s very goal in justifying us is to sanctify us.  He pardons us and frees us from the condemnation of sin precisely because His intentions are that we become righteous and holy.  Jesus died so that we would become holy.  It is difficult to imagine such a thing in the midst of sinful life, but God’s promise is that it is His work in us, and that work will end in our righteousness in glory.

Study/Meditation:  What does it mean to walk “according to the Spirit” instead of “according to the flesh”?  How might we accomplish such a thing?

*Father, it is Your work in me that will bring me to righteousness.  Thank You for Your work in me, and thank You that it is Your work in me that will bring me to that place of holiness.  Amen.