Romans 8:1-17 (NRSV)
Martin Luther described Paul’s letter to the Romans as the “most important piece in the New Testament. It is purest Gospel. It is well worth a Christian’s while not only to memorize it word for word but also to occupy himself with it daily, as though it were the daily bread of the soul.”
Life in the Spirit
There is therefore now no condemnation for those who are in Christ Jesus. 2For the law of the Spirit of life in Christ Jesus has set you free from the law of sin and of death.
Romans 8:1 tells us we are free from the guilt of sin.
Romans 8:2 tells us we are free from the power of sin.
3For 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 to deal with sin, he condemned sin in the flesh, 4so that the just requirement of the law might be fulfilled in us, who walk not according to the flesh but according to the Spirit. 5For 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. 6To set the mind on the flesh is death, but to set the mind on the Spirit is life and peace.
6To set the mind on the flesh is death, but to set the mind on the Spirit is life and peace.
7For this reason the mind that is set on the flesh is hostile to God; it does not submit to God’s law—indeed it cannot, 8and those who are in the flesh cannot please God.
James 4:4 (ESV)
You adulterous people! Do you not know that friendship with the world is enmity with God? Therefore whoever wishes to be a friend of the world makes himself an enemy of God.
9But you are not in the flesh; you are in the Spirit, since the Spirit of God dwells in you. Anyone who does not have the Spirit of Christ does not belong to him. 10But if Christ is in you, though the body is dead because of sin, the Spirit is life because of righteousness. 11If the Spirit of him who raised Jesus from the dead dwells in you, he who raised Christ from the dead will give life to your mortal bodies also through his Spirit that dwells in you.
12So then, brothers and sisters, we are debtors, not to the flesh, to live according to the flesh— 13for if you live according to the flesh, you will die; but if by the Spirit you put to death the deeds of the body, you will live. 14For all who are led by the Spirit of God are children of God. 15For you did not receive a spirit of slavery to fall back into fear, but you have received a spirit of adoption.
When we cry, “Abba! Father!” 16it is that very Spirit bearing witness with our spirit that we are children of God, 17and if children, then heirs, heirs of God and joint heirs with Christ—if, in fact, we suffer with him so that we may also be glorified with him.
from This Day with the Master
by Dennis F. Kinlaw
THE GREATEST ENEMY TO FRUITFULNESS IS MYSELF
I believe God wants to give each individual a clean heart, a heart cleansed from the self-will and self-interest that always traps us in futile and sterile paths. Scripture explicitly says that the Spirit gives life, but the flesh profits nothing. What is the flesh? It is simply my way in contrast to God’s way. The self insists on keeping itself the center of my existence, yet the fruit of living with myself at the center is vanity, emptiness, and loss.
When a person has only one will and that is to do the will of God, the Holy Spirit can begin to build into that life the marks of his presence. He can transform that person’s life into a temple of God’s holy presence and can make it a fruitful and faithful life. He can order it so that it shines with his glory, and he can place inside that person the witness of himself that he wants the world to see.
The greatest enemy to fruitfulness in my life is my own way. If I let Christ purge me and cleanse me so that I am wholly his, then the Spirit can begin to shape my life so it conforms to his master design. Do you know what it means to belong to God completely? If you hold on to even a small corner of your right to yourself, you will destroy all that he wants to do in and with you. Once Christ has given us a clean heart, he can give us the faithfulness and fruitfulness for which we long.
“I’ve got the Spirit of the Living God alive in me giving me power so I don’t have to be ‘Only Natural.'” Sing along with Steven Curtis Chapman.
Click HERE to listen!
The New Revised Standard Version, copyright 1989 by the Division of Christian Education of the National Council of the Churches of Christ in the United States of America. Used by permission. All rights reserved.