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The Spirit of Christ In Us - Part 2

Tom Pennington • Romans 8:5-13

  • 2018-03-18 AM
  • Romans
  • Sermons


Romans 8 is where we find ourselves. A few years ago, I watched a documentary on the amazing transformation that takes place in the lifecycle of a caterpillar. This is what those who were behind this documentary wrote. Listen to this:

The transformation from caterpillar to chrysalis to adult butterfly defies Darwinian evolution through random variation in small gradual steps. In fact, some evolutionary biologists have called the process of metamorphosis "butterfly magic". That's not surprising given that inside the chrysalis, the cells of the caterpillar break down into a chemical soup and then new cells, butterfly cells, form from the molecular components. In just a few days, these cells are reassembled into an adult butterfly that has virtually no resemblance to a caterpillar.

That's exactly right; that is a dramatic radical change in nature, metamorphosis.

But that's not simply relegated to the sphere of the physical creation. According to the Scripture, that same sort of radical change has happened in every true believer. In fact, according to the Apostle Paul in the passage we're studying here in Romans 8 this morning, every Christian has already experienced just as radical a change in our nature. We have experienced metamorphosis.

Now, let me remind you of the basic flow of thought here in Romans, chapter 8. The theme of this chapter is the absolute security of the Christian. Here Paul teaches us that the salvation of the genuine Christian is eternally secure. It is certain for several different reasons. We've already learned that we can be confident of the security of the Christian because, in verses 1 - 4, God has delivered us from condemnation. Verse 1 says there is "… Therefore … now no condemnation to those who are in Christ Jesus." You have security in Christ because all condemnation toward you, the guilty verdict that you and I deserved and the sentence that came with that guilty verdict, it's gone. There's no condemnation! Why? Verse 3 says because God, in "sending His own Son … condemned [our] sin in [Jesus Christ]." Therefore, there's none for us.

Last week we began to consider a second reason for our security, and that's because God has changed and empowered us by His Spirit. We see this in verses 5 - 13. Let me read it for you, this paragraph that we're looking at together. Romans 8, and I'll begin in verse 5:

For those who are according to the flesh set their minds on the things of the flesh, but those who are according to the Spirit, the things of the Spirit. For the mind set on the flesh is death, but the mind set on the Spirit is life and peace, because the mind set on the flesh is hostile toward God; for it does not subject itself to the law of God, for it is not even able to do so, and those who are in the flesh cannot please God. However, you are not in the flesh but in the Spirit, if indeed the Spirit of God dwells in you. But if anyone does not have the Spirit of Christ, he does not belong to Him. If Christ is in you, though the body is dead because of sin, yet the spirit is alive because of righteousness. But 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 His Spirit who dwells in you.

So then, brethren, we are under obligation, not to the flesh, to live according to the flesh–for if you are living according to the flesh, you must die, but if by the Spirit you are putting to death the deeds of the body, you will live.

Now we discover in this paragraph one very simple truth, and that is that true believers find a sense of internal, subjective assurance of their real objective security in Christ by looking at the way that God has changed and empowered them by His Spirit. If you're a Christian, you can find that sense of security and the reality that you are not the person you used to be, that there has been in you a radical change that has taken place. Now as Paul develops that idea, he begins, as we saw last week, by making the crucial point that believers are radically different from unbelievers. We learned this in verses 5 - 8.

Specifically, in those verses, Paul identifies several radical differences between believers and unbelievers. This is how they differ. First of all, they have different natures. He says in verse 5, "those who are … [in] the flesh," that's unbelievers. You don't have to do anything to be in the flesh; all you have to do to be in the flesh is be born into this world. If that happened to you, you're in the flesh; you're an unbeliever. But, there are those who are in a different category who have been changed, who have a different nature; they're no longer in the flesh as they were when they were born, but they are now in the Spirit.
They also, because of that, have different mindsets. Here's another radical difference; they have different mindsets. The idea is this is how they think; these are the things they love; these are things they delight in; this reflects their decisions. This word "mindset" encompasses that part of you that thinks, that part of you that feels and emotes and has things you love, and that part of you that makes decisions; it's your inner being. And those who are unbelievers have a certain mindset; it's for the things of the flesh. In other words, everything that isn't of the Spirit, that's what they're drawn toward; that's what they're attracted to.

On the other hand, those who are in the Spirit are attracted to the things of the Spirit. What are the things of the Spirit? Well, in essence, it's what we learn in this Book; it is this Book. The true believer delights in God's Word and "meditates on it day and night"; we're told by the psalmist. They have different mindsets.

They also have different patterns of conduct. I went back to verse 4 where it says that those who are in the flesh "walk according to the flesh." That is, that's their customary pattern of conduct, and we went to Galatians 5, and we saw what that looks like. On the other hand, those who are in the Spirit, those who have been changed, walk in keeping with the things of the Spirit, the Fruit of the Spirit. Again, we saw there in Galatians 5.

Another radical difference between believers and unbelievers is they have different spiritual conditions and eternal destinies. You'll notice in verse 6, unbelievers are headed toward an experience now, death, death in every sense. They're spiritually dead right now; they're headed toward physical death, and one day they will experience eternal death, what John the Apostle calls the second death.

On the other hand, those who are believers, verse 6 says, experience life, eternal life. They have it right now. A different quality of life, the ability to know God and they have peace, both objective peace with God; they've been reconciled to God, but also subjective peace, a sense of peace in the heart because of that.

And then the fifth difference between believers and unbelievers is they have different relationships to God. And in verses 7 and 8, he highlights several of those differences. Unbelievers, he says, are hostile toward God. They are unwilling to submit to God's commands. They are unable to submit to God's commands. They are unable to please God at all in any way or in anything. So then, when you look at believers and unbelievers, believers are radically different, but why?
Why is there such a radical difference between believers and unbelievers? And today we come to the essence of that, and that is the change itself. Believers, Paul tells us, were fundamentally changed by the Spirit. And we learn this in the next section of this paragraph, verses 9 - 11, believers were fundamentally changed by the Spirit. We are radically different, and here's why.

Now Paul begins by describing our past change, this change that has already happened, and we learn about this change in verse 9. Now again, get the context in verses 5 - 8, there are these radical differences, and he ends that section by focusing on unbelievers. Look at verses 7 and 8,

because the mind set on the flesh is hostile toward God, for it does not subject itself to the law of God … it is not even able to do so, and those who are in the flesh cannot please God." [Those are unbelievers.]

Now beginning in verse 9, he turns his attention to believers. Notice how he begins verse 9, "However, you are not in the flesh but in the Spirit." Now the word "you" here is actually the first word in the Greek text of verse 9, placed there for emphasis. He says here's what's true of unbelievers, "you," however. In English, we always include the pronoun; it has to be there in the sentence. In Greek, it doesn't always have to be there; it can be understood in the verb itself. But here he puts it for emphasis; it's actually there. He says "you," and he uses the plural. Again, in English, our pronoun "you" either is singular or plural based on how it's used; there is no different form.

In Greek, there's a different form. Here he uses the plural form. So, he's talking about all the Christians in Rome; he's talking about everyone here who's a believer, and he's saying this, "If you are, in fact, a Christian, you are no longer in the flesh, but you are now in the Spirit. Something radical has happened to you. You were born in the flesh, and you lived a portion of your life in the flesh, but you are no longer in the flesh; you are now in the Spirit." Christians have experienced a fundamental change in their nature. It's so important to understand this.

A lot of people think that to become a Christian is just to sort of give an assent to a list of truths. Yes, checkmark, I believe Jesus is the Son of God. Checkmark, I believe He came and lived a perfect life. Checkmark, yes, I believe He died on the cross to save sinners to satisfy the justice of God. Checkmark, yes, I believe He was raised from the dead, and I believe He's coming again. So therefore, I am a Christian. No, no! To be a Christian isn't simply to give assent to a list of facts; the demons believe those things. To be a Christian is to have had something radical happen to you. There has been a time when you have been radically changed from what you were before. You were in the flesh and now you're in the Spirit; this change was accomplished by the Spirit; it's a change called regeneration. Before that moment, we were in the flesh; and in a moment's time, we're no longer in the flesh, but we're now in the Spirit.

How does this happen? Well, look back at verse 2; because in verse 2, Paul refers to the Spirit in an interesting way, he calls Him "the Spirit of life." At the moment of regeneration, when the Spirit comes into a person, at the moment of salvation if you like, a different way to describe it, at that moment when the Spirit comes into a person, He produces this radical, spiritual change. He produces spiritual life. He's the Spirit of life and He brings that.

There are a number of passages in Scripture that describes this radical change that happens, that describes every true Christian. For example, in Ephesians 2, Paul says in verse 1, talking to the Ephesian believers, he says, "You were [past tense] dead." You were dead, dead to God; "you were dead in your trespasses and sins." You go down to verse 5 of that chapter, Ephesians 2, and he says, "but [God] made [you] … alive." There's that radical change, through the Spirit, through "the Spirit of life", God did that. Or, take the way our Lord describes the same event in John 3; you remember He's talking to Nicodemus, and He says to Nicodemus, "Listen, your problem, Nicodemus, is you need to be born again; you need to be born from above; you need new spiritual life; you need a radical event to occur in your life, this fundamental change."

In fact, you know what Jesus basically is saying there, when the Spirit of God really comes into a life, the change is so fundamental that it can only be compared to a new spiritual birth, a spiritual new birth. How does that happen? How is this actually accomplished in our lives? Keep your finger here and turn over to 1 Peter, 1 Peter 1, notice verse 23. Peter writes to the believers,

… you have been born again [there's that phrase our Lord used] you have been born again…. [You've been given new spiritual life, this radical thing that's happened to you. How did it happen? Well it didn't happen through a] "seed which is perishable but imperishable seed…. [What is the seed that brought a new birth?] "… through the living and enduring word of God," [that's what the Spirit uses.] "For, ALL FLESH IS LIKE GRASS, AND ALL ITS GLORY LIKE THE FLOWER OF GRASS. THE GRASS WITHERS, AND THE FLOWER FALLS OFF, BUT THE WORD OF THE LORD ENDURES FOREVER." [Now watch how Peter applies it at the end of verse 25,] "and this is the word which was preached to you."

You see what he is saying? The Father produces this radical change called regeneration or new birth or resurrection spiritually, He produces it by His Spirit. But the Spirit uses what? The Word, the gospel!

If you're a Christian, it's because at some point you encountered the Word, the Word encountered you, and the Spirit used it that time; maybe you had heard it many times before; maybe you grew up in the church; you heard the gospel many times; but that time, the Spirit used it to bring life, and you were radically changed.

Now, go back to Romans 8 because here's the amazing reality. Paul says that the very Spirit, who produced that radical change in you and in me, stays! Notice how he says it in verse 9, He "dwells in … [us.]" He says in verse 9, "if indeed the Spirit of God dwells in you." By "if indeed" Paul just means if in fact it's true. So, here's what he's saying, "You are not in the flesh anymore, but you're now in the Spirit if in fact it's true that the Spirit of God dwells in you." He likes this expression "dwells in you", he uses it twice more down in verse 11. He says, "if the spirit … dwells in you;" the end of verse 11, "… through His Spirit who dwells in you." If you are a Christian, you are in the Spirit. That means you have been radically transformed through regeneration, and the result of that is that the Spirit now dwells in you.

What does this word mean? Well, the Greek word translated "dwells" doesn't refer to a sort of occasional visit. In other words, this word "dwell", it isn't like the Holy Spirit sort of rents out our hearts for a night or two and then leaves; it's not like a hotel. No, this word is often used of making a place one's home, one's residence; that's the idea here. In fact, notice how else he puts it in verse 9, he says if you have the Spirit, that refers to a permanent reality, you have the Spirit; the Spirit takes up residence within you. He makes His home in the believer. I don't think we really fully appreciate this the way we should. If you sit here this morning, and you have repented of your sins, you have believed in Jesus Christ, you belong to Him; the Holy Spirit of God has taken up residence in your body. That's what the Scriptures teach.

Now, we understand theologically, that the Holy Spirit is like the other members of the Trinity; He is omnipresent. That means He's already everywhere. So, in one sense we could say, "He's in everyone because He is omnipresent. But He is described in both the Old Testament and the New Testament as dwelling where He specifically, specially manifests His presence. Think of it as His address. He dwells in this sense in every believer. He dwells with us to bless, to help, to comfort, to encourage. He's there for our good.

Now this indwelling of the Spirit was prophesied in the Old Testament as part of the New Covenant promises. You remember back in Ezekiel 36, where we're told there's going to be a New Covenant. And, by the way, we are partakers of the New Covenant. Paul said he was a minister of the New Covenant. In Hebrews, we're told that we partake of the promises of the New Covenant. There are still aspects of the New Covenant that are yet to be fulfilled, but we live under the New Covenant, and here's one of the promises of the New Covenant, Ezekiel 36:27. God says, "I will put My Spirit within you…." That's God's promise. "I will put My Spirit within you and cause you to walk in My statutes, and you will be careful to observe My ordinances." He says, "… [I'm going to] put my Spirit … in you; and [unlike that external law that didn't empower you, I am going to, by My Spirit, to empower your obedience.]" The repeated message of the New Testament is that if you are a Christian, God's Spirit has taken up residence within you just as surely as the Shekinah glory of God took up residence in the Old Testament temple.

Let me show you a couple of texts; turn to 1 Corinthians. It's interesting in chapter 3, you don't need to stop there, go to chapter 6; but in chapter 3, Paul speaks of the Spirit taking up residence in the corporate body of believers. He dwells among the people of God in the church. But he gets more specific in chapter 6; 1 Corinthians 6, and notice verse 19,

… do you not know, [that's what Paul says when he's saying you ought to know this,] do you not know that your body? [Now if I want to personalize this, if you're a Christian, this is God's Word to you,] do you not know that your body is a temple of the Holy Spirit who is in you? [God Himself, in His Spirit, has taken up residence within your body and he says,] whom you have from God, and that you are not your own, [don't you understand this?] For you have been bought with a price; therefore glorify God in your body.

By the way, the context here, Paul is using this as a way to help us fight temptation against sexual sin. The next time you are tempted to sexual sin, remind yourself that the Spirit of God lives in your body, and think twice before you subject Him to what you're tempted to subject Him to; that's the point.

Go over to 2 Corinthians; 2 Corinthians 6:14 he says, listen, you shouldn't "… be bound together with unbelievers" in common spiritual enterprise. Why? Verse 16, "… what agreement has the temple of God with idols? For we are the temple of the living God;" Not just corporately, but individually, because notice what the next line says, "just as God said, 'I WILL DWELL IN THEM AND WALK AMONG THEM; AND I WILL BE THEIR GOD, AND THEY SHALL BE MY PEOPLE.'" Or, 2 Timothy 1:14 says, "… the Holy Spirit … dwells in us." First John 4:12 says, "… God abides in us…." The very next verse, 1 John 4:13 says, "By this we know that we abide in Him and He in us, because He has given us of His Spirit." This is the reality, Christian.

Now with that understanding, go back to Romans 8, and I want you to look at verses 9 and 10 again, because I want you to see here that Paul doesn't say that only the Spirit has taken up residence within us. He says the entire Trinity has. Notice, he speaks of "the Spirit of God." "Of God" means of the Father. He is the Spirit of the Father; that's a reference to the first person of the Trinity. And then he says in these same two verses, "The Spirit of Christ." You see, the Spirit was sent by the Father. That's why He's called the Spirit of God; He was also sent by Christ. At other times, the New Testament tells us the Spirit was sent by the Son, the second person of the Trinity. And by the way, this became a huge debate in the church in the Middle Ages; the East and Western churches, from whom does the Spirit proceed? Well, the answer's right here. He's from the Father, and He's from the Son.

But notice, there's the third person of the Trinity, the Spirit. Now, don't misunderstand here. Paul doesn't mean that there is no distinction between the members of the Trinity; he's not saying the Father is the Son and the Son is the Spirit. No, there are distinctions between the members of the Trinity; they are separate persons. By the way, that's the ancient heresy of modalism that says that the Father is the Son, and the Son is the Spirit. That's not what he's teaching here.

Instead, he means that we enjoy, listen to this, the abiding presence of all three persons of the Trinity. This is what our Lord Himself taught us in John 14:23. Jesus said, "If anyone loves Me, he will keep My word; and My Father will love him," and listen to this, "and We [Father and Son] will come to him and make Our abode with him." Same word in our text, make our home. We'll make our home. We'll set up our residence in him. This is an incredible reality. You see, the members of the Trinity share the same divine essence and the same divine will, the same divine purpose; they are in fact inseparable. While they are three distinct persons in one God, they are inseparable. So, although the Spirit has a unique role in applying the work of redemption within us, not only does the Spirit dwell within us, but the Father and the Son also dwell within us through the Spirit.

Notice verse 9, "But if anyone does not have the Spirit of Christ," [notice there he refers to the Spirit as the Spirit of Christ; the Spirit Christ sent, just as the Father sent the Spirit also;] "if anyone does not have the Spirit of Christ, he does not belong to Him." That's pretty straightforward; if you don't have the abiding presence of the Holy Spirit, the Spirit of the Father, the Spirit of Christ in your life, then you're simply not a true believer. Again, Jesus made this statement very clearly, John 14:17, he says, "… the Spirit of truth … the world cannot receive, because it does not see Him or know Him, but you know Him because He abides with you and will be in you." Do you hear what Jesus is saying? The primary identifying factor of a genuine believer is the indwelling of the Holy Spirit.

You say, "Well, how do I know if the Holy Spirit indwells me?" Paul's whole point here is, if you can look at your life, and you can see that radical change that is at the heart of Christianity, if you can see that while you once were in the flesh, you are now in the Spirit, if you can see that your life, your mindset, your patterns of conduct, your relationship to God have all been radically transformed, in a moment by the work of the Spirit of God, then you have the Spirit because only the Spirit of God can do that. So, because of the past fundamental change of regeneration produced by the Holy Spirit, all true believers are simply not what they used to be. There has been a radical change.

So, in light of that, in light of that past change, Paul says, next, I want you to consider our present condition, our present condition. Notice verse 10, now, let me just say that in this passage, Paul explicitly defines a Christian in two ways. Go back to verse 9 for a moment. Notice how he defines us, he says Christ owns you. You can see this clearly if you just make Paul's statement in verse 9 positive, "… if anyone has the Spirit of Christ, he belongs to Him." Christ owns you. If you're a Christian, that's what, remember, 1 Corinthians 6 said, "You've been bought with a price … you're not your own." Christ owns you. But then in verse 10, notice what he says, here's another definition of a Christian, "Christ is in you."

In the passage that I read from John 17 this morning for our Scripture reading in verse 23, Jesus said, "I in them." In Galatians 2:20, "Christ lives in me." Galatians 4:6, "God has sent forth the Spirit of His Son into our hearts." Ephesians 3:17, Paul says my prayer is "that Christ may dwell in your hearts through faith." This is even a test of whether or not you're a Christian; in 2 Corinthians 13:5, Paul says, "Test yourselves to see if you are in the faith; examine yourselves! Or do you not recognize this about yourselves, that Jesus Christ is in you–unless indeed you fail the test?" You prove not to be a Christian. If you're a Christian, Jesus is in you through His Spirit that He sent.

If you are, and these are all synonymous terms: if you are in the Spirit, if you have the Spirit, if the Spirit of God and of Christ dwells within you, if you belong to Christ, then let me show you your present condition. Verse 10, first of all, for all of us who are in that situation, our body is dead. Notice verse 10, "If Christ is in you, though the body is dead because of sin." Notice Paul does not say, "… [your] flesh is dead." That term he's used for that part of us that remains unredeemed, our unredeemed humanness. He doesn't say that; he says specifically the body is dead. And in verse 11, he comes back and refers to it as "your mortal bodies." So, clearly here in this text, Paul is referring to our physical bodies, which of course, as I've reminded you again and again, includes our brains with the brain's thoughts and attitudes and emotions and decisions. He says, "… [your] body is dead."

In what sense is the believer's body dead? Obviously, you're not physically dead, well at least most of you don't appear to be at first glance. What does he mean, "… the body is dead?" He means your body is spiritually or morally dead. You see, although the body is not inherently sinful, God made us to have a body, Adam and Eve had a perfect body, our Lord Jesus had a body that was untainted by sin; He has a glorified body today and someday we'll get a new body. So, the body itself is not inherently sinful; but because it's the part of us that remains unredeemed, it is the instrument that sin primarily uses in our lives. Your body is the beachhead of sin in your life. It is the seat of sin. It is ground zero in your battle with sin. So, I think he means that; your body is dead.

But I also think that Paul means that our bodies have within them the seed of physical death. You remember back in 5:12, we learned that when Adam sinned, death entered the world and death spread to all men? What was that death? Well, it was spiritual death right away. Eventually, it meant physical death; and finally, if there'd been no repentance, it means eternal death. So, when Adam sinned, death entered the world. He experienced immediate spiritual death, but also the seed of physical death was implanted into him, and decay and corruption began in his body from that day; he began to die. And eventually, although he was closer to when things were perfect, it took a long time for that process to take place in his case. For us that is much shorter.

All Paul is saying is this, get his point, "When you were regenerated, when you were changed, your body didn't change. It's still spiritually and morally dead to God, and the seeds of physical decay and death are in your body. That's why if our Lord doesn't return, every single one of us will die because our bodies have not been redeemed, and that principle of death, that seed of death, is in them, and that process is marching on. It is from the moment you're born; and from about the time your mid-20's or so, literally the decay begins; I see that every time I look in the mirror, don't laugh at that too hard. So, with your salvation, nothing changed in regard to your physical body.

But thank God, that's not the complete story. There's a second part of our present condition, look in verse 10, our soul is spiritually alive. He says, "If Christ is in you, though the body is dead because of sin, yet the spirit is alive because of righteousness." Now, you'll notice in our translation the word "spirit" is in lowercase "s" meaning the human spirit. There are some who argue that that word "spirit" in the second half of verse 10 should be capitalized because it refers to the Holy Spirit. They would say, it's like this, if Christ is in you though your body is dead because of sin, yet the Holy Spirit has given you life because of righteousness. I think both the construction of the sentence and the context make that unlikely, because Paul, in verse 10, is describing two sides of the present Christian experience. So, he's describing the human body on the one hand and the human spirit or soul on the other.

Now, notice again what he says in verse 10, "If Christ is in you, though the body is dead because of sin, yet the spirit [your soul] is alive because of righteousness." Your soul or spirit, Christian, is spiritually alive. You have been regenerated by the Holy Spirit. You have been born again. You have been made new. You have been raised from spiritual death. You are a new person in Jesus Christ.

Do you remember what we learned back in chapter 6? Go back to 6:4, he says, "Therefore we have been buried with … [Christ] through baptism into death." There's no water here, this is talking about we were immersed into Christ's death at the moment of our conversion so that just like he died, the person we used to be died, and as "Christ was raised from the dead through the glory of the Father, we too [have been raised to] walk in [this new] life." Notice verse 6, "knowing this, that our old self [the person you used to be, past tense] was crucified with Him." It's done. The old person that you were is dead, gone, and now, you are a new creation in Jesus Christ.

Notice verse 11, "Even so consider yourselves to be dead to sin, but alive [alive] to God in Jesus Christ." Notice verse 23, he says, "For the wages of sin is death, but the free gift of God [if you have received that free gift of God through the work of Jesus Christ, then you have] … eternal life." You currently have eternal life; it's not something you are going to get some day. You have it. There's this life in you. You are, in the words of 2 Corinthians 5:17, a new creation. I like the way Charles Hodge, the great commentator on Romans, puts it. Listen to what he says:

As the body [your body] is infected with the principle of decay which renders its dissolution inevitable, so the soul, your soul, Christian, in which the Holy Spirit dwells is possessed of a principle of life which secures its immortal existence, immortal and blessed existence, [he says].

Now notice Paul adds in verse 10, that your spirit is alive because of righteousness.

Your body is dead because of sin, because of Adam's sin, he who served as your first legal representative. In Adam, we all sinned; remember we saw it back in chapter 5. Your spirit is alive because of the righteousness of Jesus Christ, your second legal representative that was appointed to act in your place.

Go back to 5:17,

For if by the transgression of the one, [that's Adam] death reigned through the one, much more those who receive the abundance of grace and of the gift of righteousness will reign in life through the One, that is Jesus Christ. [So where does this righteousness come from?] Verse 18,

So then as through one transgression [Adam's sin] there resulted condemnation to all men, [the guilty verdict and the sentence that comes with it] even so through one act of righteousness [Jesus'] there resulted justification of life to all men. For as through the one man's disobedience the many were made [or were constituted] sinners, even so through the obedience of the One, the many will be constituted as righteous.

That's why he says your spirit is alive. It's because of the righteousness of your legal representative, Jesus Christ. That's why you live.

Now the point, going back to chapter 8, the point of verse 10 is this, that in our present condition, our salvation is not yet complete; our spirit is alive to God, but our bodies are still dead spiritually and morally, and they are decaying and dying physically, all of this because of the guilt of Adam's sin imputed to us and because of our own sin as well. So, sin and decay and death remain in our bodies. That's our present condition. But again, thank God, that's not the end of the story.

Paul finishes in verse 11 with our future glorification, our future glorification. Well, let me start by saying that this verse is not teaching some sort of moral resurrection to some better life, as some would make it say. Nor is it a promise of physical healing or health which some charismatic people would try to make it say. Instead, in context you can see it clearly; this verse is teaching the future resurrection and glorification of our physical bodies. In verse 10 Paul says, at present, our bodies are dead even though our spirits are alive. Verse 11, "But, [but] if the Spirit of Him who raised Jesus from the dead dwells in you," [who is the One who raised Jesus from the dead?] Well, you'll know that at times the New Testament speaks of Jesus raising Himself from the dead. John 10:17 and 18, Jesus says,

… I lay down my life so that I may take it again. "No one … [takes it] away … [for] Me … I lay it down on My own initiative. I have authority to lay it down, and I have authority to take it up again.

Why? He says, "This commandment I received from My Father." It was the Father who gave His Incarnate Son the authority to raise Himself from the dead; and for that reason, the New Testament most often speaks of God the Father as the One who raised Jesus. Romans 6:4, "Christ was raised from the dead through the glory of the Father." Or Acts 2:24, "God raised Him up again."

Now, with that background, look again at Paul's point in verse 11, "But if the Spirit of Him who raised Jesus from the dead" [he's talking about the Spirit of the Father, if the Spirit of the Father, and it was the Father] "who raised Jesus from the dead" [if that Spirit] "dwells in you," [then] "He who raised Christ Jesus from the dead will also give life to your mortal bodies…."

Now, before we look at it specifically, let me back away to give you the big picture. At salvation, you became a new person in Jesus Christ. The immaterial part of you, your soul, was radically transformed, fundamentally changed, but you retained your unredeemed body with its unredeemed brain, and there's where the struggle is the rest of our lives. But if Christ doesn't return, all of us in this room will die; and when you die, your redeemed regenerated soul will enter immediately into the presence of the Lord. Paul said, "To be absent from the body is to be present with the Lord."

But you'll leave that body, that tent, as he calls it in 2 Corinthians, you'll leave that tent here, and they'll dispose of it; they'll put it in the ground or deal with it in some other way. But you were not intended, and neither was I, to be a disembodied spirit. We were made to be two-part beings, body and soul. Christ is eternally in His humanity, a two-part being, body and soul; and so will we be. So, at the rapture, your completely perfected soul will be reunited with your body. It will be your body, but it'll be a completely redone, reconstituted, new, glorified, perfect body.

Now with that in mind, notice specifically what Paul says in verse 11. He says, "… if the Spirit of … [God the Father] who raised Jesus from the dead dwells in you," [and if you're a Christian he does] "He who raised Christ Jesus from the dead" [that is the Father] "will also give life to your mortal bodies." [If the Spirit of the Father dwells in you, then the Father, the One who raised Jesus] "will also give life to your mortal bodies…." Again, you will see in Scripture that all three members of the Trinity are involved in this future resurrection and glorification.

In fact, look at 8:23, he says, "… not only this, but … we ourselves, [also] having the first fruits of the Spirit," [in other words, we have the Spirit, and the Spirit Who's been given to us, who dwells in us, is like the first fruits of the harvest.]

Back in an agricultural society, those first fruits promise what? They promise a future harvest. So, we have the Spirit, and the Spirit in us is like first fruits, promising something that's still coming. What is that? "… we … groan within ourselves," [verse 23 says] "waiting eagerly for our adoption as sons."

You say, "I thought we were already adopted." You are; he's talking about the completion of that adoption. It comes when? At the redemption of our body, when you get new glorified body! Turn over to Philippians 3, I love the way Paul describes it here. Philippians 3:20, he says,

For our citizenship is in heaven, from which also we eagerly wait for a Savior, the Lord Jesus. [Now, watch verse 21, He] … will transform the body of our humble state … [that's that body you sit in right now] He will transform the body of our humble state into conformity with the body of His glory. [His glorified body, and He'll do so] by the exertion of the power that He has even to subject all things to Himself.

Listen, believer, someday not only will your moral character be like Jesus Christ, but you will get a glorified body like that of Jesus Christ. It'll be your body; it'll look like you; you'll be recognizable, but it will be a body like the body of His glory. Colossians 1:27 puts it this way, it says, "Christ in you," that's right now, present, "the hope of glory," certainty of future glory.

Now, how will this future glorification happen? Well, look again at Romans 8:11, because he says, "[He] … will … give life to your mortal bodies through His Spirit who dwells in you." Now, here's the key, don't miss the main point, okay? The main point, to get it, you've got to follow Paul's logic here. Let me give it to you. Listen carefully, this is key, because he wants to give you a sense of your security in Christ; so, here's what Paul's saying, trace his logic with me. If you have repented and believed the gospel, the gospel he has shared in the first part of this letter, you have been justified. And if you have been justified, at the same time, Romans 6, you have become a new person in Jesus Christ. And if you have experienced this fundamental change that is regeneration, if you're not the person you used to be, if you have a different nature, if you have a different mindset, if you live a different kind of life, if you have a different relationship to God, understand this, that change could only been produced by the Spirit of God.

That means the Spirit of God has been working in your life. He has produced that fundamental change in you, and now He dwells within you. And if the Holy Spirit dwells in you, you can be, (and here's the key) if he dwells in you, you can be absolutely certain that you will be raised from the dead, and your body will one day be glorified because He is the Spirit of Life. He's the Spirit who raised Jesus from the dead. "He who raised Jesus … from the dead will also give life to your mortal bodies." Listen, if God has given you His Holy Spirit to dwell within you, He's not going to stop short of your ultimate redemption and your future glorification because He's given you the Spirit whose very character is to bring life where there's death.

By the way, let me just encourage you. Many of us sitting in this room have lost people to death who died believing in Jesus. If they died believing in Jesus, then this is true of them as well. The Spirit of Life lived within them, and you can be absolutely certain that the Spirit of Life will bring resurrection to their bodies and complete and total glorification to their whole person, and you will see them again. That's why in Ephesians 1, Paul says,

In Him, you also, after listening to the message of the truth, the gospel of your salvation–having also believed, [listen to this] you were sealed in Him with the Holy Spirit of promise, who is given us as the pledge of our inheritance, [Why?] with a view to the redemption of God's own possession, to the praise of His glory.

You have the Spirit as a pledge, as a seal of what's coming. He's the Spirit of Life, and God gave Him to you to bring total and complete life to you, body and soul. Or, in the words of Paul in Philippians 1:6, "… He who … [has begun] a good work in you will perfect it until the day of … [Jesus Christ]." God always finishes what He starts; and if He gave you His Spirit, if He's changed you, if you've experienced that change, then His Spirit is present in your life, and He won't fail to finish what He's begun.

Christian, your Spirit is alive because of the work of Jesus Christ, but your body is dead spiritually and morally, and your body is marching relentlessly, like mine, toward physical death; but don't be discouraged by that; don't be fearful of that; it's only temporary. God's Holy Spirit dwells within you; and because He's within you, your future resurrection and your future glorification are absolutely secure. That's what Paul wants us to understand. You have the Spirit who is life dwelling within you, and He will bring life to you completely, body and soul.

Let's pray together.

Spirit of God, forgive us. Forgive us for not believing these truths. Forgive us for not living and behaving as if they were true. Oh, Spirit, forgive us for the things that we have done with our bodies and what we have subjected You to. Help us to live as those who were indwelt by You, the Holy Spirit, and to bring honor to You, to glorify You in our body which is Yours.

Father, I pray for the person here this morning who is not in the Spirit but still in the flesh, still like they were when they were born, unchanged. Oh, Lord, open their eyes to see what's in Christ, and bring them to repent of their sins and believe in His perfect life, His substitutionary death and His resurrection, even today.

We pray in Jesus's name, Amen.