The Holy Spirit
Paul talks lot about the Holy Spirit and the role that He plays in peoples lives in Romans 8:3-17. His main point though, is that there is a very distinct difference between people of the flesh and people of the Spirit. If the Spirit of God is alive in a person, then that person is alive because they died to sin. However, if the Spirit is not in a person then they are dead. The people of the Spirit and the people of the Flesh are completely opposite from one another, according to Paul in this passage.
In verse 4 Paul talks about how before we came to know Christ, we were continually defeated by sin. “When we came to know Him and to receive the indwelling Holy Spirit, we were able to attain a standard we could never reach in our own strength, (Morris, 304).” The Holy Spirit lives among people and enables them to live on something that they could never reach by themselves. That is a difference from those who live in the flesh. People who live in the flesh don’t have help from the Spirit, therefore they cannot have the Spirit enable them for anything.
In verse 5, Paul is saying that the people of the flesh may have good intentions but the things of the world bound their lives. Morris talks about how the people of the flesh are the center of their lives. Morris makes a good point when he says, “Because they are concentrating on this fleshly life, they cut themselves off from the blessings that Christ offers, (Morris 305).” The fleshy people are so focused on themselves that they don’t have time to look at the things around them and be thankful.
In verse 6, Paul talks about the flesh bringing death and the Spirit bringing life. Morris talks about how “without peace with God there could not be the life and peace which the Spirit brings, (Morris, 305).” If the Spirit brings life, as Paul says, then how can there not be life without peace with God? Can’t the Spirit bring life with us not being at peace with God at first?
In verse 8, Paul talks about how those who are in the flesh cannot please God. Morris says that, “Paul is still concerned that those whose interests are earth-bound cut themselves off from fellowship with God and the blessings that follow?to be wholly involved in this life is to make it impossible to please God, (Morris, 308).” Morris is right here, by what Paul is saying, we have to believe that it is impossible to please God if we revolve our live around ourselves and the world.
Morris defines “In the Spirit” as the “means of how a believer lives a bodily life as all people do, but they aren’t characterized by it and they don’t belong to it”. Even though Christians are part of this world because of their sin, they do not have to belong to it. In verse 9, Paul talks about the believers living very close to God and how that is so important in a believer’s life.
Morris talks about how when anyone is in Christ that their body is not supreme and it is possible to take the words in this passage to mean that their body is dead, completely overcome. Morris gets this from when Paul talks in verse 10 of “Spirit in you” and “Christ in you”. Morris then goes on to say “The Spirit in you is impossible without Christ in you”.
In verse 11, Paul talks about being raised up by Christ through the Spirit. According to Morris, “the Spirit doesn’t play a fleeting visit, but has its home in them, (Morris, 310).” The Spirit will come to the believer and raise them up with Christ.
In verse 13, Morris takes Paul’s words and understands them as, “For Christians, the flesh has no rights, we owe nothing to the flesh. To be indebted to the flesh means to live according to the flesh. This is not an option for believers, (Morris, 311).” Morris is right, Christians don’t have any options. They live in the Spirit and that is it.
In verse 15, Paul is saying that the Spirit does not make people slaves but sons. Morris made a really good point about how in those days of Paul’s preaching, there were many people who were slaves, so they could really relate to this calling. They didn’t want to be slaves of God; they wanted to be loved by God and to be treated fairly.
In verse 17, according to Morris, Paul doesn’t lead the believers to believe that they will have an easy path. The Master suffered; therefore they must suffer as well. “The path of suffering is the path of glory, (Morris 318).” I really don’t agree with this, yes Paul has a good point is saying that the master suffered, but I don’t think that we as believers are suffering because of Christ’s suffering. It is by God’s grace that we are saved; we suffer because we are human, not because Christ suffered.
If Paul were to preach this passage at the Gorge, I think people would have a different reaction than those in Romans times. People nowadays would want to live in the flesh more than in the Spirit. Living in the flesh brings about more opportunity and fun, while living in the Spirit brings restrictions. People these days are more concerned about not living by the rules than by living by them.
One question that I would have for Paul in this passage would be to ask him if Living in the Spirit requires all worldly desires and possessions to be gone in you life? Will I be able to live in the Spirit while I still might desire to do something that I should not?