Limitation and Possibility
Updated: Nov 27, 2020
Romans 8: 1-11 (NRSV)
There is therefore now no condemnation for those who are in Christ Jesus. 2 For the law of the Spirit of life in Christ Jesus has set you free from the law of sin and of death. 3 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 to deal with sin, he condemned sin in the flesh, 4 so that the just requirement of the law might be fulfilled in us, who walk not according to the flesh but according to the Spirit. 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. 6 To set the mind on the flesh is death, but to set the mind on the Spirit is life and peace. 7 For 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, 8 and those who are in the flesh cannot please God.
9 But 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. 10 But if Christ is in you, though the body is dead because of sin, the Spirit is life because of righteousness. 11 If 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[k] his Spirit that dwells in you.
As God’s people, we often feel trapped by the limitations of our bodies and the weaknesses of our flesh. It’s not that our bodies are bad in and of themselves, but we feel oppressed and confined by our inabilities to be the person we desire to be and by our sinfulness. Now the good news is that Christ is in us, and therefore, there is no condemnation (verse 1). God has done what the law/flesh combination could not do — he has set us free. He did so, by sending the Son “in the likeness of sinful flesh, and to deal with sin”. And to fulfil the just requirements of the law in us. Thus, we no longer walk in the flesh but in the Spirit.
In verses 5-8, Paul contrasts the mind of the flesh with the mind of the Spirit. The mind of the flesh results in the things of the flesh; death; hostility to God; unwillingness to submit to God’s laws; and an inability to please God. Whereas, the mind of the Spirit results in the things of the Spirit; life and peace.
As people of the Spirit, we have the assurance that God dwells within us, and even though our sin results in physical death, the Spirit gives us life for in Christ we have been accounted righteous. The passage concludes with the glorious assurance, “If 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”.
Poem: I wrote this poem a few months ago, it is called, The Spirit Comes.
The Spirit comes Dancing on the breeze Bringing life and faith To troubled souls Amid the turbulence of life.
The Spirit comes In the still small voice With comfort and peace To those in need In times of desolation.
The Spirit comes As roaring wind and tongues of fire Conveying power and resolve To those who wait With expectant hearts.
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