“For 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.
For all who are led by the Spirit of God are sons of God.
For you did not receive the spirit of slavery to fall back into fear, but you have received the Spirit of adoption as sons, by whom we cry, “Abba! Father!”
– Romans 8:13-15
Wow, so if we live according to the flesh, we die… Doesn’t sound like life or living at all! A friend and I have been trying something new to me… less churchy and more being the church. We have been meeting two to three times a week and diving into Romans and asking God to open our eyes in the name of Jesus to really get what He’s saying here. We haven’t even gotten to Romans 8 yet and yet it keeps coming into view as we read. Right now we are in Romans 6 and we haven’t been able to keep the same pace as we have had up to this point. Romans layers and thickens and yet also streamlines and explains former texts as you move along. It’s been refreshing to keep coming back to the reality that the spiritual life and physical life of a genuine Jesus follower are entwined and only really are harmonious when the Holy Spirit is engaged with and relied upon for any sweet epiphanies in studying God’s Word. It’s so encouraging as we move along to be regularly reminded that we aren’t able to hold ourselves together. We are ultimately and totally dependent beings!
Praise God for the gift of the Holy Spirit Himself far more than any one gift of the Holy Spirit! It’s embarrassing that as genuine Jesus followers we can often slip off course and be overly focused on the noisy charismatic churches in our mind’s eye when we think of the Spirit, and then we start feeling that we would rather just be “rational Christians” and shy away from Holy Spirit talk.
The cool deal here is that we can’t ultimately stop the Spirit’s work. Sure there is talk of quenching the Spirit, but in the final analysis, God cannot be stopped.
Relying on the Spirit then is joining into the momentum of an unstoppable and perfectly holy and loving and just God.
Let’s dive into the current, friends, and ask God to tune us up as instruments of righteousness!
It’s my understanding that God the Father and God the Son pour love into our hearts through the promised Holy Spirit. We can’t fully get the love of God in Jesus Christ without the Spirit, and I believe that God is so awesome so as to grant us these amazing promises even when we don’t realize and embrace in every instance the presence of the Spirit in this miracle of God with us! Try something for a couple of weeks. Look back and picture this photo of my Dad and my new son Finn. Contemplate God the Father loving you so much that He sent His only Son to become flesh and live a sinless life and die in your place. Then the Son, Jesus Christ, after assessing to Heaven sent the promised Holy Spirit of God, unseen but certainly experienced in the early church and still very much today among genuine believers! Look at this image and consider my Dad’s heart which you can’t see and think of that as what this reality is. God have us Himself in the flesh as a baby Who grew up before those who would hang Him on the cursed tree, Who loved us as God with us! Then, He gave us His very heart, which we can’t see, but we can certainly feel and experience and benefit from and even worship and adore!
Praise God He has given us every part of Himself! Even His justice is ours as we can know God as just and yet not be crushed ourselves because He took the wrath we deserved when He died upon that tree!
In God’s joy and friendship,