By Norman P. Grubb
Paul lays unique emphasis on life being the Spirit in us. Nowhere else in the New Testament is this said in such plainness. There are fifteen mentions of the Spirit in Romans 8, in place of those many “I’s” in the previous chapter. Paul says, “Get this clear: we are now Spirit people. Christ is living our life. We are walking His way (Rom 8:3). We think His thoughts” (Rom 8:5,6). He in us counteracts those former self-for-self thought patterns, which set us at enmity with God.
“IF you walk after the Spirit and not after the flesh…” Paul begins, for he could not speak our word for us. But speaking for ourselves we say, “SINCE we walk that way…” Again, when Paul says in 8:11, “IF the Spirit dwells in you,…” we say, “He DOES dwell in us.” And the Spirit puts those old body habits to death (Rom 8:13).
Because we live in a world of self incitement all around us, to which our normal humanity (our flesh) has been formerly geared to respond, Paul does lay stress on walking after the Spirit and not after the flesh. Does that mean we had better be very careful, for surely we are inclined to flesh walking? The lie again! That would be guarding against independent self uprisings which might respond to those “ought to’s.” But that is not our Spirit drive. We don’t walk fearfully, as if we are still plenty of flesh. No! Our human selves are now Spirit kept and Spirit driven.
Certainly there are flesh pulls – sin’s self-for-self nature getting at us through all the world’s atmosphere around us. But we don’t resist them by any false self-effort. We recognize and admit them, but then we affirm who we ARE and know we are – Spirit expressers, Christ in our forms; and our faith affirmation puts to death those “deeds of the body” (Rom 8:13). Light swallows up darkness.
The Spirit, says Paul, also now permeates our physical bodies, though we remain mortal. The Spirit is the Quickener. So we walk not as body fussers. We accept where there are physical infirmities, but our bodies are His Temples; and in freedom of faith…not in negative unbelief or foolish questioning…we often experience His quickenings and healings (8:11).
The normal background to our daily lives is the Spirit’s witness with our spirits that we actually are God’s children (8:16). By the Spirit we are at home now with our Father/”Daddy,” which is very different from our former fears of Him in our old false self-condemning life (8:15). We are naturally Spirit-led in the affairs and decisions of our lives, and take that for granted (8:14).
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