Monday, August 07, 2023

2023.08.07 Hopewell @Home ▫ Romans 8:12–13

Read Romans 8:12–13

Questions from the Scripture text: How does the apostle address them in Romans 8:12? What does he say that he and they are? To what are they not debtors? (Not) to do what,  according to the flesh? What would happen if they did live that way (Romans 8:13)? What other way is there to live? What do those who live this way put to death? 

What is it like, when Christ is in us and the Spirit dwells in us? Romans 8:12–13 looks forward to the midweek sermon. In these two verses of Holy Scripture, the Holy Spirit teaches us that when Christ is in us, and the Spirit dwells in us, it makes us brothers to one another, debtors to the Spirit, and killers of sin. 

Brothers to one another. The mindset of the Spirit, the life of the Spirit, belongs to believers because the Spirit has come to dwell in them as the One by Whom Christ Himself dwells in them. As we will hear, when we finish out the thought in Romans 8:14-17, this Triune Spirit not only ministers to us His own fellowship, and our union with Christ, but also our sonship to the Father. That makes us, in the greatest way imaginable (and indeed unimaginable!), brethren. So, at this point that is exactly how the apostle addresses the Roman church: “brethren” (Romans 8:12).

Debtors to the Spirit. What do such Spirit-indwelt, Christ-indwelt brethren do? Whatever the Spirit tells them to. We came into this world under the power of the flesh, slaves of sin (cf. Romans 7:14). But, believers are no longer under obligation to the flesh. They are debtors, but not to the flesh. Believers are under obligation to the Spirit. 

Romans 8:12-13 set living according to the flesh over-against living according to the Spirit. The only way not to be a debtor to the one is to be instead a debtor to the Other. Living according to the flesh would be death. If we are to live, we must live according to the Spirit. It is an obligation, a debt. All who have Christ, who have the Spirit, who are adopted by God, live according to the Spirit. If we do not live this way, we are not His, and we do not live.

Killers of sin. So, brethren, we who are debtors to the Spirit… what do we do by the Spirit? We put to death the deeds of the body. It is only if we put to the death the deeds of the body that we will live. There is only living by the flesh, with sin killing us, or otherwise living by the Spirit with us killing sin. There is no middle ground. There is no such thing as an alive Christian who is neutral toward sin, who is not actively engaged in weakening its powers, starving it, suffocating it. 

What is your relationship to the Spirit? To the Lord Jesus? To the heavenly Father? To other believers? What is your relationship to sin? How has this been working out in your mindset? In your habits? What does this tell you about whether you are alive or dead?

Sample prayer:  Lord, thank You for giving to us Your very Self in the Spirit. Grant that we would live as those who belong to You, not to our remaining flesh or indwelling sin. Indeed, give us that sonship to the Father, that union with the Son, that leading by the Spirit that enables us to put sin to death and to live. For, You are our life, and we ask this in Christ’s Name, AMEN!

Suggested songs: ARP32AB “What Blessedness” or TPH400 “Gracious Spirit, Dwell with Me”

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