Romans 8:1-17 – Life in the Spirit
There is therefore now no condemnation for those who are in Christ Jesus. For the law of the Spirit of life in Christ Jesus has set you free from the law of sin and of death. 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, 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. 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. To set the mind on the flesh is death, but to set the mind on the Spirit is life and peace. 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, and those who are in the flesh cannot please God.
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. But if Christ is in you, though the body is dead because of sin, the Spirit is life because of righteousness. 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.
So then, brothers and sisters, we are debtors, not to the flesh, to live according to the flesh— 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 children of God. For you did not receive a spirit of slavery to fall back into fear, but you have received a spirit of adoption. When we cry, “Abba! Father!” it is that very Spirit bearing witness with our spirit that we are children of God, and if children, then heirs, heirs of God and joint heirs with Christ—if, in fact, we suffer with him so that we may also be glorified with him.
After the words of chapter 7, these words feel like a breath of fresh air – a releasing of tension and an explosion into the freedom that we have in Christ. As I spoke w/ my spiritual director yesterday, we got talking about kneading/needing as I shared about the challenges that Romans has presented to me. With the Psalms, they are so visual that they lend themselves fairly naturally to the visual medium. Mark was similar in that most of Mark was story, but Romans is all theology and not visual per se or a story. I shared about how it felt very much like each day is a process of kneading out the dough to get it into shape. And so, when I got home, it was time to make some bread – a reminder of how God can take something that is just a mixture of a bunch of different things and transform into something much more beautiful and nourishing. I adore the process of baking – seeing the dough go from the sticky ball of ingredients, to rise to something larger, and then to bake to perfection.
As we move into chapter 8, we see the process of chapter 7 being all the ingredients thrown together and now expanding into something far more here and in the section to come.