The Twenty-First in a Series of Sermons on St. Paul's Epistle to the Romans
In Romans 8:1-11, Paul sets out a stark contrast between the those who walk in the flesh (non-Christians) and those who walk in the Spirit (those who trust in Christ). But this is also a contrast between two eschatological ages: “this present age” which is dominated by the flesh, and the “age to come,” which is an age characterized by life in Christ. To be in Christ is to be indwelt by the Holy Spirit. And to be indwelt by the Spirit is to have life and peace. But those who remain “in Adam” are bound to the flesh and subject to death. To be in Adam is to belong the old order of things which even now is passing away. But to be in Christ is to be a citizen of the age to come and entitled to all of the benefits of heavenly citizenship including a glorious inheritance and an intimate relationship with God, our heavenly father.
In Romans 8:1-11, Paul has stated that we are given life in Christ through the indwelling the Holy Spirit, and we are now freed from sin, death and the condemnation of the law. In verses 12-17, Paul now turns his attention to some of implications of this indwelling for Christian believers. While there are no imperatives (commands) in this section, nevertheless, Paul’s words serve as an implicit exhortation for Christians to act in a certain way, especially in light of the knowledge of our present standing in Christ.
In Romans 7:14-25, Paul describes the Christian life as an intense struggle with indwelling sin–which we spoke of in terms of an unwanted tenant or squatter who refuses to leave even though his former dwelling is under new ownership–and Paul goes on to say that there is now no condemnation for those who are in Christ. This is because Christ has borne our condemnation upon the cross. Because we are in Christ, we fulfill the righteous requirements of the law. To be in Christ is to walk in the Spirit and no longer walk after the flesh. To walk in the flesh as we did “in Adam” is to hate God and to be unwilling and unable to obey his commandments. But Paul’s whole point is that we are no longer in the flesh and because we walk in the Spirit there are consequences for the Christian life now set forth in verses 12-17.
To read the rest of this verse, click here