“But ye are not in the flesh, but in the Spirit, if so be that the Spirit of God dwell in you. Now if any man have not the Spirit of Christ, he is none of his. And if Christ be in you, the body is dead because of sin; but the Spirit is life because of righteousness.” —Romans 8:9, 10
“But ye are not in the flesh…” tells us that in contrast to what we have seen of those whose minds are set upon carnal things, and though we have a nature we were born with that is certainly flesh and full of fallen humanity (Romans 7:14), we are saved by God’s grace; He is growing us in grace by His grace, building us up in faith, and sanctifying us for His good pleasure. Since those who are “in the flesh cannot please God” (Romans 8:8), the apostle tells us that we actually do please God. How so?
He gives his answer right away when he tells us that we “are in the Spirit, if… the Spirit of God” does indeed dwell in us. This is the Spirit of regeneration according to the Lord’s promise: “And I will pray the Father, and He shall give you another Comforter, that He may abide with you for ever; even the Spirit of truth; whom the world cannot receive, because it seeth Him not, neither knoweth Him: but ye know Him; for He dwelleth with you, and shall be in you” (John 14:16-17). The world doesn’t know the Holy Spirit because the unbelieving world is “in the flesh.” After Jesus’ ascension to the right hand of the Father, He sent the Holy Spirit to take up permanent residence right inside every believing Christian saved by God’s grace. The apostle explains here in Romans 8:9, “Now if any man have not the Spirit of Christ, he is none of his.” Another name for the Holy Spirit is “the Spirit of Christ,” and if any man does not have this indwelling presence of the Holy Spirit, he’s not even saved, he is in the flesh as any other person in the unbelieving world that cannot receive the Spirit of truth, does not see the Spirit of truth, nor does he know the Spirit of truth.
In Romans 8:10 the apostle draws a parallel distinction between that which we have seen as the difference between the unbeliever who walks according to the flesh and the believer according to the Spirit: “And if Christ be in you, the body is dead because of sin; but the Spirit is life because of righteousness.” The Christian must see the distinct difference between sinful deeds that still desire to spring forth in this mortal body and the reality of righteousness because of life in the Spirit.
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Read the previous article in this series, “Carnality Offensive to Christ” (Romans 8:6-8).