From Romans 8-10
Paul speaks to his church audiences in a certain way. He assumes outright they believe and consequently he assures them of the benefits of salvation and the responsibility to live with the Spirit guiding them and Jesus Christ as their Lord. What passages in the bible give you the most assurance?
This post is part of my bible in a year series.
Passage and Comments
The apostles wrote to church audiences of whom most believed the gospel and had received Jesus as their saviour and Lord. I assume church audiences had the occasional unbeliever who was checking things out. But the majority are obviously believers.
Consequently the apostles who authored the epistles assume their audiences had received all the benefits associated with belief. They also have various expectations of how the audiences should live in light of their new identity and what God had done for them in Christ.
These factors influence the mindset the apostles have and the kinds of things they say to these church audiences. I’ve drawn the diagram below to help people understand what the underlying mindset is behind what the apostles say. I will keep displaying it as I blog through the epistles to help remind us where we stand with respect to various saving events. You may read more about this mindset in my project.
I will be using this diagram at times as I work through the epistles. This is an introduction. So let’s step through today’s passage, Rom 8.1-11 and refer to the diagram.
8 There is therefore now no condemnation for those who are in Christ Jesus. (Rom 8.1)
If we assume the listeners of Romans know they are ‘in Christ’ this statement should give them a fair amount of assurance that they will not come under condemnation. The same cannot be said for the ‘sinners’.
2 For the law of the Spirit of life has set you free in Christ Jesus from the law of sin and death. 3 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 for sin, he condemned sin in the flesh, 4 in order that the righteous requirement of the law might be fulfilled in us, who walk not according to the flesh but according to the Spirit. (Rom 8.2-4)
Paul alludes to what their situation was like before they knew Christ. They were captive to the law of sin and death. But they have been set free in Christ from this law. This is the event of salvation. When these people came to believe in Jesus, they were freed. The underlying cause of this transition is the sacrificial death of God’s Son, Jesus Christ. Following this transition, and we assume the indwelling of the Spirit, Saints are able to fulfill the righteous demands of the law because they walk according to the Spirit.
So Paul alludes to their former situation or state. He describes an aspect of their salvation moving them out of this situation. Then he talks about what things are like in their new state.
5 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. 6 For to set the mind on the flesh is death, but to set the mind on the Spirit is life and peace. 7 For the mind that is set on the flesh is hostile to God, for it does not submit to God’s law; indeed, it cannot. 8 Those who are in the flesh cannot please God. (Rom 8.5-8)
Paul makes a distinction between two types of people. ‘Those who set their minds on the things of the flesh’ Sinners, and ‘those who live according to the Spirit and set their minds on things of the Spirit’ – Saints. Sinners cannot please God.
9 You, however, are not in the flesh but in the Spirit, if in fact the Spirit of God dwells in you. Anyone who does not have the Spirit of Christ does not belong to him. 10 But if Christ is in you, although the body is dead because of sin, the Spirit is life because of righteousness. 11 If the Spirit of him who raised Jesus from the dead dwells in you, he who raised Christ Jesus from the dead will also give life to your mortal bodies through his Spirit who dwells in you. (Rom 8.9-11)
Paul speaks to his audience, ‘you however are not in the flesh’, if the Spirit of God dwells in you. If the Spirit dwells in you, and this is true of all believers, God will raise you from the dead just as he did Jesus.
Words for believers
The apostles speak to their church audiences in a certain way. They assume outright they believe and consequently they assure them of the benefits of salvation and the responsibility to live with the Spirit guiding them and Jesus Christ as their Lord.
Copyright © Joshua Washington and thescripturesays, 2014. All Rights Reserved.