Posts Tagged ‘Sanctification’

Where Do We Stand With God?

LifeSpiritBut you are not in the flesh but in the Spirit, if indeed the Spirit of God dwells in you. Now if anyone does not have the Spirit of Christ, he is not His. And if Christ is in you, the body is dead because of sin, but the Spirit is life because of righteousness. But if the Spirit of Him who raised Jesus from the dead dwells in you, He who raised Christ from the dead will also give life to your mortal bodies through His Spirit who dwells in you. (Romans 8:9-11)

How does God view us, in terms of our sanctification? In other words, what is our position or status with Him as far as our progress in the Christian life is concerned?

 Does He see us as deficient, with mostly demerits on our record? Do we begin each day with a negative balance, with a need to do a truckload of right things to arrive at a positive balance by the end of the day? Are we merely wannabe Christians in His eyes? Or do we have a positive balance in our Divine account, fully legitimate as believers belonging to Him?

 The answer is in Romans 8:9. God declares that we are in the Spirit (and not in the flesh). We wake up each morning with an abundance of credit to our account. We are the real deal in His eyes. God has placed us in the Spirit, and He sees us as in the Spirit. We have a positive balance with Him, always.

 What this means is that believers need not prove themselves to God, trying to gain His favor. God expects nothing from our flesh … He knows that it cannot produce anything good. We simply need to walk in the state we are in; we are in the Spirit, so our need is to walk in the Spirit. Only the Holy Spirit can create good things in and from our lives.

 Notice that the Spirit of God is referred to here as the Spirit of Christ. Note also the statement Christ is in you. Putting these concepts together we conclude that Jesus Christ lives within the believer by the Person of the Holy Spirit. That is how He does it … He dwells in each of us by the Spirit.

 Because the Spirit dwells within the believer, there is a continual promise of the experience of resurrection life. The same power by which Christ rose from dead is in us. The same life Jesus possesses is the same life we possess.

 A primary purpose of this life is that we can overcome the weakness and helplessness of our mortal bodies (our bodies subject to sin and death; our bodies which still contain the vestige of sin). In other words, the Spirit’s life in us conquers the flesh life as we trust in and walk in Him.

 Any good work that God does in us by power which does not come from us; the power God grants us is the resurrection power of His Spirit, which is the same power that raised our Lord Jesus Christ from the dead.

 For Further Review

1.  What does it mean to be in the Spirit? According to this passage, who are those that God classifies as being in the Spirit?

2.  Read Ephesians 1:13,14 and answer this question: what are the steps leading up to being sealed with the Holy Spirit?

3.  When you wake up in the morning, what is your view of yourself? How does God’s view of you differ from your own?

4.  Why is it important to have the correct view of yourself as a believer in Jesus?


Have You Ever Wondered What God Requires? (see note at the end)

righeousnessFor the law of the Spirit of life in Christ Jesus has made me free from the law of sin and death. For what the law could not do in that it was weak through the flesh, God did by sending His own Son in the likeness of sinful flesh, on account of sin: He condemned sin in the flesh, that the righteous requirement of the law might be fulfilled in us who do not walk according to the flesh but according to the Spirit. (Romans 8:2-4) 

The answer for death is life. The answer for inner spiritual conflict is also life … specifically, the life of Jesus Christ conferred upon us by the Holy Spirit. 

The law was weak and ineffective to make us righteous or more like Jesus. Its weakness was not because anything was wrong with the law; it is holy, just, and good (Romans 7:12). No, there is nothing at all wrong with God’s law. But there is something drastically wrong with what the law has to work with … the flesh. 

Remember, God always has a solution. His solution for the law’s ineffectiveness was to send His Son in the likeness of sinful flesh. [Note the specificity of the language used; God did not send His Son in sinful flesh, but in the likeness of sinful flesh. Jesus never sinned, and did not inherit the sin of Adam.] God, sending His Son to die and be raised for us, did it because of the sin problem. God condemned sin at Calvary, and by extension, in us. 

All of this was so the righteous requirement of the law might be fulfilled in us. In other words, God wants the law to have a powerful effect on us, but He does not accomplish His wishes by using our flesh to do it. Instead, He fulfills the law in those who walk according to the Holy Spirit. 

What this means is that the primary need for believers is to walk with the Spirit. All sins and failures that happen in our lives are due to this one fact: we have failed to yield to the Spirit and operate by the Spirit’s power. 

NOTE: Title taken from “When You Gonna Wake Up” by Bob Dylan (Slow Train Coming, copyright 1979 by Special Rider Music). “Do you ever wonder just what God requires? You think He’s just an errand boy to satisfy your wandering desires.” 

For Further Review

1.  What is the righteous requirement of the law? In other words, what is the main thing the law demands? See Matthew 22:34-40 to help with your answer. Use one word to summarize what the law’s requirement is. What one word describes it?

2.  Why is the law unable to produce this righteous requirement in us?

3.  What did God do to remedy this problem?

4.  In your own words, summarize the primary need for believers if they are going to fulfill God’s desires and what the law requires.


The Problem Is Indwelling Sin

indwelling sinFor when we were in the flesh, the sinful passions which were aroused by the law were at work in our members to bear fruit to death. But now we have been delivered from the law, having died to what we were held by, so that we should serve in the newness of the Spirit and not in the oldness of the letter. What shall we say then? Is the law sin? Certainly not! On the contrary, I would not have known sin except through the law. For I would not have known covetousness unless the law had said, “You shall not covet.” But sin, taking opportunity by the commandment, produced in me all manner of evil desire. For apart from the law sin was dead. I was alive once without the law, but when the commandment came, sin revived and I died. And the commandment, which was to bring life, I found to bring death. For sin, taking occasion by the commandment, deceived me, and by it killed me. Therefore the law is holy, and the commandment holy and just and good. (Romans 7:5-12) 

Prior to becoming a follower of Jesus Christ, Paul the apostle was a Pharisee. That means that he had been a strict adherent of the law as it was generally understood and applied in his day. 

Yet Romans chapter 7 begins with the startling statement that believers in Christ died to the law. That could lead some to believe that Paul was down on the law. Nothing could be further from the truth! Paul was not down on the law at all … he just understood its role and proper place in people’s lives. 

For instance, the law energized sinful desires. That happened when we were in the flesh … that is, when we were not yet converted. We all know how it goes: tell someone they can’t do something, and they want to do it even more! Paul’s personal testimony was his experience with the commandment which forbade greed and evil desires for things we do not have. The law not only showed Paul his own greed, but it also increased it within his heart. 

Thankfully we have been delivered from the law to serve Christ by the Holy Spirit. Again, the believer does not have a legal relationship with God, but a personal, dependent one. 

No, there is no problem at all with the law; it is holy, just and good. The problem is with indwelling sin. 

For Further Review

1.  If the law can arouse our passion to sin, then why is the law (of itself) not sinful?

2.  How are we to serve the Lord now? By what power? In your own life right now, by which power would you say are you operating?

3.  Cite examples from your own experience wherein the law seemed to incite sinful passions in your life. When this happens, what can our correct response be? How can we remedy this unhealthy pattern?


Baptized Into Christ Jesus

December 28, 2014 Leave a comment

dead-to-sin-alive-to-godWhat shall we say then? Shall we continue in sin that grace may abound? Certainly not! How shall we who died to sin live any longer in it? Or do you not know that as many of us as were baptized into Christ Jesus were baptized into His death? Therefore we were buried with Him through baptism into death, that just as Christ was raised from the dead by the glory of the Father, even so we also should walk in newness of life. (Romans 6:1-4) 

Paul last told us that where sin abounded, grace abounded much more. The logical question then arises: since increasing sin brought even more grace, should we sin more to give grace a chance to show itself? 

The answer is definite. “Certainly not!” the Holy Spirit asserts through the apostle. It’s an absurdity for a true believer; after all, believers died to sin. Sin lost its “oomph” as far as we were concerned. Sin is not alluring as it once was, it’s not as powerful, and it’s not as enjoyable (for a number of reasons). Just as dead men are not drawn to a great steak dinner, so the dead-to-sin believer is not drawn to sin. He died to it. 

The question then, is when did we die to sin? God’s response is that when we were immersed into Christ (baptized into Him) we were immersed into His death, meaning that when Christ died, we who have believed in Him died with Him. When Jesus died, we died. Since Christ died for sin and had no sin, then His death means that we are indeed dead to sin as He was (and is). 

Not only did we die with Him, we were raised with Him as well. His resurrection is our resurrection. His life is our life. A resurrected man has a brand new kind of life, one that is not interested in the things of the world he left behind. 

For Further Review

1.  Why is the rhetorical question of Romans 6:1 the logical question to ask?

2.  Using your own words, describe the answer to that question.

3.  Read the story of Cain’s murder of Abel in Genesis chapter 4. Notice especially what the LORD told Cain about sin’s relationship to him. How does the gospel of Jesus Christ alter what God told Cain that day?