Romans 8–Two Ways Of Life
Paul continues his contrast between the old life and the new, between life in the flesh and in the Spirit, now detailed in terms of two attitudes or mind-sets: one under the influence of the “flesh,” the other under the influence of Christ through the Spirit. He is pushing us to see that becoming Christian should matter and make a difference in our lives. That once we commit to Christ our lives should be markedly different from the way he lived before. Life in Christ is not just about getting out of jail and going to the party, but being the kind of person who can live such a life that others will wonder why we live the way we do and be compelled to come to Christ.
The mind governed by the flesh is death, but the mind governed by the Spirit is life and peace. The mind governed by the flesh is hostile to God; it does not submit to God’s law, nor can it do so. Those who are in the realm of the flesh cannot please God. You, however, are not in the realm of the flesh but are in the realm of the Spirit, if indeed, the Spirit of God lives in you. (Romans 8:6-9)
Those who trust God are filled with God’s Spirit. Obsession on self is a dead end. Focus on God leads us out into the open, free life. Anyone selfishly absorbed ignores God, thinking only of what they want and how they can fulfill their personal desires. That person ignores who God is and what he is doing. That person thinks more highly of themselves and stomps on others. God wants a personal relationship with all of us. God wants us to live our lives alongside Him. If God himself has taken up residence in our life, we can hardly think more of ourselves than of him.
Christians are not dominated by the flesh but are under the rule of Christ. Though the body is still subject to death, life prevails because united with Christ we live to and with God. We stop living for our own happiness and seek to bless others with our life. This is how God created us to live. Life with God is not about escaping this world into some otherworldly paradise, but making this world as it is in heaven. We repent, turn from the life we were living and trust that God knows what he is doing and that by embracing God’s grace, we will live into the life we have always wanted to live.
If the Spirit of him who raised Jesus from the dead is living in you, he who raised Christ from the dead will also give life to your mortal bodies because of his Spirit who lives in you. (Romans 8:11)
If God who raised Jesus from the dead moves into our life, He’ll do the same thing in us that He did in Jesus, causing us to live vibrant fresh life in Christ. When God lives and breathes in us, as surely as he did in Jesus, we are delivered from dead life to eternal life. God makes us into the people we are to be and live the life we are meant to live. This is done not because we deserve it, but because we trust, God to do what Jesus promised he would do. In trusting God and making God, our center we live into the grace lavished on us. As Spirit-filled, Christ-centered, and God-glorifying people, we are on the way to life eternal; death is only an interlude that all must pass through on the way to the Kingdom.
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