My favorite chapter in all of Scripture is Romans 8. The first portion (vv. 1-17) speaks of the believer being rescued by God’s Spirit. Paul concludes Romans 7 by declaring that our battle with sin is won through Jesus Christ. Paul writes in the first half of chapter 8 that the believer can be delivered, through the Spirit, from the control of sin in this life.
Paul begins by sharing that a Christian is freed by the Spirit from sin (Rom 8:1-11). Paul shares two blessings believers have in Christ. First, there is no condemnation; the believer has been justified (saved). Then, the believer has been set free through God sending His Son. Jesus came and took upon His divinity humanity. He died in our stead on the cross. He died for our sins. In so doing, He paid the righteous requirement of the law in full, being resurrected for our salvation.
As if this work of Christ was not enough, He has gifted us with the Holy Spirit, who indwells us and whose work in the believer’s life is to make her holy. Holiness is Christlikeness. When we look back to Romans 7, Paul describes how we cannot keep the law because of our indwelling sinful nature. Then, in Romans 8:4, he explains that we can become like Christ because of the indwelling Spirit.
The Christian must surrender to the Spirit’s leading. This is often determined by our mindset (Rom 12:2). There are two predominant mindsets. One mindset is on natural desires and leads to death. The other mindset is set on the Spirit, bringing life and peace. John Stott notes: “We would more eagerly pursue holiness if we were convinced that it is the way of life and peace.
Paul does not only share that the believer is freed by the Spirit from sin (Rom 8:1-11), but is obligated to the spirit for life-giving power (Rom 8:12-17). When we allow self to lead us and strive for self-indulgence, we are alienated from God; this is spiritual death. However, when we allow the Spirit to lead us and are empowered by Him to deny self, we find real life in Christ. The Spirit enables us to live such a life as God’s children. By the way, a Christian is assured through God’s Word (the Bible), godly fruit in his life, and the witness of the Holy Spirit that we are indeed God’s children.
It is good news that we are children of God, and as such, have access to the Spirit who bears witness to this truth and empowers us to live like His children. Francis Schaffer offers this insight:
“On the day when we accepted Jesus as our Savior, wonder of wonders, we became the children of God. But if we truly became the children of God, we were at that moment indwelt by the Holy Spirit; and if we are indwelt by the Holy Spirit, surely there will be some evidence of this in our lives.”
Consider that in Romans 8:1-17, there is no mentioning of the witness of the Holy Spirit as something reserved for some Christians, nor that something more needs to be required for His indwelling a believer. Actually, the whole of the passage describes what is common and available to all believers. The Spirit’s workings may differ in degrees of intensity in a believer’s life due to surrender, but all believers are indwelt by Him and given His witness too.
The good news Paul writes in Romans 8:1-17 is that the believer is rescued by God’s Spirit. The believer is freed by the Spirit from sin (Rom 8:1-11). The believer is obligated to the Spirit for life-giving power. If you are in Christ, rejoice and surrender to the Spirit’s workings in and through your life. If you have yet to receive Christ as Savior and Lord, choose Him today. Won’t you embrace the work of the Spirit who rescues? Soli Deo Gloria (Glory to God Alone).