Tuesday, May 10, 2011

You are controlled by the Spirit if . . .

Rom. 8:1-9 NLT  
   1 So now there is no condemnation for those who belong to Christ Jesus. 2 And because you belong to him, the power of the life-giving Spirit has freed you from the power of sin that leads to death. 3 The law of Moses was unable to save us because of the weakness of our sinful nature. So God did what the law could not do. He sent his own Son in a body like the bodies we sinners have. And in that body God declared an end to sin’s control over us by giving his Son as a sacrifice for our sins. 4 He did this so that the just requirement of the law would be fully satisfied for us, who no longer follow our sinful nature but instead follow the Spirit. 
   5 Those who are dominated by the sinful nature think about sinful things, but those who are controlled by the Holy Spirit think about things that please the Spirit. 6 So letting your sinful nature control your mind leads to death. But letting the Spirit control your mind leads to life and peace. 7 For the sinful nature is always hostile to God. It never did obey God’s laws, and it never will. 8 That’s why those who are still under the control of their sinful nature can never please God. 
   9  But you are not controlled by your sinful nature. You are controlled by the Spirit if you have the Spirit of God living in you. (And remember that those who do not have the Spirit of Christ living in them do not belong to him at all.)

We've been talking about our new life in Christ. The Apostles, including Paul, had much to say to the early church and to us too about this wondrous new life-- this new creation. In the previous chapter (you can read it again for context) Paul lamented the fact that, left to our own devices we can never do 'good' we can never do what is totally right and righteous. We want to but are incapable of doing so. It requires a supernatural change of our nature. And that supernatural change comes when we, by faith alone, trust in Christ as our Savior. He already did the work but it is up to us to reach out and receive his gracious gift.

In the Old Testament, it was all about trying harder, waiting until the righteous one would come and abolish sin. He came. He abolished the consequence for sin to those who would be willing to receive Him. When we decline his offer we tie ourselves back into verse 6 of this passage and we let our old nature control our minds. That only leads to eternal death. When we trust in Christ then we are letting the Spirit of God control our minds and that leads us to eternal life, and eternal peace as well. Unless we trust in God's Spirit to control our minds we are choosing to remain under the old nature with the old evil and the old ways.

Verse 9 tells us that for us it can be, it should be, it will be different. Is the Spirit of God living within you? He wants to be. He's willing. Are you willing? If He is not there then you do not belong to God at all, even though you wish you did. It is all a matter of your surrender of the will to His will.  And with that surrender comes limitless joy.
Your servant in Christ's Joy

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