Romans 8:10-16

Wednesday Evening Bible Study

February 3, 1999

Introduction

Weíve seen Paul talk about the frustration of trying to live the right way. And as he tries to live under the power of his own flesh, he ultimately cries out:

(Rom 7:24 KJV) O wretched man that I am! who shall deliver me from the body of this death?

As we started Romans 8, we saw that the answer is to always take us back to Jesus, the one who forgives and cleanses us:

(Rom 8:1 KJV) There is therefore now no condemnation to them which are in Christ Jesus, who walk not after the flesh, but after the Spirit.

We ended last time with:

(Rom 8:9 KJV) But ye are not in the flesh, but in the Spirit, if so be that the Spirit of God dwell in you. Now if any man have not the Spirit of Christ, he is none of his.

You canít be a Christian and not have the Spirit of God in your life. The moment that you accept Jesus into your heart, the Holy Spirit comes to dwell in your life. Jesus, through the Holy Spirit, is now living in your life. We talk about Jesus living in our heart.

:10 And if Christ be in you, the body is dead because of sin; but the Spirit is life because of righteousness.

life Ė dzo Ė life

Paul doesnít use the word for "living" (dzosa), but the word "life". You expect him to say, "the body is dead, but the spirit is living" (as translates all the modern translations). I think this is one of those times when the King James is actually a better translation here.

The idea is that when we become a Christian, our body is in a state of spiritual death. The body is dead. But when the Holy Spirit comes into our life as we receive Christ, He is life. He brings life. He gives life.

:11 But if the Spirit of him that raised up Jesus from the dead dwell in you

This is talking about the Holy Spirit of God. God the Father raised Jesus from the dead. The Holy Spirit is dwelling in us.

:11 he that raised up Christ from the dead shall also quicken your mortal bodies by his Spirit that dwelleth in you.

quicken Ė dzoopoieo Ė to produce alive, begat or bear living young; to cause to live, make alive, give life; of the spirit, quickening as respects the spirit, endued with new and greater powers of life

mortal Ė thnetos Ė liable to death, mortal

Not only is the Holy Spirit in us life, but He takes these dying bodies of ours and gives them life as well. Itís not that the Holy Spirit comes as a little light to dwell in this dark, dead cave of a person, just a little light in a dark cave. But when He comes into our lives, He begins to transform the dying cave and new life begins to spring up on the dark cave walls. The walls begin to start glowing and giving off light as well.

Keep in mind the kind of power thatís involved here. Itís the same power that raised Jesus from the dead.

(Eph 3:20-21 KJV) Now unto him that is able to do exceeding abundantly above all that we ask or think, according to the power that worketh in us, {21} Unto him be glory in the church by Christ Jesus throughout all ages, world without end. Amen.

Lesson

New life Ė the work of the Spirit

When weíve become born again, we no longer have to live under the slavery of the flesh. We no longer have to obey its every command. We now have the ability to do the things that God wants us to do.

:12 Therefore, brethren, we are debtors, not to the flesh, to live after the flesh.

debtors Ė opheiletes Ė one who owes another, a debtor; one held by some obligation, bound by some duty

flesh Ė a term Paul uses to describe our "sin nature", our "old man". Itís that part of us that loves to do evil. Itís the part that never wants to obey God.

We donít owe the flesh anything. The flesh may want to cry out as we are starving it, "But havenít I been good to you? Havenít I taken care of you all these years? Canít you just feed me this once?" But the truth is, we donít owe our flesh anything! Itís given us nothing but pain and death.

Paul doesnít quite finish the thought, but the implication is that we arenít debtors to the flesh, we are debtors to the Holy Spirit.

:13 For if ye live after the flesh,

ye shall Ė mello Ė to be about; to be on the point of doing or suffering something. "You are on the point of dying".

after Ė kata Ė down from; according to, toward, along

If you are living according to the standards of the flesh, you will be facing death.

What are the standards of the flesh?

(Gal 5:19-21 NKJV) Now the works of the flesh are evident, which are: adultery, fornication, uncleanness, lewdness, {20} idolatry, sorcery, hatred, contentions, jealousies, outbursts of wrath, selfish ambitions, dissensions, heresies, {21} envy, murders, drunkenness, revelries, and the like; of which I tell you beforehand, just as I also told you in time past, that those who practice such things will not inherit the kingdom of God.

Illustration

Last night we went out to eat at that new mall called "The Block". After we ate we walked a little through the mall and walked through a restaurant called "Café Tu Tu Tango". The restaurant is set up like youíre eating inside an artistís studio in Barcelona, Spain. They have real artists working on real art right in the middle of all the noise, food, and confusion. One of the artists was sketching out a picture that was going to be based on a small photograph. The photo had a grid penciled onto it, and he was sketching the drawing out one block of the grid at a time. The photo was the standard, the model for which he was making his sketch. What are you patterning your life after? What model are you using?

:13 ye shall die:

The result of living after the flesh is death.

I donít think itís just limited to hell here, though hell certainly is in mind. I think the death we experience from living after the flesh starts right at the time we are sinning. We are cutting ourselves off from the source of life. We are separating ourselves from God.

(Isa 59:1-2 KJV) Behold, the LORD'S hand is not shortened, that it cannot save; neither his ear heavy, that it cannot hear: {2} But your iniquities have separated between you and your God, and your sins have hid his face from you, that he will not hear.

:13 but if ye through the Spirit do mortify the deeds of the body, ye shall live.

mortify Ė thanatoo Ė to put to death; to make to die i.e. destroy, render extinct

deeds Ė praxis Ė a doing, mode of acting, a deal, a transaction

Lesson

Death to the flesh.

To me, the death of the flesh is a very practical thing. Itís not some kind of state of consciousness you achieve through meditating. Itís a matter of denying your flesh, saying "no" to it. Every time you say "no" to your flesh, it withers a little more.

Illustration

I think that sometimes our "flesh" nature is a little like those zombies in the horror movies. You know the ones, the ones that keep coming back to life, even though theyíve been killed five times already. Every time they think itís dead, suddenly a finger starts to move, and the monster comes back to life. Itís not until the hero stabs with a knife, shoots with a shotgun, and blows up the monster that theyíre finally free.

I think that sometimes we donít quite do what we need to in order to put the fleshly nature to death. We know weíve got a problem, so we tie up the monster real good. But monsters arenít held back by simply tying them up and saying "shame on you". You have to drive that stake through its heart.

Jesus said:

(Mat 5:27-30 KJV) Ye have heard that it was said by them of old time, Thou shalt not commit adultery: {28} But I say unto you, That whosoever looketh on a woman to lust after her hath committed adultery with her already in his heart. {29} And if thy right eye offend thee, pluck it out, and cast it from thee: for it is profitable for thee that one of thy members should perish, and not that thy whole body should be cast into hell. {30} And if thy right hand offend thee, cut it off, and cast it from thee: for it is profitable for thee that one of thy members should perish, and not that thy whole body should be cast into hell.

Was Jesus suggesting that we mutilate ourselves? I donít think so. His point was that we need to do whatever it takes to keep ourselves from sin.

A lot of men struggle with pornography. But I imagine that very few are able to handle the problem by just sheer will power. It usually takes something a little stronger. If you have an Internet connection, I would suggest you consider changing to one of the filtered services so you canít access the filth. If you have cable channels that show R rated stuff, I think you ought to cancel your subscription. If you really want to get serious, consider getting with some other guys to hold each other accountable. Do whatever it takes.

Note that Paul said we are to mortify the flesh "through the Spirit". If we are trying to do any of this without the help of Godís Holy Spirit, we are going to fail.

Lesson

Spirit power.

Jesus promised power with the Holy Spirit.

(Acts 1:8 KJV) But ye shall receive power, after that the Holy Ghost is come upon you: and ye shall be witnesses unto me both in Jerusalem, and in all Judaea, and in Samaria, and unto the uttermost part of the earth.

The Greek word for "power" here is dunamis. Though some people get off into thinking of dynamite and explosions and such, the word really carries the idea of "ability". In fact a form of the word is used commonly in Greek to describe "being able to do something". The Holy Spirit gives us "ability". He gives us the ability to put the flesh to death. He gives us the ability to say yes to God.

The promise came to the disciples when they were filled, or baptized with the Holy Spirit:

(Acts 2:1-4 KJV) And when the day of Pentecost was fully come, they were all with one accord in one place. {2} And suddenly there came a sound from heaven as of a rushing mighty wind, and it filled all the house where they were sitting. {3} And there appeared unto them cloven tongues like as of fire, and it sat upon each of them. {4} And they were all filled with the Holy Ghost, and began to speak with other tongues, as the Spirit gave them utterance.

It was then that cowardly Peter, who had earlier denied the Lord in front of a little slave girl, stood up, preached, and three thousand people got saved. How could cowardly Peter do that? Because of the power of the Holy Spirit.

The filling of the Holy Spirit will come if you desire it, ask for it, and expect it:

(John 7:37-39 KJV) In the last day, that great day of the feast, Jesus stood and cried, saying, If any man thirst, let him come unto me, and drink. {38} He that believeth on me, as the scripture hath said, out of his belly shall flow rivers of living water. {39} (But this spake he of the Spirit, which they that believe on him should receive: for the Holy Ghost was not yet given; because that Jesus was not yet glorified.)

But keep in mind, even as you ask God now to fill you with His Holy Spirit, you still have to go back to Romans 8, and put to death the deeds of the flesh with the help of the Holy Spirit.

Itís easy to fall into the trap of thinking that all I have to do is ask for the filling of the Holy Spirit. I need to take the steps that the Holy Spirit then begins to lead me to do. I need to put to death the flesh.

:14 For as many as are led by the Spirit of God, they are the sons of God.

led Ė ago Ė to lead, take with one; guide, direct (present passive indicative, itís talking about constantly being led by the Spirit)

What does it mean to be "led by the Spirit"?

Does it mean that you somehow have this hotline to heaven and know exactly every moment what the Holy Spirit wants you to do? I donít think so.

Does it mean that you are a perfect Christian because the Holy Spirit never allows you to make a mistake? I donít think so.

What does it mean?

It means that the Spirit of God is constantly at work in your life. Heís continually molding you more and more into the image of Jesus.

Thatís the whole idea in the passage, that He helps us to put to death the deeds of the flesh.

It means that He will give direction to your life.

(John 16:13 KJV) Howbeit when he, the Spirit of truth, is come, he will guide you into all truth: for he shall not speak of himself; but whatsoever he shall hear, that shall he speak: and he will show you things to come.

guide Ė to "lead the way", a compound form of the same word used here in Romans.

I know this can sound vague and mystical, but the Holy Spirit wants to give direction to your life. I think that this comes primarily as we spend time in Godís Word. It will light our path before us.

It means that as a general rule, you are yielding to His leading. It means that where He leads, you follow.

If you were new to our church and I ask if you want me to give you a tour of the building, Iíll ask you to follow me around the building. But if you just stay in the front office and donít follow, then Iím not leading.

:15 For ye have not received the spirit of bondage again to fear;

bondage Ė douleia Ė slavery, bondage, the condition of a slave

I think that because of context, Paul is talking about bondage to sin and bondage to the law.

(Rom 6:16 KJV) Know ye not, that to whom ye yield yourselves servants to obey, his servants ye are to whom ye obey; whether of sin unto death, or of obedience unto righteousness?

When Paul gave his illustration of a woman being freed from her husband through death, it had to do with bondage to the Law (Rom. 7:1-4)

Though there is a sense in which we are now slaves of Christ, there is also a sense in which we are now freed from our old slavery and we are now His friends:

(John 15:15 KJV) Henceforth I call you not servants; for the servant knoweth not what his lord doeth: but I have called you friends; for all things that I have heard of my Father I have made known unto you.

Is your spiritual walk characterized by a sense of woe, heaviness, bondage, and obligation? Is there this deep sense of foreboding that hangs on you?

This is not the Holy Spirit.

:15 but ye have received the Spirit of adoption, whereby we cry, Abba, Father.

adoption Ė huiothesia Ė adoption, adoption as sons

Abba Ė Abba Ė the Aramaic (common language in Israel during Jesusí day) word for father, customary title used of God in prayer. It was almost like our "Daddy".

Paul also wrote,

Galatians 4:6 And because ye are sons, God hath sent forth the Spirit of his Son into your hearts, crying, Abba, Father.

Lesson

You have a loving Father.

For some folks, this isnít really that comforting of a thought. They hear the word "father" and they get the wrong idea because they had a bad dad.

Please understand what God is like. He doesnít get up in a bad mood some days. Heís not someone that you have to watch yourself around because He could reach out and swat you at any time for no good reason.

Paul gives us a good idea of what a good Dad ought to be like:

(1 Th 2:11-12 KJV) As ye know how we exhorted and comforted and charged every one of you, as a father doth his children, {12} That ye would walk worthy of God, who hath called you unto his kingdom and glory.

(1 Th 2:11-12 NLT) And you know that we treated each of you as a father treats his own children. {12} We pleaded with you, encouraged you, and urged you to live your lives in a way that God would consider worthy. For he called you into his Kingdom to share his glory.

Illustration

There was a time in our world during both the First and second World Wars, when men and women who served their country would go off and many times would be gone four or five years before they ever came home. We're told that a good Marine serving his country went off to fight. When he left, his wife was expecting a child. That child was born, and that child was a beautiful little girl.

Because this was a special home, the mother would never let the little girl forget her father. Every day she talked of the girl's father and showed her pictures of her father. She talked about the father's love and care for her, and about how someday her father would come home.

When the little girl was 4 years old, she was playing in the front yard. A man came to the gate. She looked up. She looked into his eyes with love, and he looked into her eyes with love. Then she said, "Daddy, you're for real. Daddy, you are for real!"

-- Richard H. Flick, "Memorial Service for Heather Gillan," Preaching Today, Tape No. 71.

For some of you, the Father seems like a distant person. But I want to keep reminding you that He is very real, Heís very loving, and Heís your Heavenly Father. Donít pull back from Him. Donít be afraid. The Holy Spirit works in our lives in such a way to draw us closer and closer to our Father. There is a sense in which we want to cry "Daddy" more and more.

:16 The Spirit itself beareth witness with our spirit, that we are the children of God:

beareth witness with Ė summartureo Ė to bear witness with, bear joint witness

Man is made up of three parts: Body, soul, and spirit. The soul seems to be made up of the mind and the emotions. The spirit is that part of you that has the ability to relate to God. Our spirit affects our soul and our body, but is something different. Itís very hard to tell them apart at times:

(Heb 4:12 KJV) For the word of God is quick, and powerful, and sharper than any twoedged sword, piercing even to the dividing asunder of soul and spirit, and of the joints and marrow, and is a discerner of the thoughts and intents of the heart.

Lesson

The work of the Holy Spirit Ė assurance.

There is an inner witness that comes from the Spirit that we are Godís children. The difficult thing is recognizing it. Itís not the emotions, because that is the soul. We arenít supposed to "feel" like weíre Godís children. The witness isnít in our mind, itís not about rationalizing that Iím a child of God. But the witness is that both our spirit and Godís spirit puts inside of us

1 John 5:10 He that believeth on the Son of God hath the witness in himself: he that believeth not God hath made him a liar; because he believeth not the record that God gave of his Son.

God doesnít want you to go through your life wondering if youíre His child or not. He wants you to know for sure. Give in to Him. Ask the Holy Spirit to be showing you who you belong to.