In our study of Romans chapter eight, we look at the two major functions of the Holy Spirit in the life of a believer. By God's grace we know that we are saved and we also have the power to live a life that is pleasing to him.
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Therefore, there is no longer any condemnation awaiting those who are in union with the Messiah Yeshua.
In chapter 7, we saw that we are no longer under the law and so we know that there is no condemnation for the believer. We also see that those who do not accept Yeshua Messiah will, in fact, be judged by the law.
Why? Because the Torah of the Spirit, which produces this life in union with Messiah Yeshua, has set me free from the "Torah" of sin and death.
The "law of the Spirit of life" refers to the fact that, as Christians, we are to follow the advice and guidance of the counselor that was provided. So, we are free from the law but we are not just released to walk in this world on our own. Instead, we are to listen and obey the prompting of God through the Holy Spirit.
For what the Torah could not do by itself, because it lacked the power to make the old nature cooperate, God did by sending his own Son as a human being with a nature like our own sinful one [but without sin]. God did this in order to deal with sin, and in so doing he executed the punishment against sin in human nature, so that the just requirement of the Torah might be fulfilled in us who do not run our lives according to what our old nature wants but according to what the Spirit wants.
The purpose of the law was to point out sin but it did not have the power to redeem the sinner. That took the act of God sending his son to perfectly keep the law on our behalf. So. through Yeshua Messiah, the law was fulfilled in the life of every believer.
For those who identify with their old nature set their minds on the things of the old nature, but those who identify with the Spirit set their minds on the things of the Spirit. Having one's mind controlled by the old nature is death, but having one's mind controlled by the Spirit is life and shalom.
Listening and obeying the prompting of the Holy Spirit will keep us from many harmful actions. On our own, our actions would lead to all kinds of sinful things which separate us from the Father which is death. But, with the Spirit, we have the very mind of God to guide us and to draw us closer to him who is our life and our peace.
For the mind controlled by the old nature is hostile to God, because it does not submit itself to God's Torah - indeed, it cannot. Thus, those who identify with their old nature cannot please God.
The mind that is controlled by the desires of the flesh instead of the Holy Spirit is in direct opposition to the working of God. That does not mean that, when we sin, God turns his back on us but, when the sin controls your mind, you cannot please God. Although the law is powerless to save, it still shows us God's standard of behavior. We are forgiven when we don't live up to what he created us to be but he still wants us to live a holy life.
But you, you do not identify with your old nature but with the Spirit - provided the Spirit of God is living inside you, for anyone who doesn't have the Spirit of the Messiah doesn't belong to him.
Here, we see the first function of the Holy Spirit and that is the fact that you can know that you are saved if you have the Spirit. There are many people that call themselves Christians but, if you ask them, they will tell you that they are not really sure of their salvation. That doubt is not of God but is a scheme of the devil. Our Father does not want us walking around unsure about his love for us. It is really very simple: If you have the Spirit, you are a child of God. If you don't, then, you are not. Got the Spirit?
However, if the Messiah is in you, then, on the one hand, the body is dead because of sin; but, on the other hand, the Spirit is giving life because God considers you righteous. And if the Spirit of the One who raised Yeshua from the dead is living in you, then the One who raised the Messiah Yeshua from the dead will also give life to your mortal bodies through his Spirit living in you.
The bodies that we have now are dead and dying but, with the Holy Spirit, comes the promise that we will be raised with new bodies. The Spirit is a deposit guaranteeing what is to come.
So then, brothers, we don't owe a thing to our old nature that would require us to live according to our old nature.
Yeshua Messiah rescued us from the death that we were facing and so Paul reminds us that we don't go back to doing the things that had put us in danger. A simple example of this is: Think of a person that does not know how to swim and yet, while wading in the ocean, they are pulled out and under by the waves. The lifeguard swims out and saves them by pulling them in to the shore. The person does not, then, turn around and run back into the ocean.
For if you live according to your old nature, you will certainly die; but if, by the Spirit, you keep putting to death the practices of the body, you will live. All who are led by God's Spirit are God's sons.
This passage plainly shows us the second function of the Holy Spirit in the life of a Christian. That is the Spirit is to lead us in our daily lives. That leading (and our following) will allow us to "put to death the misdeeds of the body". That leading is for every part of our daily walk from what we eat to what we say and do, as well as where we go.
For you did not receive a spirit of slavery to bring you back again into fear; on the contrary, you received the Spirit, who makes us sons and by whose power we cry out, "Abba!" (that is, "Dear Father!"). The Spirit himself bears witness with our own spirits that we are children of God;
Many people walk around every day in fear of different things but the only thing that anyone in this world should fear is God. But, we who have the Holy Spirit do not have a reason to fear anyone or anything. As children of God, we know that he is for us so who or what can stand against us?
and if we are children, then we are also heirs, heirs of God and joint-heirs with the Messiah - provided we are suffering with him in order also to be glorified with him.
Since we are his children, we are also his heirs and that means that we share in the trials and suffering of this world. It seems that many people are happy with the blessings of God but are not prepared for the persecution that comes with being identified as a Christian.
I don't think the sufferings we are going through now are even worth comparing with the glory that will be revealed to us in the future. The creation waits eagerly for the sons of God to be revealed;
Our sufferings in the here and now do not compare to the wonderful that is to come. Well, that is all fine and dandy but, as people struggling with the flesh, we aren't really happy with many of the things that we face each day. We go around trying to put a smile on instead of just admitting that this life is not easy but its gonna get better for us, as Christians, when he comes back. Every struggle is an opportunity to be a witness of God's grace to those around us.
for the creation was made subject to frustration - not willingly, but because of the one who subjected it. But it was given a reliable hope that it too would be set free from its bondage to decay and would enjoy the freedom accompanying the glory that God's children will have.
In Genesis 1, God created all things and it was good. Death and decay entered that perfect world through the disobedience of one man. Since that time, even the earth has longed to go back to perfect harmony with God. That day is coming when all things will be made new and freed from the bondage of sin and death (see Revelation 21).
We know that until now, the whole creation has been groaning as with the pains of childbirth; and not only it, but we ourselves, who have the firstfruits of the Spirit, groan inwardly as we continue waiting eagerly to be made sons - that is, to have our whole bodies redeemed and set free.
All of the earth and everything in it was tainted by sin and is waiting to be renewed. We, who have the Holy Spirit, look for the day to come when we will have our new bodies. These new bodies will no longer face the struggle with the flesh but will be completely free from the effects of that sin.
It was in this hope that we were saved. But if we see what we hope for, it isn't hope - after all, who hopes for what he already sees? But if we continue hoping for something we don't see, then we still wait eagerly for it, with perseverance.
Many have been confused by this passage and got the idea that Paul is talking about a hope of salvation but that is not what he is saying. We are saved and we know it because of the daily presence of the Holy Spirit in our lives. The hope that he is talking about is the hope of our resurrected bodies when Yeshua comes back to get us. We patiently wait and hope for that day to come soon!
Similarly, the Spirit helps us in our weakness; for we don't know how to pray the way we should. But the Spirit himself pleads on our behalf with groanings too deep for words; and the one who searches hearts knows exactly what the Spirit is thinking, because his pleadings for God's people accord with God's will.
In situations where we do not even know how to put into words our requests, the Holy Spirit communicates with the Father on our behalf. The Spirit always knows the will of God and so speaks on our behalf giving us comfort and guidance as needed. It is so awesome to know that God loves us so much that he made a way for us to communicate with him even when we do not have the ability to do so on our own.
Furthermore, we know that God causes everything to work together for the good of those who love God and are called in accordance with his purpose;
God has a plan for everything and, as his children, we know that he wants what is best for us. We know that his hand, as sustainer of all things, is at work and we can trust in him.
because those whom he knew in advance, he also determined in advance would be conformed to the pattern of his Son, so that he might be the firstborn among many brothers;
We are all being made anew into the likeness of Yeshua Messiah. That is quite simply what it is to grow in the faith. This growth is a partnership where God completes the transformation in us as we listen and follow his leading.
and those whom he thus determined in advance, he also called; and those whom he called, he also caused to be considered righteous; and those whom he caused to be considered righteous he also glorified!
In the beginning, God knew the entire plan of salvation and he even knew who would accept his grace and who would reject Yeshua. Those he knew were going to accept it, were gently called to put their trust in him. This has been used as an excuse for not sharing the gospel as many have said that God knows those who need to hear and will accept it. That is true that God knows but we do not and so we must scatter the seed in every direction and trust God to cause it to grow and bring the harvest. We also see that those that have been justified (declared not guilty of sin because Yeshua took it upon himself) have also been glorified. That glorified speaks to the fact that people can see the light of Yeshua in you when you have been set free by the gift of grace through Yeshua Messiah.
What, then, are we to say to these things? If God is for us, who can be against us?
Keeping in mind that the creator of all things has done all of this on our behalf, Paul asks the question of who can oppose us? This can help to strengthen us as we face daily obstacles in our walk with the Lord. No matter what, Yeshua said that he would never leave or forsake us.
He who did not spare even his own Son, but gave him up on behalf of us all - is it possible that, having given us his Son, he would not give us everything else too?
What could be of more value than your only child? Most of us would say that there is nothing short of our salvation that is more important. With that in mind, we can remember that God sent his only son to pay for our sins. If he would not hold back what is dearest to him, then, why can't we accept and expect that he will provide all the things that we need? He gave his best so why wouldn't he give us the rest?
So who will bring a charge against God's chosen people? Certainly not God - he is the one who causes them to be considered righteous!
God has declared us not guilty as the crime (our sins) were put on Yeshua Messiah. If God has declared this, then, who has the authority to bring us to trial again? The simple answer is that nobody can do it. But, Satan (our accuser) will try to get us to think that he can and he will try to get us to accuse ourselves. Our defense is to rest in what Yeshua has done on our behalf.
Who punishes them? Certainly not the Messiah Yeshua, who died and - more than that - has been raised, is at the right hand of God and is actually pleading on our behalf!
The only one that has been appointed to judge in matters of salvation is Yeshua Messiah. That judgement is put off until the day of our death or until he comes back (whichever comes first). At that time, those that have rejected his grace will be condemned. Even now, he speaks to the Father in heaven on our behalf.
Who will separate us from the love of the Messiah? Trouble? Hardship? Persecution? Hunger? Poverty? Danger? War? As the Tanakh puts it, "For your sake we are being put to death all day long, we are considered sheep to be slaughtered."
In his normal style, Paul asks a question and then gives its answer. Here, he asks who or what can separate us from Yeshua Messiah and the answer is nothing. He quotes from Psalm 44 as a reminder that no matter what we are going through we can walk through it victoriously with Yeshua. It is for the glory of God that we live and do everything and that includes going through the tough times.
No, in all these things we are superconquerors, through the one who has loved us. For I am convinced that neither death nor life, neither angels nor other heavenly rulers, neither what exists nor what is coming, neither powers above nor powers below, nor any other created thing will be able to separate us from the love of God which comes to us through the Messiah Yeshua, our Lord.
Though the world sees us as "sheep to be slaughtered", Paul says we are even more than survivors or conquerors. Our identity is in Yeshua Messiah and so we are sons of the most high God. We are the owners of everything through our relationship with him.