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Spirit-filled Presbyterians.

Romans 8:1-13

Paul continued to flesh out the blessings of our relationship with the living God we now have through faith in Jesus Christ.

He did so by writing of our new, vibrant life in the Spirit. And he did so in such a way that should encourage all of us to be Spirit-filled believers. Experiencing a vibrant, fruitful, new life in Christ is one of the core passions of NCF Sac.

Faith in Christ leads us to a place where we can experience His abundant life as He meets our needs, satisfies our desires, heals our wounds, and pours His purpose and meaning into our lives through the Holy Spirit.

In that sense, we hope to be Spirit-filled Presbyterians or Baptists or Methodists or Presbyterians, etc.

What does this passage reveal concerning the Spirit-filled life?

It’s a life that begins with a double helping of God’s amazing, lavish grace.

It’s life directed by the desires of the Spirit.

It’s life with the distinct hope of the gospel.

It’s a life spent discharging our debt to God’s mercy.

It’s a life that begins with a double helping of God’s amazing, lavish grace. There is therefore now no condemnation for those who are in Christ Jesus.

The Spirit-filled life begins with the new birth, leading us to faith in our redeemer Jesus Christ that results in a perfect, permanent standing before the living God.

In other words, we’re not, nor will we ever be viewed as guilty because of our sin and thus the object of God’s judgment.

In this way, the Spirit-filled life begins with an attitude of absolute security in our relationship with God.

And it’s not a grudging security, but rather God’s joyful delight that we’re His deeply and dearly loved children.

Vss. 2-4 spells out why God will never again view us as guilty even though we’re well aware of our sin. We’re no longer guilty and under God’s condemnation due to a double helping of His grace through our Redeemer, Jesus Christ. For what the law was powerless to do because it was weakened by the flesh, God did by sending his own Son in the likeness of sinful flesh to be a sin offering. And so he condemned sin in the flesh,

The double helping of God’s grace came through His one and unique Son, Jesus Christ.

Christ was conceived by the Holy Spirit in the womb of Mary while she was still a virgin. Consequently, He didn’t have a regular sinful human nature like the rest of us. However, He did have an actual flesh and blood body like ours. He had a mother, a Jewish family to whom He was related, and thus the responsibility to live up to Jewish law just like every other descendent of Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob.

Christ did that without flaw and thus earned as an actual human man a perfect permanent standing before His Father. Christ’s perfect life is our first helping of God’s amazing grace.

Having lived the perfect moral life He then offered Himself as a sin offering to pay the price of death for all those like us who are guilty of sin. Christ’s sacrificial death is the second helping of God’s amazing lavish grace.

Through His sinless life and sacrificial death, Christ condemned sin in the flesh. That is, Christ, pronounced the proper judgment on sin. Sin is evil, destructive and always leads to death. It is not and will never be the way to enjoy a full, vibrant, abundant life no more than a diet filled with processed junk food leads to vibrant physical health.

It’s life directed by the desires of the Spirit. Vss. 5-6.

Those who live according to the flesh have their minds set on what the flesh desires; but those who live in accordance with the Spirit have their minds set on what the Spirit desires. The mind governed by the flesh is death, but the mind governed by the Spirit is life and peace.

Note the words translated according, set, and governed. They speak of what drives or motivates us. And we can tell what drives us by reflecting on our thought life. The Spirit moves us to desire the things of God that bring satisfaction such as worship, a life of biblical directed morality, a tangible connection with God’s people, an active witness of Christ’s full redemption along with a commitment to have the living God impact every area of our lives.

Do we have an appetite for living God? Are we convinced that it’s in following Him through faith in Christ that our needs are met, our desires are satisfied, our wounds are healed and we experience a life of true meaning?

Look at it this way. Leading up to Thanksgiving dinner our appetites were focused on that meal and not junk food.

It’s life with the distinct hope of the gospel.  Vs. 11. And 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.

The Spirit-filled life culminates in a new Spirit-filled body of flesh and bone.

It’s in this body filled with the Spirit and our new spiritual nature that we’ll enjoy the blessings of Christ’s new society forever.

This is where the double helping of God’s amazing grace mushrooms into an entire new smorgasbord of eternal delight.

It’s a life spent discharging our debt to God’s mercy. Vss. 12-13. Therefore, brothers and sisters, we have an obligation—but it is not to the flesh, to live according to it. For if you live according to the flesh, you will die; but if by the Spirit you put to death the misdeeds of the body, you will live.

Our obligation isn’t to repay God for our redemption no more than we would expect our children to pay for the Thanksgiving dinner they enjoyed.

Our obligation is to honor God, express gratitude to Christ, and follow the Spirit as He leads us to become unresponsive to the deceptive and destructive effects of sin.  

We do so since Christ has given us a life that in some ways is like being served a supremely delicious Thanksgiving meal.