Benefits of Living in the Spirit

In chapter 7 of Romans, Paul described the futility of trying to live the Christian life without the Spirit of God. It’s no less futile than trying to earn righteousness apart from faith. We are helpless to overcome the deadly disease of sin without His unmerited favor.

Nothing will drag you more quickly toward sin than shame. Many churches preach a gospel that goes strangely silent after you believe in Jesus and only promises to speak again after death. Saved by grace but sanctified by works is not good news.
Romans 8:1 is the cardinal truth of every believer’s life in Christ. “Therefore, there is now no condemnation for those who are in Christ Jesus.” There is now no more condemnation and…

I am eternally secure in Christ.
I am internally free from the control of sin.
I am positionally righteous.

Chapter 7 showed that we have two natures struggling for control: the flesh and the Spirit. Even though the old nature never gives up, we can live with confident assurance that the Holy Spirit is stronger.

What does it mean to exist according to the flesh? A believer exists according to the flesh when they try to become righteous by trying harder. Grace declares that we are justified by faith apart from the works of the Law. However well intentioned the flesh may appear, we must never forget that it was hostile to God before we received salvation. Therefore, we are foolish to think the flesh will cooperate now.

The Spirit of God has gives those who believe the freedom to think and choose against the flesh. Even as the Spirit lives within us, we have an obligation.
Our obligation is to allow the Spirit to do good works on our behalf so that we will become more like Christ.

Having focused on the negative for long enough, Paul turns his attention to the positive.


1. I have a practical everyday leading from the Lord (8:14)
The Spirit is a gift, not a dictator. While the Lord is faithful to lead believers, most are either too distracted or too stubborn to follow, so they aren’t really going anywhere. Those who are actively following the Spirit will bear unmistakable evidence of His leading.

2. I have fearless intimacy with Christ (8:15)
Paul again highlights the good news that we are under new management. We have been freed and therefore we are free indeed. God has purchased us, the payment was the Son’s death.

He is not merely a kinder Master, He is our Abba (the Aramaic term of endearment for one’s father). We have intimacy with the Almighty Creator God. We have an obligation as sons who have a genuine stake in our daddy’s estate.

3. I have assurance of belonging to Jesus (8:16)
If the Holy Spirit speaks into the souls of His beloved sons, it’s to only say this: you are my precious child. This is the only place in the NT in which we are told that the Holy Spirit speaks in a prophetic way as a general practice. After Jesus inaugurated the new covenant, the Lord spoke through apostles and prophets until the NT canon was completed.

4. I have a continual reminder of my value before my Creator (8:17)
Through adoption, believers have become coheirs with God’s one and only Son. Through our identification with Him, we stand to inherit everything that is due Him.
Existing in the Spirit is not about what we can do for Him. The Spirit life is about what He will do on our behalf because He is a gift. So what must we do? Nothing. Quit trying so hard and just be.
Pastor Chris Williams
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