Romans 7:20-8:9comment (0)
July 8, 2012
By Kenneth B.E. Roxburgh
Related Scripture: Romans 7:20-8:9
Bible Studies for Life
Chair and Armstrong Professor of Religion, Samford University
Every football, baseball or basketball team wants to win. It does not matter at what level teams are playing: high school, college or a professional league. Paul was also aware of the continual struggle that we face to overcome the trials and temptations of life and our need of victory.
We Face an Inner Battle 7:20–25
In very realistic ways Paul confesses that “… if I do what I do not want … sin dwells within me.” This often overwhelmed Paul, and at the end of the chapter he cries out, “Wretched man that I am! Who will rescue me from this body of death?”
It is crystal clear that Paul desires nothing other than living a life of obedience. He says that he “delights in the law of God.” His inner longing is to be holy in his attitudes and actions, but he is also aware of the struggle that exists in his nature between the work of the Spirit and the desires of his sinful self. Yet Paul does not despair. Heknows that in and through Jesus Christ and the work of the Holy Spirit he can know victory.
The Spirit Helps Us Find Victory 8:1–4
Romans 8 is filled with assurance of the love of God toward His people despite the fact that we often stumble and fall. It begins with the assurance that there is no condemnation for those who are in Christ Jesus, and it ends with a confident celebration that “nothing will ever separate us from the love of God in Christ Jesus our Lord.”
The phrase “in Christ” is used by Paul more than 150 times in his letters to describe the reality of our relationship with the Savior. The bond of the union a believer has with Christ is the person of the Holy Spirit.
In Romans 5, Paul told the church in Rome that “God has poured out his love into our hearts through the gift of the Holy Spirit.” The Holy Spirit is also the one who enables us to know the presence and power of God in our lives. There is nothing too sinful for the Spirit to cleanse or too weary for the Spirit to refresh or too dead for the Spirit to breathe life into again. The Spirit comes to inspire joy, love and holiness in our hearts. He fills our hearts with singing to enable us to celebrate God’s grace, not with a sense of defeat but of ultimate triumph.
The Spirit Lives Within Us Romans 8:5–9
Paul not only encourages us in these verses but he challenges us to live, not according to the flesh but according to the Spirit. This will involve the believer setting his mind on the things of the Spirit.
Paul knew that temptation often begins with the things we think about, stimulated by the books, articles and magazines we read as well as the movies and television programs we watch. We should not be surprised if our minds are tempted to think of things that are unworthy and impure if we are captivated by the things of this world rather than those of Christ.
One way we set our mind onthe things of Christ is to be submissive to the ministry and teaching of the Spirit who enables us to long to live our lives according to His laws of freedom and liberty and thus bring pleasure to God.
One of the loveliest of all descriptions of believers is found in the Old Testament when we read of people like Enoch who “walked with God.” We can only walk with God when we are in step with His heart, when the things of the Spirit are imprinted on our minds and hearts. So we pray the words of this hymn:
Breath on me, breathe of God;
Fill me with life anew,
That I may love what Thou dost love,
And do what Thou wouldst do.