Life in the Spirit
September 16, 2018
Columnist Sydney Harris rightly summarized the feelings of many of us when he observed, “Our dilemma is that we hate change and love it at the same time; what we really want is for things to remain the same but get better.” Yup. That’s me.
However, a little reflection will tell us that we not only need change, but we also benefit from change. Consider what life was like in the past — not in the distant past (the time of Moses, or the Greek or Roman Empires), but even the recent past, just a scant 100 years ago.
Aren’t you glad some things have changed? And as significant as some of those changes were, the changes that are produced in the believer by the Holy Spirit of God are even more significant. In Romans 8, Paul details the transformation that happens in a believer through the Spirit. These are realities for every believer and they are gifts of grace that reveal our secure position in Christ. We can summarize what Paul says in verses 5-8 this way:
When the Spirit of God saves someone, he is entirely changed — from the inside out.
I find what Ray Ortlund, Jr. says to be helpful and hopeful —
“When God’s grace opens a window into the sin-darkened prison of your soul, a shaft of pure light falls on your uplifted face. You see everything in a new way, and you can never be the same again. Before God came, you just tried to make the best of your prison, pretty much the way everyone else does. You bought your pleasures there. You built your life there. You even cultivated your religion there. But when the life of God enters your soul through the Holy Spirit, you come to realize that there is more for you than anything this world can offer. Your soul opens up to a whole new world.”[Supernatural Living for Natural People, Kindle 485-9.]
In these verses, Paul identifies four ways that the Spirit of God changes an individual when he is saved by the Spirit through Christ —
- We Have a New Mindset (v. 5)
- We were controlled by the flesh
- We are controlled by the Spirit
- We Have a New Position (v. 6)
- We were dead
- We are alive
- We are at peace
- We Have a New Ability (v. 7)
- We were unable to obey God
- We are able to obey God
- We Have a New Desire (v. 8)
- We did not desire to please God
- We now have a desire to please God
Download the rest of this sermon on Romans 8:5-8.
The audio will be posted on the GBC website by tomorrow.