WALKING AND LIVING BY AND IN THE SPIRIT | Understanding Romans 8:1-11

To walk in the Spirit doesn’t mean to do good works, it means yielding ourselves to the leading of the Spirit which of course will result in doing good works. For example, my body wants to go to swimming pool but I have a leading to go and preach the gospel to certain people, I will have to suppress my desires and do the demands of the Spirit. Perhaps, I saw myself is a very bad situation, my flesh may give me reasons to live in fear but I will respond back with God’s word which says “the Lord is with me”… I am subjecting my flesh to the leading of the Spirit. I will keep taming my flesh until it becomes normal to always respond to God’s spirit more quickly. Sometimes people want to use certain verses in Romans 8 to make us think that living by the Spirit means struggling to do things right! To live by the Spirit is not the same thing with “being led by the Spirit”. Let’s look at some verses and have a brief study.

Verse 1 says “Therefore there is now no condemnation for those who are in Christ Jesus.”

I came across a Christian who was teaching people that to be in Christ means to do good works. We are not trying to push out the importance of good works but we shouldn’t be teaching false doctrines based on it. HOW CAN WE BE IN CHRIST JESUS? It is by believing in Christ Jesus as our saviour (John 3:16, 2 Corinthians 5:21), we don’t come to Christ by doing any works… We don’t remain in Christ by doing any works. Our works cannot sponsor us to stand right with God.

Verse 2 says “For in Christ Jesus the law of the Spirit of life has set you free from the law of sin and death”

In Christ, we have been set free from the Law of sin and death! The law of sin comes with death but the law of the Spirit of life has set us free from that death! The wages of sin is death, which is what is obtainable from the law of sin! But the gift of God is eternal life; this is obtainable from the law of the Spirit of life. The law of the Spirit of life would say “come unto me all ye who are heavily burdened and I will give you rest”.

Verse 3 says “For what the Law was powerless to do in that it was weakened by the flesh, God did by sending His own Son in the likeness of sinful man, as an offering for sin. He thus condemned sin in the flesh”

Jesus was condemned for my sake. What I couldn’t do because my flesh is powerless to do them, God sent Jesus to make up for it and Jesus declared “it is finished”… That is how my freedom story began! I was supposed to die because of my sins but Jesus took it up from me and died my death so that I can live His life.

Verse 4 says “so that the righteous standard of the Law might be fulfilled in us, who do not live according to the flesh but according to the Spirit.”

You see that? My life is no longer according to the flesh but according to the Spirit. God’s standard has been fulfilled in my spirit because I do not live according to the flesh but according to the Spirit! Living by the Spirit and walking by the spirit are two different things. I can only walk by the Spirit because I am now living by the Spirit. When I walk by the Spirit, I am allowing the life I live in the Spirit to come into reality in the physical. My good works are results of who I am and not the results of who I should become.

Verse 5 says “Those who live according to the flesh set their minds on the things of the flesh, but those who live according to the Spirit set their minds on the things of the Spirit.”

This is an outline of the difference that has come to be! What I do is different because of how I live. My mind is set on the things of the Spirit because I live according to the spirit. Why are we discussing this SPIRITUAL matter today? Unbelievers don’t care about these things! It is irrelevant to them. They are only concerned with the things of the flesh.

Verse 6, 7&8 says “The mind of the flesh is death, but the mind of the Spirit is life and peace because the mind of the flesh is hostile to God: It does not submit to God’s Law, nor can it do so. Those controlled by the flesh cannot please God”

We see further that the mind of the flesh isn’t friendly to God, it lives opposite to what God demands! It doesn’t submit to God’s law and it cannot do so. Those are controlled by the flesh cannot please God in any way! But then verse 9 assures me that

“You, however, are controlled not by the flesh, but by the Spirit, if the Spirit of God lives in you. And if anyone does not have the Spirit of Christ, he does not belong to Christ.”

You see that? Once we have the Spirit of Christ, we belong to Christ and Jesus said in John 10:28-30 that nobody can pluck us out of his hands! This is an assurance of my place in Christ.

Verse 10 continues “But if Christ is in you, your body is dead because of sin, yet the Spirit gives you life because of righteousness.”

Because Christ is in the believer, although the body of the believer is dead because of sin, yet the Spirit gives the believer life because of HIS own righteousness. It is God who works in us both to will and to do!

In verse 11, Paul wrote,

“And if the Spirit of Him who raised Jesus from the dead lives in you, He who raised Christ Jesus from the dead will also give life to your mortal bodies through His Spirit, who dwells within you.”

The life we live now is not our own life and it cannot be maintained by our own works. Whatever good work we do today, it is because of what God is doing in us and we have yielded ourselves to do them. A believer in Christ Jesus is saved for good works and not by good works.