Bible Studies for Life Sunday School Lesson for June 19

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By Roy Ciampa, Ph. D.
Professor of Religion, Samford University

INDWELT BY THE SPIRIT

Romans 8:9–17

To be a child of God is to have the Spirit of God. To have the Spirit of God is to be a child of God. God’s presence and power, God’s Spirit, lives within everyone who trusts in Christ.

The Holy Spirit indwells every believer. (9–11)

Paul refers to the Holy Spirit as the Spirit, the Spirit of God and the Spirit of Christ. Then he refers to Christ being in you.

Paul can refer to the Spirit in these different ways because when we trust in Christ, He comes and dwells in us in the person of the Holy Spirit.

When Paul says we are not in the flesh but in the Spirit, he refers to what theologians call an eschatological dualism: a contrast between this present evil age in which the flesh (our fallen nature) tends to prevail in our lives, and the age to come which we are introduced to by the Spirit so we can live godly lives through God’s promised presence and power.

To be in the Spirit is a blessing known only by those who have come to faith in Christ.

In fact, the presence of the Spirit is confirmation we belong to Christ.

Once the Spirit indwells us, we continue to struggle with our various temptations which Paul has in mind when he says, “The body is dead because of sin.”

But the Spirit empowers us to prevail over our temptations. The Spirit gives life because of righteousness. God gives us the Spirit and new life thanks to Christ’s righteousness. He does that so we will also live righteous lives. That is what Ezekiel 36:27 indicated God would do one day.

He who raised Jesus from the dead raises us from our spiritual death and one day will raise our bodies from the dead. Jesus’ story of going from death to life and of passing through suffering on the way to glory is also destined to be our story.

The Holy Spirit leads every believer. (12–14)

The flesh and the Spirit struggle within each Christian. If we resist the Spirit’s work in our lives, then the flesh, our sinful nature, will govern our behavior.

A life marked by the flesh leads to death. But our obligation as Christians is to yield ourselves to the Spirit who has given us new life so we will reject the flesh (“put to death the deeds of the body”) and reflect Christ’s life in us. Living the life of the Spirit in the present leads to the resurrection life of the Spirit in the end. As God’s children we should be recognized by the leading of God’s Spirit in our lives.

The Holy Spirit affirms every believer is a child of God. (15–17)

Paul explains the nature of the Spirit we have received. He is not a spirit of slavery but the Spirit of Adoption. That is, the true nature of the Spirit we have received is the opposite of slavery. He brings about our spiritual liberation from the oppressive power of sin and death. We can know we are God’s children because the Spirit who lives inside of us cries out to the Father the same way Jesus did (Mark 14:36). The Father recognizes the voice of His Son within us and thus recognizes each one of us as His children as well.

And since we are God’s children, and Christ is God’s Son,  we are promised all the riches of God’s kingdom and its blessings, beginning with His only Son. If you are a Christian, you are never alone, and you are not without spiritual resources. The Spirit provides God’s empowering presence in each moment of your life.