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Life or Death?

Being a Christian is more than saying you agree with certain Christian teachings about sin and salvation. One is a Christian because he has been “born again.” Those who have received this spiritual birth by the Holy Spirit have their minds set on what God desires. Being a Christian is not having arrived at a certain standard of conduct for Christians. Again, it is to have a change in one’s thinking that affected the way we live.

The born again believer in Christ has an internal transformation by the Spirit of God. This dynamic change has affected his way of thinking. The born again Christian has his mind habitually set on the things of God and is pleasing Him. The unbeliever is set on the things of this sinful, selfish flesh.

The “law of the Spirit of life” (Romans 8:2) regulates and controls the Christian (v. 4). The Christian lives under a new controlling principle of his life. The Holy Spirit applies the finished work of Christ to our lives. We are not under the law because Paul tells us, “we have been put to death to the law through the body of Christ” and “have been discharged from the law” (7:7, 6).

The power of sin and the flesh ruling the believer has been once and for all decisively judged. The authority in the believer is now God the Holy Spirit. Jesus Christ has set us free from the enslaving power of sin.

The apostle Paul does not say we fulfilled the law's righteous requirement. That is impossible. "The righteous requirement of the law is fulfilled in us." That is the work of the Holy Spirit in the believer.

When we came to saving faith in Him we received the indwelling Holy Spirit, and He makes it possible for us to live in a manner we could never attain in our own strength. In the full sense only Christ has fulfilled all the law’s requirements, but when we are in Him we in our measure begin to live the kind of life that God would have us live. "Christ lives in me; and the life which I now live in the flesh, I live by faith in the Son of God. . ." Before we came to know Christ we were continually defeated by sin. Now we have a choice.

The fulfillment is “in us” who walk according to the Spirit.  Thank God that the believers are not left to live the sanctified life in their own strength. "Christ lives in me." 

The contrast Paul brings out in Romans 8:5 is those whose minds are preoccupied with the flesh, who concentrate on the flesh to the exclusion of all else. The things of God do not dominate a mind set on the flesh.

When we look at life are we concentrating on the world’s perspective, or do we see it from God’s point of view? Are we bound by the standards of this life? Is the flesh the focus of your whole life? We get a whole different view when we bring God into the picture. Is what the Holy Spirit does your absorbing interest?

When we are "walking in the Spirit" we delight to do what the Spirit chooses to do whenever He chooses to do it. It is the very opposite of a concentration on oneself, even on the service one renders to God.

Are you preoccupied with the things of the flesh? Such a mindset produces death. When the mind is set on, intent on, occupied with the Spirit there is life and peace. What am I concentrating on? When our concentration is on the the kingdom of God we respond to the leading of the Holy Spirit.

Actions reveal the heart. "As a man thinks in his heart, so is he."  What you think on reveals itself in your behavior.

The flesh brings death. The Spirit brings life. This fresh peace pervades the whole of life (5:1). Since we have the peace of God, reconciliation with Him, there is now no condemnation. The Holy Spirit produces a holy hush over the soul.

When the mind is set on the flesh it produces death because it is hostile to God and cannot please Him. The mind set on the Spirit produces life and peace.

Are you hostile to God, or do you seek to please Him with all of your heart and mind? The unbeliever “cannot please God” (v. 8). “Death” describes the non-Christian. The unbeliever is “dead in trespasses and sins.” The Christian has been made alive in Christ, the Holy Spirit. The Christian “hungers and thirsts for righteousness." Have you been made alive in Christ?

Selah!

Message by Wil Pounds (c) 2006

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(c) 2006  Message by Wil Pounds. Anyone is free to use this material and distribute it, but it may not be sold under any circumstances whatsoever without the author's written consent.

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