Life in the Spirit
1 So now there is no condemnation for those who belong to Christ Jesus. 2 And because you belong to him, the power[a] of the life-giving Spirit has freed you[b] from the power of sin that leads to death. 3 The law of Moses was unable to save us because of the weakness of our sinful nature.[c] So God did what the law could not do. He sent his own Son in a body like the bodies we sinners have. And in that body God declared an end to sin’s control over us by giving his Son as a sacrifice for our sins. 4 He did this so that the just requirement of the law would be fully satisfied for us, who no longer follow our sinful nature but instead follow the Spirit.
5 Those who are dominated by the sinful nature think about sinful things, but those who are controlled by the Holy Spirit think about things that please the Spirit. 6 So letting your sinful nature control your mind leads to death. But letting the Spirit control your mind leads to life and peace. 7 For the sinful nature is always hostile to God. It never did obey God’s laws, and it never will. 8 That’s why those who are still under the control of their sinful nature can never please God.
9 But you are not controlled by your sinful nature. You are controlled by the Spirit if you have the Spirit of God living in you. (And remember that those who do not have the Spirit of Christ living in them do not belong to him at all.) 10 And Christ lives within you, so even though your body will die because of sin, the Spirit gives you life[d] because you have been made right with God. 11 The Spirit of God, who raised Jesus from the dead, lives in you. And just as God raised Christ Jesus from the dead, he will give life to your mortal bodies by this same Spirit living within you.
12 Therefore, dear brothers and sisters,[e] you have no obligation to do what your sinful nature urges you to do. 13 For if you live by its dictates, you will die. But if through the power of the Spirit you put to death the deeds of your sinful nature,[f] you will live. 14 For all who are led by the Spirit of God are children[g] of God.
15 So you have not received a spirit that makes you fearful slaves. Instead, you received God’s Spirit when he adopted you as his own children.[h] Now we call him, “Abba, Father.”[i] 16 For his Spirit joins with our spirit to affirm that we are God’s children. 17 And since we are his children, we are his heirs. In fact, together with Christ we are heirs of God’s glory. But if we are to share his glory, we must also share his suffering.
Sometimes it seems like Paul is very repetitive – and he is. Paul is very, very carefully laying down the groundwork of Christianity and what it means, almost in the same way a lawyer would put his case before the people. Paul says, “We are sinners, all of us.” But it’s not just enough to say that, he lays down before the people all of the evidence of our sin. He talks about faith and what that looks like and uses examples to clearly spell it out. He systematically takes apart even the most trivial arguments that people knit together about why it is ok to continue sinning.
This section continues to be more of Paul’s discussion on sinful nature. He acknowledges that we struggle with it, but he reminds us that we can choose what we want to be captivated by. If we put ourselves fully in the world, we will be slaves to the world. But if we receive the Holy Spirit and believe in Jesus, we are not only FREED of the worldly things that hold us captive (greed, lust, anger, etc), but we are ADOPTED as God’s children. It’s not just that Jesus calls us His friend and let’s us hang out in His house – He makes us his CHILDREN so that we are heirs to God’s glory.
I think the idea of calling God Father can be terrifying to some people. Our own earthly and biological fathers can fall short of God’s glory, just like we do. Unfortunately that taints how we view God when we look through the lenses of our experience with our dads. I am learning more and more that I need to find ways to appropriately think of God based on what I know about Him in the BIble, and not attribute characteristics to God just because of my own experiences. Don’t get me wrong, I love my own dad, but I think my view of God can be wrongly tainted just through my experiences with all kinds of people I encounter.