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The Spirit within

For the sinful nature is always hostile to God. It never did obey God’s laws, and it never will. That’s why those who are still under the control of their sinful nature can never please God. 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.) And Christ lives within you, so even though your body will die because of sin, the Spirit gives you life because you have been made right with God. 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. Romans 8:7-11

God wants us to have a firm grip regarding our salvation. According to Paul’s writings, the reality of the presence of the Lord is not dependent on the believer’s feelings at the moment. Christians are “in Christ” or “with Christ” according to His promise and initiative; the believers’ choice, then, is what to do about it or how to display this reality in their lives. The fact is that if you are a Christian, you are in Christ and “the Spirit of God, who raised Jesus from the dead, lives in you.” Certainly being “in the Spirit” implies control, but there must be more to it than that. Paul, from the text, provides us strong exhortations to live appropriately in the way that we were redeemed from our old life dominated by sin. Paul does not deny the fact that we struggle within between the competing obligations of the flesh and the Spirit. It is important that we Christians remember that, even living in the Spirit, not everything that seems natural is right. Even though the Christian has died to sin, the possibility of its practice, indeed the strong temptation is still very real and must continually be “put to death” (Romans 8:13). The new creation God created in us (see 2 Corinthians 5:17), does not destroy the fallen creation, but rather restores the relationship with the Creator in which we can share the power necessary to destroy the works of sin. The Spirit gives the Christian the power to say no to the sinful practices of the body when he or she is tempted to do them. A person in whom the Holy Spirit dwells should be manifesting the control of the Spirit.


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