January 19, 2020 by

Gifts Given by Spirit Part 2

Romans 8:9-17

From the lesson last Sunday, let me mention again that there are many different ways of living the Christian life.  You can live by different ways, different formula, and different experiences. So by themselves alone, rules lead to legalism, formulas lead to mechanical Christianity, and experience alone leads to an emotional roller coaster.

Illustration: When I working on this lesson, it reminds me of my old illustration about a poor eagle living among the family of chicken since he was hatched and never know that he is an eagle. We will see how it works out in this lesson.

Rules and formulas and experience have their place. But taken alone, they lead to a sub-standard Christian life.
God has given us something better than rules, better than a formula, better than experience. God has given us the Holy Spirit.

With that as background, we turn to Romans 8:5-17 where we discover three gifts of the Holy Spirit that are given to every believer.

Last Sunday we leaned about the first gift the Holy Spirit gave us when we became his child. Now we can learn about two more gifts.

II. A New Nature (9-11)

You, however, are controlled not by the sinful nature 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. But if Christ is in you, your body is dead because of sin, yet your spirit is alive because of righteousness. And if the Spirit of him who raised Jesus from the dead is living in you, he who raised Christ from the dead will also give life to your mortal bodies through his Spirit, who lives in you.”

Verse 9 gives us a clear definition of what it means to be a Christian. A true Christian is one who has the Spirit of Christ within him. One mark of genuine Christianity is the indwelling of the Holy Spirit. He actually takes up residence inside those who know Jesus Christ. When you say, “Lord Jesus, I want you as my Savior,the Holy Spirit answers that prayer by coming into your life. The Third Person of the Trinity comes to live within you. He becomes incarnate in your life. That’s what Paul means when he uses the phrase—"in the Spirit.” To be “in the Spirit” means that the Holy Spirit himself moves into your life. He actually and literally lives within you.

These verses suggest two direct implications of this truth.

1.  First, because the Holy Spirit has given you a new nature, you actually have a brand-new life.

That’s the meaning of the phrase, "your body is dead because of sin, yet your spirit is alive because of righteousness.” The Holy Spirit makes your spirit come to life. The seeds of death have been planted in your body. That’s why it eventually wears out and dies. “The body is dead because of sin.” Your physical flesh is slowly wasting away. Yet God has placed life, eternal life, resurrection life, on the inside through the Holy Spirit. Dying on the outside, yet new life on the inside. Where death once reigned, life now reigns within.

2. Second, we have the promise of future resurrection. The Spirit who raised up Christ will one day raise up your mortal body out of the grave. Verse 11 is an explicit promise of future resurrection from the dead. The Holy Spirit who presently lives within you is like a “down payment” on God’s future deliverance. Do Christians die? Yes, we die like everyone else. But death for us is not the end. When your body is laid to rest, your spirit goes to be with Jesus. That’s not the end! When Jesus returns, your body will be raised from the dead—immortal, incorruptible, eternal, never more to die, never more to decay, never more to waste away.

By virtue of the promises of God, the work of Jesus Christ, and the indwelling Holy Spirit, when you die, you will not stay dead forever. You will one day experience a glorious resurrection. We have the promise that if God raised his Son Jesus from the dead, he will by that same Spirit raise you from the dead.

III. A New Identity (14-17)

Because those who are led by the Spirit of God are sons of God. For you did not receive a Spirit that makes you a slave again to fear, but you received the Spirit of sonship. And by him we cry, ’Abba, Father.’ The Spirit himself testifies with our spirit that we are God’s children. Now if we are children, then we are heirs—heirs of God and co-heirs with Christ, if indeed we share in his sufferings in order than we may also share in his glory.”

Paul uses two different phrases to describe believers. He calls us “sons of God” and “God’s children.” There is a slight difference, although sons are children and children are sons. The term “child of God” speaks of the intimate relationship you have with God. God’s children call him “Abba"—an Aramaic term of endearment. It means “Daddy” or “Poppa.” Because we are God’s children, we can speak to God the same way little children speak to their earthly fathers. The term “son of Godrefers to your official status within God’s family. It speaks of your privileged position. You have the official right to be a son of God.

That’s our new identity in Christ. We are now a son of God. You are no longer in the flesh; we are now in the Spirit. You no longer live according to the world; you now live according to God’s Word. You are now a blood-bought son of God.

Our text lists five privileges you have as a son of God:

1. Personal Guidance of the Holy Spirit 14

To be “led” by the Spirit is a very personal term. It means to be led by the hand, to be personally escorted by a tour guide. The Holy Spirit takes your hand and leads you through the difficulties of life. So many Christians have said, “If it had not been for the Lord, I wouldn’t have made it.” But we don’t know the half of it. When you are perplexed, you have the right to say, “Holy Spirit, please show me what to do.” “Holy Spirit, I am confused. I don’t know which way to go. I’m counting on you to lead me.” He will do it. Thank God for the leading of the Holy Spirit.

2. Freedom From Fear 15a

No more slavery, no more bondage, no more abject fear, no more living in terror. All of that is gone because we have received the “Spirit of sonship.”

3. The Right to Call God “Father" 15b

This is truly good news. You don’t have to scream at God to get his attention. You simply say, “Daddy,” and he hears your voice. You whisper his name in the darkness and he comes to your aid. A father knows when his children are speaking to him. The same is true with our heavenly Father. He hears the faintest cry of his children.

4. Inward Assurance 16

You as a believer have the right to expect that the Holy Spirit will give you inner assurance that you know Jesus Christ. This is the “peace that passes all understanding.” Is that important? You are a child of God.” When the devil whispers in your ear, the Holy Spirit speaks up from deep within your heart to testify that you are indeed a child of God.

5. Right of Heirship in God’s Family 17

You are an “heir” of God. We all understand what heirship means in human terms. My will specifies that my sons are my heirs. It specifies that after my death my sons will inherit all that I own. Why? Because I want to ensure that what I have worked for will be passed on to the members of my family. I don’t want my fortune, such as it is, to be given to people I don’t know and who have no relationship to me. God feels the same way. He wants the riches of heaven to go to the members of his family. When you trust Christ, he writes you into his will, so to speak. Not that God will ever die, He won’t!, but you are included in God’s family fortune because as a child of God you now share in the family wealth, which includes the riches of the universe. All that God has is yours in prospect … and some day will be yours in reality.

So we have three great gifts of the Spirit, a new mind, a new nature, and a new identity. That leaves us with one great obligation.

III. One Great Obligation 12-13

Therefore, brothers, we have an obligation, but it is not to the sinful nature, to live according to it. For if you live according to the sinful nature, you will die; but if by the Spirit you put to death the misdeeds of the body, you will live.”

These verses tell us two things about our obligation:

1. We owe nothing to the flesh. 12

Why don’t we owe anything to the flesh? One, because we’ve been set free from the power of the flesh. We are no longer “in the flesh” but “in the Spirit.” The flesh once controlled us, but now we are free.

You don’t have to live in the flesh any more because you don’t owe your flesh anything.

2. We owe everything to the Holy Spirit. 13

I once heard Dr. Ryrie call Romans 8:13 the most important single verse on the spiritual life in the New Testament. He liked it because it contains a beautiful balance. There is God’s part—"if by the Spirit"—and there is our part—"you put to death.Spiritual growth comes when we do our part as we rely upon the Holy Spirit’s enablement. True spirituality is neither entirely passive ("Let go and let God") nor entirely active ("I’ve got to do this all by myself"). This verse balances a moment-by-moment dependence upon the Spirit with a tough-minded attitude toward the flesh.
Is the spiritual life dependent upon God or upon me? The answer is Yes!

I cannot do it without God.
God will not do it without me.


The Christian life operates on the contact principle. Just as the Maglev train moves forward as long it stays in contact with the third rail, even so your spiritual life moves forward as you stay in constant contact with the Holy Spirit. The whole question of the Spirit-filled life resolves itself into this: Are you keeping in contact with the Holy Spirit? Your job, your only real job as a Christian, is to stay in contact with the Spirit.

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