Romans 8: 9-11 (KJV)
9 But ye are not in the flesh, but in the Spirit, if so be that the Spirit of God dwell in you. Now if any man have not the Spirit of Christ, he is none of his.
10 And if Christ be in you, the body is dead because of sin; but the Spirit is life because of righteousness.
11 But if the Spirit of him that raised up Jesus from the dead dwell in you, he that raised up Christ from the dead shall also quicken your mortal bodies by his Spirit that dwelleth in you.
As we continue with our studies in the extended series of Romans chapter 8, we hope by now you’ve already found out that it is arguably the most powerful, promised-filled chapter in all the Bible. Yes! It is the greatest chapter in the Bible. You will recall that this letter to the church in Rome is regarded as Paul’s masterpiece. The entire book of Romans, although it presents Paul at his best; it also presents Paul at his deepest.
Today as we get back into Romans chapter 8, I want to journey a little bit further with you and focus on verses 9 -11. However, looking at the preceding verses; going all the way back to chapter 7 vs.1 to Romans 8 vs.11, Paul magnificently expound and untangle the relationship between the law, sin, death, the work of Jesus Christ and life in the Spirit. At the end of that argument in verse 11, Paul offers some good news. Here Paul reminds us that the same way Christ was resurrected by God from the dead, that God will also grant life to our mortal bodies. Also, these three verses paint for us a vivid picture of life in the Spirit – a portrait of the Holy Spirit at work in our lives.
I also want to take you back to verse 8. As surprising as this may sound, verse 9 follows verse 8 in more ways than one.
According to verse 8, “Those who are in the flesh cannot please God.” This is one of those definitive statements that you find in the Bible. “Those who are in the flesh…” refers to:
- “Those who are in Adam…”
- “Those who are still dead in trespasses and sins.”
- Those who are not born again.
Those who remain unconverted. Those who are still defined by the corrupt nature that is referred to by this word “flesh.”
Then in verse 9, he says, “But you, however, are not in the flesh, but in the Spirit, since the Spirit of God dwells in you.” He wanted them to be assured as well as his readers, who are Christians who are trusting in the gospel and are trusting in Jesus. He had set a pattern and it ought to be the expectation of the Christian life; we should be assured. We shouldn’t be walking around in a spirit of non-assurance about whether we’re Christians or not, whether we are saved or not or whether we’re forgiven or not. So Paul is saying, “But you…” of course, he’s implying here, “But you…” who are trusting in Jesus, you, who understand the doctrine of justification by faith alone in Jesus Christ alone should be assured.
“You, however are not in the flesh but in the Spirit.” It is very important to know who you are and to know your identity. We live in an age where there’s a great deal of misunderstanding as to how we know our identity. Worldly mindsets are operating, causing a great deal of confusion, as to answering this question, “Who are you?” Hence, the questions that are before us in these verses in the opening chapter of Romans are:
- How can I know that I’m a Christian?
- How can I know that I am a child of God?
- How can I know that the Holy Spirit is in me?”
You noticed he said, “But you are not in the flesh, but in the Spirit, since the Spirit of God dwells in you.” Here is verse 10 answering the question, “If Christ is in you, although the body is dead because of sin, the Spirit is life because of righteousness.” Our sins are forgiven. “There is no condemnation to those who are in Christ Jesus.” The guilt of sin has been taken away.
Jesus has borne our guilt and carried it away. He has satisfied the demands of divine justice; but we still live in the body. Not that the body is in itself sinful, but the body is still subject to decay, and that curse of death still remains.
Verse 10 puts dualities in the same sentence:
- Death in the same sentence as life.
- Flesh in the same sentence as Spirit.
- Lost in the same sentence as victory.
What Paul wants us to understand is that when we are alive in Christ, we have to learn to live with dualities. Daily we deal with competing forces in our lives. I am dying on the one hand, but I am alive on the other. So unless Jesus comes, and then “Those who are alive will be caught up to meet the Lord…” as Paul tells the Thessalonians, we’re all going to die.
According to verse 10, “Although the body is dead because of sin, the Spirit is life because of righteousness.” Notice that ‘Spirit’ is capitalized here. You understand, that in the Greek pneumatos – the Greek doesn’t distinguish between lower case and upper case. Sometimes it can refer to our spirit, perhaps our soul and sometimes it can refer to the Holy Spirit. Here, it’s not that the body is dead because of sin and the soul is life because of righteousness. He’s drawing the contrast between those who are in Adam and those who are in Christ. Those who are in Adam do not have the Holy Spirit and those who are in Christ have the Holy Spirit. They’re indwelt by the Spirit of Jesus. He makes it very explicit in verse 11, “If the Spirit of him who raised Jesus from the dead dwells in you.” Here, he is going back to the resurrection of Jesus. He is saying, when you become a Christian you are born again.
The question that’s far more important is – Are we alive? To further this, one may also ask how we know that we are alive. Paul says, we are alive if the default of our mindset is about Jesus. We are alive because the Holy Spirit resides in us and it is the Holy Spirit of Christ. The Holy Spirit raised Christ from the dead and you are in union with him. It’s quite staggering, isn’t it? When you think about it – that when Jesus rose from the dead, He had you and me in mind. The truth of the matter is, we don’t know how long we have to live in this world. We don’t know if whether we will be alive tomorrow; therefore, we always need to ready and prepared. The fact is the gospel gives us that readiness and makes us that prepared.
Verse 11 is the precursor to the shout in verse 38. When we get to verse 38 Paul will say since God will resurrect our bodies the same way God resurrected Jesus. Here is the good news:
- “I am persuaded that neither life nor death can separate us from the love of God.” Yes! when you die, God doesn’t stop loving you – he will not stop loving us.
Death is not the end of God’s work in your lives. God preserves our life even on the other side of death since your body is going to be raised from the dead in newness of life. You should be delighted to know that the Holy Spirit who indwells us guarantees this promise.
9 But ye are not in the flesh, but in the Spirit, if so be that the Spirit of God dwell in you. Now if any man have not the Spirit of Christ, he is none of his. — Romans 8: 9 (KJV)