Joy in a New Reality
Please read Romans 8:6-11
In this text Paul believes that here and now humans can live in the Spirit (verse 9). Paul believes that this new reality is not something people dream about in their heads, or must work hard to pretend that they are living in. It is not a reality that exists somewhere else or in the future. Paul is certain that it is real, it is here, and it is now. Paul is convinced that because of Christ’s life, death, and resurrection that a new reality exists. This is not to say that people continuously have occurrences of Spiritual gifts, such as speaking in tongues or prophesying. It is to say that believers in Christ live in a new environment, a new place with new reality structures. Instead of living a life structured by sin and death, we can live in one structured by Christ, by the Spirit, by life. We can live in the Spirit because we are “in Christ Jesus” (8:1).
The “flesh” here I this text refers not to the skin of our bodies but to a way of living, in a universe that is dominated by death (verse 6). The “flesh” is for Paul a force, that works alongside sin and death. The purpose of the ‘Flesh’ is to produce death and hostility to God (verses 6 and 7). The ‘Flesh’ seeks to confine people in a way of life that has everything to do with death. Paul helps us to recognize that because we are “in Christ” we have been unshackled from the “flesh”; we do not need to live our lives that are turned towards death and away from God. Because of Christ’s life, death and resurrection, and by virtue of living “in Christ,” people are liberated from the “flesh” and freed to live in the Spirit.
We need to open our eyes even though we are already believers -- to the reality of where we are. We are in the Spirit and so we can allow our deepest desires and the focus our lives to be about God’s life and peace.
The Spirit is in us. It is the Spirit of God that lives in us (verses 9, 11). In this new reality, God has made available God’s own Spirit through the work of his own Son. God’s Spirit is the Spirit of life and of the power of life. The Spirit of the one who raised Jesus from the dead dwells in believers (verse 11a). The power of God’s Spirit is such that even the inevitable deaths of our bodies cannot deny the life of God’s Spirit. God’s Spirit will give life to our bodies in the same way as God’s Spirit did to Christ’s body.
Rev Dr. Claudella (CJ) Koen Th.D M.Div MAR
Kemper Road Christian Church
Forest Park OH
The full Lenten Devotional Booklet can be downloaded by clicking HERE.