“Wrestling With Romans”
Now I Belong to Jesus (Chapter 8 Verses 1-17)
The Christian, however, is here singled out by this you (v9). The Christian is in a different dimension altogether, living in the new spiritual nature and realm. Paul judges none of his readers, he allows them to do that, and here is the yardstick for doing so. The heart in which God’s Spirit lives (John 14.20) both hears his voice, and senses his promptings and is thus empowered to follow his directions by the strength the Spirit supplies. But of course, the power of God’s Spirit is the very opposite of the old sin power, and so it is easy to tell by which you are empowered. If your heart is the home of God’s Spirit, he will so order it to his liking, just as you do with any place you chose to make your home. You decorate it, you modify and arrange things to your liking well so does the Holy Spirit. There are things he will throw out, things he will enhance and beautify things that he will change and transform completely. This is of course is an ongoing work, stamping the place with his own mark of ownership, adorning it and using it to his own taste and resisting all intruders. That should be the delight of all who name the name of Jesus, who call him Lord:
To know the King of grace,
His life and risen power;
Him to adore, His name to praise,
A heart by Him ruled o’er. (James R. Hamilton).
The negative follows, if the Spirit of Christ does not live in you, you do not belong to Jesus (v9b). It is having the person of the Spirit that causes someone to be a Christian. Now, we know, do we not, if we have a person or not, if he has taken up residence within us or not (1John 5.19-20). But you see here is the very essence of Christianity, it is nothing to do with doing, it is all to do with being. It is what we are or rather what God has made us. What are you inside, in your heart, that is what Paul is saying, it matters not what you are doing outwardly, what matters is whose are you inwardly? That is a simple test, the touchstone of power rather than talk (1Corinthians 4.20), the test of an essential godly life-style rather than the form (2Timothy 3.5-7). No Person, no power (Matthew 22.29; John 5.37-40). It is on such our faith must rest (1Corinthians 2.4-5). Because, all other ground is sinking sand (Luke 6.46-49).
(© James R Hamilton, written September, 1997)