“Wrestling With Romans”
Where the Spirit is, there is Freedom! (Chapter 8 Verses 1-17)
The hope brings responsibility, obligation, but not to the sinful nature (vv12-13). If we are spiritual people, born of God’s Spirit, children, heirs of heaven and the glories of Christ, can we seriously live contrary to all that? Well if you do, you will die, says Paul. The very reason we embraced the gospel by faith is that we might escape death, so shall we run back into this tunnel of darkness, by living contrary to the gospel? No way! We are given a very powerful motive for living, staying free (v2), enjoying life and peace through the Holy Spirit (v6). We are a people who are indebted to God through Jesus Christ, the great thing that has been done for us, the huge cost of setting us free, and the massive debt that has been cleared. There is the Father’s electing love, the obedient love of Jesus Christ, not to mention the powerful, gracious operations of the Holy Spirit upon and in our souls. Therefore, because of this, we desire to be done with sin, to live a life of holiness before God. That means a deliberate turning of our backs upon sin, something that we ourselves are involved in (2Corinthians 7.1), holiness is something we have to pursue, make every effort to obtain (Hebrews 12.14). It is a life and work of gratitude, thankfulness for what has been given to and done for us.
Yet it is something that we do not, or ever will accomplish on our own (v13), we have been set free (v2), we have life and peace (v6), we have been made alive (v10), how? By the Spirit who raised Jesus. By the self-same strength of that Person, we are to kill the misdeeds of the body. It is only through a loving, grateful submission to the Lord that any sin will ever be properly and thoroughly dealt with. Many of us I am sure have experienced certain sins we thought had been dealt with, rising up again and again. But when God the Holy Spirit has dealt with them, they stay dealt with. They are dead and buried. Is it not true that many Christians go for a long time in sheer bondage to a particular sin, chained, quietly, secretly ashamed, dreading that anyone should ever know their dark secret, in agony. Well Jesus died that we his people should be free, and the way we are made free, remain free, and go on breaking the bondage of sin in our lives, is by the power of the Holy Spirit. There is more wickedness and secret sin in Churches today as anywhere else, as a Christian do not be afraid of the person of the Holy Spirit, you need his help. He is your very best Friend and Counsellor (John 14.16).
(© James R Hamilton, written September, 1997)