Romans 8:9 You, however, are not in the flesh but in the Spirit, if in fact the Spirit of God dwells in you. Anyone who does not have the Spirit of Christ does not belong to him. 10 But if Christ is in you, although the body is dead because of sin, the spirit is alive because of righteousness. 11 If the Spirit of him who raised Jesus from the dead dwells in you, he who raised Christ Jesus from the dead will also give life to your mortal bodies through his Spirit who dwells in you.
Christians who have truly repented of their sins and believed the gospel have the choice to live according to the flesh (sin nature) or according to God’s will. Paul explained to the Roman, Jewish and Gentile, Christians how a person lives who has not repented and believed the gospel in Romans 7:14-24. The person wants to do what is right but can’t. Paul explained that sin in every person is the cause for wrong behavior. In our text today, Romans 8:9-11 Paul reminds the Christians that they are not controlled by sin (“in the flesh”) but have the power of God (“in the Spirit”) to live God’s way if the Spirit of God dwells in them. If we don’t have the Holy Spirit, then we don’t belong to God.
How do we know that we have the Holy Spirit and belong to God? Ephesians 1:13-14 instructs us that if we have believed the Gospel, then the promised Holy Spirit has been given to us. Have you repented of your sins and believed Jesus died on the cross for your sins, rose from the dead on the third day and is your Lord? If you have, then you have the Holy Spirit. If you have the Holy Spirit, your body is dead because of sin, but your spirit is alive because of righteousness. If you have the Holy Spirit you can live according to God’s will. The Holy Spirit communicates with our spirit to teach us truth and moves us to live the truth, obeying the Lord Jesus (1 Corinthians 2:12; Ezekiel 36:27; Ephesians 1:13-14, 19-20; 3:20). We can do God’s will when we let the Holy Spirit empower us. We let the Holy Spirit empower us when we attempt to do God’s will expecting God to fulfill our attempt with His power, that is, “live by faith in the Son of God” (Galatians 2:20).
Romans 8:9-11 teaches us that we need to be reminded that we can live according to God’s good, pleasing and perfect will. We can get defeated by failures to live according to the truth, but we need to remember that we can, by the power of the Holy Spirit, get back to living the truth after we let ourselves be defeated by sin. We confess our sin to God, receive His forgiveness and begin once again to live by faith in the Son of God being and doing His will 1 John 1:9; Galatians 2:20).
Please note the highlighted portions of our text for today. God, the Father and Son and Holy Spirit, lives in us. If God is living in us then we can be and do all He commands (Philippians 4:13). Don’t live a life of defeat as a Christian. Do live a life of victory by attempting to be and do God’s will expecting God to fulfill your attempt with His power. Nothing is impossible with God (Luke 1:37). Please note the highlighted “can.” We can live according to God’s good, pleasing and perfect will.