It will help you greatly to read the above text several times and underline every reference to the Holy Spirit. Take special note of the indwelling work of the Holy Spirit in the life of the believer. To “dwell” (Oikeo/gk) means to “be at home,” “to take up residence.”
THE GRACE-AGE BELIEVER HAS A NEW POSITION: 8:9a
The believer in Jesus Christ has many new things: life, name, family, destiny, purpose, meaning, definition, citizenship, riches and inheritance. All of this is due to his new position.
Negatively speaking—”not in the flesh.”
Positively speaking our new position is “in the Spirit.” This new position is illustrated elsewhere in the Bible as …
- A contrast of our (old position) in Adam with our (new position) in Christ (1 Cor. 15:22).
- A contrast of our (old position) in the Kingdom of Darkness of God’s dear Son (Col. 1:13); and
- A contrast of putting off the old man with putting on the new man.
This new position is where the believer belongs; like a fish belongs in water, like a bird belongs in the air, so the believer belongs “in the Spirit.” However, this is only one side of positional truth.
THE HOLY SPIRIT HAS A NEW POSITION IN THE GRACE-AGE BELIEVER: 8:9b & 11
This is the doctrine of the Holy Spirit’s indwelling. Several beneficial features of the Holy Spirit’s indwelling are easily seen in our text.
- The indwelling presence of the Holy Spirit gives witness to the reality of salvation (8:9b, 15-16). This is the best assurance there is of personal salvation. The presence of the Holy Spirit is to the believer what the heartbeat is to the body, the breath is to the body, and the brain waves are to the body.
- The indwelling presence of the Holy Spirit is a universal and unique gift among all believers of this present Dispensation of Grace (Rom. 8:8-9, 23; cf., 1 Cor. 2:12; 6:11-20; 2 Cor. 5:5).
(1) What may be said of one believer, must be said of all believers, not just a special class of some very holy Christians.
(2) All believers have the Holy Spirit indwelling them; however, all have not entered into the fullness of the Holy Spirit’s blessing.
(3) Receiving the Holy Spirit’s indwelling presence is not a matter of tarrying, praying through, begging for, praying for, fasting, being baptized, or meeting certain religious conditions, but, rather, it is faith in Christ. The Holy Spirit’s indwelling of believers is consistent with the principles of grace. Just as salvation is received by faith alone in the finished work of Christ, so God the Holy Spirit comes and indwells at the moment of faith in Christ.
- The indwelling presence of the Holy Spirit means a revived human spirit (Rom. 8:10). The believer is indwelt by both the Holy Spirit and Christ.
(1) Christ indwells: Rom. 8:10; Gal. 2:20; 2 Cor. 13:5; Col. 1:27—”Christ in you the hope of glory.”
(2) Holy Spirit indwells: Rom. 8:9; 1 Cor. 3:16; 6:19-20; Gal. 4:6.
(3) The point we are making is this: to have either is to have life! “He that hath the Son hath life…” (1Jn. 5:12). “It is the Spirit that quickeneth; the flesh profiteth nothing …” and “…that which is born of the Spirit is Spirit” (Jn. 6:63; 3:6).
(4) So, it is in our text that the Holy Spirit’s presence means a revived human spirit. Those sinners who were once SPIRITually dead are now SPIRITually alive to God (“quickened”).
(5) Genesis 2:17: two deaths occurred immediately, the result being that man lost fellowship with God in time.
(6) What died? Body? Soul? Spirit? Answer: the human spirit. Man lost his capacity to love, know, appreciate or serve God!
(7) We learn two things: (a) The human spirit died, and (b) the human spirit is that which enables man to understand heavenly things (cf., Rom. 5:12; 1 Cor. 2:13-15; Eph. 2:1; 4:18). NOT ONLY THAT BUT …
- The indwelling presence of the Holy Spirit means the eventual resurrection of our mortal bodies (8:11). This resurrection of our bodies is described in 1 Corinthians 15:35-58.
- The indwelling presence of the Holy Spirit obligates the “Grace-Age” believer (Rom. 8:12-13) to: (1) live controlled by the power and presence of the Holy Spirit—not Law keeping (Eph. 5:1,18); and (2) give out the Gospel (Rom. 1:14-15).
- The indwelling presence of the Holy Spirit provides victory over the lusts of the flesh. All believers have areas where the flesh tempts them. These desires are called lusts and may manifest themselves as an approbation lust, a materialism lust, a power or sexual lust (cf., Col. 3:5; Rom. 8:13; cf., Zech. 4:6; Acts 1:8; Rom. 7:6; 2 Cor. 3:5-6). The question of Romans 7: “Who shall deliver me?” is again answered here!
(1) We are not to let the flesh dominate us (Rom. 6:6-14).
(2) Dear Christian friend, when we grow tired of dead fruit (Rom. 7:4-6), and tired of defeat, we need to remember that the gift of the indwelling Holy Spirit, in this Dispensation of the Grace of God, makes a unique and powerful ministry available to us (Rom. 7:15-8:2).
(3) God’s will and work can’t be done in the energy of the flesh (Gal. 5:6; 6:15; Jn. 15:4).
(4) The indwelling presence of the Holy Spirit means that Divine guidance is available to believers (Rom. 8:5, 14; Gal. 5:25; Acts 20:22-24; 21:10-11).
If there is an indwelling, there should be an out flowing. When one is under the control of the indwelling Holy Spirit, there will be an out flow (cf., Eph. 5:18-6:9). This is a major goal of the Christian life. God forbid that we should ever be content with a knowledge of doctrine without the practical out flow of it in our daily lives.