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Romans 8:10-15 by Robert Dean
Series:Spiritual Life (2000)
Duration:1 hr 0 mins 28 secs

Two Results: Life or Death; Romans 8: 10 – 15a. Tape 11.


The three enemies to the Christian are the world, the sin – nature (flesh) and the devil. We are focusing on two:

1.  The sin nature (flesh): this is the internal enemy of the believer and is the source of all temptation.  The sin nature is not the source of sin, the volition is the source of sin, and the sin nature just tempts us to sin in terms of our area of strength and area of weakness. Sin nature is motivated by lusts patterns and those lust patterns go in one of two directions. We either trend towards lasciviousness, licentiousness and antinomianism or we trend towards legalism, asceticism and extreme morality.

2.  The World (cosmic system): this provides the ideology, the rationale, the philosophy; these are the justifications that are used to rationalize committing sins and yielding to the inclinations of the sin nature. Yet what we find in the scriptures is that the believer is to take a firm stand against these things.


There is a battle and this is the relationship between the sin nature (flesh) which has its own set of standards and the cosmic system which provides the ideological rationales to justify the sin nature and we see this coming to a head in the conflict in the believer's life in Romans chapter 8. We have a description here of two different walks, two different standards, two different results and two different inheritances in this chapter.




  1. Every believer at the instant of salvation is entered into union with Jesus Christ. This is done through what is called the baptism of God the Holy Spirit and at the instant of salvation we are identified with Christ with His death, burial and resurrection. The result is new life. This is covered in Romans 6: 1 – 4. This is what Paul refers back to in order that his readers come to a full understanding of this argument in the first three verses of Romans 8.
  2.  "There is therefore now no condemnation…" That is the argument for justification in faith alone in Christ alone.

"There is therefore now no condemnation for those who are in Christ Jesus…" By baptism of God the Holy Spirit (retroactive positional truth).


  1. "…for the law [principle] of the Spirit of life …" It is a genitive of description there, indicating that it is the Holy Spirit who is the agent of regeneration. Titus 3:5 says "it's not by works of righteousness which we have done but according to His mercy he saves us by the washing of regeneration and renewal of the Holy Spirit." So it is God the Holy Spirit who makes us a new creature in Christ through regeneration and that is also called the new birth or being born again. When an individual is born we have a body and we have a soul, but we are either lacking a human spirit or it is inoperative so that we are considered spiritually dead and cannot have a relationship with God and it is at the instant of faith alone in Christ alone that God the Holy Spirit creates in us and imparts to the believer a human Spirit and this is that aspect of his immaterial nature that allows the individual to have a relationship with God. This is the life that is talked about here. "…for the law [principle] of the Spirit of life in Christ Jesus …" If you are in Christ you have this new life positionally.


  1. "…for the law [principle] of the Spirit of life in Christ Jesus has set you free from the law [principle] of sin and of death …" This is slavery to the sin nature and that was covered in Romans chapter 6.


  1. Verse 3 states, "For what the law could not do, weak as it was through the flesh… this uses the Greek word adynatos, indicating impossibility, it was impossible for the law to solve the sin problem, it is weak, it is only to establish the standard it could not solve the problem. It just illustrated in each one of our lives that we are sinners and are in need of something more than simple moral reformation. "For what the law could not do, weak as it was through the flesh, God did: sending His own son in the likeness of sinful flesh… this is talking about the incarnation, it is not talking about the crucifixion. "…with reference to sin, He condemned sin in the flesh…" that is by His very life he pioneered a new spiritual life based on the power of God the Holy Spirit. This is unique in all of history and Jesus Christ demonstrates that in the power of God the Holy Spirit we can overcome any problem we have. Whatever those lust patterns may be, no matter how strong they might be, no matter how overwhelming they might seem, no matter how often we may feel defeated by those lust patterns whatever they are, the Holy Spirit is more than sufficient to overcome that. That doesn't mean that it is going to happen in a one night stand. You are not going to walk the isle and have some kind of experience with Jesus and the next day never worry about that sin problem again. It is a slow gradual process. It is a growth process that as we grow by learning doctrine under the filling of God the Holy Spirit, then God the Holy Spirit makes it clear to us what these problems are and over time they will be dealt with as long as we are doing what the scriptures says to do, they will become less and less of a problem. The thing is that if you have one person sitting back one side of the church and they have a problem with homosexuality or with drug abuse or maybe there a cleptomaniac or maybe they have a problem with worry or what ever it might be, God is going to deal with their various sins in a way that is tailored to that individual, that means that during the first ten years that that person is a believer, God may deal with one sin and then another sin, then another sin. Now someone on the other side of the church is dealing with the same problems and the same basic lust patterns and the same areas of weakness and yet instead of God dealing in the same order he reverses the order. What Jesus Christ demonstrated for us in the incarnation is that the principle of Bible doctrine plus the filling of the Holy Spirit is more than sufficient to deal with any sin problem. Jesus Christ dealt with every category of temptation and handled it with out sin, demonstrating the sufficiency of God's grace provisions for the church age believer. 


  1. verse 4, "…in order that the requirement of the Law might be fulfilled in us who do not walk according to the flesh but according to the Spirit…" here I made a point of noting that you have two important phrases here, the two different walks and the two different standards. The walk according to the flesh and the walk according to the Holy Spirit. The Greek phrase that we have here is the preposition KATA. KATA plus the accusative indicates according to a standard. So what we have here is that the believer who either walks according to the standard of the sin nature or the standard of the Holy Spirit. If you are walking according to the standard of the sin nature, then you are going to be justifying it with a certain amount of cosmic rationales or you are going to be walking according to the standard of the Holy Spirit. A standard implies clear verbal propositions or revelation to know what the standard is. This isn't some sort of mystical standard that we are all going to get with some sort of religious experience. It is the scripture which has been inspired by God the Holy Spirit and revealed as part of His ministry to man that provides the standard, which means that it provides all the prohibitions and all of the positive mandates for the Christian life. As the believer grows then we saw that the requirement of the law is fulfilled. The requirement of the law is "to love one another as Christ loved the Church." We saw that in reference to Chapter 15, so this is the new law, the new mandate that God gave the Church back in John 14 that we are to love one another even as Christ loved the Church. That is fulfilled only as we progress in the knowledge of doctrine and application; it is produced by God the Holy Spirit. So the growth process means that on the one hand there is the input of Bible doctrine, on the other hand it is done by means of the Holy Spirit. See we have two different standards and two different means. The means here is the Holy Spirit (Gal 5:16). The Holy Spirit provides the objective standard which is the principles of the word of God and the Holy Spirit provides the means. The means is not the sin nature, the means is the Holy Spirit and if we are taking doctrine into the inner most part of our soul (the kardia/heart) God the Holy Spirit produces the growth, it is not our volition, we are not going to go out and say "I am going to stop this sin today," this is the experience of Paul outlined in Romans 7, we do what we don't want to do and we aren't able to do what we to do and we try to just stop it by the force of our own will, operation spiritual bootstrap and we try to do it all alone with out relying on God. The principle of scripture is relax, learn the word, let the Holy Spirit do the work inside your soul and the result is going to be growth, (like a tree) and eventually the Holy Spirit produces the fruit which is the character of Jesus Christ, but the root is not the character of Christ, the root of this plant is the thinking, the mentality of Jesus Christ and that is exactly what we see here emphasized in verse 5.
  2. There are two different mentalities that are in operation in the believer, verse 5, "For those who are according to the flesh [sin nature] set there minds… that term 'set' implies a volitional decision that we are responsible for, you set your thinking on the things of the flesh. A genitive of relationship to the things related to the sin nature, the things that are attractive to the sin nature, and the things that appeal to your particular weakness. You set your mind on the weakness of your sin nature, but that's the failure believer, that is the believer who is going to end up at the judgement seat of Christ with nothing but eternal life, no rewards, no capacity and a loss of inheritance as we will see. "For those who are according to the flesh [sin nature] set their minds on the things of the flesh, but those who are according to the Spirit…" so it is either one or the other. If you are according to the standard of the Spirit, you want to know the scriptures and you have made that your priority. "…those who are according to the Spirit set there thinking/mind [it is ellipsis from the second half of the verse, but that's Paul's thinking] on the things of the Spirit." That is your volition; you make that your priority. That doesn't mean that athletics are wrong; that doesn't mean that TV or entertainment is wrong; that doesn't mean that auto mechanics or what ever your favourite hobby is, doesn't mean that that is wrong. It is just that you are going to make sure that the priority in your life is learning and applying doctrine. So you are going to be attracted to the things that relate to Spiritual maturity and the fruit of the Holy Spirit. There are two different results, we have two different walks, we have two different standards, and we have two different types of thinking and two different results.
  3. In Verse 6, the thinking that is set on the flesh (that operates according to the standard of the sin nature), the result is death but the mind set on the Spirit is life and peace. We saw that this is not eternal life verses eternal death (in terms of the Lake of Fire); if it were then we would end up with a works type of salvation. Verse 12, "...So then, brethren, we are under obligation, not to the flesh, to live according to the flesh – for if you are living according to the flesh, you must die; but if by the Spirit you are putting to death the deeds of the body, you will live..." This helps us understand the meaning of death and life in this chapter. If 'live' (in this verse) means eternal life as opposed to 'death' meaning eternal condemnation, then what that verse is saying is that you have eternal life only if you are putting to death the deeds of the sin nature... that's works salvation!  Yet time and time again that is exactly how this verse is being taught. It is amazing how many people as soon as they see the word 'death' or 'life' automatically think in terms of everlasting life verses eternal condemnation. But this is the capacity for life, the capacity for joy, peace and happiness and experiencing all of the blessings, the wonderful incredible blessings that God has for us in this life that no matter what our circumstances might be we always can experience that supernatural peace and joy that God has for us. Back in verse 6, we saw that there are two different mind sets when you are walking to the standard of the sin nature, attracted to the things of the sin nature, carnal death if you want to self destruct, fragment your life and end up a failure at the judgement seat of Christ and be sure that you are absolutely miserable, then this is the prescription, just focus on the sin nature and do what ever you want to do to satisfy your particular lust patterns. On the other hand if you do not want to be that kind of self destructive individual, then you have to focus on the Holy Spirit and that means you have to go up hill. The spiritual life is a struggle because we are fighting this internal enemy, the sin nature because you can just relax and do what the sin nature wants to do, so it's a constant issue of making decisions, forcing your self, it is a battle and we have to be on the offensive and this is what we will see in the negative example in Judges is that the Israelites did not pursue the objective, they did not stay on the offensive morning, noon and night, day in and day out. They wanted to just relax. As soon as you relax in the Spiritual life you have lost the battle and you might as well hang it up. It is a constant battle, you constantly engage the enemy, constantly thinking, constantly fighting, constantly having your guard up, constantly ready to catch some temptation, catch the sin nature, catch the world system trying to slip one past our defences, it is a continuous battle!
  4. Verse 7, "...because the mind set on the flesh is hostile toward God; for it does not subject [submit] itself to the law of God, for it is not even able to do so; ..." The believer in carnality who is in rebellion to God and not in submission because it is not able to do so. There has to be a shift and that's rebound or confession of sin (1 John 1:9), the grace recovery system to move from carnality to the filling of the Holy Spirit and walking by the Spirit.


  1. Paul reminds his believers in verse 8, "...those who are in the flesh...." here there is a shift, 'not according to the flesh' now but, 'in the flesh' that means unbelievers. He is saying those who are in the flesh cannot please God any more than a believer who is according to the flesh, when you are a believer living according to the flesh you are not living any different from an unbeliever so straighten up, get your focus right. 


  1. Verse 9, "However you are not ... emphasis here when he comes to verse 9 he starts with a post positive, which means in the Greek it come second, conjunction de, now de, is one of those all purpose words in the Greek that can mean 'and' but it can also mean 'but.' It is primarily used in this contrastive sense throughout this section of Romans 8, so there is a contrast, he wants to contrast the unbeliever 'in the flesh' with the believer who is 'not in the flesh but in the Spirit,' in verse 9 he does two things. He uses de to indicate this contrast and then he uses the second person personal pronoun of ego in the next verse. This is translated you and it is the second person plural 'you all' not in the flesh but in the Spirit. He is making a point here. In the Greek the main verb here is eimi. It is the present active imperative of the verb eimi  which is the verb 'to be' and when it is a second person plural form, it implies the subject with it. In English you have to state your pronoun or you have to state the subject but in the Greek if you just have the verb in the second person plural, its automatically translated 'you are,' but if you really want to emphasize the person you are speaking about then you add the pronoun. So when you have that emphasized he is making a point, that 'you,' 'you Romans,' 'you all,' " all are not in the flesh you are in the Spirit..." This uses the Greek phrase en plus the dative of sphere. This is very similar to the phraseology Paul uses when he talks about the fact that at salvation we are 'in Christ,' that is the phrase 'en Christos,' so what we have is, at salvation we are not only entered into Christ but according to this passage we are also in the Spirit, we are in the sphere of the Spirit. This all has to do with our positional eternal reality, at the instant of salvation we are in Christ and we are in the Spirit. " all are not in the flesh..." you are not like an unbeliever anymore so why are you living like an unbeliever? Why have you adopted the standards of an unbeliever? Why do you think like an unbeliever? Why are you reasoning like an unbeliever? Why are you using cosmic rationales like an unbeliever? "... You are not in the (sphere of the) flesh (like an unbeliever is), but you are in the Spirit, if indeed the Spirit of God dwells in you..." He is assuming the reality of his condition, but here in the Greek 'if' is the Greek word aei but he joins it with a conjunction per which makes it very strong in his reasoning he says "...if indeed the Spirit of God dwells in you..." You are not in the flesh if the Spirit of God dwells in you. So here he is talking about being a believer because every single believer is indwelt by the Holy Spirit. So if you are a believer the Spirit of God dwells in you and therefore you are not in the flesh anymore but you are in the Spirit. Then he comes up with the next clause; "... but if [first class condition/assume its true] anyone does not have the Spirit of Christ, he [that person] does not belong to him..."  Notice something that is subtle in verse 9, notice the way the Holy Spirit is referred to in verse 9.


"However, you are not in the flesh but in the Spirit, if indeed the Spirit of God [theos – from the source of God the Father] dwells in you. But if anyone does not have the Spirit of Christ, [Christos – from the source of Christ] he does not belong to Him."


This verse subtly signifies the double procession of the Holy Spirit, which indicates the relationship of the Holy Spirit to the authority of both the Father and the Son.  That the genitives 'of God,' the genitive of source and 'of Christ,' a genitive of source, both indicate the Spirit is under the authority of God the Father and God the Son and so that substantiates the doctrine of the double procession of God the Holy Spirit. (Along with John 15:26).


Doctrine of the Filling and the indwelling of the Holy Spirit


1.  At the instant of salvation every believer is both filled and indwelt by God the Holy Spirit.

2.  The indwelling is one of six permanent ministries of the Holy Spirit at salvation. The others are regeneration, baptism of the Holy Spirit, sealing of the Holy Spirit, efficacious grace, and the bestowal of spiritual gifts. Indwelling is one of six permanent ministries but the filling is a temporary ministry.

3.  The indwelling is for the purpose of making the human body a temple for the indwelling of Jesus Christ. (1Cor 6:19 & 3:16) and setting the believer bodily apart. The very fact that we are indwelt by the Holy Spirit sets us apart physically from unbelievers. That is part of the doctrine of sanctification; we are set apart physically by means of the indwelling of God the Holy Spirit.

4.  The indwelling of the Holy Spirit is a permanent relationship regardless of carnality or spirituality. The indwelling is a permanent relationship but the filling of the Holy Spirit is a temporary relationship, depending on your volition and your relationship to the sin nature.

5.  The indwelling is based on the character of God, it is permanent, it is not taken away, its based on God's character, who God is and what Christ did on the cross, not on our character or what we do.

The filling is based on the believer's volition. If you sin, it is your volition to sin and get out of fellowship and lose the filling of the Spirit and it is your volition to confess your sin (1 John 1:9) to recover the filling of the Holy Spirit.

6.  Indwelling is related to the body, filling is related to the soul. We are filled by means of the Holy Spirit. What is filled? The soul is filled. What is it filled with? It is filled with doctrine. We know that by comparing Ephesians 5:18 with Colossians 3:16 and there results.

7.  The filling is lost when the believer sins. Any sin, known or unknown, intentional or unintentional, any sin whether you know it or not still violates the perfect righteousness of God and so he can no longer have fellowship with a believer who is characterised by sin. The filling is lost when the believer sins, but the indwelling is never lost.

8.  The filling is recovered through confession of sin. This simply means to admit or acknowledge your sins to God the Father in the privacy of your priesthood and you are instantly forgiven. (1 John 1:9)

9.  In the Old Testament believers were neither filled nor indwelt. So both filling and indwelling are unique to the Church age.


This is what Paul is referring to in Romans 8:9, that the believer is indwelt by God the Holy Spirit and he is also in the Spirit, notice his progression, "...However, you are not in the flesh but in the Spirit, if indeed the Spirit of God dwells in you..." So, just as Christ is in us and we are in Christ, the Spirit is in us and we are in the Spirit; that sets us apart to God's service positionally.  "...But if anyone does not have the Spirit of Christ, he does not belong to Him..." So, verse 9 is clearly talking about believer verses unbeliever.


Verse 10, "...If Christ is in you, though the body is dead because of sin, yet the spirit is alive because of righteousness..."


Now this references phase 1 salvation. God has a plan and that is the blue print for every Christian and it is the same.

Phase 1 is Justification, faith alone in Christ alone. "...If Christ is in you, though the body is dead... the physical body is still under the penalty of physical death as a consequence of spiritual death because of sin. Remember Spiritual death is the penalty for sin not physical death but the result/consequence of spiritual death is every manner of suffering in the human race including physical death. If Christ is in you though the body is dead, it is going to die physically because of sin, yet the spirit is alive because of righteousness. At the instant of Salvation God the Holy Spirit imputes to the believer the perfect righteousness of Christ. God the Father who is perfect righteousness looks down and sees the perfect righteousness that has been imputed to us and he says the believer is now justified. That is what it means to be justified by faith, because we are justified, God the Holy Spirit regenerates and gives us a new human spirit. All of this occurs simultaneously at the instant of faith. The spirit is alive (that's regeneration), because of what? Imputed righteousness, this isn't practical righteousness, this isn't going out and doing good deeds, the Spirit is alive because of the possession of imputed righteousness, so even though everything happens simultaneously there is a logical progression. First you trust the gospel, you believe in Christ, second Christ's righteousness is imputed to you, third God declares you to be just and fourth the Holy Spirit makes your human spirit alive in regeneration. Now there is a consequence to this, most of what we have been talking about in Romans 6, 7 & 8 had to do with Phase 2 sanctification. But in this verse Paul is taking a phase 1 positional sanctification of the believer and relating it to phase three, "...If Christ is in you, though the body is dead because of sin, yet the spirit is alive because of righteousness..." this all happened at phase 1.


Verse 11, "...But 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..."

What's that? That's Phase 3 glorification, which is talking about the resurrection of physical mortal body at the rapture. They are dead in phase 2; they're dead in their temporal mortal bodies. God the Father gives life to the mortal body through his Spirit, so the rapture resurrection that occurs at the end of the church age that will be performed through God the Holy Spirit who indwells you. This is because only church age believers are involved in the rapture, only church age believers are indwelt by God the Holy Spirit and the procedure of taking us from being either corrupt in the grave or corrupt flesh that is still alive, it is the Holy Spirit who effects that transformation from mortality to immortality at the rapture resurrection.


All of this Paul has established to show that there is a difference between you and the unbeliever. You are to have a different mind set, you are to have a different lifestyle, you are to have a different set of norms and standards and you are to have different consequences (result), life and peace rather than death. So from all of this he draws another profound conclusion in verse 12.

Verse 1 through 11 is one argument based on the fact that every believer is justified and so that makes a profound difference in how we live and the consequences of how we live. Now he moves to the next stage of his argument and that is that not only are we not under condemnation, but we are under obligation. There are responsibilities if you are a believer; you are under obligation to God. Now this is not legalism butt goes to the fact that you have a different family now, a different authority and a different master, (Outlined back in Romans chapter 6). This isn't antinomianism that says now that I am saved I can do what ever I want; this is Biblical Christianity which emphasizes the responsibility of the believer to advance to spiritual adulthood. Why? Because back in Romans chapter 6 we had the purpose clause that we might walk in newness of life, we weren't saved simply to spend eternity in heaven, we were saved to advance to spiritual maturity, to glorify God in the angelic conflict, so when we get to heaven we can have an inheritance and take possession of those eternal blessings that God has set aside for us.

We have two categories of blessing, 1. Contingent blessings in time and 2. Contingent blessings in eternity; they are contingent upon our spiritual growth. When we do not grow spiritually, we never realize or are given the temporal blessings, we will never receive the eternal blessings and they will constantly be reserved as a testimony to our failure in the spiritual life.


This is the new emphasis in Verse 12, for living up to that obligation.


"...So then, brethren, we are under obligation, not to the flesh, to live according to the flesh— 


The word there in the Greek is the noun opheiletesthis means to owe someone something, that we owe God something because God did something for us. Now that doesn't mean that if we don't fulfil our obligation and responsibilities as believers that we lose our salvation, that's ridiculous, we will lose rewards and we will lose inheritance as Paul outlines in the coming verses. But we do have an obligation. God gives us these fantastic assets, God the Holy Spirit promises joy incomprehensible and a peace of tremendous stability beyond our comprehension and all of these assets, the mechanics in the scripture to grow and mature in the spiritual life and what do we do with this possession, instead of living up to our responsibilities to learn God's word and make it a priority, to walk by means of the Holy Spirit and to obey God and make learning doctrine under the filling of the Holy Spirit a number one priority and applying it for growth, What do we do? We come up with all kinds of things we want to do to avoid our responsibilities as believers and the result is there is only one loser and that is you. You are the one that is going to lose out on your contingent blessings in time and your contingent blessings in eternity and you are the one that is never going to see these fantastic things that God has for you as a believer in the Lord Jesus Christ. What happens? We get distracted with all the things that are going on in the world and we forget that our citizenship is not in the world but that we have been sent here as ambassadors for Christ with an eternal mission to represent God and to communicate the gospel to people, to advance to spiritual maturity and to glorify God in the angelic conflict and nothing else matters. But because we are creatures of the flesh and we are living in the world, we give into the flesh and the sin nature because it is attracted to these temporal things. It is not that they are wrong in and of themselves, it is where you place it in your scale of values and your priorities and whether or not doctrine and the glory of God is number one or number two or number three or number fifteen in your life.


So Paul says in verse 12, "...So then, brethren [believers], we are under obligation, not to the flesh, to live according to the [standard of the] flesh— that is no longer your obligation, chapter 6! You are no longer a slave to the sin nature.


Verse 13, "...for if you are living according to the flesh, you must die; but if by the Spirit you are putting to death the deeds of the body, you will live.


If you live according to the flesh you are going to go through temporal or carnal death, you will be miserable, you will go through self induced misery, you will go through divine discipline and you will never experience the blessing God has for you, you will be overrun with worry, you will get involved in all kinds of overt sins that are going to come back to haunt you and create problems for your life, you are going to go through the natural consequences of your irresponsibility's and your sinfulness or God will intensify it through divine discipline. So if you are living according to the sin nature you will die, you will go through carnal temporal death and you will never experience everything that God has for you.


"...but if by the Spirit you are putting to death [that is not doing, saying no!] the deeds of the body, you will live..."


Remember earlier we had the two standards; here are the two means, the flesh or the Spirit. This is the abundant life that Jesus promised and it is done by means of God the Holy Spirit and it is according to the standard of God the Holy Spirit.


Verse 14, "...For all who are being led by the Spirit of God, these are sons of God..."


Now here we get into a totally new doctrine, the doctrine of adoption and the doctrine of inheritance in the next tape...


Father, we do thank you that we can be challenged by these things to focus on our obligation based on the incredible spiritual blessings you gave us, you bestowed upon us at salvation, the vast array of spiritual assets we have to live the spiritual life, to overcome any problem, to face any adversity, to have happiness, joy, stability to your honour and glory that we might glorify you in the angelic conflict and demonstrate that your grace is superior to everything else. Father, we pray that we might not forget these things in Jesus name, Amen.