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Epistle of Paul to the Romans 8: 5-11
5 Those who live according to the flesh have their minds set on what the flesh desires; but those who live in accordance with the Spirit have their minds set on what the Spirit desires. 6 The mind governed by the flesh is death, but the mind governed by the Spirit is life and peace. 7 The mind governed by the flesh is hostile to God; it does not submit to God’s law, nor can it do so. 8 Those who are in the realm of the flesh cannot please God.
9 You, however, are not in the realm of the flesh but are in the realm of the Spirit, if indeed the Spirit of God lives in you. And if anyone does not have the Spirit of Christ, they do not belong to Christ. 10 But if Christ is in you, then even though your body is subject to death because of sin, the Spirit gives life because of righteousness. 11 And if the Spirit of him who raised Jesus from the dead is living in you, he who raised Christ from the dead will also give life to your mortal bodies because of his Spirit who lives in you.
This passage appears to begin as a comparison between living according to the flesh (that is, according to human nature which caters to sinful appetites and impulses) and living according to the will of the Spirit. The Apostle Paul then gently but firmly altered his argument to begin to describe the kind of life which results from the indwelling of the Spirit of God.
Those in whom the Spirit of God lives are in “the realm of the Spirit”. A “realm” is a kingdom; in this context the realm of the Spirit can only pertain if the Spirit has been given sovereignty over the person in whom the Spirit lives. Only that person can voluntarily yield up self-control and submit to another authority.
Having written of “the Spirit of God” (verse 9), Paul has then written of “the Spirit of Christ”, this being in the context of the condition: “if Christ is in you …”. This apparent interchangeability of “the Spirit of God” (verse 9a) and “the Spirit of Christ” (verse 9b) implies that, in the mind of the Apostle, the three persons of the Trinity unite to accomplish an indwelling presence in the person who belongs to Christ.
It is evident that every body is subject to death because of sin. This sin could refer to the sin in the life of every one of us or it could refer to the sin of Genesis 3, a consequence of which is that every person on earth is subject to death. Paul intended his readers to understand, however, that this death is not permanent and that those in whom the Spirit of God, the Spirit of Christ, lives have been given the gift of resurrection life to their mortal bodies. The Spirit gives this life because Jesus Christ has, to them, imputed righteousness.
We are earnestly to desire the indwelling of the Holy Spirit. This becomes our lot as a direct consequence of our surrendering our lives to Jesus Christ and of committing to be his disciples forever. We need to make a deliberate and a conscious effort to repent, not only on the occasion of our first surrender but on every day thereafter. Only then, as we continue to sin, can we continue to call on the Lord for the forgiveness he has won for each one of us.