This past Sunday we looked at the regeneration of the Holy Spirit in Titus 3:1-5. One of the points of application from that sermon was that the regenerating work of the Holy Spirit means we are not defeated in the Christian life. By the Spirit, we are new creations in Christ (2 Cor. 5:17).
This Sunday we will build on that theme, as we open up Romans 8:1-17, examining how the Holy Spirit sanctifies us. The Spirit not only makes us alive in Christ in regeneration, but He also enables us to grow more and more toward the character of Christ in sanctification. Romans 8 contrasts a life controlled by the flesh (leading to death) with a life controlled by the Spirit (leading to life). As those who have the Spirit, we are called to walk by His enabling power to put sin to death and reflect our identity as God’s children.
There are four things this passage teaches us that are essential to our growth as Christians:
1) We must know our position in Christ (vv. 1-3). We are no longer under the condemnation of the Law, because we are in Christ who condemned the guilt and power of sin in His flesh.
2) We must know our new relationship to the Law (vv. 4-8). By the Spirit, we now fulfill the righteous requirements of the Law. That which once condemned us, becomes a delight to us.
3) We must strive toward holiness, by the power of the Spirit (vv. 9-13). Sanctification is unlike justification, in which we are passive receivers. In sanctification we are active participants who must strive toward holiness (Heb. 12:14). However, in our striving we are dependent upon the enabling grace of the Holy Spirit, by which we put to death the deeds of the body.
4) We must remember our adoption (vv. 14-17). The Spirit testifies to our adoption as sons and heirs of God. It is through remembering our identity that we are enabled to grow in sanctification. The Spirit is always reminding us to be who we are!
Where are you struggling in your walk with Christ? Are you lacking assurance of God’s grace toward you? Are you finding little motivation to keep running the race? Are you holding onto sins that need to be put to death? Are you struggling to find a clear sense of identity? Each of these issues is clearly addressed in Romans 8.
So let me encourage you to camp out in Romans 8:1-17 over the next few days. I pray that as we study this passage individually and together, the Holy Spirit will use it to prepare our hearts to experience more of His sanctifying power in our lives.