I wrote this short essay to speak about the battle that goes on within the heart of every believer and what we can do to win the battle.
The diagram of the heart that goes with this lesson didn’t come through but I will try to include it in another lesson
There is therefore now no condemnation to them which are in Christ Jesus, who walk not after the flesh, but after the Spirit.
The apostle Paul makes a powerful statement here to encourage people who are enduring tremendous suffering. He tells them (and us) that we can have the confidence to know that when we stand before God we won’t be condemned. Why? Because we walk in the Spirit and not in the flesh. I would like to take a journey through the 8th chapter of Romans and see if we can discover what the bible has to say about how that confidence is accomplished.
V.v.2-4 There are two laws for us to consider, the law of the Spirit, and the law of sin and death. The bible tells us that the law of the Spirit is written on our heart when we see evidence or hear the word of God (Jer. 31:33; 2 Cor. 3:3). The bible also says there is a law in our member’s battling against that law (Rom. 7:23).
If the law of the Spirit of life in Christ leads us to righteousness why do we give in to the law of sin and death? The weakness of our flesh is why we are not able to do everything in the law. Thankfully God extended mercy to us by sending Jesus to fulfill all the legal requirements of the law that we fell short of doing. Jesus’ sacrifice is what makes it possible for us to follow the law of the Spirit without a sense of guilt for not doing all that the Lord required of us.
V.v. 9-13 Paul contrasts life in the flesh with life in the Spirit. He has already made it clear that if the Spirit of Christ dwells/abides/stays in us our lifestyle will be different from those whose lifestyle is governed by the desires of the flesh (see Gal. 5:19-24 for a list of those desires). Because the Spirit is life, when Christ returns for His own we will rise with Him to glory because we are in Him.
Pay attention to verse 13, that is where Paul tells us how to walk in the Spirit, he says we do it by mortifying the deeds of the body. The word mortify (in the KJV) is an interesting word. Vine says it conveys the “sense of destroying the strength of, depriving of power, with reference to the evil desires which work in the body”. “Put an end to the life of” your bodily members and functions in regard to immoral purposes.
Look at the diagram of our spiritual heart with the four areas defined according to the scriptures. Every person is a spirit that possesses a soul. Both spirit and soul dwell in our human body and interact with the physical world through the use of our 5 natural senses (ears, eyes, nose, mouth and touch). The battle begins when the evidence or testimony of the world around us gets written on our heart.
V.16 The lower case spirit in verse 16 is our intellect. God has given us the free will to reason, understand, and believe the evidence or testimony presented. If we believe what our natural senses delivered we must then determine if it should be despised or desired. If we desire it the next question is how much do we desire it? To the point where we love and trust it? We do that through our feelings and emotions which has a record of everything that has happened to us over our entire life. Many of our decisions regarding desire are made based on how we emotionally responded to the evidence or testimony in the past.
Paul changes the context from talking about the human spirit for a moment to talk about suffering (v.v.18-25). He comes back to his point in verse 26 with the word “likewise”.
V.v. 26-27 it’s important to note that when translators copied text they were the ones to determine what should be capital letters or lower case. If we read these verses with the words “spirit” all lower case (referring to our mind) it naturally continues the point he was making in verse 16 concerning the Holy Spirit witnessing with our human spirit (not to our spirit).
The word infirmities in verse 26 is defined this way in Strong; 1. Want of strength and capacity requisite, meaning for a particular purpose or position. A. To understand a thing B. to do things great and glorious C. to restrain corrupt desires D. to bear trials and troubles.
The Holy Spirit helps our infirmities by witnessing between our spirit and conscience what the will of God is (Rom. 9:1). At that point we have a choice, but we need to be sure of one thing. Our conscience will condemn us if we resist the Holy Spirit. God is greater than our heart and knows if we need to repent and confess. If our heart condemn us not then have we confidence towards God (1 John 3:21)