The Blessing of Life⸻Page 6 (Lessons on Romans)
by John Lowe
10 And if Christ is in you, the body is dead because of sin, but the Spirit is life because of righteousness.
And if Christ is in you, the body is dead because of sin,--The body is dead: it is still mortal and subject to not only to death, but also to the temptation of sin. However, through the ministry of the Holy Spirit, Christ is actually in the believer. It is amazing to think of the Lord of life and glory dwelling in our bodies, especially when we remember that these bodies are subject to death because of sin Adam’s sin. Someone may argue that they themselves are not dead yet, as the verse seems to say. No, but the forces of death are already working in them; and they will inevitably die if the Lord does not return in the meantime.
but the Spirit is life because of righteousness.—In contrast to the body, the spirit is life because of righteousness.Although it was once dead toward God, it has been made alive through the righteous work of the Lord Jesus Christ in His death and resurrection, and because the righteousness of God has been credited to our account. The word “spirit” is the believer’s spirit. Paul says that if God’s Spirit indwells you (v. 9), the human spirit is alive—“even when we were dead in trespasses, God made us alive together with Christ (by grace you have been saved)” (Eph. 2:5), and can show true righteousness.
All men die due to the human situation. Sin came into the world, and with sin came death, the consequence of sin. Inevitably, therefore, all men die, but the man who is Spirit-controlled, and whose heart is Christ-centered, dies only to rise again. Paul told the Colossians, “For you died, and your life is hidden with Christ in God” (Col. 3:3). Ephesians 2:6 tells us, “…made us sit together in the heavenly places in Christ Jesus.” NOW we are sons of God. NOW we set together in heavenly places with Christ Jesus. Now we are dead to the flesh, but we are alive unto God. Moreover, the miracle occurs, only because of “Christ in you.” (Col. 1:27).
If you are not conscious of the Spirit of God in your life, and if you do not have a desire to serve God, then it would do well to do as Paul suggests; “Examine yourselves as to whether you are in the faith. Test yourselves. Do you not know yourselves, that Jesus Christ is in you?—unless indeed you are disqualified” (2 Cor. 13:5).
11 But if the Spirit of Him who raised Jesus from the dead dwells in you, He who raised Christ from the dead will also give life to your mortal bodies through His Spirit who dwells in you.
But if the Spirit of Him who raised Jesus from the dead dwells in you,--This is the longest title of the Holy Spirit in the New Testament. Just as in other places, the term “from the dead,” means “from among the dead.” This is the second and only other place in this Epistle where the single title “Jesus” is used. The first was in 3:26, where it describes Him as the object of faith.
He who raised Christ from the dead will also give life to your mortal bodies—this verse is not talking about the passing on of some special energy and power to our bodies in their present state. It is instead, talking about the effect upon them of the shout of the Lord at the time of the Rapture—“Then we who are alive and remain shall be caught up together with them in the clouds to meet the Lord in the air. And thus we shall always be with the Lord” (1 Thess. 4:17). What is mortal will be made immortal. A mortal body is a body capable of dying.
Nevertheless, a body made alive by the Holy Spirit becomes immortal. The transition from mortality to immortality is the work of the Spirit. Those who are born again will experience resurrection some day. Now, Christ died and rose
again; and the man who is one with Christ is one with death’s conqueror and shares in that victory. The Spirit-controlled, Christ-possessed man is on his way to life; death is only an inevitable interlude that has to be passed through on the way. Resurrected believers, just like Christ, will receive new physical forms—“It is sown a natural body, it is raised a spiritual body. There is a natural body, and there is a spiritual body” (1 Cor. 15:44).
through His Spirit who dwells in you.—the Holy Spirit is not the one who will raise the dead and change the living saints. The 8
resurrection of believers has always been dependent upon the resurrection of Christ—“knowing that He who raised up the Lord Jesus will also raise us up with Jesus, and will present us with you” (II Cor. 4:14). The same Spirit that raised Jesus Christ from the dead will energize our mortal bodies as well when we are “in Christ Jesus.” Consequently, we are not debtors to the flesh for we have not received new life by the flesh. When the Spirit of God comes to us, at salvation, we are under new management and therefore we are debtors to that management. All things are new in Christ for there is therefore now no condemnation to them that are in Christ Jesus.
The bodies that you and I have will be put in the grave one of these days, if the Lord tarries. However, the indwelling Holy Spirit is our assurance that our bodies will be raised from the dead—“For we know that if our earthly house, this tent, is destroyed, we have a building from God, a house not made with hands, eternal in the heavens. For in this we groan, earnestly desiring to be clothed with our habitation which is from heaven, if indeed, having been clothed, we shall not be found naked. For we who are in this tent groan, being burdened, not because we want to be unclothed, but further clothed, that mortality may be swallowed up by life” (2 Cor. 5:1-4). Because Christ was raised from the dead, we shall be raised from the dead. The Holy Spirit will deliver us from “this body of death”—this old nature.8
The resurrection and coming glory of believers is assured to them first by the resurrection of Christ and then by the fact of the indwelling Spirit. There are two references to this in the second Epistle to the Corinthians, one in 1:22, “God … sealed us and gave us the earnest of the Spirit in our hearts”; the other in 5:5, “He that wrought us for this very thing is God, who gave us the earnest of the Spirit.” The power that is in Christ is the power that will accomplish the quickening of our death-doomed bodies—“the eyes of your understanding being enlightened; that you may know what is the hope of His calling, what are the riches of the glory of His inheritance in the saints, and what is the exceeding greatness of His power toward us who believe, according to the working of His mighty power which He worked in Christ when He raised Him from the dead and seated Him at His right hand in the heavenly places” (Eph. 1:18–20).
We must not live lifestyles characterized by the flesh, for we no longer owe allegiance to it! If we continually serve the flesh, our life is characterized by a state of death. However, if we mortify the deeds of the body, through the power of the Holy Spirit we will live. The deeds of the body are those fleshly activities, which characterize one who is not alive in Christ Jesus. Paul exhorts us to mortify or reckon as dead these deeds and no longer engage in them. When that is the case, and our thoughts and deeds are energized by the presence of the Spirit of God, we will be able to live our lives the way Christians should. Because we bear fruit by the life we live, men will know that the Spirit of God resides in us.