In Romans 8:9, we find the following: “You, however, are controlled not by the sinful nature but by the spirit if the Spirit of God lives in you. And if anyone does not have the Spirit of Christ, he does not belong to Christ.”
What takes place when the spirit of God comes to live in us? In order to answer that question, I want to share with you the different ways that “spirit” is used within the Bible. In many translations, the word “spirit” is capitalized. In the Revised Version, it is not capitalized in many instances. It is very important to understand the difference in these two spellings.
To understand this passage, we must understand the difference between spirit and Spirit. The word SPIRIT appears three times in this text. In most versions of the Bible that we have today, this word is capitalized all three times; however, in the Revised Version, the first time it is not capitalized.
If the word is not capitalized, the meaning changes dramatically. Dr. Morgan did a long and detailed study of this passage. He suggests that the Revised version is the most accurate interpretation, however what does that mean? What is our spirit and what is its purpose?
To answer these questions, we first must understand the two Biblical terms that reveal the nature of every person. The terms are flesh and spirit and they reveal us to be material and immaterial beings. The fleshly side of our life is the side that can be seen. Our soul and spirit make up the part that cannot be seen.
Our soul contains our unique personality including our emotions and our will. Through our bodies and using our five senses, our souls communicate with the material world. Our spirits hold within them the spiritual part of our being. God’s plan was that our lives be controlled by our own spirits as they were indwelt by the Spirit of God and were in communication with Him.
However, as we have already noted, in the Garden of Eden, Adam and Eve experienced spiritual death. Because of sin, their spirits were separated from the Spirit of God. Their own spirits, which had been filled with the Life of God, now became death chambers. You can read this story in Genesis 3.
Based on this understanding of humanity, our spirit is the most important thing about us. Paul understood this and also something beyond. He understood the great truth that WE CHOOSE the sphere out of which we will live. We can choose to live out of the side of our nature that is our flesh, or we can choose to live out of the side of our nature which is of the Spirit.
A life lived out of the Spirit is aware of the time that we have here on earth to prepare for eternity. We know that it is in eternity that our lives will come to their complete fulfillment. When we choose to live out of the spiritual side of our nature we are given a new vision of God and a new vision of life.
Paul sums up these truths in 1 Corinthians 2:6-16:
“Yet among the mature we do impart wisdom, although it is not a wisdom of this age or of the rulers of this age, who are doomed to pass away. But we impart a secret and hidden wisdom of God, which God decreed before the ages for our glory. None of the rulers of this age understood this, for if they had, they would not have crucified the Lord of glory. But, as it is written,
‘What no eye has seen, nor ear heard,
nor the heart of man imagined,
what God has prepared for those who love him’—
these things God has revealed to us through the Spirit. For the Spirit searches everything, even the depths of God. For who knows a person's thoughts except the spirit of that person, which is in him? So also no one comprehends the thoughts of God except the Spirit of God. Now we have received not the spirit of the world, but the Spirit who is from God, that we might understand the things freely given us by God. And we impart this in words not taught by human wisdom but taught by the Spirit, interpreting spiritual truths to those who are spiritual. The natural person does not accept the things of the Spirit of God, for they are folly to him, and he is not able to understand them because they are spiritually discerned. The spiritual person judges all things but is himself to be judged by no one. ‘For who has understood the mind of the Lord so as to instruct him?’ But we have the mind of Christ.”
REFLECT ON THE FOLLOWING:
1. Do you know anyone whose life was genuinely transformed by their surrender to the Holy Spirit? What did you notice about that?
2. Have you experienced that kind of transformation? Are you able to share what that was like?
3. Why is your spirit the most important thing about you?
4. How can you live out of your spirit?
VERSE TO MEMORIZE:
“You, however, are controlled not by the sinful nature but by the spirit, if the Spirit of God lives in you. And if anyone does not have the Spirit of Christ, he does not belong to Christ” (Romans 8:9).
(Visit bystillwater.org or Amazon.com to order your copy of Blessings of the Holy Spirit by Marjorie Kann Jackson to delve deeper.)