(from a transcript of a sermon preached on 1/19/03 at Sovereign Redeemer Assembly)
Please turn in your Bibles to Romans chapter 8. I'm going to be reading verses 1 through 15:
Romans 8: (1) [There is] therefore now no condemnation to those in Christ Jesus, who do not walk according to flesh, but according to Spirit. (2) For the Law of the Spirit of life in Christ Jesus set me free from the law of sin and of death. (3) For the Law [being] powerless, in that it was weak through the flesh, God sending His own Son in [the] likeness of sinful flesh, and concerning sin, condemned sin in the flesh, (4) so that the righteous demand of the Law might be fulfilled in us, those not walking according to flesh, but according to Spirit. (5) For the ones that are according to flesh mind the things of the flesh. And the ones according to Spirit [mind] the things of the Spirit. (6) For the mind of the flesh [is] death, but the mind of the Spirit [is] life and peace; (7) because the mind of the flesh [is] enmity towards God; for it is not being subjected to the Law of God, for neither can it [be]. (8) And those being in the flesh are not able to please God. (9) But you are not in flesh, but in Spirit, since [the] Spirit of God dwells in you. But if anyone has not [the] Spirit of Christ, this one is not His. (10) But if Christ [is] in you, the body indeed [is] dead because of sin, but the Spirit [is] life because of righteousness. (11) But if the Spirit of the [One] having raised Jesus from [the] dead dwells in you, the [One] having raised the Christ from [the] dead will also make your mortal bodies live through the indwelling of His Spirit in you. (12) So, then, brothers, we are debtors, not to the flesh, to live according to flesh, (13) for if you live according to flesh, you are going to die. But if by [the] Spirit you put to death the practices of the body, you will live. (14) For as many as are led by [the] Spirit of God, these are sons of God. (15) For you did not receive a spirit of slavery again to fear, but you received a Spirit of adoption by which we cry, Abba! Father!
Last time, we focused on the mind of the Spirit and those in the Spirit. We saw in verse 6 that the mind of the Spirit is life and peace. And we saw in verse 9 that believers are not in flesh but in Spirit, that the Spirit of God dwells in all believers and dwells in no others, and that if anyone does not have the Spirit of Christ, that person is not a believer. This takes care of a bunch of heresies that we know about, doesn't it? It takes care of the heresy that believers can be in the flesh, it takes care of the heresy that unbelievers can have the Spirit, and it takes care of the heresy that there are people without the Spirit who are believers.
Now let's go on to verse 10:
Romans 8: (10) But if Christ [is] in you, the body indeed [is] dead because of sin, but the Spirit [is] life because of righteousness.
The first thing we need to notice is the phrase "Christ is in you." In the previous verse, it talked about the SPIRIT of God and the SPIRIT of Christ being in a believer, but now we see the wording changed to say that CHRIST HIMSELF is in the believer. It doesn't say, "But if the SPIRIT of Christ is in you" - it says, "But if CHRIST is in you." This shows us that when we have the Holy Spirit, we have Jesus Christ. As we saw last time in 2 John 9, "the one abiding in the doctrine of Christ, this one has the Father and the Son." And how does the one abiding in the doctrine of Christ have the Father and the Son? Through the Holy Spirit, which is called the Spirit of God and the Spirit of Christ. This shows the UNITY of the Godhead. And it also shows that those who are indwelled with the Holy Spirit actually HAVE God the Father and God the Son. Let's turn to Ephesians 3:16-17:
Ephesians 3: (16) that He may give you, according to the riches of His glory, by [His] power to become mighty in the inward man through His Spirit, (17) that through faith Christ may dwell in your hearts, having been rooted and founded in love,
Christ DWELLS OUR HEARTS through His Spirit. And then over to Colossians 1:27:
Colossians 1: (27) to whom God willed to make known what [are] the riches of the glory of this mystery among the nations, who is Christ in you, the hope of glory;
Christ is IN us, and Christ indwelling IN us through His Spirit is our hope of glory. So not only does this show unity of the Godhead, it shows that, through the blessed Holy Spirit, WE are in unity with the Godhead, we are made PARTAKERS of the Godhead, we have the MIND of Christ, as 1 Corinthians 2:16 says. This is an awesome thought. We who are God's people have GOD HIMSELF indwelling us. Through the Spirit, we have both the FATHER and the SON.
Back to Romans 8:10. We see that the sentence starts with "But if." So we have an "if-then" logical statement. IF this is true, THEN this must be true. So - IF Christ is in you, THEN what follows must be true. First, "IF Christ is in you." In the context of what we saw last time, we know that only believers have Christ in them. There is no such thing as an unbeliever who has Christ in him, and there is no such thing as a believer who does NOT have Christ in him. So the logic goes like this, starting with verse 9: YOU who are believers are NOT in flesh, but in Spirit, BECAUSE the Spirit of God and of Christ dwells in you. And IF CHRIST is IN you, which He is, because the Spirit of God and of Christ dwells in you, THEN what follows must be true. Do you see that? So verse 10 is talking ONLY about regenerate people.
So what is it that follows this IF statement that MUST be true about all believers? The first thing we see is that "the body indeed is dead because of sin." But if you look at how this sentence is structured, you see that this is an "even though" clause. I'll try to explain this in an understandable way. The sentence is structured like this: "IF Christ is in you, EVEN THOUGH the body is dead because of sin, the Spirit is life because of righteousness." Thus, the "IF Christ is in you" clause is tied to the "Spirit is life" clause, with the MIDDLE clause being an OPPOSITIONAL clause. The reason this is important is because the phrase "the body indeed is dead because of sin" is not just exclusive to believers. Thus, it cannot be said that BECAUSE Christ is in us, our bodies are dead because of sin.
So let's first look at this "even though" clause. The bodies of every believer are dead because of sin. What does this mean? In context, especially as we see it in light of the next verse, this means that our bodies are MORTAL because of Adam's sin imputed to us and because of our own indwelling sin as a consequence of Adam's sin. If you remember back when we were in Romans 5, we went over this in verse 12. Let's go back and read that again:
Romans 5: (12) Because of this, even as sin entered the world through one man, and death through sin, so also death passed to all men, inasmuch as all sinned.
One of the consequences of Adam's sin is that death passed to all whom He represented. This death was both spiritual and physical. And in our present text, because of Paul's use of the word "body" here, and because of what we will see in the next verse, we see that he is talking just about the PHYSICAL aspect of death. Even though we are believers, we have something in common with all human beings without exception, and that is the physical deterioration and death of our bodies. And the reason that our bodies are subject to physical deterioration and death is SIN. "The body indeed is dead because of sin."
But let's remember that this is an "even though" clause. EVEN THOUGH the body is subject to physical deterioration and death because of sin, what is it that is true of all believers? That's in the second half of Romans 8:10: "But the Spirit is LIFE because of RIGHTEOUSNESS." Do you see how these two phrases parallel each other? The BODY is DEAD because of SIN, but the SPIRIT is LIFE because of RIGHTEOUSNESS. So we have the BODY versus the SPIRIT, DEATH versus LIFE, and SIN versus RIGHTEOUSNESS. So let's go into this phrase. The first thing we see is the SPIRIT. Now there is disagreement among commentators as to what the word "Spirit" refers to. Some say that it is the spirit or soul of the believer, and others say that it's the Holy Spirit. Both the LITV and the KJV capitalize "Spirit," even though the original does not capitalize it. Here's another place where I can't be totally sure about the correct interpretation, although in the context, I lean toward the view that it's talking about the Holy Spirit. But again, the principle remains the same no matter what interpretation you use. Whereas our physical bodies are subject to death, there is life in the Spirit. The HOLY SPIRIT has given OUR SPIRITS everlasting life. So if you interpret the "Spirit" to mean the Holy Spirit, then the Spirit is life because it gives everlasting life. If you interpret the "spirit" to mean the spirit of the believer, then the spirit is life because it is GIVEN everlasting life by the Holy Spirit. Either way, it is the Holy Spirit, the Spirit of God, the Spirit of Christ, that indwells the believer and gives the believer everlasting life. Our bodies die, but our spirits are given everlasting life. Now let's talk about the REASON our spirits are given everlasting life. Our bodies die because of SIN, and our spirits are given everlasting life because of RIGHTEOUSNESS. Here again we see the principle that sin demands death, and righteousness demands life. Everlasting life is given to us because of the perfect righteousness that Jesus Christ established for us. Because this righteousness is imputed to us, or charged to our account, there is NO WAY we can be sentenced to everlasting death. This goes right back to the beginning of the chapter, where Paul says, "There is therefore now NO CONDEMNATION to those in Christ Jesus." Why is there no condemnation? Because we have been declared perfectly righteous based on the perfect righteousness of Jesus Christ that was imputed to us. Not only is there no condemnation; there is everlasting life. Even though the bodies of believers will deteriorate and die, they are promised everlasting life in heaven because of the righteousness of Christ. So, as sin came into the world through Adam, and both spiritual and physical death came into the world, only the PHYSICAL death remains for those whom Christ represented. The SPIRITUAL death has been WIPED OUT by the atoning blood and imputed righteousness of Jesus Christ. Compare this to those whom Christ did NOT represent. As sin came into the world through Adam, and both spiritual and physical death came into the world, BOTH kinds of death remain for those whom Christ did not represent. They have no mediator. They have no substitute. They have no one who took the punishment that their sins deserve. There is no one who made satisfaction, who made reconciliation, who made peace between them and God. Thus, not only will they suffer PHYSICAL deterioration and death, they will also suffer what the Bible calls the SECOND DEATH, which is everlasting torment in hell as punishment for their sins. Their sins were never punished on the cross; thus, they are totally liable for all their sins against an infinitely holy God. What a horrible situation to be in. They have no robe of perfect righteousness, which is the only thing God will accept in order for people to be in fellowship with him and in order for them to have everlasting life. They only have their own righteousness, which does not meet up to the standard of perfect righteousness, and thus it is but a filthy rag to God. Thus, they will be justly punished forever in hell. As for us who are saved, the Spirit is life because of what? Our own righteousness? May it never be. The Spirit is life - we are given everlasting life - because of the imputed righteousness of Jesus Christ.
Now let's look at verse 11:
Romans 8: (11) But if the Spirit of the [One] having raised Jesus from [the] dead dwells in you, the [One] having raised the Christ from [the] dead will also make your mortal bodies live through the indwelling of His Spirit in you.
Here's another "But if" sentence. IF this is true, THEN this must be true. Let's look at the "if" first. "IF the Spirit of the One having raised Jesus from the dead dwells in you." Here Paul describes the Holy Spirit in yet another way. We've seen that the Holy Spirit is called the Spirit of God and the Spirit of Christ, and now we see that He is called the Spirit of the One having raised Jesus from the dead." Who is the One having raised Jesus from the dead? We see in many passages of Scripture that it is GOD who raised Jesus from the dead; specifically, God the Father. These passages include Acts 2:24, Acts 2:32, Acts 3:15, Acts 4:10, Acts 10:40, Acts 13:30, Romans 10:9, and 1 Corinthians 15:15. In fact, the Romans 10:9 passage shows that if you do NOT believe that God raised Jesus from the dead, you're not saved. But why didn't Paul just say "the Spirit of God" in Romans 8:11? Because there is a point being made here regarding God's raising of Jesus from the dead in relation to BELIEVERS being raised from the dead. The reasoning goes like this: God raised Jesus from the dead. The Spirit of God dwells in you. Thus, the Spirit of the One who raised Jesus from the dead dwells in you. And since the Spirit of the One who raised Jesus from the dead dwells in you, this One who raised Jesus from the dead will ALSO raise YOU from the dead! So, although the bodies of believers are dead because of sin, as we saw in verse 10, even our BODIES that DIED will be RAISED TO LIFE. Thus, not only will our SPIRITS live in heaven, we will also have GLORIFIED BODIES in heaven. The end of this verse says "through the indwelling of His Spirit in you." I think Young's Literal Translation is a better one for this phrase. It says, "through His Holy Spirit dwelling in you." Our bodies will be raised through the Holy Spirit, this same Spirit who now dwells in us. Let's look at two sets of verses related to what this verse says about the resurrection. First, let's look at some other verses in which Paul argues that believers will be raised because Christ was raised.
1 Corinthians 6:14:
1 Corinthians 6: (14) And God both raised up the Lord, and [He] will raise us up through His power.
1 Corinthians 15:12-23:
1 Corinthians 15: (12) But if Christ is proclaimed, that He was raised from [the] dead, how do some among you say that there is not a resurrection of the dead? (13) But if there is not a resurrection of the dead, neither has Christ been raised. (14) But if Christ has not been raised, then our proclamation [is] worthless, and your faith is also worthless. (15) And also we are found [to be] false witnesses of God, because we witnessed as to God that He raised Christ, whom He did not raise, if the dead ones are not raised. (16) For if [the] dead are not raised, Christ has not been raised. (17) But if Christ has not been raised, your faith [is] foolish; you are still in your sins. (18) And then those that fell asleep in Christ were lost. (19) If we only have hope in Christ in this life, we are of all men most miserable. (20) But now Christ has been raised from [the] dead; He became the firstfruit of those having fallen asleep. (21) For since death [is] through man, also through a Man [is] a resurrection of [the] dead; (22) for as in Adam all die, so also in Christ all will be made alive. (23) But each in [his] own order: Christ, the firstfruit; afterward those of Christ at His coming.
2 Corinthians 4:14:
2 Corinthians 4: (14) knowing that He who raised up the Lord Jesus will also raise us up through Jesus, and will present [us] with you.
So we see that the resurrection of Christ and the resurrection of believers are inseparably connected. And finally, let's look at some of the verses that show that our physical bodies will be raised as glorified, immortal, spiritual bodies.
1 Corinthians 15:35-54:
1 Corinthians 15: (35) But someone will say, How are the dead raised? And with what body do they come? (36) Foolish one! What you sow is not made alive unless it dies. (37) And what you sow, you do not sow the body that [is] going to be, but a bare grain, (it may be of wheat, or of some of the rest), (38) and God gives it a body according as He willed, and to each of the seeds its own body. (39) Not every flesh [is] the same flesh, but [there is] one flesh of men, and another flesh of beasts, and another of fish, and another of birds. (40) And [there are] heavenly bodies, and earthly bodies. But the glory of the heavenly [is] truly different, and that of the earthly different; (41) one glory of [the] sun, and another glory of [the] moon, and another glory of [the] stars; for star differs from star in glory. (42) So also the resurrection of the dead. It is sown in corruption, it is raised in incorruption. (43) It is sown in dishonor, it is raised in glory. It is sown in weakness, it is raised in power. (44) It is sown a natural body, it is raised a spiritual body; there is a natural body, and there is a spiritual body. (45) So also it has been written, "The" first "man", Adam, "became a living soul;" the last Adam a life-giving Spirit. (46) But not the spiritual first, but the natural; afterward the spiritual. (47) The first man [was] out of earth, earthy. The second Man [was] the Lord out of Heaven. (48) Such [as is] the earthy [man], such also [are] the earthy ones. And such [as is] the heavenly [Man], such also [are] the heavenly ones. (49) And as we bore the image of the earthy [man], we shall also bear the image of the heavenly [Man]. (50) And I say this, brothers, that flesh and blood is not able to inherit [the] kingdom of God, nor does corruption inherit incorruption. (51) Behold, I speak a mystery to you: we shall not all fall asleep, but we shall all be changed. (52) In a moment, in a glance of an eye, at the last trumpet; for a trumpet will sound, and the dead will be raised incorruptible, and we shall all be changed. (53) For this corruptible must put on incorruption, and this mortal [must] put on immortality. (54) But when this corruptible shall put on incorruption, and this mortal shall put on immortality, then will take place the Word that has been written, "Death was swallowed up in victory."
Philippians 3: (20) For our citizenship is in Heaven, from where we also wait for a Savior, [the] Lord Jesus Christ, (21) who will transform our body of humiliation, for it to be conformed to His body of glory, according to the working [of] Him to be able even to subject all things under Himself.
Let us close with some words of comfort for those who are in Christ, who have been declared righteous based on the imputed righteousness of Christ and who have been given eternal life through the Spirit of Christ. Let's turn to 1 Thessalonians 4:13-18:
1 Thessalonians 4: (13) But I do not want you to be ignorant, brothers, concerning those who sleep, that you not grieve, as the rest also, not having hope. (14) For if we believe that Jesus died and rose again, even so God will also bring with Him all those who have fallen asleep through Jesus. (15) For we say this to you in [the] Word of [the] Lord, that we the living who remain to the coming of the Lord will not at all go before those who have fallen asleep. (16) Because the Lord Himself shall come down from Heaven with a commanding shout of an archangel's voice, and with God's trumpet. And the dead in Christ will rise again first. (17) Then we who remain alive will be caught up together with them in [the] clouds to a meeting with the Lord in [the] air. And so we will always be with [the] Lord. (18) So, then, comfort each other with these words.