In The Spirit

In the Spirit

Romans 8:4-14

Message from a series on “The Indwelling of the Holy Spirit” preached on 1/17/90

Who is the Holy Spirit?  He is God the Spirit who ever exists in the Godhead.  The Holy Spirit is the third person of the Trinity.  He is sent to us from our exalted mediator Jesus Christ.  Lord Jesus sent Him to us so that we might be clothed with His power and given His life and likeness.

We need: 1) His almighty power upon us and 2) His work in us.  The two must go together – in balance.  Tonight we shall consider the Holy Spirit’s work in us.

Please read Romans 8:4-14.

General Principles to Consider

  1. Every believer has the Holy Spirit. Look at verse 9, the second part of the verse.  “Anyone who does not have the Spirit of Christ does not belong to Him.”  See also verse 11, “If the Spirit of Him who raised Jesus from the dead dwells in you, He who raised Christ Jesus from the dead will also give life to your mortal bodies through His Spirit who dwells in you.”


  1. Every believer is “in the Spirit” in the general sense, that is, he has been brought from darkness to light, from the purely natural to the spiritual. See the first part of verse 9.  “You, however, are not in the flesh, but in the Spirit, if in fact the Spirit of God dwells in you.”


  1. However, not every believer walks in the Spirit. That is, not every believer lives according to the mind and dictates of the Holy Spirit.  This passage helps us distinguish what it means to live according to the Spirit.


Walking in the Spirit (verse 4) or living according to the Spirit (verse 5) are important concepts and must be understood clearly.  Having the Holy Spirit as a frame of mind (“set their minds on the things of the Spirit, verse 5) and walking in the Spirit are two different things.

Slipping out of the Spirit is possible.  Slipping into the Holy Spirit is not possible.  Slipping into the flesh is possible.  Slipping out of the flesh is not possible.  Walking according to the Spirit and not walking according to the flesh requires a mindset, a choice followed by action.  It is very worthwhile studying this section of Scripture for how the Holy Spirit makes us different from those walking in the flesh and looking for our part in accomplishing that difference.


Marks of the Spirit-filled Life

Mark #1: Pleasing to God and often contrary to the world about us

See how living according to the Spirit is contrasted with living according to the flesh in these verses.  Verses 7 and 8 clearly state that those living according to the flesh are hostile to God, do not obey God and cannot please God.  Verse 9 starts, “You, however, are not in the flesh but in the Spirit.”  When we live according to the Spirit our lives are opposite to those described in verses 7 and 8.

See Jesus’ words to the Pharisees in John 8:23, “You are from below; I am from above.  You are of this world; I am not of this world.”  Speaking to His disciples in John 15:19, Jesus said, “If you were of the world, the world would love you as its own; but you are not of the world, but I chose you out of the world, therefore the world hates you.”  In John 17:11 Jesus asks the Holy Father to keep us, His disciples, because He was leaving the world, but we remain in it.  Verse 14: “The world has hated them because they are not of the world, just as I am not of the world.”  Jesus prayed the same thought again in verse 16.

Paul wrote in Philippians 2:15 that we are to “be blameless and innocent, children of God without blemish in the midst of a crooked and twisted generation, among whom you shine as lights in the world.”  The contrast of those walking on the Spirit is necessary.  The disciple of Jesus Christ who lives according to the Holy Spirit spreads light where there is only darkness otherwise.

For a believer not to walk in the Spirit, is to backslide, to turn away from the Lord like Demas.  2 Timothy 4:10 says Demas was “in love with this present world.”  “Do not love the world, or the things in the world.  If anyone loves the world, the Love of the Father is not in him.  For all that is in the world – the desires of the flesh and the desires of the eyes and the pride of life – is not from the Father but is from the world.  And the world is passing away along with its desires, but whoever does the will of God abides forever.”  1 John 2:15-17

“See what kind of love the Father has given to us, that we should be called children of God; and so we are.  The reason why the world does not know us is that it did not know Him.” 1 John 3:1

“Little children, you are from God and have overcome them, foe He who is in you is greater than he who is in the world.” 1 John 4:4

“For everyone who has been born of God overcomes the world.  And this is the victory that has overcome the world – our faith.  Who is it that overcomes the world except the one who believes that Jesus is the Son of God?” 1 John 5:4,5


Mark #2: Pleasing to God and often contrary to the natural desires within

What result do our natural desires bring on us?

Alienation from God Verse 9

Hostility toward God verse 5

Rebellion against God’s will verse 5

Inability to obey God verse 5

No peace verse 6

Death verses 6, 13

Putting to death the deeds of the body by the Holy Spirit brings life, verse 13.  Do this in prayer at least once at the start of each day and more often as needed.  Confessing your sin, take your place in Christ Jesus, cleansed by His blood.  Then come before the throne of grace standing cleansed in the Savior and claim in prayer that by the Holy Spirit you put the deeds of the flesh, your sinful nature, to death.

“But put on the Lord Jesus Christ, and make no provision for the flesh, to gratify its desires.”  Romans 13:14  Active steps to avoid further sin is required on your part.  Do not go where you find temptation.  Turn instead to worship and recall of Scripture you have memorized.

Jesus said, “If anyone would come after me, let him deny himself and take up his cross and follow me.” Mark 8:34

“I appeal to you therefore brothers, by the mercies of God, that you present your bodies as a living sacrifice, holy and acceptable to God, which is your spiritual worship.  Do not be conformed to this world, but be transformed by the renewal of your mind, that by testing you may discern what is the will of God, what is good and acceptable and perfect.” Romans 12:1,2


Mark #3: Displaying God’s great power in our great weakness

“There is therefore now no condemnation for those who are in Christ Jesus.  For the law of the Spirit of life has set you free in Christ Jesus from the law of sin and death.  For God has done what the law, weakened by the flesh, could not do.  By sending His own Son in the likeness of sinful flesh and for sin, condemned sin in the flesh, in order that the righteous requirement of the law might be fulfilled in us, who walk not according to the flesh, but according to the Spirit.

For you did not receive the spirit of slavery to fall back into fear, but you have received the Spirit of adoption as sons, by whom we cry, ‘Abba! Father!’   The Spirit Himself bears witness with our spirit that we are children of God, and if children, then heirs – heirs of God and fellow heirs with Christ, provided we suffer with Him in order that we may be glorified with Him.” Romans 8:1-4, 15-17


We position ourselves to walk in the Holy Spirit by taking definite, deliberate steps.  Search Romans 6,7,8, Colossians 3 and Galatians 5 for more specific instructions.