“But you are not controlled by your sinful nature. You are controlled by the Spirit if you have the Spirit of God living in you. (And remember that those who do not have the Spirit of Christ living in them do not belong to him at all.) And Christ lives within you, so even though your body will die because of sin, the Spirit gives you life because you have been made right with God. The Spirit of God, who raised Jesus from the dead, lives in you. And just as God raised Christ Jesus from the dead, he will give life to your mortal bodies by this same Spirit living within you.”
Romans 8:9-11 NLT
Scientists claim that there could be just as many non-human organisms living within or upon us as there are human. Wee beasties such as the bacteria in our gut. The microscopic mites that live on our skin. And many others as well. There is a synergistic process at work that mutually benefits both us and the other organisms. But none of this was what Paul was referring to. He said that there is also a synergistic process going on within our spirits. Within us lives either sin or the Holy Spirit. And we will be controlled by one or the other.
Our spirits are home to a violent battle between two opposing enemies. They are battling to take control over our minds, our actions, over who we are. There will be no prisoners of war. It’s a fight to the death. But God, through His love and grace, will win in the end, if we let Him. Paul reminded the Roman Christians that “even though your bod[ies] will die because of sin, the Spirit gives you life because you have been made right with God”. Sadly, we live in bodies that will eventually wear out and die – sin will overtake us one day. But our spirits will live on, in a wonderful partnership with the Holy Spirit.
But Paul continued by reminding his readers that the “Spirit of God” is so powerful that He raised Jesus from the dead. And through that same power He was going to “give life to your mortal bodies”. But we know that our bodies will become lifeless one day, and end up buried or cremated, ultimately to disappear from this life forever. Paul wrote to the Corinthian church the following words, “For we know that when this earthly tent we live in is taken down (that is, when we die and leave this earthly body), we will have a house in heaven, an eternal body made for us by God himself and not by human hands” (2 Corinthians 5:1). One day we will receive a new body, and we get a few clues about what that might be like from reading the Scriptures about Jesus after His resurrection.
The Holy Spirit living within us has a transformational impact on who and what we are. We are given access to God’s thoughts. We are able to follow His ways. We really do become a new creation, as Paul wrote about in Ephesians 4. No more do we have to be controlled by our sinful thoughts. But we have a choice. Who have we provided a residence permit for? Sin or the Holy Spirit? Hmmm…
Dear Father. Thank You for Your grace and love. Without it we would be a miserable and lost people. Please help us to allow Your Spirit to refine and improve us, so that we become more like Jesus in true holiness and righteousness. Amen.