"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)
When a person gets married amazing things happen. Not only do you have a new identity as a married couple, but the wife is now identified by her husbands name. Her maiden name has been exchanged for a new one. With it comes an incredible honor of belonging to another person, of sharing ones life in an intimate way. When this event takes place, vows and rings are exchanges and people gather to witness and give approval. This covenant relationship is marvelous in every way imaginable.
Just like our example of marriage, when we were united to Christ we also underwent an amazing change as the bride of Christ. He gives us his name, his spirit, his righteousness and his unconditional love. In exchange we give up our guilt, our shame, our burden of sin and our old nature bound to the law. It is an amazing transformation. This newness is a sign that we do not belong to the world, but that we belong to Christ.
Paul has just been describing how the carnal mind and the mind controlled by the flesh is opposed to God. It cannot please God in anyway because to please God it takes faith. Faith is a response to God's grace. When we focus on the natural realm or set our minds according to the world's desires then the result will be heartache and death. However if we set our mind upon what the Holy Spirit reveals to us then Paul say in this chapter that we will experience life and peace ( Romans 8:6 ).
By living according to the Spirit, then Paul tells us that the righteous requirements of the law are fully met in us ( Romans 8:4 ). This is because Jesus transferred his righteousness to us when we received this new born again spirit. Today, Paul is reminding us that we are not controlled by the sinful nature that has been put to death, but we are led by the Spirit if God lives in us. This new spirit is the guarantee of our perfect covenant with the Lord. It shows the world that we belong to Christ. It testifies that we are his children. "For all who are led by the Spirit of God are sons of God" ( Romans 8:14 ).
Like our example of marriage, this transformation is incredible. The old is gone and the new has come. Our association is not tied to the old nature of sin, but we are one and the same with Christ. This impact is so profound upon our entire beings that evidence of the Holy Spirit is evidence that we belong to Christ. And if we belong to Christ, then we no longer are controlled by the sinful nature.
Today on this Thanksgiving morning I am thankful for Jesus. I am thankful that he freed me and bestowed upon me the gift of his love and His Holy Spirit to testify that I belong to him. I am thankful that he lives in me to guide and direct my every step. Today may this revelation of how intimately you belong to him bless you and how much this associate effects your entire life. Amen!