Romans 8

Life in the Spirit

Romans 8 shows how to live by the Spirit, letting peace rule in our hearts.The Holy Spirit within us testifies that we are children of God. He gives us assurance before God so we are convinced that nothing will ever separate us from His love. This is a passage of hope because we know our future is bright in Christ.

No Condemnation in Christ Jesus—Romans 8:1

Written by Juli Camarin on . Posted in Romans 8

"Therefore, there is now no condemnation for those who are in Christ Jesus, who walk not after the flesh, but after the Spirit" (Romans 8:1)

Guilt, shame and remorse are debilitating. These like a cancer will keep you motionless, defeated and unworthy of your calling. If you are unable to move pass what you have done in life, you will never fully grasp God's grace and loving kindness towards you. God loves you, He sent Jesus to die for you and He has completely forgiven you. So any condemning feelings you have toward yourself are not from God. His desire for you is that you free and moving forward in life fulfilling His destiny for you. Not only so, but He wants you to experience this freedom daily, fully and completely. That is why the Apostle Paul penned these words... "Therefore, there is now no condemnation for those who are in Christ Jesus, who walk not after the flesh, but after the Spirit" ( Romans 8:1 ).

What a glorious verse! Paul has just unequivocally given us the answer posed in Romans 7... Who will rescue us from the left over effects of the sin nature that trips us up in life? Praise be to God, it happens by Jesus, through the power of the Holy Spirit. When we live according to the Spirit of God, he gives us the power to escape all the condemnation and guilt that life throws our way. Because of Jesus, there is no condemnation unless we void this amazing gift by condemning ourselves. Understanding this grace is the key to living free, pursuing the life that the Lord has set you apart for.

This is one of the incredible foundations of Christianity. We are freed from the effects of guilt and shame because of the blood of Jesus, but sadly many do not know this wonderful truth. God does not, nor will not condemn us. We will never face judgment or punishment for our sins because Jesus has paid for each and every one of them upon the cross. God placed all judgment and all sin upon his Son once for all in order that we would never have to bear it. By faith in his blood, we are completely forgiven. He has reconciled us to God the father and brought us incredible peace in the process. We, as believers should experience this right here and right now and not let guilt or unworthiness hinder us. ( John 3:16-18, Romans 5:1, II Corinthians 5:21, Colossians 2:13-15, Hebrews 10:12, Hebrews 10:18, Hebrews 10:22, I John 2:2, I John 3:5, I John 3:16, I John 3:19-20 )

God provided everything with your redemption to enable you to live a life worthy of your calling. He wants you to live a victorious life by the Spirit of God. You are worthy on the basis of the value that Jesus assigns you. He died for you to bring you into fellowship with the Father, who are we to disagree with such a wonderful gift. Today, it is my prayer that you will drop whatever burdens you are carrying at the feet of Jesus. He has already bore them so you should not have to. May you understand this incredible grace to which you were called, sanctified and set apart. Amen!

Living According to the Spirit—Romans 8:2

Written by Juli Camarin on . Posted in Romans 8

"because through Christ Jesus the law of the Spirit of life set me free from the law of sin and death" (Romans 8:2)

Did you know that Christ has set you free! This is a hard concept for humans to understand. We look at everything around us and determine our world view based on what we see. Then we read something as wonderful as this passage and can't understand it, because we are so used to thinking with our brain instead of understanding these truths with our spirit. Jesus said, "The Spirit gives life; the flesh counts for nothing. The words I have spoken to you are spirit and they are life" ( John 6:63 ). He had just offended his followers by saying something they could not understand in the physical realm and instead of apologizing to them, he said, 'The words I have spoken to you are spirit and they are life' The Bible is full of spiritual words, so to understand them we must discern them by the Holy Spirit.

The amazing thing about today's verse is that it explains yesterday's scripture as well. So looking at both passages will help bring understanding to both verses. "Therefore, there is now no condemnation for those who are in Christ Jesus, who walk not after the flesh, but after the Spirit, because through Christ Jesus the law of the Spirit of life set me free from the law of sin and death" ( Romans 8:1-2 ). One of the first things Jesus did when he redeemed you was set you free from everything that held you captive. Sin, shame, guilt, rules, regulations, fear, doubt, worthlessness... the list goes on and on. He loved you so much, that he choose to be a sin offering, the very thing he hated and despised, in order to redeem you from the curse of the law. The Law says you will never be good enough. The law says you are unworthy. The law shows you how sinful you are. The law condemns you to death. And the Law could never make you right with God. So, Christ did what the law could not do.

The law prescribed both blessings and curses. Blessings for those who lived by the law and curses for those who disobeyed it ( Deuteronomy 28 ). Through Jesus we have all of the benefits and blessings of fulfilling the Old Testament Law. We were completely powerless to do it on our own so we remained under it's curse. But what could not be done by human effort was done by Jesus. Because of this, when we are born again He gave us a new nature. He also gave us the Holy Spirit to guide and direct us in everything. The law brought condemnation, the law brought a curse. But now we have been freed from this curse in order to live in a new way, by the Holy Spirit.

There is a difference between living according to the Spirit and living under the law subjected to our flesh. Because we live by the Spirit and because we are free from sin and death, there is no condemnation in Christ Jesus. ( Romans 8:1 ) If we choose to live by our new nature then we will experience this freedom from the old nature in our physical world. The bible teaches that we are free. The Bible teaches that we are forgiven. The Bible teaches that there is no condemnation towards us by God. But if we look at the world around us to understand this, then we will fail. Because these words are Spiritual words. We have to live according to our new nature, by the Spirit otherwise we are subjecting ourselves back under the law which we've been freed from. The trick in life is not to live governed by the law which brings condemnation, but to live by the Spirit which brings life!

Today, I am so blessed to be able to write and explain such wonderful truths. I rejoice is seeing people free. May God bless you abundantly according to his riches and impart understanding to you so that you will see this freedom in everything you are. Amen!

The Perfect Sin Offering—Romans 8:3

Written by Juli Camarin on . Posted in Romans 8

"For what the law was powerless to do in that it was weakened by the sinful nature, God did by sending his own Son in the likeness of sinful man to be a sin offering. And so he condemned sin in sinful man" (Romans 8:3)

The law could never make us right with God because sin weakened it's power making it incapable of saving us. Our sin nature defeated us from the get go, so we never stood a chance of being able to fulfill the law by doing what it says. The entire nature of man without the Holy Spirit was vulnerable and held in captivity to sin under the control of darkness, we were powerless to help ourselves. In that sense, the law was never able to us to bring us salvation and yet it held the key to breaking the bondage of captivity that we were held in.

However, while we were weak and powerless, God sent Jesus to come in the flesh and utterly destroy the power of darkness. It is important to realize that Jesus came into the world and was just as much human as he was God. He was born under the same captivity that you and I were born into and yet he never sinned. He lived a perfect life and so he was able to fulfill the entire law because sin never defeated him. He came as our representative before God to stand in the gap that sin created. Just as Adam plunged the world into sin, Jesus rescued the world from sin.

Now to do this, Jesus became a sin offering for us. This is amazing, because Jesus is holy, he abhors sin, so this was no small sacrifice becoming the very thing that he hated and despised. But according to the law a sin offering was required. There were instructions for many sacrifices according to the Old Testament law. Leviticus 7:37 records six of them. However, a constant throughout all instructions for these different offerings was that a substitution was made for the individual making the offering. Something was sacrificed and the atonement was imputed to the individual making the sacrifice.

The interesting thing about the guidelines for the sin offering was that it had to made whether or not the sin committed was intentional or unintentional. The party for whom the sacrifice was made would lay their hands upon the offering to symbolically transfer guilt to the animal. Then the blood was sprinkled over everything because the covering of blood brought atonement and the forgiveness of sins. The sin offering was offered over and over because it was only a temporary solution to the problem. Hebrews chapter 10 says, "those sacrifices are an annual reminder of sins, because it is impossible for the blood of bulls and goats to take away sins." ( Hebrews 10:3-4 ). So there was a need for the sin offering to be made, but it was apparent that the law was not able to accomplish the reconciliation and removal of guilt, because the sin consciousness was still there afterwards.

Concerning the law and sacrifices, Hebrews say this, "This is an illustration for the present time, indicating that the gifts and sacrifices being offered were not able to clear the conscience of the worshiper. They are only a matter of food and drink and various ceremonial washings-external regulations applying until the time of the new order" ( Hebrews 9:9-10 ). That is because we were so defeated by sin that the blood covering of animals would never do. So, what it could not do, 'God did by sending his own Son in the likeness of sinful man to be a sin offering' ( Romans 8:3 ). This is an amazing truth because Hebrews 8 goes on to tell us that Christ did not enter a manmade tabernacle nor did he enter with bulls and goats, but he enter a heavenly tabernacle with his own blood obtaining eternal redemption for us. This blood so pure and so holy, unblemished before God, was able to save completely and cleanse our consciences from any guilt remaining ( Hebrews 9:12-14 ). And so he completely defeated death and overcame sin in one redemptive act.

Because Jesus only died to sin once, sin has been completely taken care of. He condemned it in the flesh when he died upon the cross. He subdued it, he overcame it, he deprived it of all it's power over us. The law was never able to do that for us, but what the law could not do, Christ did!

For those of us who have accepted this payment, We have traded our sin and our sin nature and have been given the righteousness of God. This righteousness fulfills the law which was always God's intent. It wasn't on our own account, but it was a gift. Through Christ we have become the righteousness of God. "For our sake He made Christ [virtually] to be sin Who knew no sin, so that in and through Him we might become [endued with, viewed as being in, and examples of] the righteousness of God [what we ought to be, approved and acceptable and in right relationship with Him, by His goodness]" ( II Corinthians 5:21 Amp ).

The blood of Christ was able to cleanse us for all guilt. When we understand this, then we should no longer have a sin consciousness. That sin sensitivity will keep us from enjoying all the benefits of an intimate relationship with the Lord. But if we can overcome this notion of guilt then we will have boldness before the God. Hebrews 10 says, "let us draw near to God with a sincere heart in full assurance of faith, having our hearts sprinkled to cleanse us from a guilty conscience and having our bodies washed with pure water" ( Hebrews 10:22 ). Meaning that we should continually be approaching God this way, in boldness. We should have no consciousness of guilt because we are so totally forgiven through Christ. His blood was able to completely wipe away all condemnation that sin held over us.

Today, I am so thankful that Jesus did for us, what the law was incapable of doing. It is my prayer that you start approaching God in full assurance of faith, with boldness before him. Start living like you've been redeemed, fully purchased by precious blood, reveling in grace. God bless you!

The Righteous Requirements of the Law Are Fulfilled In You—Romans 8:4

Written by Juli Camarin on . Posted in Romans 8

"...in order that the righteous requirements of the law might be fully met in us, who do not live according to the sinful nature but according to the Spirit" (Romans 8:4)

Are you righteous? If I was standing in front of you today and asked you this question, what would your answer be? Would it be yes? Would it be no? Would you know how to respond to this question? In order to live forever in the presence of God we must be righteous. We must be in right standing with him. Many believe to do this, we must follow the guidelines of the law. Religion has always taught us this principal, but Jesus told the religious in Matthew chapter 5, "that unless your righteousness surpasses that of the Pharisees and the teachers of the law, you will certainly not enter the kingdom of heaven" ( Matthew 5:20 ). The teachers of the law were undoubtedly well on their way to righteousness by the standards of men. But Jesus condemned them by saying they completely lacked the necessary righteousness to find salvation. In other words they could not live up to God's holy standard by obeying the law.

The beginning of yesterday's verse said the same thing, "... the law was powerless to do in that it was weakened by the sinful nature..." ( Romans 8:3 ). The law was powerless to save anyone because the law demanded a righteousness that mankind defeated by the sin nature was incapable of. Paul has already gone over in detail throughout the book of Romans the purpose of the law. In Romans 3 he completely annihilates the argument that we could be justified by observing the law. "Now we know that whatever the law says, it says to those who are under the law, so that every mouth may be silenced and the whole world held accountable to God. Therefore no one will be declared righteous in his sight by observing the law; rather, through the law we become conscious of sin" ( Romans 3:19-20 ). First we see that the law silences us before God by taking away every defense we could make on our own behalf. Secondly we see that through the law we become conscious of sin . Lastly we see that we will never be declare righteous before God by observing the law because the law is powerless to save us.

If the law could never bring us into fellowship with God and yet to be in fellowship with God we need the righteousness that the law prescribes, is there hope? Yes, there is hope because Jesus fulfilled the law by living perfectly under it. He came in human form to fulfill the letter of the law. He accomplished everything that the law dictated. Because he accomplished it, the key to eternal life was his. He earned the righteousness that the law described, because he lived perfectly under it and sins power never broke him. He came with that purpose in mind ( Matthew 5:17-18 ). So our hope rests in him alone. Paul said in Romans 3, "But now a righteousness from God, apart from law, has been made known, to which the Law and the Prophets testify. This righteousness from God comes through faith in Jesus Christ to all who believe. There is no difference, for all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God, and are justified freely by his grace through the redemption that came by Christ Jesus" ( Romans 3:21-24 ). What the law could not provide us, Jesus did. He took our sin, our shame upon himself and gave us his righteousness and his holiness as a free gift. This is called the law of substitution. II Corinthians 5 says, "God made him who had no sin to be sin for us, so that in him we might become the righteousness of God" ( II Corinthians 5:21 ). So through faith in Jesus, we obtain the righteousness that the law prescribed that we were incapable of acquiring on our own through works of the law.

In other words we are justified by faith in Jesus alone. "For what the law was powerless to do in that it was weakened by the sinful nature, God did by sending his own Son in the likeness of sinful man to be a sin offering. And so he condemned sin in sinful man, in order that the righteous requirements of the law might be fully met in us, who do not live according to the sinful nature but according to the Spirit" ( Romans 8:3-4 ). Paul finished up a glorious thought that even thought we were defeated and powerless by sin, God provide a way. Through Jesus we are righteous and justified before God. God sent Jesus so that we also could fulfilled the entire law by the righteousness that Jesus provided for us. Removing any barrier that sin and the sin nature put in our way. The only requirement is faith in Jesus. He provide the way and offered the gift of grace and when we respond to that gift is when the law is completely fulfilled in us. We are justified apart from works by faith alone ( Romans 3:28 ).

Faith dwells by the spirit not by the sinful nature. No longer are we subjected to our previous nature, it has been defeated and removed from us ( Romans 6:6-7 ). If we continue to walk the way of spirit there is no condemnation because we are not accused by the law. Our lives are not governed by the standards and dictates of the flesh but now we are controlled by and regenerated by the Holy Spirit. We are fashioned after Jesus in true righteousness and holiness ( Ephesians 4:24 )

So, if I stood before you today and asked you if you were righteous, you would know how to respond. As a born again believer your answer is a resounding yes! Jesus gave you His righteousness in order to fulfill the law that always accused you. Now since you are free from accusation before God, it is my prayer that you find boldness to fellowship with him in an intimate personal way. May you be blessed today by this revelation of grace and may you live your life worthy of your calling. Amen!

Spiritual Minded, Spiritual Results—Romans 8:5

Written by Juli Camarin on . Posted in Romans 8

"Those who live according to the sinful nature have their minds set on what that nature desires; but those who live in accordance with the Spirit have their minds set on what the Spirit desires" (Romans 8:5)

Did you know this verse was written for believers? It comes upon the heels of an amazing revelation of grace. Paul said in the previous verses that God sent his son Jesus to be our perfect sin sacrifice so that the laws requirements could be completely fulfill in us who live according to the Spirit ( Romans 8:3-4 ). But this verse tells us that believers have a choice in how they live after they are born again. We can set our minds on what we see, taste, touch and feel, or we can set our minds in agreement with the Holy Spirit and live according to God's will. If we live according to the flesh then we are subjected to it's whims. But if we live according to the spirit then we will experience the freedom that was purchased for us.

Paul is describing the dichotomy of living the Christian life apart from how you received the Lord. Modern day Christians are notorious for starting out in faith and ending up in works because they do not know any better nor are they taught any better. However, real freedom comes from living a life directed by the Holy Spirit within us as our guide not from following rules and regulations. Paul said in Colossians, "So then, just as you received Christ Jesus as Lord, continue to live in him..." ( Colossians 2:6 ). Did you receive the Lord by observing the Law or by faith? You received him by faith, for it is the only way to obtain the righteousness Jesus provided for you.

As Christians we have been freed from the sin nature once for all ( Romans 6:6-7 ). But when we are living according to the flesh, then the left over remnant of that old man becomes visible in our lives ( Romans 7:23 ). The key to overcoming these leftover effects is to live according to the Holy Spirit. When you do this then you put to death the body of sin, the leftover remains of your previous nature. Trouble arises when we don't understand how to live this way, because then we will revert back to what we know... rules, regulations and condemnation. If we live in the flesh then we are not living in the freedom that was purchase for us. Through Christ Jesus, we were designed to be completely free of everything that holds us in chains. This manifest freedom happens by heart change, through aligning ourselves with the Lord and being submissive to his will for our lives. What is his will? We find that in his word.

Paul said in Romans 12:2, "Do not conform any longer to the pattern of this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind. Then you will be able to test and approve what God's will is-his good, pleasing and perfect will" ( Romans 12:2 ). Through renewing our mind to God's will we will experience effortless change in life. It won't be works based, but it comes out of the overflow of our hearts. Proverbs 23 says, "For as he thinketh in his heart, so is he..." ( Proverbs 23:7 KJV ). And Jesus said in Luke 6, "For out of the overflow of his heart his mouth speaks..." ( Luke 6:45 ). If we truly believe that we have been set free from the sin nature we will not live according to it. If we truly believe that we have a completely new nature in Christ Jesus then we will live that way. But this knowledge must come from a renewed mind directed by the Holy Spirit.

We have a choice, we have the answer. The answer is to live according to the Holy Spirit. When we do this we will be directed by him in everything we do. Our lives will never be ordinary, they will be extraordinary. This freedom comes from understanding this amazing truth that Christ has redeemed you from a empty way of life full of rules and regulations. You are free and called to live a life worthy of your calling. Today may you start renewing your mind to this monumental truth, and may you see it operating in your life. Amen.

Life and Peace—Romans 8:6

Written by Juli Camarin on . Posted in Romans 8

"The mind of sinful man is death, but the mind controlled by the Spirit is life and peace (Romans 8:6)

This verse is a barometer to how one is fairing in life. Jesus said, "In this world you will have trouble. But take heart! I have overcome the world" ( John 16:33 ). He meant exactly that, this world is full of trouble, heartache and persecution at the hands of the world, but in the midst of these things it is possible to have peace. James said something similar when he said, "Consider it pure joy, my brothers, whenever you face trials of many kinds" ( James 1:2 ). He was saying don't be surprised at it when you become the worlds target because of Christ and don't be caught off guard when you experience pain in life. These verses are meant to encourage us and give us hope. And today we learn how to have life and peace in the midst of the world in which we live.

The Amplified Bible puts it best, "Now the mind of the flesh [which is sense and reason without the Holy Spirit] is death [death that comprises all the miseries arising from sin, both here and hereafter]. But the mind of the [Holy] Spirit is life and [soul] peace [both now and forever]" ( Romans 8:6 Amp ). If we are living out of our new nature as born again believers, then it doesn't matter what comes our way, because we will experience soul peace.

Soul peace is a marvelous thing. It is experiencing the kind of peace that only the Holy Spirit can give you. It is the calm in the midst of the storm and it dwells inside of you. It makes no logical sense to the world around you and it is something that cannot be understood without having the Holy Spirit inside you. Jesus is called the prince of peace, he came not to bring peace on earth but peace between you and God. Now that we have been reconciled with the Father we are not at war with Him but we are in a state of peace with him. That peace lives within us as born again believers. It is the quiet tranquility that exists in our very nature. When we live according to the Holy Spirit and let Him live through us then are continually abiding in this peace. And if we are abiding in it, then it is only natural that this peace will spill over into the natural realm as well.

We have this incredible life and peace within our born again spirit. However to experience it, we must renew our minds to it. Paul said, "the mind controlled by the Spirit is life and peace" ( Romans 8:6 ). Getting this peace out into the natural realm seems like a mystery, but he just said we will experience this when we let our soulish realm, which is our mind, our thoughts, our personalities and consciousness be ruled by the Holy Spirit. This is a choice. Paul said in Colossians, "Let the peace of Christ rule in your hearts..." ( Colossians 3:15 ). What he literally meant is let Christ's peace call the shots in your life. Let it play umpire in your mind deciding how you will react. "And let the peace (soul harmony which comes) from Christ rule (act as umpire continually) in your hearts [deciding and settling with finality all questions that arise in your minds, in that peaceful state] to which as [members of Christ's] one body you were also called [to live]. And be thankful (appreciative), [giving praise to God always]" ( Colossians 3:15 Amp ). This is how to experience the life and peace that Jesus purchased for you.

Is your life full of turmoil? Is your head swimming in negativity, anxiety and death? If it is then you are not living according to the Spirit of God. Life and peace is your new nature, but the choice is yours. Will you let peace rule in your heart today? Will you experience rest and calm in the midst of the worlds confusion? Today may you be blessed by knowing that soul peace was provided for you. May you decide to let this incredible gift overflow into every area of your life. Amen!

The Carnal Mind is Hostile to God—Romans 8:7

Written by Juli Camarin on . Posted in Romans 8

"The sinful mind is hostile to God. It does not submit to God's law, nor can it do so" (Romans 8:7)

The natural mind cannot receive the things of God. Paul says that the sinful mind or carnal mind is hostile to God. It hates the very things of God and cannot please God because it is impossible to walk according to his ways while following the desires of the flesh. Many Christians try and try but experience constant failure because they are not living by the Holy Spirit as their compass and guide. They are living out of their own efforts rather than living a life of faith.

To have true victory in life we must be in tune with the Holy Spirit that was given to us. His office and function is to instruct, help and comfort us on this earth. But just as important He reveals and reminds us what Jesus told us. It is the most blessed gift along with salvation that we received from God. If we are trying live apart from the provision Christ made for us in sending the Holy Spirit, then we will never know God in the way he desires. Jesus thought that this guide was so important that he said in John, "But I tell you the truth: It is for your good that I am going away. Unless I go away, the Counselor will not come to you; but if I go, I will send him to you" ( John 16:7 ). So many times we wish that we could have Jesus sitting next to us teaching and instructing us. But Jesus said it was expedient that he return to the Father so that he could send us the Holy Spirit in His place.

While Jesus' time was approaching an end on this earth he began to minister to the disciples about the events that would be coming regarding this death upon the cross. He started comforting them by telling them of the promised Holy Spirit that he would be sending them. Jesus wanted to tell them everything but he knew that their limited understanding of spiritual things hindered them. That is why he told them in John, "I have much more to say to you, more than you can now bear. But when he, the Spirit of truth, comes, he will guide you into all truth. He will not speak on his own; he will speak only what he hears, and he will tell you what is yet to come" ( John 16:12-13 ). Jesus knew that they could not bear it in the natural, but after he sent the Holy Spirit, their minds would be opened to the very things of God and He would bring them understanding in a spiritual way. The Holy Spirits job is to teach us all things, even the very deep and intimate things of God. I Corinthians 2:10 says, "...but God has revealed it to us by his Spirit. The Spirit searches all things, even the deep things of God..." ( I Corinthians 2:10 ). That is why Jesus chided his disciples in Luke 24, to stay in Jerusalem until they received this promise, because He knew that it was absolutely necessary for life. The same is true for us today.

Today we learn that the natural mind is hostile to God. We cannot understand the things of God on our own because I Corinthians 2 says, "The man without the Spirit does not accept the things that come from the Spirit of God, for they are foolishness to him, and he cannot understand them, because they are spiritually discerned" ( I Corinthians 2:14 ). We need the Holy Spirit because we have been called into fellowship with God the Father through Christ the Son and it is their desire to show us all things. God has revealed everything to us and withheld nothing from us. We have this knowledge in our born again spirits. "We have not received the spirit of the world but the Spirit who is from God, that we may understand what God has freely given us" ( I Corinthians 2:12 ). He wants us to know and understand everything. It is the Holy Spirit who teaches and reminds us of these very things. Jesus said, "But the Counselor, the Holy Spirit, whom the Father will send in my name, will teach you all things and will remind you of everything I have said to you" ( John 14:26 ). This is why it is imperative that we walk not after the dictates of the flesh, but after the Spirit in newness of life.

Today, as you read this wonderful revelation of truth, I pray that your heart is softened and receptive to the Holy Spirits direction in your life. With this change of heart you will experience effortless change by Him. Your mind will naturally align with His direction.... The result, life and soul peace. God bless you!

The Sinful Nature Cannot Please God—Romans 8:8

Written by Juli Camarin on . Posted in Romans 8

"Those controlled by the sinful nature cannot please God" (Romans 8:8)

My sister commented the other day that she didn't know that we were suppose to have a relationship with the Lord until well into her twenties. This came as quite a shock to her and since then, her life hasn't been the same. This is because, growing up in a mainline denomination we learned rules, regulations and doctrines. We never learned the full extent of God's love towards us. Nor did we learn faith or that God wants a personal intimate relationship with us. Instead, learning rules at a young age only propelled us into the category of those who cannot please God, because when we live a life of works, controlled by the flesh, we will never be acceptable on that basis.

Paul is contrasting the difference between living in the world, bound by the fleshly desires or living according to the Spirit of God, to experience the freedom that was given us in Christ Jesus. If we are living in the flesh catering to the appetites and impulses of our carnal nature we will never satisfy God. While this is true for unbelievers, this is also true for Christians. If we are focused on what we can do for God then our works takes the focus off Jesus and what he did and put the balance upon us. It is impossible to be acceptable this way, because we are living once again according to our previous sin nature, according to the dictates of the flesh instead of living by faith. God wants us to be free of that.

Hebrews 11:6 says, "...without faith it is impossible to please God..." ( Hebrews 11:6 ). It takes faith to please God and faith is just a natural response to his grace. Through relationship with him, we continually learn who God is in a real way. He shows us marvelous things through his Word. He speaks these truths into our hearts. He brings understanding to our mind. Through understanding this grace he pours out upon us, we naturally response in faith. Relationship and faith is the effortless way to live according to the Spirit.

God is a spirit and we have to interact with him on a spiritual level, that is why he gave us our born again spirit at salvation and that is why he gave us faith. Jesus revealed a marvelous truth in John chapter 4 when he was speaking to the women at the well. "Yet a time is coming and has now come when the true worshipers will worship the Father in spirit and truth, for they are the kind of worshipers the Father seeks. God is spirit, and his worshipers must worship in spirit and in truth." ( John 4:23-24 ). He revealed so many things in this passage but the main thing is that he revealed to us that God was a spirit. Up until this time worship was done with types and shadows of what was coming. Now Jesus told the women that the time was now here with they would experience the fullness of worship as God had always designed it to be. God wants to interact with you spirit to spirit because He is spirit. That is why we need to be born again, so we can worship in spirit and truth.

After learning this, we see why Paul says it is impossible for those controlled by the sinful nature to please God. We must approach him and response to him in faith. He has given us a new spirit so that we can access him on a spiritual level. He has also given us the Holy Spirit as our guide in all things to lead us continually into this truth. When we live according to him then our minds are set upon the things He desires and we live the victorious life that was bought and provided free of charge for us. Today, may you worship the Lord in both spirit and truth. May you respond to his grace by faith. May you understand how to please him by living in the spirit. Amen!

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