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Midrand Chapel Baptist Church
Sermon Resources

The Spirit - Christ in You



Main Scriptures
Series: Romans
Book: Romans
Scripture References


If I had to say to you, what does a Jew look like, or a Muslim, or a Buddhist…form a picture in your imagination of what each of these people look like.

I’m sure we would have a similar picture. The Jew has a long beard, long side burns, this small black or white cap on his head. The Muslim has this long robe, square hat and is performing this prayer ritual on a prayer mat facing East. The Muslim lady has this long robe covering her whole body. We’ve all seen it, they stick out from a mile away. The Buddhist is bald, wearing an orange robe and in some kind of lotus position meditating. Your pictures are pretty similar to mine, are they not? Each of these religions has a very distinct dress, appearance, rituals, meeting place which distinguishes them and many of them are associated with a particular culture. When you think Jew, you obviously think of Jews, Muslims you think of Arabs and Hindu’s or Buddhists you think of Indians or Malaysians.

If I said – picture a Christian. Form a picture in your mind’s eye about what a Christian looks like…. Some of you might picture a Catholic priest or some sort of monk. Some of you might picture a clean shaven American tele-evangelist with suite and bible under the hand – Jehovah’s witness style. But honestly, you can’t spot a Christian from our appearance, or our rituals or meeting places. What culture is Christianity associated with? Maybe in our generation, its Western culture – but it’s hardly monolythic. Tertullian, Cyprian and Augustine, some of the great early church leaders were all African. Christianity took root in Africa long before it took root in Britain and America and even today, most Christians who are not of Western culture.

The name says it all, right? Christians=little Christ’s. Christians look like Christ. That is our distinguishing feature, it’s what we all have in common. Despite all our differences in culture and race – all believers in every place believe in and worship Christ, we focus on and serve Christ and in the process are transformed into His image from one degree of glory to another as 2 Cor 3:18.

But what does Christ look like? We know almost nothing about His appearance or dress or ritual practices. When we say Christians look like Christ, we are not talking about dress, or hairstyle, or ritual, or even personality – but about character. We are talking about shared values, inner convictions, about priorities and desires and perspectives. We are talking about the inner man rather than the outer man. What characterizes a Christian is that we are becoming more Christ-like in character.


So the question is – how does this heart transformation, this transformation of our character take place? Being a Christian is not just about going to church or performing a few rituals or memorizing a few Bible verses. Being a Christian is about the transformation of our character, our beliefs, our values, our perspectives, our desire’s. How exactly does that happen? How is that realized?

That’s what Rom 8 is all about….Its about the ministry of the Spirit who transforms us into the image of Christ. The ministry of the Spirit is God’s answer for our daily sin struggle, God’s gift to help us in the battle against sin, God’s sign and seal that we belong to Him and will enjoy glory with Him. The Spirit is God’s agent for our inner transformation – He is the one who makes us more like Christ.

Read Rom 8:1-11

This morning we will look at some key terms in this text, 3 key terms which we can hang the ministry of the Spirit on.

1.   Freedom

2.   Fulfilment

3.   Faith

1: Freedom from the condemnation and control of sin (1-3)

Vs 1-3 really summarizes all that Paul has been teaching in Rom 5-7. The ministry of the Spirit must be seen in the context of what Paul has been teaching in the chapters preceding.


Free from condemnation (1)

·      Rom 5:1-2: There is no condemnation for those who are in Christ Jesus. We have been justified, forgiven, we have peace with God, access to His presence, a right standing with Him, the hope of glory. That’s 8:1

Free from sin and death (2-3)

The term “law” can refer to a specific body of law or commands, such as the Mosaic Law, or the 10 commandments. But it can also refer to a governing principle or standard, a principle or way of life. Paul is using it in this latter sense here.

Vs 2 The Spirit as a new governing principle or way of life has set us free from a way of life governed by and characterized by sin and death. Again he is summarizing what he has been teaching up to this point.

·      Rom 6:6-7: Not only have we been freed from condemnation, but we’ve been freed from the controlling power and influence of sin, the domination of sin over our lives. We have died with Christ, or been united with Christ in His death so that we might also die to sin’s power and influence over our lives. The work of Christ not only free’s us from the condemnation of sin but also from its control. Not only are we free from the penalty of sin but also from its power.

·      Rom 7:4-6: Not only are we free from the controlling influence and power of sin, but we are also free from the controlling influence and power of the Law. The Law didn’t help us to stop sinning. In fact, as Paul goes on to explain in chapter 7, the Law was used by sin against us to entice is toward sin and produce only death. This is how Paul ended chapter 7:21-25. Only Jesus Christ can deliver me from the power of indwelling sin which is even able to take the Law of God and use it against me to produce only sin and death. That’s Rom 8:3 God has done in Christ what the law could not do.




Condemned sin (3)

Don’t miss the significance of vs 3. In Jesus Christ God condemned sin, God rendered a judgment on sin, He did away with sin. The law condemns man, grace condemns sin. The law renders man guilty, grace renders man justified. The law sets the standard, grace meets the standard.


The Spirit has ushered us into a new way of living, a new principle for life which at the same time sets us free from this governing principle of sin and death. That’s freedom.

Free from sin, free from law, free from death – free for life. Rom 6 and 7 tell us what has been put off, Rom 8 tells us what we have put on in Christ. Rom 6 and 7 deal with the old life, Rom 8 begins to describe the new.


The next key word I want to consider under the text is the term fulfillment in vs 4-8. The terms are closely connected – we have been freed from one thing for another. Freedom from this – fulfilment of that.

Fulfillment of God’s righteousness (4-8)

Fulfillment of the Law (4)

Vs 4 is not a new sentence but a completion of vs 3. Notice the purpose clause “In order that, for the purpose that” the righteous requirement of the law might be fulfilled in us. God didn’t only send Christ to condemn sin, but to fulfill His righteousness. God didn’t send Christ to abolish the Law, but to fulfill it. In Jesus Christ He didn’t do away with the standard of righteousness or lower the standard, He provided a way for His righteousness to be fulfilled. Christ not only paid the penalty for sin to do away with the condemnation of the Law, but He also perfectly fulfilled all the righteous requirements of the law. Through faith in Christ we have been freed from condemnation and given a perfect righteousness standing before God as a gift.

But notice carefully the movement from our righteous standing to our daily walk.

·      You have no condemnation vs 1 and then following on from that – our freedom from sin and death. But vs 2 begins with a connective, “for since because.” We are free from condemnation because the Spirit leads us to freedom from sin and death. The sanctifying ministry of the Spirit is assurance that the justifying work of Christ is done

·      In vs 3 you again have the work of Christ – condemning sin, being an offering for sin. Then the connective “in order that” we might fulfill the righteousness of the law, no longer walking according to the flesh but according to the Spirit. Again the sanctifying work of the Spirit is the proof or result of the justifying work of Christ.

·      Justification is the basis for sanctification, sanctification is the proof of justification. Both in this text are the work of God. REPEAT

·      Vs 4 says “the righteous requirement of the law might be fulfilled in us.” In the Greek that is an Aorist passive subjunctive. So it’s not referring to an action or condition that has already been accomplished, but one that will be accomplished. It awaits fulfillment or realization some time in the future. So the emphasis is not on our legal righteous standing under the law, but our daily righteous practice of it. That’s further emphasized in the second half of vs 4 which talks about us who walk…

·      The passive form of the word “fulfilled” emphasizes that the righteousness of the law is not something that WE will fulfill, that WE will do or accomplish by our own effort, but something that GOD will fulfill in us, it’s something that is done to us.

·      This same Greek form is used in 1 Pet 1:7 which talks about God sending trials to refine and confirm our faith and then it says, “So that the tested genuineness (or the proven genuineness) of your faith may be found to result in praise, and glory and hour at the revelation of Jesus Christ.” Trails operate on our faith refining it and strengthening it and confirming it. When Jesus Christ returns, that’s when the working out of our faith is finished and He gets the glory.

·      So to draw the significance of the grammar out a bit more explicitly here – in the end, the righteous requirements of the law will certainly be fulfilled in us by the action of another on us. In this context, the ministry of the Spirit in us, who leads us to walk, not according to the flesh but according to the Spirit.

·      You can see how seamlessly Paul moves from our justification to our sanctification, from our standing before God to our daily walk with God.

·      The gospel transforms both.

·      We have been freed from the governing principle of sin and death to live according to a new law, a new principle, one which is characterized by the Spirit and life.

·      Put another way – we no longer live in the flesh and walk according to the flesh, but live in the Spirit and walk according to the Spirit. The same truth explained in two different ways.


Application: Justified and Sanctified

The idea that we can place our faith in Christ and be forgiven and justified, but not sanctified – is completely foreign to the Bible. The Biblical view is that the faith that justifies also sanctifies. The God who saves from the penalty of sin also saves us from its power and controlling influence. Salvation is not just the hope of eternal life some time in the future, it’s the sure confidence that we are living a new life already in the here and now.

How do we know that Christ defeated sin? Because of His resurrection, because He was brought back from the dead….but the story doesn’t end there. How do we know Christ’s victory is ours? Because He gives us new life from death – not just one day, but today. We see His resurrection power on display everyday through the ministry of the Spirit in the lives of every believer.

Eph 1:15-21 – Paul earnestly prays that these believers would com to understand the connection between Christ’s resurrection and ours, Christ’s power on display in the resurrection is at work in us now through the person and work of the Holy Spirit. We must understand this, we must realize and believe this….

Which leads me to the final key word I want to cover = faith


Faith in God’s power to transform (9-11)

The word faith is not in the text, but it is implied by what is and is not in the text.

·      What is in the text: The term Spirit occurs 21 times in Rom 8! Once every 2 verses! The text is about the ministry of the Spirit.

·      What is not in the text: There are no imperatives, no commands. In other words, this text is not telling us what to do, but describing what we must  understand and believe.

It’s so important you get this because we too often want to move on from faith to the practical “how to’s” but that’s not how sanctification works. Faith seems powerless to us, impractical – just tell me what I must do.

I said earlier, Justification is the basis for sanctification, sanctification is the proof of justification. Both in this text are the work of God. What this text is emphasizing is grace – what God gives us through Christ that we haven’t earned and don’t deserve….. What God gives us in Christ is a comprehensive gift that not only gives us freedom from our past life of indulging sin, it not only promises us future glory when we will be completely free from sin, but it also assures us of sufficient, divine power in our present struggle so that we walk in victory over it.


Do you believe it?....

Do you believe it?....

Before we even try lift a finger in service of God, we better believe that all our work is the outworking of grace already given in Christ. And we should never move off that foundation. Justification is by grace alone through faith alone in Christ alone and so is sanctification….

Let me walk you briefly through this so you can get the big picture

·      Vs 4 the righteousness of the law will be fulfilled in us, which as I’ve already said is a passive verb – its something that will be done to or for us. Who walk according to the Spirit which is contrasted to walking according to the flesh. That’s a statement of fact not a command. It describes the present reality and a future promise- that pertains to every believer. We walk according to the Spirit and the righteousness of the Law will be fulfilled in us.

·      Vs 5 As inevitably as someone in the flesh has their whole being bent toward fleshly desires and outcomes – so those who are living by the Spirit have their whole being bent toward the Spirit. The term which has been translated “mindset” here doesn’t just refer to your thinking  only, but the bent of your whole being.

·      Which is why vs 6 can say that the outcome of this way of life is death and vs 7 those with this bent are hostile toward God and vs 8 cannot please God. It’s not that they cannot think about God ever, or do anything pleasing to God, but the whole direction and course of their life is inevitably, irresistibly and uncontrollably heading toward sin, destruction and death.

·      The contrast then is that those who are in the Spirit are on a different path. This is describing a new mode of being, a new kind of existence which is characterized by life and peace and the leading of the Spirit.

·      Notice vs 9 – we don’t choose to follow the Spirit or not. We are either still in the flesh because we are in Adam or we are now in the Spirit through faith in Christ. Anyone who belongs to Christ is in the Spirit and to be in the Spirit is to have Christ in you.

·      No command needs to be obeyed, no decision needs to made – this is a statement of fact, of reality as God sees it. It’s part of the package deal of being in Christ.

·      Vs 14 All who are led by the Spirit of God are sons of God. Notice the emphasis is not on what we are doing, but what the Spirit is doing. He is leading us. It’s a statement of reality – the sons and daughters of God are led by the Spirit of God.

·      Vs 16 The Spirit is bearing witness to us that we are God’s children. The Spirit is giving us assurance.

·      Vs 26 The Spirit is helping us in our weakness, interceding for the saints according to God’s will.

·      VS 31-32 what shall we say to all these things -we are more than conquerors through Him who loved us. God has given us His son and with His Son, Himself, and with Himself His power and preservation and presence – and all this is evidence of His unconditional, undeserved love.

·      Vs 37 we are more than conquerors – not because we find the strength in ourselves to do anything – but through Him who loved us and has given us everything we need for life and godliness.

Do you believe it?....

Don’t ask of this text – what must I do for God. Ask what must I believe that God is doing for me. That is the basis of our justification and sanctification.

Every time we give way to temptation we have had a failure of faith, a failure to believe, before we had a failure to act or react. Every successful encounter with sin begins with an affirmation of what is true as God sees it. Temptation is a call to exercise our faith in the grace of God in Christ and that’s why God allows Satan to continue to harass us – because in His plans and purposes temptation is meant to drive us back to Christ, back to grace – to receive what we haven’t earned and don’t deserve.

Hope in Counseling

One of our church distinctives is that we engage in biblical counseling. We help people grow through their problems and sin using the Bible. People normally come for counseling when they are stuck in their spiritual growth, when they feel overwhelmed and directionless and don’t know what to do or what to believe, or where to head, or how to solve a particular problem. One of the first things we are trained to do as biblical counselors is to give people hope. It’s the first thing you need to accomplish in trying to help someone before you get to the bottom of whatever other problems or issues they have. Hope is the sure confidence that God is willing and able to help them overcome whatever they are facing. It’s the one thing common to every counselling problem.

In other words, the main reason why Christians get stuck in their Christian growth, the reason behind all the other reasons – is that they have stopped believing that God has given them what they need to overwhelmingly conquer. They’ve given up, they’ve lost hope, they have fallen prey to doubt and fear and unbelief and before we can help the take any practical steps towards dealing with their problems – we have to point them back to what God has provided in Jesus Christ. We have to show them their God and remind them of His power and wisdom and sufficiency.

That, in a nutshell, is what the Spirit is always doing in us and through us.

Gordon Fee has written a massive volume on the ministry of the Spirit which is entitled “God’s empowering presence” I love that summary of the Spirits ministry – He is God’s empowering presence in us, with us, for us.


Do you believe it? Are you living with this hope daily? Are you taking it out and using it to fight your sin, your depression, your guilt and shame, you fear and anxiety, and your desire to go back to your old life?....

By God’s power, by God’s empowering presence in your life – you will never go back, you cannot go back but you will become more like Christ until the day you are united with Him.

How do we recognize a Christian? Christ is in you and if Christ is in you – Christ’s character will be formed in you and come out of you from one degree of glory to another.


How do we recognize a Christian? Christ is in you and if Christ is in you – Christ’s character will be formed in you and come out of you from one degree of glory to another.

Freedom, fulfillment, faith – do you believe it?