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Walking in the Flesh or Walking in the Spirit? – Romans 8

Monday, May 13, 2019

Spirit-Filled Living: The Role of the Holy Spirit

 

Key Verse: Therefore there is now no condemnation for those who are in Christ Jesus.” (8:1)

What does it mean to be spirit-filled? How does one live life empowered by the Spirit(of God)? How does one become of-the-Spirit?

To understand the mind of Paul (the author), it is necessary to consider the context of Romans chapter 8:

The apostle Paul addressed this letter to “to all who are beloved of God in Rome, called as saints” (Rom. 1:7). By this time, the church was beginning to take form – meeting in Priscilla’s home (16:5) and elsewhere (use of “saints” instead of “church”; 1:7). The Jewish diaspora in Rome was still small in comparison to the Gentiles of Rome. Therefore, when Paul spoke, he used words directed to his audience (2:17;4:1;11:17-31;15:14-16). Paul had not yet reached Rome, neither Peter, and Rome was still his goal (15:20). So, how did the church in Rome get started? There were visitors from Rome in the crowd on the day of Pentecost (Acts 2:10). No doubt the witness of the Spirit returned to Rome with these visitors. Migration patterns and the economic attractiveness of Rome made this city a magnet.

Paul took advantage of Phoebe’s trip to pen this letter to a people he so desperately wished to visit (16:1-2). He wrote the letter from Corinth, during his third missionary journey in late winter or early spring A.D. 57-58.

His purpose for writing was to announce his planned visit (15:24, 28-9; Acts 19:21), and to prepare the Christian community for his coming. They had been on his mind for quite some time now (Rom. 1:9-10), and in light of the impending visit, sought prayers in regards (15:22,23,29,30-32). He also wished to declare the Gospel (1:15; cf. Jude 3). Then there were tensions between the Jews and Gentiles in Rome. Paul would face major opposition from the Judaizers (Gal. 5:1); even experienced physical attacks. In this, he wished to express the gospel of grace (Acts 20:24), God’s universal plan of salvation of grace through faith. Key themes of this letter will be sanctification, justification, righteousness, regeneration, glorification (8:23,29).

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