Passage Romans 8:3-11
Supporting Passages Philippians 2:1-16
(ref Gal 5:17-25)
Context 6-7:6 released from slavery to law and sin
7:7-13 law elicits our rebellion and sin
7:14-25 dual natures
8:1-2 no condemnation for those in Jesus
8:2-11 Law working through the flesh could not produce
righteousness/life, but the Spirit can.
8:12-17 therefore, an obligation to live by the Spirit
8:17-25 waiting for the full realization of our salvation
8:16-39 God is for us and helps us in our waiting. We are secure.
Major points/Themes of text Law working through the flesh could not produce righteousness/life, but
the Spirit can.
Sermon major points &
Human vs divine
● Human weakness vs the Spirit’s power
● Human desires vs the Spirit’s desires
The power of the Spirit
Two approaches to a good life
Title Which way?
[Rom 8:3-11 NIV]
3 For what the law was powerless to do because it was weakened by the flesh, God
did by sending his own Son in the likeness of sinful flesh to be a sin offering. And so he condemned sin
in the flesh,
in order that the righteous requirement of the law might be fully met in us, who do not live
according to the flesh but according to the Spirit.
5 Those who live according to the flesh have their minds set on what the flesh desires; but those who live
in accordance with the Spirit have their minds set on what the Spirit desires.
6 The mind governed by the
flesh is death, but the mind governed by the Spirit is life and peace.
7 The mind governed by the flesh is hostile to God; it does not submit to God’s law, nor can it do so.
Those who are in the realm of the flesh cannot please God.
9 You, however, are not in the realm of the
flesh but are in the realm of the Spirit, if indeed the Spirit of God lives in you. And if anyone does not
have the Spirit of Christ, they do not belong to Christ.
10 But if Christ is in you, then even though your body is subject to death because of sin, the Spirit gives
life because of righteousness.
11And if the Spirit of him who raised Jesus from the dead is living in you,
he who raised Christ from the dead will also give life to your mortal bodies because of his Spirit who lives
○ We are studying the book of Romans, written by the apostle Paul to the church at Rome.
That church was made up of christians from two very different religious and cultural
backgrounds, monotheistic Jewish and polytheistic Gentiles. It had many problems.
○ The purpose of the book is to explain the gospel and apply it so the people in the church
know how to live.
● Where we are
○ When we introduced the book, we noticed that Chapter 12 is the center of the book. Up to
chapter 12 Paul explains the gospel, why it is needed, where it comes from, and what it
is. In the second half of the book, from chapter 12 on, Paul applies the gospel to the
issues in the Roman church.
○ Today we will get into Chapter 8. Chapter 8 is the end of the theological section of
Romans, where Paul comes to what he really wants to say about the gospel. From ch
9-11 he will give some more light on the gospel as it relates to the promises to the Jews,
and then we reach chapter 12 and the start of application.
○ So I’d like to just recap what Paul has told us leading up to this point.
● Summary to this point
○ The author of Romans, the apostle Paul, starts out by saying that God’s judgement falls
on everyone, both Jew and Gentiles, because neither act in accordance with God’s
intention for humankind. It starts with us refusing to thank God, and then we put other
things in God’s place, and finally we act wrongly as well.
○ And because we are unable fix these issues, the only way to be accepted by God is on
the basis of trusting in his mercy. This is what Abraham and David did in the OT.
○ When Jesus came, we learned that God’s mercy was based on Christ’s sacrificial death
for the forgiveness of our sins.
○ What does that mean for how we live? First, Paul tells that in some mysterious way, we
died along with Jesus on the cross, and then we rose again with him in a new life when
Jesus resurrected from the dead. And as a result we are free from slavery to our dead old
selves, from the power of sin. We are made free to choose to obey God. And so Paul
urges us to choose to live in a way that pleases God.
○ But as we learned last week in ch 7, we are conflicted. The old self, associated with our
mortal bodies, which Paul calls ‘the flesh’, is in conflict with God’s law and our new self.
Our old self is unable to obey, and its desires is for other things anyway. But our new self
wants to please God.
○ This is a very painful situation, and we don’t know what to make of it.
○ So in chapter 8, this final chapter on the meaning of the gospel, Paul tells us what it
means to live a Christian life, and what we can expect now and in the future.
○ Remember a few weeks ago we read in ch 6 that we need to make a choice in who we
will let control us, who we will serve. There is a crossroad in which we take one of two
paths. We have been given the freedom to choose, and we are urged to take the way that
is natural to our new life in Christ.
○ In today’s passage Paul explains that choice in a way that gives us an idea on how to
actually do it. Paul says the choice is whether we will let the Holy Spirit lead us or not.
○ So let’s get into it.
1. Humanity vs Divine
1.1. Human ability vs God’s ability
● V3 God has done something that the law could not do, because of the weakness of the flesh
made the law in effective. V4 tells us what that something is.
● What does it mean that God condemned sin in the flesh?
○ God sent Jesus in the likeness of sinful flesh. So this refers to the Son of God becoming a
man. Now we know that Jesus is pure and innocent. But on the cross, he was our
representative of our sinful humanity. So he was ‘made sin’. It is then our sinfulness that
was condemned, suffered punishment and was killed on the cross.
○ In another sense, the way that sinful people treated Jesus also condemns that sinfulness
in comparison to Jesus’ example of goodness.
● V4 Now here we have the answer of what the law was unable to do: to have us do what the Law
requires, to live the way God intends for us. As we’ve seen before, because we aren’t able to live
up to the Law, it simply shows us and reminds us of our failure.
● What God accomplished through Jesus is to make it possible for us to live as God wants us to
live. It is possible because we live ‘according to the Spirit” and not ‘according to the flesh’. Paul
will talk about this in more detail in the next verses.
1.2. Human desires vs Spirit’s desires
● V5 Here is the second reason our flesh doesn’t do what God wants: our flesh is focused on what
our flesh wants than what the Spirit desires.
● There is a parallel passage, (Gal 5:17), that goes into more detail, so please look it up. But in
○ Human desires result in sins of the body, spiritual sins, social sins
○ The Spirit’s desires result in social (love, forbearance, kindness, goodness, faithfulness),
spiritual (joy, peace), and bodily good (gentleness,self-control)
● V6 A mind directed towards these fleshly desires brings the breaking of order, a downward spiral,
● But the mind directed towards the spiritual desires brings human flourishing. As Jesus said, “I
have come so you might have life in abundance”. “My peace I leave with you”.
2. Life from the Spirit
Now unless you have completely given up on life, like suicides or mass shooters, people want to live a
The question is how to do it.
What advice do you think Paul would give someone who wanted to live a good life? Work hard to obey
God’s law? Let’s see.
● V7-8 Our old self isn’t interested in obeying God’s law – which brings life and peace – and in fact,
it is unable to. It is cut off from the life of God, and filled with needs that it can never fill, because
the biggest need it has is for God. We are hostile to God, we don’t trust Him, or that he will care
● So we have to look for something else to replace God. And that is how we get ourselves in
● V9 But a Christian is no longer in that world. We are loved by God, and our deepest needs are
starting to be addressed by the HS – God’s presence with us.
● And how do we get the presence of God?
● Every Christian has the presence of God, because the Holy Spirit dwells in us!
● God puts his HS in us as a mark that we belong to him, that God has adopted us, and that Jesus
is preparing a place for us in heaven.
● V10 And what can we expect from the Spirit? How much can he do for us?
● Paul tells us that the Spirit of the God who raised a dead man to eternal life is in us. And that is
immensely powerful. And that same God promises to do the same to us – give eternal life to our
There are two ways that people seek to lead good lives. One way is in human power, the other is in the
power of the Spirit.
2.1. Human approach
Let’s talk about the human-powered approach.
There is a Canadian professor of psychology, Jordan B. Peterson, who has become a celebrity,
especially to young men. He is a kind of father figure, because he tells young guys to take responsibility,
to take charge of their lives and improve them.
Peterson says: get your life in order! Start with the one small thing you could fix, like cleaning up your
room, and then the next thing. Face your fears, take responsibility, author your future. And if you do that,
you will become a good person, and when trouble comes you will overcome.
I think Dr Peterson is a kind of Stoic, a philosophy of self-control and discipline which was a rival to
Christianity in the NT era. Paul was probably familiar with this philosophy. Stoicism is elitist, fatalistic,
ascetic, and detached. In that way it is a little like Buddhism.
Stoicism really serves as a way to help you live an honorable and productive life, while withdrawing
emotionally, so you avoid pain and fear, in particular the fear of death.
Stoicism is still alive today.
2.2. Gospel approach
In contrast to a self-help philosophy like Stoicism, what does the gospel approach to a good life look
Because Romans is long, and it may be hard to get the flow, I want to look at another passage which is
more compressed and shows Paul’s teaching in action. We are just going to read it and pick out the
elements and flow.
Let’s look at the handout. I’ve used color so we can see the flow more easily. You can see that God’s
actions are woven together with commands on how we should live. At at the end is the reward.
Summarizing, Paul is saying something like:
● Relationship with Jesus is foundational to our emotional and social well-being
● Look at Jesus’ example: his obedience and his reward, and his authority to lead us
● Therefore use what you have been given and grow
● The Spirit will provide the desire and the power to act
● The result is a good, productive and honorable life
● And with that influence in the world and a life with eternal meaning
Or here it is in picture form, showing the role of the Holy Spirit:
● The Holy Spirit holds us up with joy, peace, and encouragement.
● He brings knowledge of God’s ways and Jesus’ example to us
● He teaches us what to do, and gives us the desire and power to follow
● And the result is our loving service to the world.
This is the gospel approach.
Our relationship with Jesus is our foundation. The Spirit helps us to live the way God wants, and relying
on him, we strive to live out and grow in what we have been given. The result is the good life.
So two choices: the way of flesh, or the way of Spirit. We can self-help like the Stoics, or we can
cooperate with God as he leads us by His Spirit.
What does this mean concretely, based on the Philippians passage?
1. Cultivate our relationship with God: prayer, remembering how he has blessed us, letting him fill
2. Fill our minds with the example of Jesus, and remind ourselves of his authority
3. Serve others in the spirit of Christ
4. Listen for the leading of the Holy Spirit
5. Remember the goal: the world won to Christ, and God’s ‘well done’
And I think it is wise to take the advice of taking small steps to improve in each of these areas.
1 こういうわけですから、もしキリストにあって励ましがあり、愛の慰めがあり、御霊の交わりがあり、愛情とあわれみがあるなら、 2 私の喜びが満たされるように、あなたがたは一致を保ち、同じ愛の心を持ち、心を合わせ、志を一つにしてください。 3 何事でも自己中心や虚栄からすることなく、へりくだって、互いに人を自分よりもすぐれた者と思いなさい。4 自分のことだけではなく、他の人のことも顧みなさい。
5 あなたがたの間では、そのような心構えでいなさい。それはキリスト・イエスのうちにも見られるものです。 6 キリストは神の御姿である方なのに、神のあり方を捨てられないとは考えず、 7 ご自分を無にして、仕える者の姿をとり、人間と同じようになられました。人としての性質をもって現れ、 8 自分を卑しくし、死にまで従い、実に十字架の死にまでも従われました。 9 それゆえ神は、この方を高く上げて、すべての名にまさる名をお与えになりました。 10 それは、イエスの御名によって、天にあるもの、地にあるもの、地の下にあるもののすべてが、ひざをかがめ、 11 すべての口が、「イエス・キリストは主である」と告白して、父なる神がほめたたえられるためです。
12 そういうわけですから、愛する人たち、いつも従順であったように、私がいるときだけでなく、私のいない今はなおさら、恐れおののいて自分の救いの達成に努めなさい。 13 神は、みこころのままに、あなたがたのうちに働いて志を立てさせ、事を行わせてくださるのです。14 すべてのことを、つぶやかず、疑わずに行いなさい。 15 それは、あなたがたが、非難されるところのない純真な者となり、また、曲がった邪悪な世代の中にあって傷のない神の子どもとなり、