Most mornings I squeeze a fresh lemon into about 8 oz. of water and drink it as a morning tonic. I read somewhere this was good for you. Fortunately, I love lemons. Today I've been reading and re-reading Romans 8, to see if the Lord wanted me to squeeze any additional "juice" out of this wonderful chapter and share it with you. Before we move on, let's focus briefly on Romans 8:12-14.
"So then".... or "therefore" or "because of what I've said earlier" - - - and what did Paul say earlier?
Basically, he spent the several previous verses saying this:
Those who have accepted Jesus Christ as Savior have His Holy Spirit living inside of them. It is that Spirit who delivers them from the condemnation of spiritual death and who equips/enables them to live/"walk" according to the Spirit's leading.
Paul goes on to emphasize that he is speaking to "brothers and sisters", which means he is not speaking to unbelievers. He is speaking to those who have already decided for Jesus and who already belong to Him. These are those who, by choosing Christ, have put to death the deeds of the body. The act of trusting in Jesus Christ's finished work covers our sins positionally before God. The Holy Spirit we receive upon our conversion, our transformation, forever seals us as His.
And then, in verse 14, Paul tells us the mark of the Christian. All who are led by God's Holy Spirit are His (Christ's). This is how you know someone belongs to Jesus. It's not the words you hear a person say. The mark is whether or not they live a life that is "led by the Spirit of God".
What does that mean - - - to be led by God's Spirit?
One thing it means is to embrace the truth contained in God's Word. There are people who want to ignore God's commands in the Bible. Certain truths make folks uncomfortable. Those led by the Spirit "walk in truth".
Yet, being led by the Spirit is not an act of passive surrender. This is a conscious act of a person's will, to resist evil. John MacArthur points out1 that being led by the Spirit is to be led into spiritual warfare. It is a life of conflict - - - conflict between "the flesh" and "the spirit" within a person. In Ephesians 6, the apostle Paul calls this a state of being "strong in the Lord".
Being led by God's Spirit will also result in a life of love, brotherly love for our neighbors and agape love for our Savior, because God is love (1 John 4:7). In Galatians 6:2 Paul writes this:
Carry one another’s burdens, and in this way you will fulfill the law of Christ.
In writing this, Paul was echoing the Savior, who said, "By this will the world know that you are my disciples, if you love one another." Jesus said these words to His disciples on the occasion of the last meal He ate with them before His arrest, mock trial, crucifixion, death, burial and resurrection.
Resisting evil and seeking to do good - - this duality is not only the mark of the Christian; it is our holy obligation.