Romans 8:8-14 The Spirit of Easter

Romans 8:8-14             The Spirit of Easter                         WC McCarter

If we were to do a study in the New Testament about the resurrection of Christ, we would quickly see that all the persons of the Triune God—Father, Son, Spirit—all had something to do with raising Jesus from the dead.  For our brief moments in the Scripture this morning, I would like for us to focus on the work of the Holy Spirit.  You will remember that toward the beginning of the Gospel story, the angel Gabriel visited Mary with news that she would conceive and give birth to a son.  The boy would be called Jesus and would reign forever over the house of Jacob.  Mary had never known a man, so she asked how these things would be.  Gabriel told her, “The Holy Spirit will come upon you, and the power of the Highest will overshadow you; therefore, also, that Holy One who is to be born will be called the Son of God.”  At the beginning of Jesus’ ministry, He went to John the Baptizer at the Jordan River, and the Scripture says, “When He had been baptized, Jesus came up immediately from the water; and behold, the heavens were opened to Him, and He saw the Spirit of God descending like a dove and alighting upon Him.”  The Spirit is the One who drove Christ into the wilderness for tempting.  When He returned and started His ministry, He did so “in the power of the Spirit.”  Jesus said that He cast out demons by the Spirit of God.  He also said that He proclaimed Good News by the anointing of the Holy Spirit.  The Holy Spirit was involved in Jesus’ life and ministry from the beginning to the end—even the very end.

The Scripture also teaches that the Spirit entered the tomb where Jesus had been buried and raised Him to life on the third day.  That is what we have gathered to celebrate today.  I would like to take you to Romans 8 and discuss the Spirit of Easter for just a few minutes.

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The Flesh (8)
There are two categories in which people can function: in the flesh or in the Spirit.  The “flesh” is the way of the world, the way of this present, wicked age.  It is selfish and sinful.  It is called the “Adamic” nature because we have inherited it from our first father, Adam, who sinned in Garden in the beginning.  When we set our minds on the things of this world, we set our minds on things that will soon pass away.  This world and the things of this world do not last forever.  When we pursue the things of this world, they may seem gratifying but only for a brief moment.  There is no lasting joy for you in the things of this age.  There is certainly no approval or blessings from God when you are in the flesh.  You cannot please God in any way.  In fact, those who operate in the flesh, which is most people, have made themselves enemies of God by their own wicked works.  Those who are in the flesh have set themselves up against almighty God.  There is no hope for those who persist in the flesh.

The Spirit (9-10)
Yet, there is hope for those who forsake the flesh, turn to God by faith in Christ, and trust in Christ’s accomplishments on the cross.  Those achievements at Calvary have been approved by God which is seen is the resurrection.  God accepted Christ’s sacrifice to atone for the sins of the world, and He has declared this truth powerfully in the raising of His Son.  God has done all the work.  All we have to do is turn and trust.

When you do put your faith in Christ, you are born-again.  This is not some fundamentalist way of saying that you are obeying some religious system.  Rather, to be born-again is to be born from above.  It is to experience a spiritual rebirth by the power of God’s Holy Spirit.  It is to experience a spiritual resurrection because apart from Christ you are dead.  When you are born again, the Spirit comes to dwell in you and you are made alive!  So, here is the thing, if you do not have the Spirit of Christ in you—you have not been born again—and you do not belong to Christ.

Yet, if you have been born again, although your body is dead because of sin, you will be brought to life.  Your spirit has been made alive and your body will also be raised from the dead.  God is the God of resurrection.  He is the God of life.  In fact, Jesus said, “I AM the Resurrection and the Life.”

The Spirit of Easter (11)
Now, let’s focus in on verse eleven.  Our spirits have been made alive, and we have the promise that our bodies will be made alive as well.  But, how can we be so sure?  Our confident hope may be based on the Spirit who indwells us.  That same Spirit that raised Jesus to life is the One who indwells us and will also give life to our mortal bodies.  Christ’s resurrection is the firstfruit of ours.  His is the basis of our hope.  His is the forerunner and guarantee of resurrection life for all those who are united with Him.  And the resurrection power that the Spirit wields is not just to resuscitate our regular, ol’ bodies.  His power raises us and transforms us.  We are given bodies that do not die.

Led by the Spirit (12-14)
Not much else needs to be said this Resurrection Sunday.  But look at the last three verses today.  We are called debtors.  What is the debt that we ought to pay?  We should forsake the flesh, which only leads to death anyway, and pursue righteousness.  Our obligation is to live in Spirit-destroying power.  By the Spirit we put to death the sinful deeds of the body.  Our obligation is to live righteously knowing that we have already been saved.

Conclusion: There is Good News.  Jesus Christ has been raised from the dead.  The same Spirit who raised Him from the dead has given us new spiritual birth, indwells us, empowers us for holy living, and guarantees life for our mortal bodies.  Live in the power and promise of the Spirit of Easter!