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 In Romans chapter eight Paul deals with the very important issue of the Christian who lives no longer in the flesh but in the Spirit.  Throughout our study of the Holy Spirit one of the key things we discover is that the Spirit’s main ministry and concern for the believer is helping us experience salvation.  From the moment of our conversion until our death He is most concerned with our experience and grasp of salvation.  Of course, the main problem we have is Sin.  How do we face this problem?  To answer this in chapter 8 verses 9-13 Paul outlines the main stages of how God deals with sin in us.  The first stage is to understand the two (and only two) realms of existence.  People either live in the realm of the flesh (sin) or in the realm of the Spirit (life).  We either have the Spirit and therefore have life or we don’t have the Spirit and live in the flesh, which is death.  There are only two categories, two realms in which to live.  Nothing else.  We see this when Paul says, “You however, are not in the flesh but in the Spirit, if in fact the Spirit of God dwells in you.”   When we are born physically, we come into the world in the flesh but when we are born anew through faith in Jesus Christ we then come into the realm of the Spirit since the Spirit of God takes up residence in us.  This is the first stage.  The second stage is the present reality of salvation.  Here we live out a dual reality.  Paul says the body is dead because of sin but the Spirit is life because of righteousness.  What does he mean?  He means to say that our bodies are dying because of sin.  This reaches back to the garden where God said, “the day you eat of it you shall surely die.”  Though we are in the realm of the Spirit our body is still subject to death.  We can literally say, “we are as good as dead.”  But the second half of the verse says that the “Spirit is life because of righteousness.”  This means that because of the work of righteousness that God has done in Jesus and through our connection to him by faith we now have the Holy Spirit living within and wherever the Spirit is there is life.  Thus, we cannot die in an ultimate sense.  We are alive forevermore.  Hallelujah!  Which leads us to the third stage of salvation.  What about our bodies then?  When we die do we lose our bodies and just live in a spirit condition?  The answer is NO!  God has promised that he will also give life to our mortal bodies.  On what grounds can we know this?  Paul answers, “If the Spirit of him who raised Jesus from the dead dwells in us then he who raised Jesus from the dead will also give life to our mortal bodies.”  The same Spirit who raised Jesus will do the same to us as He did to Jesus.  Raise us from the dead.  This is the great Christian hope.  The resurrection of our entire ‘selves’ body and spirit to live forever in the presence of God our savior.  Hallelujah Amen!  This means that some day you will be able to throw away every bottle of anti-aging cream, every high blood pressure pill, every wheel chair and walker, and every chemo treatment.  It also means that all those who have trusted Jesus whom you love who suffered and passed away with dementia, Parkinson’s, and Pulmonary heart problems will be raised whole and well.  This is our future salvation.  With all that said, Paul returns to the question of what do we do now?  Paul’s answer, “do not live according to the flesh for that is death, rather live by the Spirit.”  How do we know that we are living by the Spirit?  If we are putting to death the deeds of the body because those who are led by the Spirit are the sons and daughters of God.    This is the Christian’s daily battle against sin.  We are not alone.  We have the Spirit.  We have a glorious future hope, therefore we fight.   God has provided us with a complete salvation.  He has saved us from all of sin and death’s tyranny.  He saves us from the penalty, power and someday from the presence of sin as well.  May I encourage you today to meditate on these things and find renewed strength to put to death the deeds of the body by the Spirit that you might live.  With affection, Pastor Paige