Some consider Romans 8 the greatest, most theologically eloquent chapter about Christian spirituality in the New Testament. Certainly, some verses from Romans 8 are the most often quoted, often taught, and often preached of any in the Bible. Here’s a few examples:
- “We know that all things work together for the good of those who love God: those who are called according to His purpose” (vs. 28).
- “If God is for us, who is against us?” (vs. 31).
- “In all these things we are more than victorious through Him who loved us” (vs. 37).
Romans 8 describes the new way of life we have in Christ, particularly in regard to the work of the Holy Spirit in the our lives. It teaches us that in Christ we have become people of the Spirit, people who live “according to the Spirit” ( vs. 4, 5).
In other words, Romans 8 tells us about “being spiritual!”
Since the Apostle Paul provides a comprehensive description of the Spirit-led, Spirit-guided life in Romans 8, I won’t attempt to elaborate on what Paul has already adequately explained.
Instead, I’d like to condense Paul’s explanation to a single sentence. In fact, I’d like to reduce it to two words from vs. 3: “God did.”
Now my highly abridged version of Romans 8 probably doesn’t sound very theological and it may seem that I have completely missed the point.
And maybe I have. But, I think our understanding of “being spiritual” derived from Romans 8 often focuses more on what God can do for me and what I can do for God rather than on who God is, what He has done, and what He is doing.
“Being spiritual” is realizing that what we could not do, God did in Christ; what we cannot do, God does by the Holy Spirit!
- We couldn’t overcome sin. God did (vs. 3-8)!
- We couldn’t beat death. God did (vs. 9-11)!
- We couldn’t become God’s children. God made us His own (vs. 12-17)!
- God gives hope to the universe and the human race (vs. 18-25)!
- We don’t even know how to pray as we should. God helps us (vs. 26-27)!
- We were without purpose or significance. God works His cosmic will through us (vs. 28-30)!
- God loves us and nothing in all creation can separate us from His love for us (vs. 31-39)!
God did all this through Christ and then God applied His work in Christ to our lives by the Holy Spirit!
So, it’s about God’s glory! It’s about our glorious God!
God did it. God does it. And to be spiritual, we just need to attach ourselves to God and what He has done (in Christ) and what He is doing (by the Holy Spirit).
God did! If we can just get that right, then we will become the kind of people the Apostle Paul describes in Romans 8 who live “according to the Spirit.”
“So then it does not depend on human will or effort but on God who shows mercy” (Romans 9:16, HCSB).