This meditation is Part 3 in a three-part series of meditations on Romans 6-8.
When Christians forsake themselves and their self-absorbed way of life, they take on the life of Christ and a new way of life in Christ. Romans 6-7 describes the old way of life as living according to the law of sin and death, living according to the flesh. Unfortunately, the old self and the old way of life are not so easily abandoned, even though we are completely saved by Christ, resulting in the inner conflict I call the duality dilemma.
The duality dilemma exists because of the residual effects of an unregenerate mind and not because of any flaw in our salvation. So this struggle occurs in your mind, though at times you may think it’s a matter of your salvation. Romans 8 offers a comprehensive solution for resolving the duality dilemma: “But if the Spirit of Him who raised Jesus from the dead dwells in you, He who raised Christ Jesus from the dead will also give life to your mortal bodies through His Spirit who dwells in you” (vs. 8:11).
The Apostle Paul says we are set free from the mindset we were in before Christ (vs. 8:2) when we live (walk) according to the Spirit (vs. 8:4). We live according to the Spirit by setting our minds on the things of the Spirit (vs. 8:5). To set our minds on spiritual matters, we must eliminate thinking about matters of the flesh (vs. 8:6-8) and become become preoccupied with knowing God.
Actually, it’s not really that complicated, says Paul. You either have the Spirit of God dwelling in you or you don’t (vs 8:9)! If you do, if you have received the gift of the Holy Spirit, then you are obligated to live according to the Spirit. And, when you are led by the Spirit, consequently, you put to death the deeds of the flesh (vs. 8:12-14).
The indwelling Spirit is our adoption papers as the children of God (vs. 8:15-16) and makes us fellow heirs with Christ (vs. 8:17). As such, we have an inheritance that we anticipate receiving. And we not only anticipate receiving this heavenly inheritance, we long for it, we eagerly await it while in this present life: “We ourselves, having the first fruits of the Spirit, even we ourselves groan within ourselves waiting eagerly for our adoption as sons, the redemption of our body” (vs. 8:23).
That’s the duality dilemma!
According to Paul we are the beneficiaries of eternal life and all that God could possibly give us in eternal life (vs 8:32). But eternal life starts now; it starts when we are saved. So, in this present life we have been empowered by the Holy Spirit to prepare for participation in eternity by living out our salvation now according to the way things will be in eternity!