Spirit Life: Enlivened human beings and the drama of the cosmos

Verse: Romans 8

Romans 8:31 If God is for us, who can be against us?

The Holy Spirit is the theme of chapter 8, and in it Paul gives a panoramic survey of how the Spirit can make a difference in a person’s life.

In the first place, Paul sets to rest the nagging problem of sin he has just raised so forcefully. “There is now no condemnation for those who are in Christ Jesus,” he announces (Romans 8:1). Through his life and death, Jesus Christ has taken care of the sin problem for all time. (In Romans 4:6, Paul borrows a word from banking to explain the process. God “credits” Jesus’ own perfection to our accounts, so that we are judged not by our behavior, but by his.)

Once again Paul reminds us of the best news of all: Jesus Christ did not stay dead. Paul marvels that the very same power that raised Christ from the dead can also enliven us. A life-giver, the Spirit can break the gloomy, deathlike pattern described in Romans 7.

Worth the Struggle

To be sure, the Spirit does not remove all problems. The very titles the Bible applies to the Spirit—Intercessor, Helper, Advocate, Comforter—imply that there will be problems. But “the God within” can do for us what we cannot do for ourselves.

Paul never minimizes suffering; after all, his own life has included beatings, imprisonment, shipwrecks, assassination attempts and chronic illness. But he insists with absolute conviction that future rewards will outweigh all present sufferings. Just as Olympic athletes endure years of practice, discipline and pain to achieve the goal of winning a gold medal, so, too, the Christian’s life on Earth may involve many difficulties (Romans 8:22–23). But the glorious end result will make all the difficulties seem worthwhile.

The way Paul tells it, what happens in believers is the central drama of history: “The creation waits in eager expectation for the children of God to be revealed” (Romans 8:19). Somehow spiritual victories within us will help bring about the liberation and healing of a fallen creation. The apostle can hardly contain himself as he ponders these truths.

Romans 8 ends with a ringing declaration that nothing—absolutely, positively nothing—can ever separate us from God’s love. For Paul, this truth is a fact worth shouting about.

Life Questions

According to this passage, how can the Holy Spirit make a difference in your daily life?

This devotion is from the NIV Student Bible by Zondervan. Used with permission.