The Spirit, Suffering & Salvation

Romans 8:12-25

Jerry A Collins




ō      Is it possible to not live by the desires of my flesh?

ō      How does the HS assist me to live a holy life?

ō      What does it mean that believers and creation groan?


Yesterday my son Chandler called me from college. He was just checking in to see what was happening with all of us at home. When we neared the end of our conversation he mentioned how he had just completed his video assignment for his Shakespeare class he had been working on all week and that he was preparing for his exams next week as he finished up his last week of class. I hung up remembering the days I too had obligations as a college student to study and prepare for class assignments and exams that were part of being a college student. Being a college student means you must meet the obligations and fulfill the responsibility that is required. Now because of what God has done for us, 8:1-11ógiven us His HS who lives inside of usówe have a responsibility to live each day in the Spiritís control and power.


We are to refuse to follow the desires of our sinful fleshly nature. We must deny any efforts of this nature to impose itself upon us. So we still have a sinful human nature even after believing. God does not take it away when I become a Christian. I use to only be in Adam but now am in Christ as well. I used to live only in power of my sinful flesh but not in the power of the Spirit as well. I have entered into a whole new sphere but not entirely. I still belong to the old one at same time. I am still bound to world by my body of flesh with all that that involves. And will not leave it until my redemption is completed vs 23. I cannot escape the tension and warfare involved between these two spheres. However, I have a responsibility not to let it reign over me any longer. Itís power has been severed because of my new position in Christ 6:6-7. I can and I must chose not to sin so that I mite instead serve and glorify my God. But I must make the decision to be spiritually responsible with my life.


(1) Living fleshly brings death 13aIf only fleshly then eternal death. Life in the flesh results in only death. For believer, living fleshly will only bring death-dealing consequencesóphysical death (1 Cor 11:30; James 5:21; 1 Jn 5:16; death in relationships; death of morality.

(2) Living HS puts deeds of body to death and brings life13b†† The body is vehicle by which oneís sin nature expresses itself. Only by power of HS can you put these deeds to death. So, we owe nothing to the flesh. We have no responsibility to it! The flesh is not eradicated but is alive. Sanctification is not a luxury but a necessity! It is not an ambition but a duty! We are not putting to death the body but the deeds of the body. But how?

(3) The HSís ministry empowers us to have victory over our flesh 14ff.

First, the Spiritís leading indicates we are in Godís sons vs 14. The Hsís leading is evidenced by vs 13 where we are putting to death the deeds of our flesh. When you determine to stop sinning or to begin being righteous in an area of your life you have evidence of the Spiritís leading in your life. That is an indication that you are in Godís family. The HS leads us by convicting us of sin, righteousness and judgment Jn 16:7-11. It is the HSís job to do this.

Second, our sonship indicates we are his children vs 15-16. Unlike sin the HS does not enslave us. Does not compel us or force us to do Godís will. We are adopted sons not slaves so instead of cowering in slave-like fear we have an intimate standing before Godóone equivalent to a loving father! When we address God we are addressing our heavenly, loving, benevolent, caring Father all because of our new legal standing as adopted. The term Ďchildrení idís our family rela based on regeneration whereas Ďsonsí stresses our legal standing based on adoption. Because of the Spiritís witness I have assurance of salvation both in the front end and throughout my life. He not only assures my heart that I am saved he sustains that belief. He works in my heart to convince me of the truth of scripture and He energizes the fruit that comes from my faith bearing witness that I am His child.

Third, our childship indicates heirship 17. As Godís children we are recipients of all that is Godís and His Son, Jesus. Sharing with Jesus Christ, however, includes more than anticipation of heaven but also suffering. Jesus glory preceded by suffering and crucifixion and since (if 1cc) we share in sufferings we can also expect to share in His glory. 3. WE SHOULD ENDURE THESE SUFFERINGS SINCE THEY TEMPORARY & GLORY FOREVER

(1) Keep suffering in perspective 18After consideration it is clear that our future glory is so great that present sufferings are insignificant. Do not get all bent out of shape by them. Keep them in perspective.

(2) Substantiate this by proof from nature 19-22 First, he tells us that nature itself waits in expectancy for unveiling of Christís coming 19. The revealing of the sons of God will occur when Christ returns for His own and then nature will be transformed. The promise is that the curse on nature will be reversed and nature is personified as waiting eagerly for this to happen. Second, the reason for this eager anticipation is because nature due to itís curse never reaches the perfection intended but is subject to change and decay. God did this in hope, or in anticipation of a coming day when creation is set free from curse vs 20-21. When Godís program of salvation is completed and His children together experience their glorious freedom from sin, Satan and decay, creation too will be liberated! First, this physical world will be re-created when Jesus reigns on it (Isa 11:6-9; Jer 30:17; Eze 36:24; Mic 4:2-3). Second, will be creation of a Ďnew heaven and new earthí after reign (Rev 21:1; 2 Peter 3:7-13). Third, the creation acts as though it is going thru birth pains while it strains to produce its fruit. It does so rite up to the present time. The seasons each year picture this for us.

Substantiate this by proof from our experience 23-25 First, we, too, like nature, wait in expectancy for redemption 23. We share in the groaning and the anticipation. However, there is a distinction between us and creation. We are called the firstfruits of the Spirit. A farmerís firstfruits were intiall harvesting of his first-ripened crops (peach tree at Calvinís). This 1st installment foretaste & promise of more harvest to come. Similarly, God the HS, indwelling believers is foretaste of our future salvation and heaven to come. Because of our adoption, we also promised redemption of our bodies when we will receive our new ones, raised and transformed at the Rapture (1 Cor 15:42-54; 1 Thess 4:13-18). Second, in meantime we look toward this with hope in Godís promise to us 24-25. Obviously we have not received these bodies yet but can keep our present sufferings in perspective while we patiently and eagerly anticipate this. The implication is that there is much more in store for us than anything that is ours already!

1. Donít throw in the towel of your spiritual life. Even tho the spiritual life is not within your ability, it is your choice, and the ministry of the HS makes it possible.

2. While complete sanctification is not possible on this side of the grave it is certain on the other.

3. Walking in the Spirit does not eliminate suffering and the groaning it produces. We still live in a fallen world and still have our sinful flesh. This will only be eliminated when Jesus comes again. It is not our prosperity but our holiness that God wants to produce in our lives.