There is therefore now no condemnation for those who are in Christ Jesus. 2 For the law of the Spirit of life has set you free in Christ Jesus from the law of sin and death. 3 For God has done what the law, weakened by the flesh, could not do. By sending his own Son in the likeness of sinful flesh and for sin, he condemned sin in the flesh, 4 in order that the righteous requirement of the law might be fulfilled in us, who walk not according to the flesh but according to the Spirit. 5 For those who live according to the flesh set their minds on the things of the flesh, but those who live according to the Spirit set their minds on the things of the Spirit. 6 For to set the mind on the flesh is death, but to set the mind on the Spirit is life and peace. 7 For the mind that is set on the flesh is hostile to God, for it does not submit to God’s law; indeed, it cannot. 8 Those who are in the flesh cannot please God.
9 You, however, are not in the flesh but in the Spirit, if in fact the Spirit of God dwells in you. Anyone who does not have the Spirit of Christ does not belong to him. 10 But if Christ is in you, although the body is dead because of sin, the Spirit is life because of righteousness. 11 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. – Romans 8:1-11
We’re back at the gym…so to speak. Since the shutdown of business – including gyms – we’ve been taking part in a virtual workout from our trainers at the gym. It is rigorous! I’m fully sweatted out by the time we’re finished with the 45 minute session! And whenever I struggle to move about, or get my body going these days, I wonder what it would be like if we weren’t exercising!
Physical exercise is of some value (cf. 1 Timothy 4:8). But there is a need for life that only the Spirit of Christ can provide. That is what Paul points to here: “he who raised Christ Jesus from the dead will also give life to your mortal bodies through his Spirit.” Even the best gym won’t furlough physical decline and death forever. There comes a time when we will draw our last breath. We can thank God for the breath of his Spirit within us to enliven our mortal bodies.
There is always a tension between life here and life in the World to Come. Just yesterday our pest control person asked me about that. He had brain surgery, and despite the dramatic and extraordinary lengths to which they went, some cancer remains. He asked me, “You know, people have told me that they’re praying for me. And that’s good. But if I die, and I’m there [it was his way of saying in heaven] wouldn’t that be better?”
That gave me the opportunity to share Paul’s comments in his letter to the church in Philippi, “to live is Christ, to die is gain” (cf. Philippians 1:19-25). And so it is today. We’re not here just for our own entertainment and amusement. We’re not here to grab all the gusto we can. We’re not here just to see how much money we can amass. Or how many vacations we can take. Or how many grandchildren we can hug.
We live to serve Christ – empowered by the Holy Spirit – and to enjoy the riches of his grace, by faith – a gift of the Holy Spirit – and to bring honor and glory to Father, Son, and Holy Spirit now and forever. When we experience our grandchildren’s hugs and smiles, a beautiful sunrise, some delicious food, or a good movie, we are experiencing a foretaste of the pure joy and glory that will be ours when the Spirit gives life to our mortal bodies through all eternity.