Reflection on Rom 8:11Post date: 2019-12-28
Reflection on Rom 8:11
Let us notice in this verse 11 and in the previous verses the connection with the mystery of the Holy Trinity. It is written here: “The Spirit of Him who raised Jesus from the dead…” We know from other Scripture verses that the whole Trinity – the Father, the Son and the Holy Spirit – participates in the resurrection of Christ. Being man, Jesus was raised by God, by the power of God, but from another point of view, being true God, He rose by His own power. Jesus is God from God, Light from Light, true God from true God, as we confess in the Creed.
This verse 11 emphasizes that the Spirit of Him – i.e. the Father – raised Jesus from the dead. But it also says that this Spirit, the Spirit of the Father, dwells in us, and He, the Spirit of the Father who raised Christ from the dead will also give life to our mortal bodies. Once again, it emphasizes: “...through His Spirit who dwells in us.” So let us be aware that the Spirit of God who dwells in the Father also dwells in us through the saving faith. And what will this Spirit do? He will give life to our mortal bodies. This Spirit raised the Lord Jesus from the dead when He was dead physically. By the same power by which He raised Christ from the dead, this Spirit of God will now not raise us physically, because we are still in the flesh, but He will give us life already now. What does it mean that He will give us life? This is the crucial question. Our main focus will no longer be the spirit of the world, our selfish interests, or service to the system and spirit of darkness which enslaves man by sin and leads to destruction. He will give us life so that while we are in the flesh, amidst our life’s trial, we may no longer live our own life but rather live according to God’s plan; live a different life, a life for God and for the salvation of our soul and of the souls of our neighbours. This is God’s revival and it is the work of the Spirit of God.
Let us try to take at least the first step: when we learn the verse by heart and recite it three times during each prayer stop, let us not recite the Word of God only mechanically but let us think about the deep truth which is behind it and which touches us deeply. It is the dwelling of the Spirit of God in us as well as the question of our revival.
We usually do works in the flesh, without God, but these are of no worth for eternity; they are dead works. However, if we do our works for the sake of God and with an intention focused on Him, these works are inspired in us by the Holy Spirit and are a manifestation of spiritual revival, i.e. new life in us. These works are of worth for eternity, i.e. they are everlasting. Neither thieves nor moth nor rust will steal them from us (cf. Mt 6:20). The problem is whether we have truly experienced conversion in our life and received the fullness of the Holy Spirit, and whether we continue on the path of repentance and the following of Christ. If we then try to do our works in dependence on God and seek God’s will in our life, we lay up for ourselves treasures in heaven. If we stray from the path of conversion and repentance and do our works in dependence on our ego – that means, we pursue our own vain or selfish interests in pride and spiritual blindness – from the perspective of eternity we thus only do dead works for our detriment rather than for our good.
Let us notice the expression “come to life” in the Prophet Ezekiel. We read in chapter 37: “Thus says the Lord God to these bones” which symbolize the Old-Testament Church, the people of God, “Behold, I will bring the Spirit into you, and you will come to life.” (Ezek 37:5) It says not only “you will come to life” but also “I will bring the Spirit into you”, which is the condition for coming to life. Here we can see the connection with the Epistle to the Romans. In the New-Testament time, we already know what Spirit it is and what this Spirit of God worked at and after Pentecost both in the life of the Apostles and of those who believed in and received Jesus. He worked not only in the prophets but also in the martyrs and those who preached the Gospel in the power of the Spirit.
The prophet Ezekiel then describes the process of restoration to life. He mentions sinews (prayer), flesh (the apostles’ teaching) and skin (fellowship) – cf. Acts 2:42 – a model of the restored Church. Then verse 6b emphasizes again, “I will put the Spirit into you, and you will come to life.” Verse 9 says that the prophet is told to turn directly to the Spirit of God, and he speaks by the authority of God, “Thus says the Lord God” (Ko Amar Adonai Yahweh Elohim), and continues, “Come from the four winds, O Spirit, and breathe on these slain, that they may come to life!” Once again, the expression “come to life” is emphasized here. The Greek term for “come to life” is “zoopoiesei” and consists of two words – “zoe” (life) and “poiesei” (to make, do).
The condition for the One who raised Christ from the dead to give life even to me in my mortal body is that I should “not live according to the flesh but according to the Spirit”, as we read in the preceding verses. So we should allow the Spirit of God to live in us through the obedience of faith. If the Spirit of Christ is in us, Christ Himself is in us (v.10), the body is dead to sin and the spirit lives for righteousness, i.e. for God. The Spirit of God lives in us if through faith we have a relationship to Christ, and if by faith we also overcome evil which is in us and around us and try to fulfil the commandments of Jesus. These are simply described in the Sermon on the Mount (Mt 5-7).
Let us try during the next two weeks to do at least one deed in dependence on God every day. It will be a living deed – in the power of the Spirit – even if nobody notices it.
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