Romans 8:7 Because the carnal mind is enmity against God; for it is not subject to the law of God, nor indeed can be. 8 So then, those who are in the flesh cannot please God. 9 But you are not in the flesh but in the Spirit, if indeed the Spirit of God dwells in you. Now if anyone does not have the Spirit of Christ, he is not His. 10 And if Christ is in you, the body is dead because of sin, but the Spirit is life because of righteousness. 11 But if the Spirit of Him who raised Jesus from the dead dwells in you, He who raised Christ from the dead will also give life to your mortal bodies through His Spirit who dwells in you.
The fleshly mind is hostile. It is at enmity against God. It is in opposition to God. That's how it is with unsaved people. They are in opposition to God. They walk according to the flesh. They think according to the flesh. They do according to the flesh. And they are hostile toward God, and they will not submit to His law. And they can't. They don't have the ability to do that. They're dead.
This is the doctrine of depravity. It's more than just being disobedient. It's deep seated. It's in the nature. It's in the fabric of their disposition. It's who they are. Sin is not just an act of rebellion; it is rebellion itself.
8 So then, those who are in the flesh cannot please God.
He sums it up really in verse 8, "And those who are in the flesh cannot please God." Now, therein lies the biblical definition of total depravity. We hear that doctrine of total depravity a lot, and I want you to understand what it means. When it says total depravity, the word total depravity means to be in a sinful condition. To be totally depraved, some people might assume means that you're totally wicked. In other words, to be totally depraved means that you're as wicked as you could possibly be.
When you talk about the depravity of man, you're talking about an utter inability of the unredeemed to do anything that pleases God. Theologian John Gerstner used to kind of divide it up when he would say... He would be asked, "Well, can't people do good things like help the poor and the sick and the lame and do good deeds and show love to their children and their partners in life and their friends and family. But he would say, "The unregenerate can only do bad good. They can only do bad good. Or they can do bad bad. But they can't do good good." Good good is that which is not only good on a human level, but that which pleases God. And I think that's right.
2. To those who have the indwelling Holy Spirit (9-11)
From verses 9 to 11, we look at the spiritually-minded, those who know life and peace. In the earlier portion of this text of verses 4b through 8, the focus was on the fleshly, particularly in verses 7 and 8. Now we come to verses 9 to 11, and we get a look at the spiritually minded people.
But you,” he says in verse 9, “are not in the flesh, but in the Spirit." That signifies a state of grace, a state of salvation, and a new creation. You are now in the Spirit. You literally live and move in Him. His life is your life.
"That is true,” he says, “if, indeed, the Spirit of God dwells in you." That could be translated “since,” so it would read like this: "You're not in the flesh, but in the Spirit since, indeed, the Spirit of God dwells in you." What happens when you become a believer? At the time of your salvation, the Holy Spirit immediately takes up residence in you. And therein lies the dramatic change. He's not talking about some profession. You're in the Spirit because you said you were, or you're in the Spirit because you wanted to be. You're in the Spirit because the Spirit's in you.
in verse 9, "The Spirit of God dwells in you," is the word “to live in as a home,” that is to say, a permanent residence. The Holy Spirit's home is in the believer. He takes up residence in the believer. Some, through the years, had the idea that you got saved, and then you got the Holy Spirit later. Not so. If you didn't have the Holy Spirit, you didn't have the transformation that His coming brought, and so you weren't converted at all. You weren't regenerated.
And he reverses his statement in the middle of verse 9 and says the same thing, but in a reverse way, "If anyone does not have the Spirit of Christ, he doesn't belong to Him."
Literally, God Himself dwells in you.
The Holy Spirit is called in the New Testament the Spirit of Christ. In fact, He is called the Spirit of Christ right here in this passage. Back to Romans 8, he is the Spirit of Christ who dwells in you. He is also the Spirit of God who dwells in you, in the same verse, and He is also the Spirit. Verse 9: "The Spirit,” “the Spirit of God,” “the Spirit of Christ," all in the same verse.
And what it shows is the marvelous reality of the Trinity and how the Holy Spirit sustains the same relationship to the second person of the Trinity that He does to the first person of the Trinity. So every believer is the possessor of the Holy Spirit.
10 And if Christ is in you, the body is dead because of sin, but the Spirit is life because of righteousness.
This, again, could be translated “since.” "Since Christ is in you, though the body is dead because of sin." What does he mean by that? Well, though your human body still bears the death of its sinfulness.
11 But if the Spirit of Him who raised Jesus from the dead dwells in you, He who raised Christ from the dead will also give life to your mortal bodies through His Spirit who dwells in you.
Again, it could be translated since. “Since the Spirit of Him who raised Jesus from the dead dwells in you (that's the Spirit of God) He who raised Christ Jesus from the dead will also give life to your mortal bodies through His Spirit who indwells you."
To understand this is to understand the nature of the Christian. The spirit dwells in you, and He is the Spirit that raised up Jesus. In the New Testament, it talks about the fact that Jesus was raised from the dead by the Spirit. The Spirit gave Christ life through death. He raised Jesus from the dead and gave Him physical resurrection life. And He that raised up Christ from the dead, who is God the Father through the Spirit, will also give life to our mortal bodies. We're going to get new bodies.