Romans – An Application of Chapter 1, Verses 2-4, Part 3

Doctrine 3: The power of God in the gospel, is miraculous in every respect (verses 3,4)

1) The incarnation of the Son of God in human flesh, is both miraculous and mysterious

The gospel message in and of itself is not some magical formula for spiritual fulfillment. Nor is it the promise of a happy life. What it is as a message is the good news of God’s Son, come to earth in the flesh. This amazing event was of course, proclaimed by the angelic host upon the natural birth of Jesus in Bethlehem (Luke 2:8-15). This was no ordinary birth, of no ordinary Person. It was nothing less, than the incarnation of God the Son in human form coming to birth, at that particular time and place in human history. This was such an amazing event that the entire heavenly host was shown to be in reverent display of it. The announcement of it alone to the shepherds in and of itself must have been surreal. Imagine being outside on a lonely night tending sheep, and suddenly, the sky is lit up in an awesome display of heavenly beings praising God and proclaiming the entrance of God’s Son into the world!

What took place in the advent of God’s Son is utterly unique. No other religion has ever made claim to such a thing regarding its concept of the Divine. The Divinity of world religions is always something distant and virtually unknowable. They all have some worldly prophet, who is needed in order to direct the adherents of these religions in the right way or ritual which conforms to its teachings. Even so, these religions, all false of course, never present God as personal and knowable in a saving way. These religions all have a concept of Deity which is harsh and austere, one that is not easily placated nor entreated. This is not so with the living and true God of Scripture. He sent His only begotten Son to the world in human form in order to reveal Him. And why did He do it, because of a Divine holy love of His creation, that had strayed in sin bringing destruction upon itself. So God didn’t only send a human prophet, which of course He did as well. But He sent His Son, the second Person of the Triune Deity to bring that love to the world.

The idea of the incarnation of God in human flesh is something that defies unenlightened natural thought. Therefore, it is eminently miraculous in its occurrence. Science cannot explain such a phenomenon as this. But then, science cannot even explain what actually happens in the conception of an ordinary human being for that matter, let alone the Divine incarnation of the Son of God. Think about that for a minute. Even with the advances in DNA research, the way in which human life is generated is still an absolute mystery to man. It is of course, because God is the author of life as the Divine Creator. And no matter how far man advances in scientific knowledge, he will never plumb the depths of this mystery. All that men can do is examine the work of God and marvel. This should lead him to glorify and praise his Creator, but sadly, this is not the case. So what happens is that man simply denies the miraculous, and by default, God Himself in what he cannot explain.

Science views the propagation of human life as something totally biological and nothing else. So it is believed there are some natural law and power at work in procreation. But is this reasonable to accept? A human is not a blob of biological matter, animated by some sort of electrical impulse. A human being is a distinct person created with a conscious mind and will. Perhaps one of the greatest apologetics against the naturalist view of human life is that every human intuitively knows there is a Creator. This is true whether he wants to admit it or not. If there were no Creator, there would be no denial of Him such as that made by the naturalist (Ps. 14:1). It is utterly ridiculous to vehemently deny something that is not supposed to exist. Of course, this just proves that God is known to exist. The problem of man is that he does not know what God is, and therefore, denies Him altogether.

Each person born, though unique in his or her identity, has something in common with all other humans that distinguishes them as more than matter animated by electrical impulses. It is the ability to conceive of abstract principles that do not appear in any natural form. Beside this, each person is capable of learning these concepts on a large scale. If man were an accident of nature, if such a thing was possible, he would be utterly incapable of this. Why is this so? Because the numerical possibility that two people might share the same thought at the same time would be near impossible, an accident of nature. Human thought then is not something acquired by the senses. Humans are born already with certain innate ideas in their possession, though it is not something fully informed. This is why reason is inadequate to arrive at knowledge, apart from the revelation of God and the enlightenment of the Holy Spirit.

The cognitive faculties of man are the product of his being made in the image of God. He is a created reflection of his eternally existent Creator. So God makes men in the womb of a woman. This is His miraculous work. But this poses an interesting question. Does God create each person as new work, or is the continual generation of the human race the product of something done once long ago? The Scripture tells us God created in a moment of time and space, which was part of it (Gen. 1:1,2). But then, God made or formed what He created in the space of six days (verses 3-31). The seventh day God rested from His work, because it was finished (Gen. 2:1-3). God made each living thing to procreate within its species after this (Gen. 1:28-30). So the work of creation being done, it would seem that all that follows it is the continuing product of it. It is the work of providence.

Providence relies upon the direct intervention of God within His creation. He is intimately involved in it. What the naturalist calls the laws of nature is nothing less than God “upholding all things by the word of His power” which is as the Scripture say, the manner by which “He made the worlds” too (Heb. 1:2,3). That Word by which God first created and now upholds the creation is through His Son “through whom also He made the worlds.” So the idea of the incarnation by the Son of God in human nature is absolutely amazing! He who created humanity and upholds it, took it upon Himself. This is what the good news of the gospel entails in its announcement of the birth of Christ in Bethlehem.

The conception of the Son of God in the womb of a virgin is of course miraculous. But as regards the humanity of Jesus, it is no more so in and of itself than the continual generation of life of all humans that take place from ordinary means. What is meant by this statement is the humanity of Jesus was created and new at its conception. What makes it unique and different is that while the humanity of Jesus was created, the Person of Jesus Christ is not. This is entirely different from any created human being. As a being, the personhood of man is created along with his body. This is not so with Jesus Christ. The Son of God entered the womb of the virgin through the Holy Spirit, giving conception to His human life completely apart from normal biological means. So the Person of the Son of God was not created, but what He did was to assume the created humanity of the immaculate conception.

This is a mystery which cannot be accounted for, other than it being revealed in Scripture. It is mysterious in part, because the Scripture reveals Jesus to be both fully human, and fully Divine at the same time. Theologians have in the past wracked their brains trying to understand and explain this. The difficulty arises in the fact that Jesus at times seemed to have no more knowledge than would be expected of a normal human. By that, what is meant is that he was limited in that knowledge. At other times, Jesus displayed the quality of Divine omniscience. So historically, an argument has existed between two camps on this. One holds the notion that Jesus has both a human and a Divine Personality in one body. The other holds that Jesus is but one Person, and that Divine. The early ecumenical councils settled on the one Person in two natures. This has been considered settled orthodoxy since the fourth century.

The advent of the Son of God in the flesh is the first of several miraculous events that surround the Person of Jesus. The world tends to view it as something other than what it is. It is viewed as a sentimental story about a babe in a manger. The supposed birth date of this babe has now become a religious holiday associated with commerce and material possessions. So the good news the world sees in the birth of Christ is the vague notion of world peace, surrounding material gifts to all mankind. This is not what the good news of Him was meant to convey. It was meant to convey God’s intention to reveal Himself to the world in a saving way, to those He is favorably disposed toward (John 3:16). The good news is to those who believe in Him. It is meant to show that God is interested in their salvation.

2) Gospel salvation, is utterly dependant upon the miraculous power and working of God

The gospel is a message that concerns the death of Jesus Christ for sin, and His subsequent resurrection for life from the grave, according to the Scripture. This of course is the proposition or set of propositions it calls on men to believe. But the proposition by itself would produce nothing apart from the power and working of God. The message tells us first that God is the cause of it in terms of its historical significance. At a certain point of time the Son of God took on the nature of man. At a certain point in time this Man, Jesus Christ died at the cross. And of course, at a certain time He rose again. This is the message of the gospel. But this is not salvation itself, it is a message about what God did in these previous events of history.

The salvation obtained in the gospel is the fruit or effect of what the prior historical events were intended to provide. So, salvation is connected to the gospel proclamation in that the objective end of it is applied by God to those who believe. The central connecting link is in itself objective too. And what does it consist of? It consists of those things which Christ has purchased for His people in terms of forgiveness and righteousness. This is imputed by God to His people objectively. It consists of His sufferings and death for sin. It consists of His perfect life of obedience to the law on their behalf. But it is a formal declaration of God to them. God accounts the life and shed blood of Jesus for sin to those whom He has chosen to life, “before the foundation of the world” (John 17:24; Eph. 1:4; I Pet. 1:20).

A second aspect of this objective truth in relation to the gospel is that of adoption. Like justification, adoption is a legal matter. It is the formal declaration of God that His people, that is, those who believe are also adopted into His family. They become His children (John 1:12). Even more to the point is that God makes His children “sons.” And it is not sons and daughters, but sons (Rom. 8:14-17). Why sons and not daughters? The text declares the children of God are “heirs.” In first century Rome and indeed throughout the world at that time, only males were direct heirs. Females were of course being included, but not directly apart from male headship. Hence we have Paul’s inspired use of the term. The point of adoption of course is, God has objectively declared His children to be recipients of all that His Son has purchased for them. This is forgiveness of sin and eternal life. We can legitimately add the blessing of fellowship and communion of the Spirit with God in this life too.

Not withstanding all of this objective truth regarding the message of the gospel, it still requires some form of application, in order for it to be effective for God’s children. So calling upon men to believe is of course, a matter of their personal responsibility, and therefore, eminently subjective in nature. But, is it possible for lost sinners to believe when they are dead in sin? It is not even remotely possible. It is impossible apart from God’s direct intervention in their lives. This is the fruit of salvation, communicated by God’s Spirit unto those for whom Christ died. In modern parlance, it is here where the rubber meets the road. The rubber is the truth, and the road is the Christian. What the believer receives that actually saves him from God, is not the gospel itself, but it is not apart from the gospel either. It is an adjunct of it. It is the work of God in relation to the message, by which He effectually calls and blesses His children with what He has determined to give them.

The blessing or fruit of salvation in Christ is applied to God’s elect by the Holy Spirit. The initial work that enables this is that of regeneration. Regeneration is the impartation of spiritual life to a sinner. So a question is posed to us at this point, what is this life and what does it consist of? The Scriptures reveal that man in his unregenerate state, born of Adam is but natural regarding matters of the spirit. This is not to say that man does not possess a spirit, nor that spirit is inactive. The spirit of man apart from Christ is said to be “alienated from the life of God,” because of “the futility of their mind” (Eph. 4:17,18). Also, this futility of mind and alienation translates into an active enmity against God on their part (Col. 1:21). The spiritual deadness of man in sin is anything but inactive. It is always in direct opposition to the things of God (Eph. 2:2).

This is what the Scripture calls the natural state of man (I Cor. 2:14). In this state he is unable to please God, and unable to do anything about it. The natural man cannot receive anything from God because of being an active enemy toward Him. As such, it is what is termed the total depravity of nature. Total depravity means a life lived in total bondage to sin. In this state of bondage to sin men are incapable of doing any good whatsoever, in relation to God’s righteousness. Both the elect and the non elect are identical in this respect. Both come into the world as sons of Adam, and therefore, live as depraved individuals apart from God. Except God determined beforehand to save some, none would ever be saved. And it is to the elect that the Holy Spirit comes and gives them spiritual life in Christ.

This life consists of a new principle or disposition toward God. It is what is called by Christ as the ability to “see the kingdom of God.” (John 3:3). Regeneration provides not only the ability to “see the kingdom of God,” but the ability to “enter the kingdom of God.” (John 3:5). Apart from these two things which are wrought by the Holy Spirit in regeneration, the natural man does not and cannot receive anything from God. Regeneration is a miracle God performs in all of His redeemed people. By it, they are effectively set apart unto Him in Christ. It is the impartation of spiritual life to their dead souls, resulting in everything else commensurate with salvation, such as faith, repentance, obedience and so forth. These are the fruits which follow the miraculous working of the Holy Spirit in those who are saved.

The Scriptures employ the imagery of washing and water to convey this miraculous, yet mysterious act. In John chapter three Jesus refers to regeneration as “born of water and the Spirit” (verse 5). Many have misunderstood these words to mean the sacrament of water baptism, but nothing can be farther from the truth. Outward baptism, whether administered to an infant in Pedobaptism, or to someone more mature in believers’ baptism, has no power or saving value in it whatsoever. This is why it is an outward act. It merely pictures forth something spiritual and internal. It is this work of the Holy Spirit Jesus was referring to in His words. The outward form of water is symbolic of the inward presence of life, the difference between them being either temporal or spiritual in nature.

Jesus was referring to a well known Old Testament passage of Scripture to the Jews. It was the promise of spiritual renewal made to Ezekiel while he and the Jewish people were in captivity to Babylon (Ez. 36:25-27). The context and imagery of this chapter in Ezekiel, is focused on the typical kingdom of God regarding Israel. At issue to them was the dissolution of their earthly covenant relationship to God. The nation was destroyed by God as judgement upon their apostasy from Him (verse 17). Their apostasy consisted of both moral and religious sin (verse 18). So God destroyed them as a nation by bringing a foreign nation upon them in order to punish and enslave them to the consequences of their sin. As a result of this Israel was scattered among the nations (verse 19).

In keeping with the typical nature of Israel under the Old Covenant economy, the promise of renewal spoken to Ezekiel in chapter thirty six included a restoration of the land, or, the kingdom (verse 24). But when we read the verses of promise, something else emerges. It involves a spiritual work of renewal that God promises to perform in His people. “Then I will sprinkle clean water on you, and you shall be clean; I will cleanse you from all your filthiness and from all your idols. I will give you a new heart and put a new spirit within you; I will take the heart of stone out of your flesh and give you a heart of flesh. I will put My Spirit within you and cause you to walk in My statutes, and you will keep My judgments and do them.” (Verses 25-27). Although He speaks to Israel in general terms throughout this passage, the promise is really limited to those who will undergo this spiritual renewal in a personal way. This is made obvious by not only the subjective nature of it, but by its fruit, which is obedience to God.

The rest of Scripture following the captivity up to the time of Christ and beyond, makes it clear the promise was directed toward a remnant of God’s people (Joel 2:32; Mal. 2:15; Rom. 9:27, 11:5). Indeed, this was the main theme of God’s promise of restoration to Israel before the captivity (Is. 10:22, 11:11,16; Jer. 23:3, 31:7). This remnant people, though often obscurely referenced, were those to whom the spiritual promise was made. This spiritual promise is the mysterious regenerating work of renewal, in the hearts of God’s people. It was not and is not a work done in either Jews or Gentiles on a general basis. But it is restricted to those for whom Christ died and payed their sin at the cross. This work of renewal revealed to Ezekiel is exactly what Jesus was referring to when He talked to Nicodemus about the new birth.

The imagery of Ezekiel thirty six, and John chapter three is that of the Holy Spirit, washing and renewing a dead sinner’s heart with the purifying power of God’s truth (Tit. 3:5). This is the miraculous work of God’s Spirit in applying the word, ie, the truth and promise of salvation with power to the elect in regeneration. It is twofold in nature as Paul spells it out to Titus. It is first, the miracle of an initial work of revival unto life, with second, the continued upholding or renewing of it throughout the life of a believer. In regeneration the Holy Spirit applies the saving benefit of Christ’s blood to the sinner, making way unto their conversion. He then applies the sanctifying value of God’s word to them as they live their life unto God (John 17:17). It is this initial work of the Spirit that introduces everything else related to the full spectrum of theological reality that accounts for redemption in God’s elect (I Pet. 1:2).

3) Salvation is the very raising of the dead in Christ, just as God raised Jesus from the dead

The message of the cross is the presentation of four propositions essential to a proper understanding of salvation. These are as follows: 1. The incarnation of the Son of God in human flesh; 2. His life of obedience to God in our humanity; 3. His vicarious death at the cross; 4. His resurrection from the grave unto life. Paul states that all four propositions are inseparably connected to the miraculous working and power of God’s Spirit. But it is in the resurrection power of raising Jesus from the grave, that the Christian receives spiritual life. It is that same power that worked in Jesus to overcome His physical death that works in the believer to communicate His life to them. It is first done in regeneration, and second done in sanctification. The two are inseparably connected together.

But here is where some important clarification of these things must be made. It has to do with what is called the order of salvation. The idea of an order to the truth of salvation is important to understanding what God does, and what happens to a person who is saved. While justification and adoption are objectively legal concepts, in relation to God the Father, regeneration and sanctification are subjectively experiential concepts, in relation to God the Holy Spirit. So Faith in God the Son, Jesus Christ, fits within its proper place in the order of salvation. That order is as follows: 1. Regeneration; 2. Faith; 3. Justification; 4. Adaption; 5. Sanctification. There are also several other truths that have their place in this order such as repentance, conversion and union with Christ. However, it is the first and last of the five listed truths that concern us here.

The reason for this is in regard to the resurrection power that works in a believer, in order to communicate the life of Jesus both initially, and continually, that concerns us here. How much power is required to raise someone dead from the grave? A great deal of power is needed. There is a tremendous contrast that exists between the two conditions of death and life. That being the case, these are complete opposites from each other. The absence of life in a human body commences the process of putrefaction. But the presence of life in the same body is a preservative. Death renders humanity as nothing more than matter that rots and returns to the earth. Life is that vital principle by which personality and activity is expressed. The one is absent of any power or ability to perform. The other is full of both to do exactly that.

The Old Testament revealed the fact that there was life after death. In fact, it is what the ultimate hope of the Old Testament believer looked forward to. It is true that the Old Covenant promise to Israel seemed to hold out a never-ending temporal kingdom existence (Ps. 37:9-11). But the personal aspect of Old Testament salvation was really the promise of an eternal life (Heb. 11:13-16). This would necessitate a resurrection from the dead, in order for it to have fulfillment. So it was understood that the eternal state followed upon a resurrection from temporal death. In fact, in Jesus’ day people had speculated that He was possibly one of the prophets who had returned from the grave (Matt. 16:13,14). However, Jesus’ true identity as the Son of God was known to His disciples (verses 15-17). What was further made known at this time to them was the power of God over death (verse 18).

Jesus angered the Jews of His day by suggesting that He had an intimate knowledge of those who were long departed (John 8:56). The Jews understood when Jesus said this, He was implying not only that Abraham was still alive, but that also, He was none other than God who was responsible for it (verses, 57,58). It was not the idea of resurrection that angered them, but rather, it was Jesus connecting Himself to it. He had even gone so far as to predict His own resurrection at an earlier date in the presence of both the Jews and His disciples (John 2:19-22). However, they did not understand what He was talking about at the time. It was only after He died and had risen from it that they (the disciples) were given that understanding.

The message of Jesus’ resurrection became an integral part of the gospel after His ascension into heaven. It was connected immediately by the apostles to what the Old Testament had to say about the Messiah in regard to the kingdom (Acts 2:29-31). Now, that promise was to be made in the gospel to all who heard and received it by faith. If Jesus is said to be the cornerstone of saving faith, then His resurrection is the cornerstone of a Christian’s hope of eternal life. Paul made that very case in first Corinthians chapter fifteen. Here in the beginning of this chapter Paul gives us the essence of the gospel message in relation to this vital doctrine, in much the same way he did in our present text (Rom. 1:2-4). “For I delivered to you first of all that which I also received: that Christ died for our sins according to the Scriptures, and that He was buried, and that He rose again the third day according to the Scriptures” (I Cor. 15:3,4).

The resurrection then is the capstone of Christian experience. It is the entrance of a believer into the glorious presence of God. But it is also the beginning point of salvation in regeneration. The two terms are nearly synonymous with each other, the one being the impartation of a new life, and the other being the raising up of the body to eternal life. Jesus connected the two distinct concepts of regeneration and resurrection together Himself (John 5:21,24,25). The new birth is a spiritual resurrection from spiritual death into life (Eph. 2:1). It is that same power that worked in Jesus when He arose from death, applied by God the Spirit to an individual He has determined to save. It is nothing short of miraculous too, as there is no power known to man that can do such a thing.

Now, it is the very first thing that takes place in the order of salvation. God imparts life by His power to a sinner, in order that they hear the message and call of the gospel, and respond to it. None but those who have this power working in them can do this. And all who do have this power will come to Christ and believe in Him because of it. Everything else to do with salvation, as it concerns a Christian follows after this. A person savingly believes because they are born again. They are justified by faith, and adopted into the family of God. Repentance and conversion are fruits of regeneration. Union with Christ both as an outward identity and as an inward reality, has their origin in this marvelous work and power of God in regeneration. Once a person is objectively justified, then what follows are the subjective fruits of salvation in sanctification.

Sanctification, or, a life of holy devotion unto God is the work of the Holy Spirit as much as is regeneration. Paul says of this sanctified life that it is accomplished by divine enablement, “for it is God who works in you both to will and to do for His good pleasure.” (Phil. 2:13). Where justification provides a permanent standing with God in terms of forgiveness and righteousness, sanctification provides a permanent power or enablement unto holy duties in terms of living the Christian life. And just like all that precedes it, there is no felt sense of force that is placed upon a believer because of this power. This is because it is more a matter of the mind than anything. What is meant by this is, everything the Christian does in their life, is done by faith in God according to His revealed will. This is where the power of the Holy Spirit who abides with the believer provides divine enablement to live for God.

Second, what the Holy Spirit does in a believer regarding this power unto sanctification is to apply the word of God to them. The Holy Spirit is the source through which God has communicated His word to men (II Pet. 1:20,21). Consequently, the Holy Spirit is the only true interpreter of God’s word. So, in applying God’s word to a Christian, the Holy Spirit illuminates their mind, communicating grace for faith, conviction of the truth, obedience to God, mortification of sin, and every other evangelical fruit that accompanies salvation. This is resurrection power at work. We see it explicated by the apostle Paul in Romans chapters six and eight. Following Paul’s teaching upon the federal nature of justification in Christ, Paul goes on to show that union, ie, identity with Him, is the foundation of definitive sanctification. What we mean by definitive as opposed to the normally understood nature of sanctification being progressive is, the principle of definite set apartedness that accompanies justification and adoption.

Definitive sanctification is the starting point of the Spirit’s work in manifesting the life of Jesus in a Christian. So Paul, setting up his point in chapter six of Romans says this. “What shall we say then? Shall we continue in sin that grace may abound? Certainly not! How shall we who died to sin live any longer in it? Or do you not know that as many of us as were baptized into Christ Jesus were baptized into His death? Therefore we were buried with Him through baptism into death, that just as Christ was raised from the dead by the glory of the Father, even so we also should walk in newness of life. For if we have been united together in the likeness of His death, certainly we also shall be in the likeness of His resurrection, knowing this, that our old man was crucified with Him, that the body of sin might be done away with, that we should no longer be slaves of sin.” (Verses 1-6).

What is Paul saying here in these verses? He is saying by virtue of our union with Christ in justification that we are also made holy too. And that, the resurrection power that imparted spiritual life to the believer at first, is now at work to impart Christ’s life of faith and obedience to them as well. It is this resurrection power that is at work in the mind “to reckon yourselves to be dead indeed to sin, but alive to God in Christ Jesus our Lord.” (Verse 11). This is the foundation for his instruction to the Christian to cease from sin and manifest practical holiness unto God. “Therefore do not let sin reign in your mortal body, that you should obey it in its lusts.” (Verse 12). The power, the enablement to do this as Paul exhorts the Christian to do is in the mental understanding of God’s truth.

In chapter eight of this same epistle Paul takes the matter of sanctification out of the theoretical and brings it much more into the practical. In chapter six Paul focuses primarily on the resurrection power, while in chapter eight it is more on the Person of the Holy Spirit. Paul talks about walking and living “according to the Spirit.” (verses 4,5,12). This emphasis on the Spirit has often been skewed by viewing it as some sort of second blessing or Pentecostal like experience. Nothing can be farther from the truth. Paul simply means to convey that the difference between a believer and a non believer is the fact that of regeneration. The Spirit of God dwells with the believer, so that their life is a continual practice that is consistent with that relationship.

Paul sets a contrast forward in making the point. Either a person is carnal and therefore, has a mind bent upon the flesh, or they are spiritual, with the mind set upon the things of God (verses 6-9). The contrast Paul set between the two persons is that one is spiritually dead. The other is spiritually alive (verses 9,10). The presence of God’s Spirit in the life of a believer is at work in mortifying remaining sin. (Verse 11). And what does Paul attribute this too, but that resurrection power? “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.” It is that same power that raised Jesus from the dead that are also at work in a believer to produce practical holiness.

What else does this power accomplish? As the Spirit of God is at work to mortify the deeds of the flesh, He is also at work to manifest the fruits of godliness. Paul actually calls it “the fruit of the Spirit” (Gal. 5:22; Eph. 5:9). This fruit is the presence and power of His working in us who believe. The contrast of fruits pertaining either to the flesh or the Spirit is given in Galatians chapter five. The first set of fruits given in this chapter is of those produced by the corrupted nature of men. “Now the works of the flesh are evident, which are: adultery, fornication, uncleanness, lewdness, idolatry, sorcery, hatred, contentions, jealousies, outbursts of wrath, selfish ambitions, dissensions, heresies, envy, murders, drunkenness, revelries, and the like” (verses 19-21).

The second set of fruits given in contrast to those of the flesh is of those that are attributed to the Holy Spirit. “But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, longsuffering, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, self-control. Against such there is no law.” (Verses 22,23). In order to have these, the first must be put to death (verse 24). This is what the meaning of progressive sanctification is. It is the ongoing application of God’s power and grace in a Christian’s life that is explained as walking in the Spirit (verse 25). This blessing and benefit have been purchased, along with justification and adoption, by Jesus Christ through His death and resurrection. This is the “gospel of God” which Paul introduced in his opening words to the church at Rome.


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