V88and those who are in the flesh cannot please God. . For someone who is in the flesh, it is impossible to please God. Being in the flesh means having yourself, your abilities, your labors, your plans and intentions as a center. Even if someone in the flesh would try to please God by keeping the law, this would be unacceptable to God. The starting point is wrong. God has dealt with the flesh, the nature of man corrupted by sin, once and for all. So how then could He accept anything from it? There is a definitive separation between God and the sinful flesh.
V99However, you are not in the flesh but in the Spirit, if indeed the Spirit of God dwells in you. But if anyone does not have the Spirit of Christ, he does not belong to Him. . He who has received God’s Spirit is no longer in the flesh, but in the Spirit. It is the Spirit of God who lives inside you. The Spirit of God doesn’t make you important, but Christ. You are connected with Christ and you belong to Him through the Spirit of God. If someone doesn’t have the Spirit of Christ, he doesn’t belong to Him.
Why do these verses suddenly speak of the Spirit of Christ? I think it is to show you that the Spirit you have received is the same Spirit by which Christ was led during His life on earth. When you read the Gospels, you can see this all the time. For example, take the Lord’s temptation by satan in the desert in Luke 4 (Lk 4:11Jesus, full of the Holy Spirit, returned from the Jordan and was led around by the Spirit in the wilderness). There you read how, filled with the Holy Spirit, He returned from Jordan to the desert. Then when He was in the desert, He in His perfect holiness was led by the Spirit. His holy nature was not tempted by outside temptation: there was no failure with Him. He was God-centered.
V1010If Christ is in you, though the body is dead because of sin, yet the spirit is alive because of righteousness. . With you, the Spirit wants to do the same. The Spirit of God is living in you because Christ is in you. The Spirit of God can only connect Himself with something of Christ. This implies that the body, as used by sin for evil practices, is dead. Otherwise God’s Spirit couldn’t enter it to live there. But now, Christ being in you, it is completely right for the Spirit to live in you and to have authority over the life you now lead, just as it was with Christ.
V1111But 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. . Another important thing is connected with the indwelling of God’s Spirit within you. This has to do with the resurrection of your mortal body. Your body is still subject to the consequences of sin. It can become sick and it can die, but look at what God has done with the Lord Jesus. God raised the Lord Jesus from the dead. So, what do you do with yourself now? Your body is still mortal. Is this consistent with the Spirit of God living in you, who has everything to do with life? The answer is that God will raise your mortal body as He has done with the Lord Jesus because His Spirit is living in you. Other verses, like in Philippians 3, tell us this will take place at the return of the Lord Jesus for His own, commonly called the rapture (Phil 3:2121who will transform the body of our humble state into conformity with the body of His glory, by the exertion of the power that He has even to subject all things to Himself.).
V1212So then, brethren, we are under obligation, not to the flesh, to live according to the flesh— . All of this puts you under a certain obligation. You have become a debtor to live according to the position God has given you. He has provided you with all it takes to live a godly life – the new life and the Holy Spirit. You no longer have any obligation towards the flesh. It has no claim on you because you died as to your former life.
V1313for if you are living according to the flesh, you must die; but if by the Spirit you are putting to death the deeds of the body, you will live. . You still have the flesh in you, but you shouldn’t give it an opportunity to manifest itself. If you live according to the flesh, you will die. This must be the case. God’s judgment over the flesh never changes, but now you have the responsibility to deprive the flesh of any possibility to regain authority in your life. By the power the Holy Spirit gives, you have the ability to stop sinning in your body. Though you will never reach a state of sinless perfection here on earth, yet moment by moment you are responsible and able to not sin.
V1414For all who are being led by the Spirit of God, these are sons of God.. Then you will live life with God as God meant it to be. Everyone who is led by the Spirit of God looks like the Son of God, the Lord Jesus. Sons of God are people in whom God recognizes the Son. In Him God found His joy and His pleasure. If you will be led by the Spirit, God will be pleased by it.
Now read Romans 8:8-14 again.
Reflection: How can you kill the workings of the body?