Last week we began to look at what the Bible says about the indwelling of God’s Holy Spirit in His people who are led by the Spirit of God. This raises the question: How on earth does the Holy Spirit lead us?
One sure and safe answer to that question is that God’s Holy Spirit leads us through His inspired Word, the Bible. This is absolutely, without question, taught in the pages of the Bible itself. 2 Timothy 3:16-17 states clearly: All scripture is inspired by God and profitable for teaching, correcting, and training in righteousness, so that the man of God may be complete, thoroughly equipped for every good work. 2 Peter 1:21 tells us that the writers of scripture were moved by the Holy Spirit as they wrote. Hebrews 3:7 puts it this way, “As the Holy Spirit says…” then we have a quotation from the Old Testament. Clearly, the Holy Spirit leads God’s people through God’s word, the Holy Scriptures, the Bible.
So, the first and clearest way that the Holy Spirit leads us is through the words of Holy Scripture, the Bible. But is that the total picture? In other words, is the leading of the Holy Spirit limited to the Holy Bible? Well, what does the Bible say about that? Let’s let the most trustworthy tool of the Holy Spirit tell us how the Holy Spirit leads us.
How does the Holy Spirit lead us so that we can make Holy decisions about daily life issues, or discover God’s will for such things as our career choices, who to marry, where to live, where to go to church, whether to stop and help this or that person, how to plan our finances, whether or not to become a church leader, what kind of home or car should I own, and a billion other matters that are not directly stated in scripture? Is God leading our lives 24/7/365? Does God’s indwelling Spirit have sway in every matter and aspect of my life, or does He only lead me in religious things?
The Bible actually says that God is not just found in a Book, He actually lives in my very body. And the Bible tells us that we can know God’s Holy Book and still be in bondage to sin. We can know the very word of God and still have sin dwelling in us. But, if we have the Holy Spirit dwelling within us, and are walking in His Spirit, God gives us life and power to be free from bondage to sin and to live for God’s righteousness. This is part of how the Holy Spirit leads us.
Let’s just listen in on what the Holy Spirit is telling us about Himself as we read from Romans.
First, Turn to Romans 7:5-6, 14, 17, 18, 20. What happens when I have the Holy Book, but not the Holy Spirit. Now listen as I read Romans 7:7-24. Listen carefully to Paul’s description of one who knows the Holy Law, but has not the Holy Spirit. (READ) Again, hear 14, 17, 18, 20, 23. What’s Paul’s problem in Romans 7? Sin dwells in him. Let me say that slowly: SIN… DWELLS… IN… HIM. He is under bondage to sin. He says that nothing good dwells in him, that is his flesh. That explains a lot. I wonder how many well meaning Christians see Romans 7 as the normal Christian life experience. They believe that they are enslaved to sin which dwells in them. Through God’s Holy Book they know better, but they don’t do better. How do they know better? Why? Because sin dwells in them and enslaves them and leads them, they are not led by the Holy Spirit, but their master, sin.
I do not believe Romans 7 describes the Holy Spirit led Christian experience. Do you? This about a life with a Holy book, but not the Holy Spirit. Is this how we should live? Does God leave us in this condition to be led by sin that dwells in us? Or… is there power available from God that would set us free from bondage to sin? Is there anything in the Bible about how to be set free from sin and be indwelled, not by sin, but by the Holy Spirit and cleanse us from sin to walk in step with the Spirit?
Brothers and sisters, I have great news! Just listen to this! Romans 7:23, Romans 8:1-2. Is not this the answer to Romans 7? If I have the Holy Book without the Holy Spirit I become a prisoner to the law of sin which is in my members. But, if the Holy Spirit is in me and I walk in the Spirit, the law of the Spirit of life in Christ Jesus sets me free from the law of sin and death! Is this true? Does the Holy Spirit lead you?
Let’s back up in Romans and see where Jesus rescues us from the slavery of indwelling sin. Romans 6:1-14. Did anyone get that? Did that just say that we can be free from sin? Did God’s Holy Spirit inspired Bible just say that as a Christian I am dead to sin, but alive in Christ and that sin shall not be my master?
Now, let’s see where God gives the power that breaks the grip of sin. Turn with me to Romans 8:1-11. If we have a Romans 8 life, we walk not according to the flesh but according to the Spirit. Right? Now look back at Romans 7:5-6. Ok. What does verse 5 say we were in? The flesh, right? And what did the law (God’s Holy law) do to our sinful passions? It aroused them. And where were those passions working? In our members (body members). And what did that lead to? Death, right? That’s what the rest of Romans 7:7-24 describes.
But Romans 7:6 introduces chapter 8. Look at Romans 7:6 But now… this tells us that something has changed! We were in the flesh, full of sinful passions that were aroused by the law. But now… NOW we are not simply delivered from the law, we are serving in the newness of the Spirit. What’s that all about? Well, you won’t find any of it in the next few verses. You have to wait till the next chapter before you find out about Romans 7:6 and serving in the newness of the Spirit.
I’m convinced that what the Bible is doing here in 7:7-24 is showing us life without the Holy Spirit’s dwelling within us. Instead Romans 7:7-24 is about life with the law, when sin dwells within us and controls us. That’s what it says. SIN DWELLING IN US, and, UNDER BONDAGE TO SIN. So let me say this: If Romans 7:7-24 describes your Christian experience, I have good news for you. Romans 6 and 8 are God’s instructions on how to be delivered from indwelling sin of Romans 7 and have the Holy Spirit dwelling in you instead. Romans 6 tells you how to be set free from sin and Romans 8 tells you about the power from God for you in Christ that beats the devil out of the flesh.
If you had a choice between living a Romans 6 and 8 life, or a Romans 7 life, which would you choose?
Listen to Jesus in Luke 11:13 “If you being evil know how to give good gifts to your children, how much more will your Heavenly Father give the Holy Spirit to those who ask Him?]]>