As we prepare to celebrate Pentecost tomorrow, we read a portion of Romans 8 and take our devotion from Concordia Commentary: Romans 1–8.
Romans 8:12–17, 22–27
Read the propers for today on lutherancalendar.org.
Having the Holy Spirit in our hearts does not mean we will no longer sin. It means we have a Helper who guides us toward godly living and daily reminds us that we are forgiven for the sins we still commit. As we prepare to remember tomorrow when the Holy Spirit came to Jesus’ disciples, let us give thanks to God for sending us this merciful Counselor.
Paul certainly views present Christian existence as having one foot in this age and the other foot in the age to come. In this age there is still death; your body is dead on account of sin ([Rom] 8:10); you need to put to death the practices of the body (8:13); you are still awaiting the day when God will make your now-mortal body alive (8:11). As a result, the struggle between flesh and Spirit is ongoing, even for those in the Spirit’s realm. In fact, this battle provides the evidence that “the Spirit of God is dwelling in you” (8:9). . . . This is the baptismal life of those in Christ; it is life in the Spirit, in a mortal body, and against the flesh. . . .
The same struggle between flesh and Spirit is apparent in Gal 5:17: “for the flesh desires against the Spirit, and the Spirit against the flesh, for these are in opposition to one another, with the result that whatever things you may will, you are not doing these things.” . . . This is why Paul preceded that statement with an exhortation comparable to Rom 8:12–13: “but I say, walk continually in the Spirit and you will in no way complete [the] desire of [the] flesh” . . . (Gal 5:16).
Paul moves ahead in Romans 8 not with further admonition, but with present assurance in the midst of the conflict between Spirit versus flesh, in the midst of life and death.
Devotional reading is from Concordia Commentary: Romans 1–8, pages 633–34 © 2013 Concordia Publishing House. All rights reserved.
The Work of the Holy Spirit
What is the special work of the Holy Spirit?
The Holy Spirit sanctifies me (makes me holy) by bringing me to faith in Christ, so that I might have the blessings of redemption and lead a godly life (sanctification in the wide sense).
Note: The word sanctification is used in two ways:
- The wide sense—the whole work of the Holy Spirit by which He brings us to faith and also enables us to lead a godly life.
- The narrow sense—that part of the Holy Spirit’s work by which He directs and empowers the believer to lead a godly life.
Taken from Luther’s Small Catechism with Explanation, question 156, copyright © 1986, 1991 Concordia Publishing House. All rights reserved.