Throughout passages in Paul's letter to the Romans, there are many themes that we have seen before in his other letters to the Corinthians, Galatians, and Thessalonians. Paul's passage in Romans 8:1-17 is a summary of all of his main thoughts that he wants every Christian to live his or her life according to. Paul uses references of the "Spirit" and the "Flesh" to communicate his ideas.
"There is therefore now no condemnation for those who are in Christ Jesus. For the law of the Spirit of life in Christ Jesus has set me free from the law of sin and death" (Rom 8:1-2). Paul believes if you are in Christ Jesus, then you will be saved. Because of Jesus' selflessness, he has freed us from sin and death. God had created the world through wisdom and with Adam we then were under the reign of sin. Then, with the resurrection of Jesus, He freed us from the law and we entered into a period of grace with God. We are living by the Spirit in an era of grace, so therefore we should be dead to sin. Paul explains this in greater detail in the beginning of Romans in 3:9.
Paul summarizes all this preaching in seventeen stanzas by referring to the "Spirit" and the "Flesh." We are first introduced by Paul of these topics/words in his letter to the Galatians. Paul contrasts the two ways of living in a community in chapter five of Galatians. "Spirit" is the caring of others and builds interpersonal relationships within a community. The "Flesh" is a self centeredness and a natural way to live of only caring for oneself. The "works of the flesh" will break apart a community. In Romans 8:4-5, "
who walk not according to the flesh but according to the Spirit. For those who live according to the flesh set their minds on the things of the flesh, but those who live according to the Spirit set their minds on the things of the Spirit." If God is equal to Love, then walking in the Spirit is walking with others and bringing one another into the community. Paul's focus...
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