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.

Romans 8:11 (ESV)

Spiritual warfare is not a new thing. In fact, not only is it not new, the Apostle Paul spent at least two chapters in Romans speaking of his own struggles with the flesh while still desiring to walk in the power of the Spirit. In what could be considered the most theologically rich portion of the entire Bible, Paul teaches the Roman believers what are the basics of the Christian faith concerning the ongoing battle with sin.

In Romans 7 & 8, Paul presents what I believe to be the essential work—dare I say manifestation—of the Holy Spirit. What does that even mean? In Romans 8:9, Paul states, “Anyone who does not have the Spirit of Christ does not belong to him.” So, if the Spirit’s presence in us is a prerequisite for salvation, then our “baptism in the spirit” should be a foregone conclusion. However, what is NOT a foregone conclusion is our willingness to be constantly “filled” to the point of absolute surrender to the Spirit’s control—herein lies the battle. 

Paul transparently expressed that it was his flesh that was the weakest link in his desire for holiness. Even though his mind yearned to live a life pleasing to God, his flesh was where sin dwelled, and that flesh kept him in bondage to hopelessness and death. But, just like a skilled writer would weave a tale where seemingly all hope is gone, Paul introduces Jesus Christ as the hero of this moment of desperation and presents the Holy Spirit as the One who breathes life into our bodies which are dead in sin.

However, as in virtually everything else in life, there lies a choice we must make. Jesus spoke of a life of abundance, not the life of bondage Satan desired. Paul put it this way, “For you did not receive the spirit of slavery to fall back into fear, but you have received the Spirit of adoption as sons, by whom we cry, “Abba! Father!” Until we see Him face to face, our “life more abundantly” depends upon our life of surrender to His Spirit.