Though our outer-self is wasting away, our bodies decaying and dying, nonetheless in Christ we have true life, life everlasting, and unending spiritual life. God has not left us for dead but has sent his Son to enter into death on our behalf, and in his resurrection, pull each of those for whom he has died out of the grave with him! His life is now our life and since Christ will never die again, neither shall we. Even our own physical death will only be but a momentary intermission in the now unending eternal drama of living life in the Spirit.
“You, however, are not in the flesh but in the Spirit, if in fact the Spirit of God dwells in you. Anyone who does not have the Spirit of Christ does not belong to him. But if Christ is in you, although the body is dead because of sin, the Spirit is life because of righteousness.”
– Romans 8:9-10
We have seen that to be a Christian is to be a person who is spiritually found in Christ, which also means that the Holy Spirit (also referred to by Paul as the Spirit of God or the Spirit of Christ) now dwells in, or indwells, the believer. And that word, dwell, is an important verb to consider. As Leon Morris points out, “the Spirit is not an occasional visitor; he takes up residence in God’s people.” Which is an incredibly comforting truth to consider – God will literally never leave us.
We cannot lose our salvation and we cannot lose the presence of the Holy Spirit. Paul says here in verse 9 that “anyone who does not have the Spirit of Christ does not belong to him,” meaning, without the Spirit of Christ you do not belong to Christ. But if you do have the Spirit then you do belong to Christ. And Christ himself promised, “All that the Father gives me will come to me, and whoever comes to me I will never cast out… this is the will of him who sent me, that I should lose nothing of all that he has given me, but raise it up on the last day” (John 6:37, 39). Do you see? To have the Spirit dwell within you means to have Christ forever!
It also means Christ is in you! Do you see that in verse 10? “But if Christ is in you, although the body is dead because of sin, the Spirit is life because of righteousness.” Again, I’m stunned at the depth of Paul’s Trinitarian theology. In verse 9 he’s speaking about the Spirit within us and now, in verse 10, he says that’s the same thing as having Christ within us. Next time Jehovah’s Witnesses or Mormons approach your front door, ask them to read Romans 8:9-10 with you and show them the truth of the Trinity. John Chrysostom, the “Golden-tongued” preacher of the early church remarked that “Paul is not saying here that the Spirit is Christ but is showing rather that anyone who has the Spirit has Christ as well. For where the Spirit is, there Christ is also. Wherever one person of the Trinity is present, the whole Trinity is present too. For the Trinity is undivided and has a perfect unity in itself.”
Consider too the insight from Saint Augustine that “The Holy Spirit is in a certain sense the ineffable communion of the Father and the Son…