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ROMANS viii. 9.
“But ye are not in the flesh, but in the Spirit, if so be that the Spirit of God dwell in you. Now if any man have not the Spirit of CHRIST, he is none of His."
WHEREVER the word “flesh” is applied to the unregenerate, it means the total corruption of all the faculties of of the soul; and is thus used for the corrupt principle of action in the unconverted. On the contrary, to be “in the Spirit,” implies a complete renovation of these faculties of the soul by the power of the indwelling Spirit. In the words of my text, we are taught how we may know, whether our
souls are in a natural or in a regenerate state. This is determined by considering whether the Spirit of God dwell
The lloly Spirit may occasionally visit the souls of the unconverted, and cause natural convictions in the conscience; but He duells in those only, who have been admitted into the fold of the Great Shepherd. “Ye are not in the flesh, but in the Spirit, if so be that the Spikit of God dwell in you. Now if any man have not the SPIRIT of CHRIST, he is none of His.”
The Holy SPIRIT is here called, both the Spirit of God, and the SPIRIT of Christ, because He proceeds equally from the Father and from the Son : and thus, though the Person of the Son is second in order, in reference to the Person of the Father; yet the Holy Ghost is not third in order, but second, in reference both to the Person of the Father and of the Son. In my text, therefore, we must consider that the same loly
SPIRIT is called, both the Spirit of God and the Spirit of CHRIST. This is that glorious and eternal Person, in the Essence of the GODHEAD, by Whom God operates in Nature, in l'rovidence and in Grace. It is His operations in grace only, which will form the subject of this discourse'; and my text leads me to bring before you, one great truth, namely, the necessity of the indwelling and inworking of the Holy Spirit, in order that we may be Christians. If we bave Him dwelling in us, we are no longer "in the flesh, but in the Spirit.” We are freed from the curse and condemnation of the law ; since, "there is no condemnation to them that are in Christ Jesus,” by spiritual union, and who "walk not after the flesh, but after the Spirit. For the law of the Spirit of life in CHRIST Jesus, hath made them free from the law of sin and death."
In considering the necessity of the indwelling of the Spirit in order that we may be Christ's, 1 shall shiew that
the inhabitation of the SPIRIT is necessary, for the enlightening of our darkened understandings; for the rectifying of our perverted wills ; for the renewing of the natural conscience, and for conferring true happiness.
In the first place, then, I am to consider the necessity of the indwelling of the Spirit, for enlightening our understandings.
By nature, we are altogether blind as to spiritual things, ignorant as regards a saving knowledge of Christ, and “living without God in the world." As the Newtonian prism affects the light of the sun; so prejudice, resulting from the perverted state of the will, influences the judgment and the understanding; it separates the light of reason, deprives it of its brilliant unity, and sheds around imaginary colours. In consequence of the fallen state of our mental sight, we see, as it were, through painted glass ; and imagine, that the colours, thus cast on the objects of our regard, pertain to the truths we contemplate.
The Scriptures testify, that “the natural man receiveth not the things of the SPIRIT of God: for they are foolishness unto him; neither can he know them, because they are spiritually discerned. But he that is spiritual discerneth all things, yet he himself is discerned of no man,” that is, of no natural man. And in the following verse, the saints are spoken of as “having the mind of Christ,” or, as being acquainted with the mysteries of His Gospel. The carnal mind perceives not the things of God, nay, “it is enmity against God.” But, when the natural understanding has been enlightened by the Holy Spirit, man regains the spiritual perceptions of his primitive state ; and "searches all things, yea, the deep things of God.”
The Spirit of God enlightens our understandings, by convincing us of our natural ignorance and blindness as to spiritual things; and then, we