But ye are not in the flesh - Ye Christians, who have believed in Christ Jesus as the sin offering which has condemned sin in the flesh; and, having been justified by faith and made partakers of the Holy Spirit, are enabled to walk in newness of life.
If so be that the Spirit of God dwell in you - Or seeing that, ειπερ, the Spirit of God dwelleth in you. The flesh, the sinful principle, dwelt in them before; and its motions were the proofs of its indwelling; but now the Spirit dwells in them; and its testimony in their conscience, and its powerful operations in their hearts, are the proofs of its indwelling. God made man in union with himself, and his heart was his temple. Sin being committed, the temple was defiled, and God abandoned it. Jesus Christ is come by his sacrifice and Spirit to cleanse the temple, and make man again a habitation of God through the Spirit. And when this almighty Spirit again makes the heart his residence, then the soul is delivered from the moral effects of the fall. And that this is absolutely necessary to our present peace and final salvation is proved from this: that if any man have not the Spirit of Christ - the mind that was in him, produced there by the power of the Holy Ghost - he is none of his; he does not belong to the kingdom, flock, or family of God. This is an awful conclusion! Reader, lay it to heart.
But ye - You who are Christians. This is the opposite character to what he had been describing, and shows the power of the gospel.
Not in the flesh - Not under the full influence of corrupt desires and passions.
But in the Spirit - That is, you are spiritually minded; you are under the direction and influence of the Holy Spirit.
The Spirit of God - The Holy Spirit.
Dwell in you - The Holy Spirit is often represented as dwelling in the hearts of Christians (compare 1 Corinthians 2:16; 1 Corinthians 6:19; 2 Corinthians 6:16; Ephesians 2:21-22; Galatians 4:6); and the meaning is not that there is a personal or physical indwelling of the Holy Spirit, but that he influences, directs, and guides Christians, producing meekness, love, joy, peace, longsuffering, gentleness, goodness, etc. Galatians 5:22-23. The expression, to dwell in one, denotes intimacy of connection, and means that those things which are the fruits of the Spirit are produced in the heart. (See the supplementary note at Romans 8:10.)
Have not the Spirit of Christ - The word “Spirit” is used in a great variety of significations in the Scriptures. It most commonly in the New Testament refers to the third person of the Trinity, the Holy Spirit. But the expression “the Spirit of Christ” is not, I believe, any where applied to him, except it may be 1 Peter 1:11. He is called often the Spirit of God Matthew 3:16; Matthew 12:28; 1 Corinthians 2:11, 1 Corinthians 2:14; 1 Corinthians 3:16; 1 Corinthians 6:11; Ephesians 4:30, but not the Spirit of the Father. The word “spirit” is often used to denote the temper, disposition; thus we say, a man of a generous spirit, or of a revengeful spirit, etc. It may possibly have this meaning here, and denotes that he who has not the temper or disposition of Christ is not his, or has no evidence of piety. But the connection seems to demand that it should be understood in a sense similar to the expression “the Spirit of God,” and “the Spirit of him that raised up Jesus” Romans 8:11; and if so, it means the Spirit which Christ imparts, or sends to accomplish his work John 14:26, the Holy Spirit, sent to make us like Christ, and to sanctify our hearts. And in this sense it evidently denotes the Spirit which Christ would send to produce in us the views and feelings which he came to establish, and which shall assimilate us to himself. If this refers to the Holy Spirit, then we see the manner in which the apostle spoke of the Saviour. He regarded “the Spirit” as equally the Spirit of God and of Christ, as proceeding from both; and thus evidently believed that there is a union of nature between the Father and the Son. Such language could never be used except on the supposition that the Father and Son are one; that is, that Christ is divine.
Is none of his - Is not a Christian. This is a test of piety that is easily applied; and this settles the question. If a man is not influenced by the meek, pure, and holy spirit of the Lord Jesus, if he is not conformed to his image, if his life does not resemble that of the Saviour, he is a stranger to religion. No test could be more easily applied, and none is more decisive. It matters not what else he may have. He may be loud in his professions, amiable in his temper, bold in his zeal, or active in promoting the interests of his own party or denomination in the church; but if he has not the temper of the Saviour, and does not manifest his Spirit, it is as sounding brass or a tinkling cymdal. May all who read this, honestly examine themselves; and may they have what is the source of the purest felicity, the spirit and temper of the Lord Jesus.
“But if ye forgive not men their trespasses, neither will your Father forgive your trespasses.” Matthew 6:15. Nothing can justify an unforgiving spirit. He who is unmerciful toward others shows that he himself is not a partaker of God's pardoning grace. In God's forgiveness the heart of the erring one is drawn close to the great heart of Infinite Love. The tide of divine compassion flows into the sinner's soul, and from him to the souls of others. The tenderness and mercy that Christ has revealed in His own precious life will be seen in those who become sharers of His grace. But “if any man have not the Spirit of Christ, he is none of His.” Romans 8:9. He is alienated from God, fitted only for eternal separation from Him. COL 251.1
It is true that he may once have received forgiveness; but his unmerciful spirit shows that he now rejects God's pardoning love. He has separated himself from God, and is in the same condition as before he was forgiven. He has denied his repentance, and his sins are upon him as if he had not repented. COL 251.2
But the great lesson of the parable lies in the contrast between God's compassion and man's hardheartedness; in the fact that God's forgiving mercy is to be the measure of our own. “Shouldest not thou also have had compassion on thy fellowservant, even as I had pity on thee?” COL 251.3Read in context »
When you respond to the drawing of Christ, and join yourself to Him, you manifest saving faith. To talk of religious things in a casual way, to pray for spiritual blessings without real soul hunger and living faith, avails little. The wondering crowd that pressed close about Jesus realized no accession of vital power from the contact. But when the poor, suffering woman, who for twelve years had been an invalid, in her great need put forth her hand and touched the hem of His garment, she felt the healing virtue. Hers was the touch of faith, and Christ recognized that touch. He knew that virtue had gone out from Him, and turning about in the throng, He asked, “Who touched me?” (Luke 8:45). Surprised at such a question, the disciples answered, “Master, the multitude throng thee, ... and sayest thou, Who touched me? And Jesus said, Somebody hath touched me: for I perceive that virtue is gone out of me. And when the woman saw that she was not hid, she came trembling, and falling down before him, she declared unto him before all the people for what cause she had touched him, and how she was healed immediately. And he said unto her, Daughter, be of good comfort: thy faith hath made thee whole; go in peace” (Luke 8:45-48). The faith which avails to bring us in vital contact with Christ expresses on our part supreme preference, perfect reliance, entire consecration. This faith works by love and purifies the soul. It works in the life of the follower of Christ true obedience to God's commandments; for love to God and love to man will be the result of vital connection with Christ. “If any man have not the Spirit of Christ, he is none of his” (Romans 8:9). 1SM 334.1
Jesus says, “I am the vine, ye are the branches” (John 15:5). Can we conceive of a more intimate relation than this implies? The fibers of the branch are identical with those of the vine. The communication of life, strength, and nourishment from the trunk to the branches is unobstructed and constant. The root sends its nourishment through the branches. Such is the believer's relation to Christ, if he abides in Christ and draws his nourishment from Him. But this spiritual relation between Christ and the soul can be established only through the exercise of personal faith. “Without faith it is impossible to please him” (Hebrews 11:6); for it is faith that connects us with the power of heaven, and brings us strength for coping with the powers of darkness. “This is the victory that overcometh the world, even our faith” (1 John 5:4). Faith familiarizes the soul with the existence and presence of God, and, living with an eye single to the glory of God, more and more we discern the beauty of His character, the excellence of His grace. Our souls become strong in spiritual power; for we are breathing the atmosphere of heaven, and realizing that God is at our right hand, that we shall not be moved. We are rising above the world, beholding Him who is the chief among ten thousand, the one altogether lovely, and by beholding we are to become changed into His image. 1SM 334.2Read in context »
There is work for every one of us in the vineyard of the Lord. We are not to seek that position which will yield us the most enjoyment or the greatest gain. True religion is free from selfishness. The missionary spirit is a spirit of personal sacrifice. We are to work anywhere and everywhere, to the utmost of our ability, for the cause of our Master. 5T 386.1
Just as soon as a person is really converted to the truth there springs up in his heart an earnest desire to go and tell some friend or neighbor of the precious light shining forth from the sacred pages. In his unselfish labor to save others he is a living epistle, known and read of all men. His life shows that he has been converted to Christ and has become a colaborer with Him. 5T 386.2
As a class, Seventh-day Adventists are a generous and warmhearted people. In the proclamation of the truth for this time we can rely upon their strong and ready sympathy. When a proper object for their liberality is presented, appealing to their judgment and conscience, it calls forth a hearty response. Their gifts in support of the cause testify that they believe it to be the cause of truth. There are, indeed, exceptions among us. Not all who profess to accept the faith are earnest and true-hearted believers. But the same was true in the days of Christ. Even among the apostles there was a Judas; but that did not prove all to be of the same character. We have no reason for discouragement while we know that there are so many who are devoted to the cause of truth, and are ready to make noble sacrifices for its advancement. But there is still a great lack, a great need among us. There is too little of the true missionary spirit. All missionary workers should possess that deep interest for the souls of their fellow men that will unite heart to heart in sympathy and in the love of Jesus. They should plead earnestly for divine aid and should work wisely to win souls to Christ. A cold, spiritless effort will accomplish nothing. There is need that the spirit of Christ fall upon the sons of the prophets. Then will they manifest such love for the souls of men as Jesus exemplified in His life. 5T 386.3Read in context »
Frankness Encourages Confidence (counsel to a physician)—If there were far more frankness and less secretiveness, if there were brotherly confidence encouraged, if there were far less of self and more of the spirit of Christ, if you would have a living faith in God, the cloud which is now thrown across the atmosphere of the mind by Satan would be cut away.—Letter 97, 1898. 2MCP 436.1Read in context »