“But if the Spirit of him that raised up Jesus from the dead dwell in you, he that raised up Christ from the dead shall also quicken your mortal bodies by his Spirit that dwelleth in you” (KJV, Rom. 8:11).
The word “but” is placed at the beginning of this passage. It is important to know that the word but is a conjunction. This means that it unites what was said before and what comes after. The word but also communicates to the reader that what comes before is being contrasted with what comes after.
As a result, the reader must see what was previously said. Paul had said, “And if Christ be in you, the body is dead because of sin; but the Spirit is life because of righteousness” (Rom. 8:10). Possibly one of the most helpful Scriptures in developing an understanding of Paul’s words is found in John’s Gospel. Scripture says, “It is the spirit that quickeneth; the flesh profiteth nothing…” (John 6:63). Thus, the flesh affords no help to man in glorifying God, but the Spirit working through man brings glory. Understanding this is foundational for what will come.
“if the Spirit of him”
Here we see the first part of Paul’s contrasting statement. Paul states, “But if the Spirit of him” . The question will undoubtedly arise, “The Spirit of who?” Paul was referring to the Spirit of the Father.
The Holy Spirit is so closely connected to the Father and Son that He is sometimes referred to as the Spirit of the Father or Son. For instance, Paul has said elsewhere, “Now the Lord is that Spirit: and where the Spirit of the Lord is, there is liberty. But we all, with open face beholding as in a glass the glory of the Lord, are changed into the same image from glory to glory, even as by the Spirit of the Lord” (2 Cor. 3:17-18). Here one can see the Holy Spirit referred to as the Spirit of the Lord, in other words, the Spirit of Jesus Christ.
Another instance can be seen when Paul spoke of the Father’s revelation concerning His Son. He stated, “…the things of God knoweth no man, but the Spirit of God. Now we have received, not the spirit of the world, but the spirit which is of God…” (1 Cor. 2:11-12). In the New Testament, the Father is often referred to as God, while Jesus is often referred to as Lord.
In Jesus’ High-Priestly Prayer, Jesus stated a number of times that He and the Father were one. The oneness of God can be seen when the Bible speaks of the Spirit of God and the Spirit of the Lord. In many ways, They are one, and in others, They are distinct. But as we will see, They were one in Their desire to raise Jesus from the dead.
“that raised up Jesus from the dead”
Here one can see the Spirit of the Father raised Jesus from the dead. It is essential to remember the foundation for the passage at hand. The body is dead because of sin, but the Spirit gives life.
To understand life out of death, the resurrection must be studied. Jesus was not only made to appear as though He died, He actually died. He died never to die again. Many people in the Bible died and were brought back to life only to die again. The resurrection instances apart from Jesus were merely symbolic.
For instance, in the Old Testament, God told the Israelites to sacrifice animals for various reasons. One of the reasons consisted of animals being sacrificed as sin offerings. However, the blood of bulls and goats could never atone for the sin of man.
In other words, if all there ever was were animal sacrifices and Christ chose not to come, nobody would get into heaven. The animal sacrifices fell short of perfection by a long shot. Thus, they were never meant to be an end in themselves but to point to the perfect fulfillment.
In the same way, Christ has uniquely risen from the dead.
“dwell in you”
Knowing that the Spirit of God dwells in the believer is essential. However, Paul speaks with specificity that must be addressed. The Spirit of Him, Who raised Jesus from the dead, dwells in the believer. The indwelling presence of the Spirit is proclaimed in many passages. Scripture says, “And I will put my spirit within you, and cause you to walk in my statutes, and ye shall keep my judgments, and do them” (Ez. 36:27). Elsewhere Jesus promised, “Even the Spirit of truth; whom the world cannot receive, because it seeth him not, neither knoweth him: but ye know him; for he dwelleth with you, and shall be in you” (John 14:17). The indwelling of the Spirit must be a constant thought in the mind of the Christian.
“he that raised up Christ from the dead shall also quicken your mortal bodies”
In essence, the construction of the passage is an “If… then…” type of structure. If the Spirit of God raised Christ and dwells in the believer, then the Spirit of God shall also raise the believer to newness of life. Therefore, it is essential to see that in much the same way Christ rose from the dead, so does the believer.
Paul went to great lengths in Romans 6 to speak of the believers union with Christ. The believer has been united in the death, burial, and resurrection of Christ through the baptism of the Holy Spirit. While the body is dead because of sin, this does not mean that it cannot be an avenue of glory unto God. Paul has said, “Let not sin therefore reign in your mortal body, that ye should obey it in the lusts thereof. Neither yield ye your members as instruments of unrighteousness unto sin: but yield yourselves unto God, as those that are alive from the dead, and your members as instruments of righteousness unto God” (Rom. 6:12-13). Thus, the Christian can glorify God through the power of the Spirit that raised Jesus from the dead.
As a result, Paul could say elsewhere, “What? know ye not that your body is the temple of the Holy Ghost which is in you, which ye have of God, and ye are not your own? For ye are bought with a price: therefore glorify God in your body, and in your spirit, which are God’s” (1 Cor. 6:19-20). Where the Spirit of God is, so is life. Therefore, since the Christian has the Spirit of God dwelling in Him, life will surely be the outcome.
Finally, it is essential to read the words of Paul carefully. By using the word mortal, he speaks about the here and now. He is not talking about some future event when the Spirit of God raises the Christian. He is talking about the believer who has been sealed with the promised Holy Spirit in the already but not yet.
The Christian has already risen with Christ, but at the same time, his resurrection with Jesus has not become an entire reality. But Paul could still say, “Likewise, reckon ye also yourselves to be dead indeed unto sin, but alive unto God through Jesus Christ our Lord” (Rom. 6:11).
“by his Spirit that dwelleth in you”
Here one can see that the believer is raised to newness of life by the Spirit of God. Therefore, the believer’s resurrection should not be viewed as a one-time event without any present bearing. Instead, it should be cherished as a present and ongoing reality.
The believer has died with Christ and has risen with Him to newness of life. The death of Christ certainly saves, but how much more so does His life? Jesus Christ has risen; He imparts His new life to the one the Spirit of the Father has raised.
Father, I thank you for the resurrection of Christ. I also thank You for my resurrection in Him. He is an awesome and wonderful Savior and deserving of the highest praise. In Jesus’ name, Amen.