Hardship and danger

There is now no condemnation for those who are in Christ Jesus, because through Christ Jesus the law of the life-giving Holy Spirit has set us free from the law of sin and death.

For what the law couldn’t do because of human weakness, God did himself by sending his own Son in the likeness of fallen humanity. And thus God condemned sin in the flesh, so that the just requirements of the law might be met in those of us who don’t live according to the will of the flesh but according to the will of the Holy Spirit.

People who live according to the will of the flesh have their minds fixed upon what the flesh desires, but those who live in accordance with the will of the Spirit have their minds fixed upon what the Spirit desires. Having the mind controlled by the flesh results in death, but having the mind controlled by the Spirit results in life and peace. The mind that’s controlled by the flesh is hostile to God. It doesn’t submit to God’s law – indeed, it can’t. That’s why those who live in the realm of the flesh just can’t please God.

You, however, don’t live in the realm of the flesh but in the realm of the Spirit – that’s if the Holy Spirit of God lives in you. But anyone who doesn’t have the Holy Spirit of Christ doesn’t belong to Christ. But if Christ is in you, then, even though your body’s subject to death because of sin, the Holy Spirit gives life because of righteousness. And if the Spirit of him who raised Jesus from the dead is living in you, he who raised Christ from the dead will also give life to your mortal bodies because of the Spirit who lives in you.

So, dear brothers, we are under an obligation – but it’s not to live according to the will of the flesh, for if you live according to the will of the flesh, you’ll die – but if you allow the Holy Spirit to put to death the misdeeds of the flesh, you’ll live.

For all who are led by the Spirit of God are the children of God. The Holy Spirit whom you received doesn’t make you slaves of you and fill you with fear. No, the Spirit whom you received brought about your adoption, and it’s through him that we cry out, ‘Abba, Father.’ Yes, the Holy Spirit testifies with our own spirit that we’re indeed the children of God. Now, if we’re children, we’re also heirs – heirs of God and co-heirs with Christ – provided we share in his sufferings so we can share in his glory.

Regarding the sufferings we’re experience at the moment, I consider that they’re not worth comparing with the glory that’s going to be revealed to us. As it is, the whole of creation is waiting with eagerness for the children of God to be revealed. For creation itself was subjected to frustration, not by its own choice, but by the will of him who subjected it in the hope that it, too, would be liberated from its bondage to decay and brought into the glorious freedom of the children of God.

Yes, we know that the whole of creation has been groaning as in the pain of childbirth until now. And we also know that we ourselves, who have the first-fruits of the Holy Spirit, groan inwardly as we eagerly await our adoption – that is, the redemption of our bodies. For it’s because of this hope that we’re saved. But hope that’s seen isn’t any hope at all. For who hopes for what they’ve already got? But if we’re hoping for what we don’t yet have, we wait for it patiently.

In just the same way, the Holy Spirit helps us in our weakness. We don’t know what to pray for, but the Spirit himself prays through us with wordless groans. And God who searches our hearts knows the mind of the Spirit, because the Spirit prays for his people in accordance with God’s will.

And we know that all things work together for good for those who love God – those who’ve been called according to his purpose. For those whom God knew beforehand he also predestined to be conformed to the image of his Son, that the Son might be the firstborn among many brothers and sisters. And those whom he predestined, he also called. And those whom he called, he also justified. An those whom he justified, he also glorified.

So, what shall we say in response to these things? If God is for us, who can be against us? He who didn’t spare his own Son, but gave him up for us all – how will he not also, along with him, freely give us everything? Who’s going to bring any charge against those whom God has chosen? It’s God himself who justifies! And who is there to condemn us? No one. It’s Jesus Christ who died – more than that, who was raised to life – and is at the right hand of God, and is also interceding for us. Who’s going to separate us from the love of Christ? Will trouble or hardship or persecution or famine or nakedness or danger or violence? As it’s been written: ‘For your sake we face death all day long; we are considered as sheep to be slaughtered.’

No, in all these things we’re more than conquerors through him who loved us. For I’m convinced that neither death nor life, neither angels nor demons, neither the present nor the future, nor any powers, neither height nor depth, nor anything else in all the creation, can separate us from the love of God that’s in Christ Jesus our Lord!

Paul

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