“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.” (Romans 8:9)
Verse 9 is a pivotal verse in the Eighth chapter of Romans. If there remained any doubt up to this point as to the identity of those who are “in the flesh” and those who are “in the Spirit”, it is cleared up succinctly here. The distinction boils down to those who belong to God and those who are none of His.
Additionally, two other doctrinal disputations are settled in this single verse. First we have that which is explicitly addressed, that is, the question regarding who has the Holy Spirit indwelling them and who does not. To suggest that any genuine Christian has not received the indwelling of the Holy Spirit is to contradict the clear words of the Apostle Paul. For if the Holy Spirit does not indwell someone, then that person is in no way a Christian at all. He is none of His. The idea of a subsequent impartation of the Holy Spirit to be sought after an individual comes to faith in Jesus Christ is absent from any of Paul’s writings.
When we receive Jesus Christ as our Savior, when we are born-again in Him, we receive the Godhead in His entirety; Father, Son, and Holy Spirit immediately indwell the new believer from the moment we first believe. As has been rightly said: there is but one receiving of the Holy Spirit (and that receiving occurs at Salvation), yet there may be many fillings of the Holy Spirit. Though the Holy Ghost indwells every child of God, whether or not each believer will choose to avail themselves of the power of the Holy Spirit, walking in His anointing, is dependent on our own closeness, obedience, and fellowship with the Lord. A Christian fails to experience more of the power of God in their life, not because they have not the Holy Ghost, but because the Holy Ghost does not fully have them.
The second great truth testified to in this verse is the doctrine of the Trinity. Some have speculated that Paul was not a proponent of the Trinity or the Deity of Christ because his writings do not have the same strong statements found in other places, particularly the writings of the Apostle John. We rarely find anything as clear-cut in Paul’s writings as “In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God and the Word was God...” (John 1:1), but we do find undeniable implications sprinkled throughout the Pauline epistles. Romans 8:9 contains one such implication.
Flowing seamlessly from one thought to the next, the expression “Spirit of God” is used interchangeably with “Spirit of Christ.” It is abundantly clear from the context that Paul has the very same Spirit in mind in both statements. What a beautiful picture of the Holy Trinity with all three Persons of the Godhead referred to inextricably in a single verse of Scripture! For if God the Father’s Spirit is also Christ’s Spirit, is it possible that any of the Three are not Deity?
When we trust in the Lord Jesus Christ for Salvation, we receive God in His entirety: Father, Son, and Holy Spirit. It may take us time to give ourselves fully to Him, but He holds nothing back from us the moment we become one of His.
To God goes all glory. In service to Him,