All Paul’s epistles have a similar progression. First we learn of salvation by grace through faith in Christ and the cross; then of Christ’s resurrection and the new life we are expected to live under the direction and empowerment of the Holy Spirit. But our old sinful nature, like a trespasser (and former owner) in the house of God (our bodies) still tries to run the house. So the Christian life is a continual Civil War between our old and new natures.
God Has a Purpose
So why didn’t God just evict our old sinful nature when He took ownership and residence in God’s house, the temple of the Holy Spirit. God has a purpose for everything in our lives. The presence of our old sinful nature continually reminds us of our need for Christ and brings us back to the cross for forgiveness; and our need for the Holy Spirit to live a God-pleasing life. In other words God is using our old sinful nature to continually draw us back to Him in total trust and dependence.
By entering through faith into what God has always wanted to do for us—set us right with him, make us fit for him—we have it all together with God because of our Master Jesus. And that’s not all: We throw open our doors to God and discover at the same moment that he has already thrown open his door to us. We find ourselves standing where we always hoped we might stand—out in the wide open spaces of God’s grace and glory, standing tall and shouting our praise.Romans 5:1-2
Overcoming The Battle Within
Both a proper belief (Romans chapters 1-5) and a Spirit directed life (Romans 6-8) are essential. Paul concludes with some practical nitty-gritty guidance on recognizing evidences of Spirit-led living and an old-nature dominated life. (Romans 12-14, Galatians 5-6, Ephesians 5-6, etc.)
That means you must not give sin a vote in the way you conduct your lives. Don’t give it the time of day. Don’t even run little errands that are connected with that old way of life. Throw yourselves wholeheartedly and full-time—remember, you’ve been raised from the dead!—into God’s way of doing things. Sin can’t tell you how to live. After all, you’re not living under that old tyranny any longer. You’re living in the freedom of GodRomans 6:12-14
In short, God wants an ongoing, growing personal intimate relationship with us. We must be careful to remain in Christ, persevere through trials, and bear fruit. If we don’t we will be cut down and thrown into the fire–hell. To this Jesus and all the apostles agree (John 15, 1 Corinthians 6:9-10, Galatians 5:16-25, Revelation 21:7-8 & 22:15, et. al.). In summary, believe right and live right. Faith without fruits which faith produces is a dead faith (James 2:17). “All who are led by the Sprit of God are sons of God.” (Romans 8:14) And vice versa.
Don’t you realize that this is not the way to live? Unjust people who don’t care about God will not be joining in his kingdom. Those who use and abuse each other, use and abuse sex, use and abuse the earth and everything in it, don’t qualify as citizens in God’s kingdom. A number of you know from experience what I’m talking about, for not so long ago you were on that list. Since then, you’ve been cleaned up and given a fresh start by Jesus, our Master, our Messiah, and by our God present in us, the Spirit.1 Corinthians 6:9-11