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Romans 8:5-17

  • Discuss together what your highlights have been of our 'Drawing Deeply' series so far (either sermons or bible studies). To jog your memory, the three topics have been:

Drawing deeply...

  • from the love of the Father

  • from the life of our Saviour

  • from our new identity

Tonight's bible study is about the Holy Spirit.

  • What do you already know about the role of the Holy Spirit in providing what we need to live God's way?

Read Romans 8:5-8

Here Paul contrasts these two mindsets: the 'sinful nature' or 'flesh' [1], and the Spirit.

  • What are the attributes of these two mindsets?

Read Romans 8:9-13

  • What does it mean to you, that having the Holy Spirit puts us in the 'realm' of the Spirit?

  • Verse 12 speaks about us having an obligation or literally a 'debt'. Do you think we are sometimes tempted to think we are obliged to listen to our sinful desires? Why do we feel obliged to listen like that?

  • Paul never finishes that thought. What are we obliged to do - if not to live according to the flesh. Why are we obliged to live according to the Spirit? What does that mean to you? [2]

Read Romans 8:14-17

  • With reference to these verses,

    • How does the Spirit help us to draw deeply from the love of the Father?

    • How does the Spirit help us to draw deeply from the life of our Saviour?

    • How does the Spirit help us to draw deeply from our new identity?

  • What does verse 16 mean to you? Have you ever experienced the voice of the Spirit reminding and reinforcing God's truth into your spirit?

  • Reflect again on what you shared at the beginning, about what you already knew about the role of the Holy Spirit.

    • How many of those things appear (directly or indirectly) in this passage?

    • If something isn't referred to in this passage, why do you think Paul overlooked that aspect here?

    • How does Romans 8 serve as a foundational context for understanding the work of the Spirit in our lives?

Spend some time in prayer and reflection:

  • Invite the Holy Spirit to lead your group in a time of prayer and reflection, even to 'testify with your spirits' about His Truth for you at this time. You might like to sit in silence for a time, or sing together, and after a time, share together what you think God might be saying to you.

[1] John Stott explains what Paul means by sarx (flesh):

By sarx (flesh) Paul means neither the soft muscular tissue which covers our bony skeleton, nor our bodily instincts and appetites, but rather the whole of our humanness viewed as corrupt and unredeemed, ‘our fallen, egocentric human nature’, or more briefly ‘the sin-dominated self’.

[2] N. T. Wright believes that Paul has in mind the story of Exodus and Numbers, of the Israelites wandering in the wilderness, as he is writing this part of Romans. The Israelites were no longer slaves in Egypt, but were very tempted to go back to Egypt and even back to slavery because the wilderness was a hard place to live:

Christians will often be tempted to give up the struggle and go back to Egypt, to the place of slavery. Even though they have left it behind, as Paul makes clear in chapter 6, there are many times when it would seem so much easier to be enslaved to sin again — no more battles, no more sense of an uphill struggle … and no more inheritance to look forward to, no living presence of God, no sense of companionship with Jesus himself. ‘You didn’t receive a spirit of slavery, did you, to go back again into a state of fear?’ No, of course not. Don’t be surprised if the way is hard and stony. It’s always like that when you go from Egypt to Canaan.


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