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Life and Peace

Read: Romans 8:5-8

To set the mind on the Spirit is life and peace. (v. 6)

I once knew a professional pilot. He had keen senses and finely honed skills. But he told me that for pilots, senses can be fatally misleading. He once told me of a flight through dense cloud over mountainous territory. In that instance, the difference between life and death was unwavering focus not on his senses, but on his aircraft’s instruments.

Paul writes in verses 5-8 of two ways of life: life in “the flesh” (our bodies’ instincts and appetites); and life in “the Spirit” (God’s indwelling presence). Our flesh isn’t inherently evil. But it’s incomplete. We were created for partnership with God’s Spirit. In this partnership, our perishable bodies were preserved by God’s eternal life. And our self-serving instincts were restrained by God’s perfect wisdom.

Life “in the flesh” is driven by survival and self-interest (v. 5). It’s living as though your highest purpose is preserving your own life. The flesh is, as Martin Luther put it in his Lectures on Romans, “curved in on itself.” Left unchecked, the flesh leads us toward itself and away from God.

Life “in the Spirit” is defined by peace (v. 6). It’s trusting God to give you what you need and guide you according to his best plans. God’s Spirit brings us relief from the oppressive worry and overwhelming temptation of our perishable flesh. God’s Spirit can sustain us forever. The Spirit gives us peace with God, provides peace in this world, and prepares us for eternity. —Ben Van Arragon

As you pray, ask for the Spirit’s life and peace.

About the Author

Ben Van Arragon is a pastor, husband, and father of two teenage daughters. He has served the First Christian Reformed Church of Detroit since 2008. He writes and produces video teaching on the Bible and Reformed creeds and confessions. His writing for Words of Hope includes series on Jeremiah, Exodus, and Work and Rest.