In Romans 8:5-11 Paul is giving Christians ANOTHER REASON to be assured of their salvation and glad in God. He’s already given us some reason for this earlier in Romans 8. We’ve seen that that because of the gospel there is NO CONDEMNATION for us (8:1)—this means there is now and forevermore no guilty verdict for us, which is a thrilling security to rest in! And we’ve been shown that the reason we have no condemnation is because we’ve been freed from the power and penalty of sin through the death of Jesus Christ (8:2-4)—God did what the Law could not do and sinless Jesus was condemned in our place.
Now, in 8:5-11, Christians are told about the glorious deliverance and transfer that has happened to us when we came in faith to Jesus: we have been transferred from “being in the flesh” to “being the Spirit.” We once were ruled by sin, sinful passions, sinful ways of thinking; this was the path of ‘death.’ We were hostile to God, unable to keep His law or please Him (8:8). But something amazing has taken place: we have been transferred from that old way of living (“in the flesh” is shorthand for the old way of living) and have been made spiritually alive and been filled with God the Holy Spirit.
Now, we are no longer “in the flesh but in the Spirit.” This doesn’t mean we don’t struggle with sin or aren’t still tempted with sin, but it does mean a radical deliverance and transfer has taken place when we became Christians. We now live under the dominion and realm of the Holy Spirit, who made us alive and fills us and leads us. This the way of “life and peace,” a restored relationship with God, and pleasing state before the Living God. Now, even though our bodies will still physically die, we are assured of a future resurrection by the Holy Spirit. The same Holy Spirit who dwelled in Jesus now dwells in us and will give “life to our mortal bodies” at the day of the great resurrection of the dead. This day will come and so Christians can take hope even as their bodies wither and decay.
What a glorious and wonderful passage!