9 But you are not in the flesh but in the Spirit, if indeed the Spirit of God dwells in you. Now if anyone does not have the Spirit of Christ, he is not His.
Verses 9-11 are a new paragraph dealing directly with Christians at Rome. Non-believers cannot please God because they operate in a different realm than God’s realm, but Christians can please God because the Spirit dwells in them.
The next three verses in succession present the believer’s status at three points:
past (v. 9),
present (v. 10),
future (v. 11).
9 But you [emphatic]
Having spoken of two kinds of people in God’s economy (the Christian and non-Christian), Paul now emphatically turned his attention to Christians, the Roman Christians by the use of the emphatic “you.”
This “but” contrasts the “in” in the phrase “in the flesh” of verse eight. Believers have a sphere of being or operation just like non-Christians but with a different orientation or mind-set.
are not in [governed by] the flesh but [strong contrast] in [governed by] the Spirit,
The word “in” occurs twice in this phrase. The Greek meaning is sphere. We are in the sphere of either the flesh or the Spirit. The sphere of our existence influences and controls our way of life, especially about God.
Believers are not in the flesh positionally but they can exercise the flesh experientially. The question here is not walking after the flesh but a state of being “in” the flesh. The issue is not living according to a standard or principle but being in a status or position of the flesh or the Spirit.
This contrast shows that those “in the flesh” cannot be believers. The Christian is not conditioned in his pattern of thinking or mind-set by the flesh, but by the Spirit, because he is “in” the Spirit. There is a mutual indwelling between the believer and the Spirit. Christians have a sin capacity, but they are not totally oriented to the flesh or “in the flesh.” The non-Christian is “sold under sin,” but this is not the condition of the believer. This is true of all Christians.
There is a mutual indwelling between the believer and the Holy Spirit.
Note the logic of our unique relation with Christ:
If you do not have the Spirit you do not belong to Christ.
If you belong to Christ, you have the Spirit of Christ.
If you have the Spirit of Christ, your orientation will revolve around Christ.