Romans 8:10 in the NIV translation reads, “But if Christ is in you, your body is dead because of sin, yet your spirit is alive because of righteousness.”
That’s a clear statement that we are both body and spirit, or both natural and supernatural, but the supernatural only comes alive in us “because of righteousness.” And obviously it means Christ’s righteousness, because the first part of the verse says, “If Christ is in you…”
So if Christ’s righteousness is in us the supernatural comes alive in us. But how does that work, exactly? Verse 11 explains: It’s because the same Spirit that brought Jesus to life from the dead “gives life to our mortal bodies” too. So this is the Spirit of God’s doing. The Spirit now does for us what he did for Jesus, by living the supernatural in us, just like he lived the supernatural in Jesus.
And what the Spirit produced in Jesus – that gave supernatural life to his natural, mortal body – was “righteousness,” the desire and ability to “fully meet the righteous requirements of the law” (verse 4). And Jesus experienced that all through his human lifetime. So, therefore, can we, because that same “Spirit of Christ” now lives in us (verse 9).
We are now able to do the most supernatural thing possible for humans to do, which is obey God to the full in every part of his purpose and plan for us. And we can safely say it’s “supernatural,” because we didn’t desire that at all without the Spirit of Christ living in us. Instead we were stuck with a mindset that was “hostile to God,’ that would not “submit to God’s law,” and was totally Incapable of doing so (verse 7). We couldn’t even “please” God (verse 8).
But that changed when Jesus died, because his death released us from the grip of our old hostile mindset, and enabled “the Spirit of God” to live in us (verse 9), providing us with a brand new way of thinking. The desire to be “righteous” now comes alive in our heads, which the Spirit does by living the same righteousness – the same desire Jesus had to obey God’s law and plan to the full – in us.
And it happens in two ways: the Spirit enables us to think and live like Jesus did, first of all, and we then choose, or “set our minds” (verse 5), to living what the Spirit happily and willingly desires for us and enables us to do.
“Therefore,” writes Paul in verse 12, when we’ve grasped what the Spirit in us desires and makes possible, “we have an obligation” to “put to death the misdeeds of the body” – because this is what we can now do. And why wouldn’t we want to do it, when it’s “the misdeeds of our bodies” that wreck our lives (verse 13), and are causing misery for the rest of creation too (verse 22)?
But now, thanks to the Spirit’s supernatural mindset coming alive in us, we’re no longer “controlled by the sinful nature,” the source (verse 9) of all our problems and the misdeeds of our bodies. And the grand result of that is, “you will live,” says Paul in verse 13.
And by “you will live” Paul meant we can now “live” the solution to our problems, because, verses 14-15, when we’re “led by the Spirit of God” we are “sons of God.” And what a different relationship with God that creates, compared to the “hostile” relationship we had with him before, when it suddenly comes alive in our heads that the God of the universe is, in fact, our loving Father.
What a “glorious freedom” that opens up to us (verse 21), because when we see God as our loving Father, we now want to please him by fully meeting the requirements of his law,. And that’s the best thing ever, because it means we can now live the solution to our human problems, which in turn means we are no longer “slaves to fear” anymore, verse 15. We’re no longer stuck under the constant cloud of not knowing how to solve our problems or put to death the misdeeds of our bodies, because we know the solution and we’re living it.
When Paul says, “you will live,” then, he means we can live the supernatural solution to our human problems and misdeeds of the body. And in the process we are experiencing the supernatural – personally.