White and Black

Verlyn Verbrugge

READ : Romans 8:5-11

You . . . are controlled not by the sinful nature but by the Spirit.(v. 9, NIV)

I was at a Pentecostal studies conference, and someone asked me, “Do you experience the Spirit living in you?”

“Absolutely,” I replied.

“Praise God!” he shouted.

My charismatic friend probably heard something different from what I intended by my response, but my thinking reflects Paul’s language here in Romans chapter 8. Paul paints a picture of two types of people, in fact, the only two types that exist: those who have the Spirit of God dwelling in them (v. 9) and those who do not. It’s black and white, either/or; there is no third category—people who “sorta” have the Spirit.

Note the characteristics of those in whom God’s Spirit dwells. They belong to Christ, they have Jesus living in them, their minds are set on pleasing God, they have life, and they are controlled by the Spirit. And the other part of the human race? Simply insert a “not” after each of the above phrases.

While the Spirit may manifest himself in different ways within us, and give each of us different gifts, rest assured that if you are a believer, you have the Spirit of God. So tap into his power to live boldly for God!


God, thank you for giving us the Spirit. Let my life live out of his fullness. In Jesus’ name. Amen.