But ye - You who are Christians. This is the opposite character to what he had been describing, and shows the power of the gospel.
Not in the flesh - Not under the full influence of corrupt desires and passions.
But in the Spirit - That is, you are spiritually minded; you are under the direction and influence of the Holy Spirit.
The Spirit of God - The Holy Spirit.
Dwell in you - The Holy Spirit is often represented as dwelling in the hearts of Christians (compare I Corinthians 2:16; I Corinthians 6:19; II Corinthians 6:16; Ephesians 2:21-22; Galatians 4:6); and the meaning is not that there is a personal or physical indwelling of the Holy Spirit, but that he influences, directs, and guides Christians, producing meekness, love, joy, peace, longsuffering, gentleness, goodness, etc. Galatians 5:22-23. The expression, to dwell in one, denotes intimacy of connection, and means that those things which are the fruits of the Spirit are produced in the heart. (See the supplementary note at Romans 8:10.)
Have not the Spirit of Christ - The word "Spirit" is used in a great variety of significations in the Scriptures. It most commonly in the New Testament refers to the third person of the Trinity, the Holy Spirit. But the expression "the Spirit of Christ" is not, I believe, any where applied to him, except it may be I Peter 1:11. He is called often the Spirit of God Matthew 3:16; Matthew 12:28; I Corinthians 2:11, I Corinthians 2:14; I Corinthians 3:16; I Corinthians 6:11; Ephesians 4:30, but not the Spirit of the Father. The word "spirit" is often used to denote the temper, disposition; thus we say, a man of a generous spirit, or of a revengeful spirit, etc. It may possibly have this meaning here, and denotes that he who has not the temper or disposition of Christ is not his, or has no evidence of piety. But the connection seems to demand that it should be understood in a sense similar to the expression "the Spirit of God," and "the Spirit of him that raised up Jesus" Romans 8:11; and if so, it means the Spirit which Christ imparts, or sends to accomplish his work John 14:26, the Holy Spirit, sent to make us like Christ, and to sanctify our hearts. And in this sense it evidently denotes the Spirit which Christ would send to produce in us the views and feelings which he came to establish, and which shall assimilate us to himself. If this refers to the Holy Spirit, then we see the manner in which the apostle spoke of the Saviour. He regarded "the Spirit" as equally the Spirit of God and of Christ, as proceeding from both; and thus evidently believed that there is a union of nature between the Father and the Son. Such language could never be used except on the supposition that the Father and Son are one; that is, that Christ is divine.
Is none of his - Is not a Christian. This is a test of piety that is easily applied; and this settles the question. If a man is not influenced by the meek, pure, and holy spirit of the Lord Jesus, if he is not conformed to his image, if his life does not resemble that of the Saviour, he is a stranger to religion. No test could be more easily applied, and none is more decisive. It matters not what else he may have. He may be loud in his professions, amiable in his temper, bold in his zeal, or active in promoting the interests of his own party or denomination in the church; but if he has not the temper of the Saviour, and does not manifest his Spirit, it is as sounding brass or a tinkling cymdal. May all who read this, honestly examine themselves; and may they have what is the source of the purest felicity, the spirit and temper of the Lord Jesus.
Other Barnes' Notes entries containing Romans 8:9:
1 Corinthians 1:9
1 John 3:24
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