What Does “after the Spirit” Mean?

By David J. Stewart

Romans 8:1,There is therefore now no condemnation to them which are in Christ Jesus, who walk not after the flesh, but after the Spirit.

       The Bible plainly teaches that there is no condemnation to those who place their trust in Christ Jesus...

Romans 8:1, “There is therefore now no condemnation to them which are in Christ Jesus, who walk not after the flesh, but after the Spirit.”

A man once wrote to me and tried to use this Scripture to justify Lordship Salvation (which is the false teaching that faith alone is insufficient to save a person; works must also be present as proof of a repentant heart). The man claimed that there is no condemnation only to those who walk after the Spirit, saying that to be saved a person must also live a faithful Christian life of obedience to all the Scriptures; but he is very wrong in his understanding of the Bible. Many people make this fatal mistake in interpreting the Bible. Matthew 22:29, “Jesus answered and said unto them, Ye do err, not knowing the scriptures, nor the power of God.”

Galatians 4:29 plainly teaches what is meant in Romans 8:1 by the phrase “after the Spirit”...

Galatians 4:29, “But as then he that was born after the flesh persecuted him that was born after the Spirit, even so it is now.”

Carefully notice that the Bible says “born” in Galatians 4:29, which speaks of being born-again by the Spirit of God (John 1:12-13; John 3:1-7; 1st Peter 1:23). Notice the phrase “born after the Spirit.” Hence, those who have been “born” of the Spirit of God are those who walk “AFTER THE SPIRIT” of God. This has nothing to do with deciding to live a consecrated life, surrendering nor committing one's life to God to be saved. The Word of God plainly teaches that eternal life is a free gift, paid for clear and totally free by Jesus Christ (Ephesians 2:8-9). You don't give anything to to God to be saved; but rather, simply receive salvation by faith in the name of Jesus Christ (John 20:31). We are guilty SINNERS and Jesus is the SAVIOR! It's that simple.

So what Romans 8:1 is really teaching when viewed in light of Galatians 4:29 is...

“There is therefore now no condemnation to them which are in Christ Jesus, who walk (are born) not after the flesh, but (are born) after the Spirit.”

As Dr. John R. Rice (1895-1980) used to teach, the best way to interpret the Bible is with the Bible. Those who are born after the Spirit are already eternally forgiven in Christ, having their sins washed away by the precious blood of Jesus (1st Peter 1:18-19).

Oh listen my friend, I don't care who you are or how deep in sin your life may be (or have gone), God wants to pardon you of all iniquities and cleanse your sins as white as snow...

Isaiah 1:18, “Come now, and let us reason together, saith the LORD: though your sins be as scarlet, they shall be as white as snow; though they be red like crimson, they shall be as wool.”

What a precious Savior!!!

"In flaming fire taking vengeance on them that know not God, and that obey not the gospel of our Lord Jesus Christ."
—2nd Thessalonians 1:8

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