What does it mean to have the Spirit of Christ versus the Spirit of God dwelling in you as Paul states in this verse. This has been a major question for believers and theologians over the years. However, if we compare scripture with scripture we begin to realize what Paul wrote in Romans 8 really is in line with the rest of the Word. Let’s begin with the latter part of the verse that “if anyone does not have the Spirit of Christ he is not His”. What is he saying? If you do not have the Spirit of Christ you have not been saved or born again, (John 1:11-12, 3:16). In order to belong to God there has to be a new birth as Jesus stated in John 3:16. Now let’s look at the first part of the verse, “But you are not in the flesh if indeed the Spirit of God dwells in you.” In this part Paul is talking about the Holy Spirit. If we connect this to what Jesus said in John 16:7 and Acts 1:8, that the Holy Spirit helps and empowers us to live a godly life; to overcome the flesh as is stated in (Romans 8:12-27). Then what Paul says makes sense that if the Holy Spirit dwells in you then you have the power to live in the Spirit – making decisions in line with God’s Word and not what your flesh desires.
However, the key word here is “dwell”. You will only be in the Spirit if you are allowing Him to have full control of your life, (Romans 12:1-2), otherwise you will be serving your passions, appetites and desires as is stated in (Galatians 5:24). The only way that you and I can live for God is to be saved, that means to accept Christ as our Savior as stated in John 1:11-12. Then once we are saved by the Spirit of Christ we can receive help and power that is provided by the Holy Spirit to overcome this flesh. That is God’s plan. Jesus was baptized in the Holy Spirit in Luke 3:22, the disciples were baptized in the Holy Ghost in Acts 2:4, and there are many other examples in the book of Acts. You and I need the Holy Spirit in our lives so that we can live a victorious life here upon this earth. Ephesians 5:18 tells us not to be drunk with wine but be filled with the Holy Spirit. Ask the Father to fill you with the Holy Spirit as Jesus taught us in Luke 11:13, and as Luke states in Acts 5:32.