Therefore, brothers and sisters, we have an obligation—but it is not to the flesh, to live according to it. For if you live according to the flesh, you will die; but if by the Spirit you put to death the misdeeds of the body, you will live.Romans 8:12-14 NIV
For those who are led by the Spirit of God are the children of God.
The first half of this eighth chapter of Romans deals with life in the Spirit. Paul describes two realms that we can live in. The first is the realm of the flesh. Those in this realm follow the desires of their flesh, living in a way that seeks to satisfy those desires. They are separated from the life of God. The other realm is that of the Spirit. Those in this realm have been set free through Christ and experience the indwelling presence of the Holy Spirit. We experience new life now because of the Spirit who lives in us.
But, as Paul says in this passage, that comes with an obligation. An obligation to live by the Spirit and put to death the misdeeds of the flesh. It is not enough simply to accept Jesus as your savior and then go on living as before. Paul is pretty explicit here. If I go on living in the realm of the flesh, I will die. But if I follow the Spirit and put to death the misdeeds of the body, I will live.
To be clear, putting to death the misdeeds of the flesh and living by the Spirit is only possible once I have experienced regeneration and the new life that Christ brings. Paul is not talking here about what I must do to come to faith. Instead, he is talking about what is expected of me as a believer. And even that is not in my own strength but through God’s Spirit living in me. But, as believers indwelt by God’s Spirit, we can, and must, turn away from the desires of this flesh and live instead according to the Spirit. Only those who live by the Spirit are children of God.
The views expressed here are solely mine and do not necessarily reflect those of any other person, group, or organization. While I believe they reflect the teachings of the Bible, I am a fallible human and subject to misunderstanding. Please feel free to leave any comments or questions about this post in the comments section below. I am always interested in your feedback.
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