Read His Words Before Ours!
“Now if Christ is in you, the body is dead because of sin, but the Spirit gives life because of righteousness. And if the Spirit of Him who raised Jesus from the dead lives in you, then He who raised Christ from the dead will also bring your mortal bodies to life through His Spirit who lives in you.
“So then, brothers and sisters, we are not obligated to the flesh to live according to the flesh, because if you live according to the flesh, you are going to die. But if by the Spirit you put to death the deeds of the body, you will live.” (Romans 8:10-13)
After reading these verses, we might wonder what it means to be “dead to sin, but alive because of righteousness”. The Apostle Paul is charging us not to live according to the flesh anymore. If we do, this amounts to death for us; but, if by the Spirit, we put sin to death, we would live.
How can one be both dead and alive?
When it comes to questions in Scripture, other passages help us find the right answer. According to Romans 5:12,
“sin entered the world through one man,
and death through sin,
in this way death spread to all people,
because all sinned.”
As a result of our corruption by sin, our physical bodies are frail, mortal, and short-lived.
In our natural state, we are “owned” by Sin. We are “alive” to Sin and it’s torment, which makes us “dead” to Christ and the true life that flows from God.
Our bodies are limited by death:
“And just as it is appointed for people to die once” (Hebrews 9:27).
This means, if our physical bodies die on earth without having the spiritual Life of Jesus breathing inside of us, we will forever be separated from Life in God. We will have “died once”, and for the rest of eternity, we will perpetually experience the full, un-ending wrath of God with broken bodies and all of our consciousness intact.
We will never again have the opportunity to be “alive” in righteousness.
But the Spirit who lives in all who trust Jesus will bring to life our mortal bodies,
just as Christ was raised from the dead. (Romans 8:11)
Here is the good news of Jesus!
Christ came to “kill” Sin and Death forever,
offering us to “come alive” with the abundance only He gives!
In the Life of Jesus, we too can be “dead to sin” and made “alive in righteousness”.
However, God’s gift of life in the Spirit does not bring instant, automatic change in our everyday lives. The transformation of our once-sin-loving character to reflect the righteous character of God is a continuous life-long process. The Holy Spirit needs our cooperation, in the form of obedience to His leadership. While the Holy Spirit gives us life, we must also yield to Him as He transforms us to the likeness of Christ, day by day.
Therefore, we must continually remain dead to sin (also called the desires of the flesh) by following the Holy Spirit as He guides us into righteous living. We are not to subject ourselves to sin anymore, for “He erased the certificate of debt, with its obligations, that was against us and opposed to us, and has taken it away by nailing it to the cross.” (Colossians 2:14)
Jesus freed us from the eternal and unpayable debt of our sin; how foolish then would we be to rip that certificate from the blood-stained wood of the cross and embrace it once again, by continuing to pursue sin?!
We may fall into temptation, but this habitual pattern of death no longer needs to control us.
For if we neglect the leadership of the Holy Spirit, and return to lives dominated by following our human, rebellious nature, we would die spiritually.
The Lord Jesus said anyone who does not remain in Him is like a branch cut off from the vine; it withers. That branch is good only for burning. (John 15:6)
“For if we deliberately go on sinning after receiving the knowledge of truth, there no longer remains a sacrifice for sins, but a terrifying expectation of judgement and the fury of fire about to consume the adversaries.” (Hebrews 10:26)
We harm ourselves if we abandon the work of the Spirit within us, knowingly and volitionally becoming slaves to sin once again.
We must put to death the desires of the flesh (meaning sin) through the Spirit, for — hear me, sisters — we cannot conquer sin on our own!
Instead, we should “walk by the Spirit and you
will certainly not carry out
the desires of the flesh.” (Galatians 5:16)
Walking by the Spirit means “to present your bodies as living sacrifice, holy and pleasing to God.” (Romans 12:1) In obeying the Spirit, we “take off your former way of life, the old self that is corrupted by deceitful desires, to be renewed in the spirit of your minds, and to put on the new self, the one created according to God’s likeness in righteousness and purity of truth.” (Ephesians 4:22-24)
We “put on the new self” by constantly reminding ourselves we have died to sin.
We must always weigh our thoughts against the Word, and allow them to be refined by Truth. When sin threatens to rule us again, we remind ourselves we are new in Jesus and the old Sin Master is gone! (2 Corinthians 5:17)
Surely, by the Spirit, we will put to death our sinful desires, and live in the rich abundance of Jesus’ Life!
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