Alive: Devotional Commentary for March 5-11
Romans 8:10-14 (NASB)
This is the Word of God. May the Spirit of Truth give us wisdom and insight to receive what has been conveyed through His Word by His Inspiration.
The Word of God for the Christian.
10If Christ is in you, though the body is dead because of sin, yet the spirit is alive because of Righteousness.
11But if the Spirit of Him who raised Jesus from the dead dwells in you, He who raised Christ Jesus from the dead will also give life to your mortal bodies through His Spirit who dwells in you.
12So then, brethren, we are under obligation, not to the flesh, to live according to the flesh--
13for if you are living according to the flesh, you must die; but if by the Spirit you are putting to death the deeds of the body, you will live.
14For all who are being led by the Spirit of God, these are sons of God.
In our last meditation, we noted that the difference in the life of the Christian is the indwelling presence of the Holy Spirit. Here in verse ten, Paul reiterates the epochal significance of the same Truth by affirming that Christ-in-us makes all the difference. Even though our body is dead due to sin and the Law which condemns it, we are alive and well in Christ by virtue of His Righteousness which is credited to us.
Certainly, our earthly existence is temporal and is complicated by the corrupt influences of the old nature. However, while the flesh lingers as a formidable source of frustration, it has no power or authority to displace or destroy the new man in Christ. We are alive in Christ because the risen Lord is alive in us by the indwelling Spirit of God. While the Law has killed the flesh due to sin, Christ has made the new man in us alive, enabling His children to live in His Righteousness. We are dead to sin but alive in Christ to Righteousness.
The state of being dead and alive at the same time is not readily clear and might sound confusing. Being Christian does not relegate us to a spectral existence. We are not suspended in a ghostly fancy. We are physically alive indeed, until the breath of life leaves our mortal tent. However, the essence of our simultaneous deadness and liveliness is in that, we are dead to sin and alive to Righteousness.
Put in other words, the same whole person is dead in one sense, that is to sin; and alive in another sense, that is to Righteousness. The particular aspect of the Christian's personage that is sympathetic to sinful tendencies is crucified and dead through Christ's Death on the Cross. That is the old nature, (AKA the flesh), and should never be revived to life. Its desire to reassert itself should never be encouraged, tolerated, accommodated, or neglected. It has no place in the life of the Christian.
But the same Power which raised Jesus from death has also renewed our mortal bodies in the newness of our redemption unto the Righteousness of Christ. The sinner who is killed by the Law is resurrected unto Righteousness by Jesus Christ. Therefore, if indeed Christ is in us, if indeed the Spirit of God dwells in us, then we do not return to death under the Law forfeiting our freedom in God's Grace. Our redemption is not for a life of death under condemnation but for a new life in Christ under Grace. Therefore, we actively and consciously resist the cravings of the flesh by denying the old nature access to the faculties of our bodies, which are now subject to the new Law of life. We mortify our bodies to sin by obeying the admonitions of God's living Word.
Paul draws his exhortations to two parallels that are significant for the believer. If, as he stated, the believer is in no obligation to the corrupt ways of the old nature, then living according to the flesh is death to the child of God. It would be living the life of death judged upon the old nature. It would be a miserable life devoid of peace. But if the believer leaves the deeds of the flesh dead, and moves forward by the leading of the Spirit of God, then the Christian shall enjoy life under the Grace of God, being the servant of the Righteousness of Christ.
The Truth is: If one is the child of God, then one is led by the Spirit of God. If one is led by the Spirit of God, one would not willfully indulge in the corrupt ways of the man of sin. One would not be disobedient to God and intend to suffer the bitter fruits of the life of death and corruption. One would have no reason to prefer the life of death over a new life of freedom, peace, rest, and direct and personal communion with God.
The question here is not one of being moral or pious in our ways. It is about being real Christians both in our confession of faith and practice of the same. In his letter to the Philippians, Paul admonishes us to work out our salvation in fear and in trembling. That is a strong reminder that our salvation is real and exclusively relevant to who we are and what we do in life. It is: our new state of mind, our new state of being, our new way of life. It is our redeemed life to be fully and properly enjoyed under the new Law of life. We are the children of Grace.
Having been set free from condemnation, our renewed mind is at liberty in Christ to engage the whole person in a life of reverence and obedience to the voice of God which constantly speaks to us in our hearts. Therefore, in view of God’s mighty presence and His work in the believer's life, the Christian's animated involvement with the flesh must be severed. It must dissolve. We are now new in Christ and belong to God. The members of our bodies are now the instruments of Righteousness. Our faculties are sacred tools in the hands of our Father, God the Almighty.
The Power of the Spirit of God in us, the Love of God, and the wisdom of God's living Word work altogether to deny the old nature access to the faculties of our renewed minds and bodies. Having been raised unto Righteousness, even our mortal bodies are now separated unto good and godly works for which we are ordained. We serve God with our whole being under the guidance and authority of the Law of the Spirit of life.
In the reality of our newness in Christ, the whole person is dead to sin and alive to Righteousness. We owe the flesh nothing. We are under no obligation to the old nature. We are in no duty to heed the corrupt ways of the man of sin. We are God's blood-bought and Spirit-born children. His Spirit and His living Word are full-time residents in our hearts. Therefore, all of our decisions and actions ought to be guided and executed by the Authority in residence, the Holy Spirit. His Word is our wisdom.
To be sure, as children of Adam and Eve, our hearts will always be the battlefield between the flesh and the new man. However, our behavior as Christians should never nurture the diminishing sways of Adam's fallen child. Instead, realizing that we are the sons and daughters of God, we must respond to our Father as His children. That, we are! Children who are loved, favored, and redeemed. And as such, we must reject the deeds of the flesh as dead to us, and flourish in who we are in Christ. Let us rest in His redemption and live in the security of His Grace, ever drawing closer to our Father, God the Almighty.