Romans 8:1-4 ESV
“There is therefore now no condemnation for those who are in Christ Jesus. For the law of the Spirit of life has set you free in Christ Jesus from the law of sin and death. For God has done what the law, weakened by the flesh, could not do. By sending his own Son in the likeness of sinful flesh and for sin, he condemned sin in the flesh, in order that the righteous requirement of the law might be fulfilled in us, who walk not according to the flesh but according to the Spirit.”
Jesus Christ did not die that horrible death on a cross so that we would profess faith in him while continuing to live in deliberate and habitual sin and while claiming heaven as our eternal destiny. Jesus Christ died on that cross to deliver us from our slavery (addiction) to sin and to empower us to live godly and holy lives for the glory and praise of God. He put our sin to death with him so that we might die with him to sin and live to his righteousness.
We are not “in Christ” by a mere profession of faith in Jesus Christ but by being crucified with Christ in death to sin and by being raised with Christ to walk in newness of life in him, created to be like God in true righteousness and holiness. Our old self must be crucified with Christ in order that the body of sin might be brought to nothing, so that we will no longer be enslaved to sin but to God and to his righteousness.
Therefore, as those who are “in Christ,” we should no longer let sin reign in our mortal bodies, to make us obey its passions. For sin is to have no more dominion over our lives, for Jesus set us free from the dominion of Satan and of sin. For if sin is what we obey, we will die in our sins, and we will not have life eternal with God. So, now we are to be those who are walking (in conduct, in practice) no longer according to the flesh but according to (in agreement and in cooperation with) the Spirit of God.
[Lu 9:23-26; Jn 6:35-58; Jn 15:1-11; Rom 6:1-23; Rom 8:1-17; Eph 4:17-24; 1 Pet 2:24; 1 Co 6:19-20; 2 Co 5:15,21; Tit 2:11-14; Jas 1:22-25; 1 Jn 1:5-9; Rom 12:1-2; Eph 2:8-10; Heb 12:1-2; Jn 6:44; 2 Pet 1:1; 1 Co 15:58; Php 2:12-13; Col 1:21-23; 1 Co 10:1-22; Heb 3:1-19; Heb 4:1-13]
Romans 8:5-8 ESV
“For those who live according to the flesh set their minds on the things of the flesh, but those who live according to the Spirit set their minds on the things of the Spirit. For to set the mind on the flesh is death, but to set the mind on the Spirit is life and peace. For the mind that is set on the flesh is hostile to God, for it does not submit to God’s law; indeed, it cannot. Those who are in the flesh cannot please God.”
If we are “in Christ” by genuine faith in Jesus Christ we should no longer be living according to the flesh but according to the Spirit of God. For if we live (conduct our lives) according to (in agreement and in cooperation with) our sinful flesh then our minds are not set on Christ but on the flesh, and thus the flesh is what we are going to produce, not the fruit of the Spirit.
And if our minds are set on the flesh and not on the Spirit then we are going to continue in deliberate and habitual sin against God and against our fellow humans because that is what the flesh does. For the flesh is selfish, not selfless. The flesh is all about pleasing the flesh and not at all about pleasing God. But the flesh may give off a false image of a life in the Spirit, perhaps out of a desire to make a good impression on other humans.
Now, if our minds are set on something, that means we are determined that is the direction we are going to go and so we go there, and we may be very passionate and dedicated to the direction we are headed, as well. And that is great if our minds are set on the Spirit of God and on walking in obedience to our Lord and to his commands. But it is really bad and it will end badly for us if we set our minds on walking by the flesh and not by the Spirit.
So, we just need to know and to understand here that we are not “in Christ” if our minds are set on the flesh and if we are walking according to the flesh and not according to the Spirit. For to set our minds on the flesh is for us to be hostile to God, for it means we are not submitting to God’s law (his gospel). For if we remain in the flesh, we cannot please God, and we are not of God, and God does not dwell within us by his Spirit.
[Rom 8:8; 2 Co 5:9; Gal 6:8; Eph 5:10; Col 1:9-11; 1 Thes 2:4; 1 Thes 4:1; 2 Tim 2:4; Heb 11:6; Heb 13:6; 1 Jn 3:4-10,22]
Romans 8:12-14 ESV
“So then, brothers, we are debtors, not to the flesh, to live according to the flesh. For if you live according to the flesh you will die, but if by the Spirit you put to death the deeds of the body, you will live. For all who are led by the Spirit of God are sons of God.”
Now this is really the crux of the matter. So many people today are teaching a gospel message which teaches that God does everything for us and we do nothing except have an obscure profession of faith in Christ which doesn’t have to produce anything good. So, if we teach the necessity of repentance, obedience, and submission to Christ as Lord, we are accused of teaching “works salvation,” which is to be discarded.
But the Scriptures do not teach that. The Scriptures teach that if we are “in Christ” by genuine faith in Christ that we must live as though we are “in Christ,” i.e. the life of Christ must be reflected in the things that we do and say. And we do owe to God our very lives on his altar of sacrifice, surrendered to him and to doing his will for our lives. And daily we must by the Spirit be putting to death the deeds of the flesh and living for Jesus.
For, if we choose to continue to live by the flesh then we are going to die in our sins and we will not have eternal life with God regardless of what we have professed with our lips. For it is all who are being led by the Spirit of God who are the children of God. It is all who, by God’s Spirit, make righteousness and obedience to God their practice and who do not make sin their practice who are God’s children and who have eternal life with God.
[Lu 9:23-26; Gal 5:16-21; Gal 6:7-8; Rom 1:18-32; Rom 2:6-8; 1 Co 6:9-10; 2 Co 5:10; Eph 5:3-6; Col 1:21-23; Col 3:5-11; Rom 6:16; Rom 8:3-14; 1 Jn 1:5-9; 1 Jn 2:3-6; 1 Jn 3:4-10; Heb 10:26-31; 1 Pet 1:17-21; Jn 15:1-11; Rev. 2-3; Rev 18:1-6; Rev 21:8,27; Rev 22:14-15; Matt 7:21-23]
Alas! and Did My Savior Bleed
Hymn lyrics by Isaac Watts, pub.1707
ref. by Ralph E. Hudson, 1885
Music by Ralph E. Hudson, 1885
Alas! and did my Savior bleed
And did my Sovereign die?
Would He devote that sacred head
For sinners such as I?
Was it for crimes that I had done
He groaned upon the tree?
Amazing pity! grace unknown!
And love beyond degree!
Thus might I hide my blushing face
While His dear cross appears,
Dissolve my heart in thankfulness,
And melt my eyes to tears.
But drops of grief can ne’er repay
The debt of love I owe:
Here, Lord, I give myself away
’Tis all that I can do.
At the cross, at the cross where I first saw the light,
And the burden of my heart rolled away,
It was there by faith I received my sight,
And now I am happy all the day!
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