Tuesday, May 9, 2017, 7:23 a.m. – The Lord Jesus put in mind the song “Full Release.” Speak, Lord, your words to my heart. I read Romans 8:1-14; Galatians 5:16-24 (Select vv. NASB).
Flesh and Spirit (Rom. 8:1-8)
Therefore there is now no condemnation for those who are in Christ Jesus. For the law of the Spirit of life in Christ Jesus has set you free from the law of sin and of death. For what the Law could not do, weak as it was through the flesh, God did: sending His own Son in the likeness of sinful flesh and as an offering for sin, He condemned sin in the flesh, so that the requirement of the Law might be fulfilled in us, who do not walk according to the flesh but according to the Spirit. For those who are according to the flesh set their minds on the things of the flesh, but those who are according to the Spirit, the things of the Spirit. For the mind set on the flesh is death, but the mind set on the Spirit is life and peace, because the mind set on the flesh is hostile toward God; for it does not subject itself to the law of God, for it is not even able to do so, and those who are in the flesh cannot please God.
If we are in Christ Jesus, by God’s grace, through God-given faith in him, we are free from eternal condemnation, i.e. we are free from the punishment of sin which results in death (eternal damnation). We are free, because when Jesus died on that cross, he who knew no sin became sin for us that we might become the righteousness of God (2 Co. 5:21). So, when he died, our sins died with him. In his death, he took the punishment of our sin on him so that we might be set free from the punishment of sin, and be set free from slavery to sin, too. Yet, lest we might be tempted to take verses 1-3 out of context, and apply them across the board to anyone who professes to have believed in Jesus Christ, we must be careful to read and to interpret them in context, and to compare them with other similar scriptures, too.
Notice with me here that in verse 4 it says, “He condemned sin in the flesh, so that the requirement of the Law might be fulfilled in us, who do not walk according to the flesh but according to the Spirit.” The law demanded full obedience to God’s moral laws or death. Yet, not one of us could obey the law perfectly. So, we were condemned to die. So, Jesus paid the price for our sins that we might be made righteous in him. And, God even gives us the faith to believe in him, but this faith is not human faith, but spiritual, in that it is divinely persuaded as to God’s perfect will for our lives. Since God is the giver of such faith, it is in conformity with his righteousness and holiness. So, this results in us, his followers, walking not according to our sinful flesh, but according to (in agreement with) the Spirit of God.
This is not optional, though. It is not as though we can be in Christ, and still live according to our sinful desires. If our minds are still set on the flesh, it results in death, because the mind set on the flesh is hostile toward God, it does not subject itself to the law of God, and it cannot please God. But, if we are truly in Christ Jesus, through God-given faith in him, our minds should be set on the Spirit, which results in life and peace with God.
Under Obligation (Rom. 8:12-14)
So then, brethren, we are under obligation, not to the flesh, to live according to the flesh— for 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. For all who are being led by the Spirit of God, these are sons of God.
And, this here is the clincher. So many people today say that God requires nothing of us other than some generic “faith,” i.e. they say he demands no repentance (turning from sin to God), no obedience, and no submission to Christ and to his cross. Yet, the righteous requirement of the law is fully met in us who walk, not according to the flesh, but according to the Spirit. And, we ARE under obligation (duty, requirement) to not live according to the flesh, but to live according to (in agreement with) the Spirit. Why? Because, if we are still conducting our lives (in lifestyle) in the ways of our sinful flesh, we will die in our sins, no matter if we prayed a prayer to receive Christ Jesus as Savior or not (See: 1 Jn. 1:6; cf. Lu. 9:23-25).
But, if by the Spirit we are putting to death the deeds of the flesh, we will live with Christ for eternity (Cf. Lu. 9:23-25). This is not saying we have to live in sinless perfection, though (See: 1 Jn. 2:1-2). If that were even possible for us to never sin, Christ would not have had to die. But, it is saying that, not only must we walk (in lifestyle) in the ways of the Spirit of God, and according to God’s Word, but we must daily die to sin and self. We must actively, by the Spirit, be putting the deeds (acts) of the flesh to death in our lives (See: Eph. 4 for put offs and put ons). And, we must be being led by the Spirit of God in order to qualify as being children of God. We must be listening to our Lord Jesus, and doing what his Word teaches his followers they must do, and be going where he sends us (See: Jn. 10:27-30).
By the Spirit (Gal. 5:16-24)
But I say, walk by the Spirit, and you will not carry out the desire of the flesh. For the flesh sets its desire against the Spirit, and the Spirit against the flesh; for these are in opposition to one another, so that you may not do the things that you please. But if you are led by the Spirit, you are not under the Law. Now the deeds of the flesh are evident, which are: immorality, impurity, sensuality, idolatry, sorcery, enmities, strife, jealousy, outbursts of anger, disputes, dissensions, factions, envying, drunkenness, carousing, and things like these, of which I forewarn you, just as I have forewarned you, that those who practice such things will not inherit the kingdom of God. But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, self-control; against such things there is no law. Now those who belong to Christ Jesus have crucified the flesh with its passions and desires.
If we are walking (in lifestyle) by the Spirit, i.e. if by the Spirit we are conducting our lives in agreement with God and his Word, we will not carry out the desires of our sinful flesh. Amen! We can’t be casual about our relationships with God and defeat sin in our lives. Yes, Jesus put sin to death on the cross. Yes, he defeated sin not only in his death, but in his resurrection to life. But, we are still in flesh bodies. We still have the propensity to sin against God. Sin will still try to trap us, which is why daily we must put on the armor of God, resist Satan, flee sinful desires, and draw near to God in full assurance of faith.
We must understand here that if we make a practice of sinning against God, such as by committing adultery (includes lust and viewing pornography), or by making a practice of participating in impurity, sensuality, idolatry, strife, outbursts of anger, drunkenness, and other things like what are listed here, we will not inherit the kingdom of God, even if we profess faith in Jesus Christ. I am not making this up! This is what God’s word teaches here, and in other similar passages of scripture (1 Co. 6:9-10; Eph. 5:5). If we say we have fellowship with God, but we walk (in lifestyle) in darkness (sin), we lie and we do not live by the truth (1 Jn. 1:6).
So, what is the solution? If we walk (conduct our lives) by the Spirit (in agreement with the Spirit, empowered by the Spirit), we WILL NOT carry out the desire of the flesh. Again, this does not mean we will never sin, but that sin will no longer have mastery over our lives, for Jesus delivered us from slavery to sin. When we trust in him as Lord and Savior of our lives, we die with him to sin so that we might live with him to righteousness (1 Pet. 2:24; Ro. 6:1-23; Gal. 2:20). This is the working of the Spirit in our lives in regeneration (new birth of the Spirit), but we must yield to the Lord in this. Jesus already conquered sin in our lives, if we are truly his, so there is absolutely no reason why a born again believer in Christ should still be under the control of sin. We just have to apply to our lives what he did for us in putting sin to death so that we might walk with him in holiness.
So, when we walk in the Spirit, and not according to our sinful flesh, instead of the works of the flesh being the fruit that we bear, the fruit of the Spirit will be primarily what is evident in our lives, i.e. it will be the wheel which drives us, moves us, and motivates us to do what we do and to live how we live. Instead of being those who practice sin, we will now be those who make a practice of righteousness (1 Jn. 2:29; 3:7, 10). Remember here that those who belong to Christ have crucified the flesh with its passions and desires. So, don’t be misled. God’s grace is not a free license to continue in sin without guilt and without remorse. His grace teaches us to say “No” to ungodliness and worldly passions, and to live self-controlled, upright and godly lives while we wait for Christ’s return (Tit. 2:11-14).
Full Release / An Original Work / April 15, 2012
Walking daily with my Savior
brings me joy.
Loving Father; precious Jesus;
He’s my Savior and my Lord.
Gently leads me; follow Him.
I’ve invited Him within.
Now abiding in His presence,
oh, what peace. From my self-life
He has brought me,
By His mercy, full release.
Hope and comfort,
peace and safety Jesus brings
When I daily bow before Him;
Obey freely; do His will.
Follow Him where’er He leads.
Listen to Him; His words heed.
Now obeying his words fully,
oh, what love that He gives me
By His Spirit, from above.
Loving Father; precious Jesus,
He’s my friend. With my Savior,
by His Spirit, I will endure to the end.
Share the gospel, tell what’s true.
Witness daily; His will do.
Tell the world of how their Savior
bled and died. On a cruel cross
He suffered so that we might be alive.