Christian, are you dead to sin?
Romans 8:13, “For if ye live after the flesh, ye shall die: but if ye through the Spirit do mortify the deeds of the body, ye shall live.”
A lot is going on in this one verse.
1. There is a duty prescribed – mortify the deeds of the body. To mortify is to put to death. So, the verse is speaking of killing the deeds of the body, in other words, staying away from sin.
2. The persons given the duty – “ye.”
3. The promise given to those who accomplish the task – “ye shall live.”
4. The means of how we accomplish said task – the Spirit, “if ye through the Spirit.”
5. The condition of the whole proposition – “if ye.”
There is some uncertainty in this verse. Not whether or not the verse is true, but twice the verse says, “if ye.” The doubt is on whether we will uphold our end of the bargain. There is surety, however, because if we do as commanded, God will be faithful to His promise.
Who are the “ye” that this verse is speaking of? The short answer is Christians, but if you scan through the chapter, you will get a more in-depth look at who we are as Christians. The “ye” in Romans 8:13 are those that have no condemnation (v1), those who are not in the flesh but the Spirit (v9), and those that are “quickened” (v11).
The Spirit of God is how we are to mortify the works of the body. To mortify something means to put it to death. We can only kill the works of the body, which is sin, through the Holy Ghost.
If the Spirit is the vehicle we use to get the sin out of our lives, how do we go about it?
Every Christian struggles with sin and wants to remove it from their life. Our problem may be that we use the wrong vehicle to achieve the desired goal. We use our willpower and not God.
1 Corinthians 10:13 is an amazing verse. “There hath no temptation taken you but such as is common to man but God is faithful, who will not suffer you to be tempted above that ye are able; but will with the temptation also make a way to escape, that ye may be able to bear it.”
When tempted to sin, we must remember that God is faithful. On a scale of 1 to 10, if you would yield to a level 7 temptation, God will ensure you are not tempted above a 6. In addition, God will provide a way to escape the situation. This verse eliminates any excuse or reason for a Christian to disobey God.
Combine this with Psalm 119:11, “Thy word have I hid in mine heart, that I might not sin against thee,” and we begin to see how living through the Spirit works.
For example – let us say that you have a problem with pride. Study all the Bible passages you can find on pride. Get to know those verses; hide them in your heart. Then, when pride raises its ugly head, bring those verses out of your heart, and think about them. It will be mighty difficult to look down your nose at someone if “God resisteth the proud, and giveth grace to the humble” is running through your mind” (1 Peter 5:5).
A temptation comes; have faith that God is faithful and will not allow you to be tempted above what you can bear. Use the verses to do the fighting through the Spirit, yielding yourself to the Word of God.
Attacking sin and making decisions in life, using this process of simply believing His Word is how verses like 2 Timothy 2:15, “Study to shew thyself approved unto God, a workman that needeth not to be ashamed, rightly dividing the word of truth.” Hebrews 11:6, “But without faith it is impossible to please him: for he that cometh to God must believe that he is, and that he is a rewarder of them that diligently seek him.” And John 14:15, “If ye love me, keep my commandments.” come to life and make a difference.
Recognizing sin, studying the Scripture, believing God’s Word, then doing God’s Word is the only way we can mortify the deeds of the body. This process is how we work through the Spirit. By doing these steps, you will love God more and therefore hate sin more; this is how a Christian becomes dead to sin.
One last thing – the promise – “ye shall live.” This life is not a promise of eternal life. As we saw above, when we looked at who “ye” are, God is already speaking to the saved. It is more along the lines of what Christ said when He said; He would give us life and give it to us more abundantly (John 10:10). 1 Thessalonians 3:8 may give it the best clarification. “For now we live, if ye stand fast in the Lord.”
Preacher Tim Johnson is Pastor of Countryside Baptist Church in Parke County, Indiana. His weekly column “Preacher’s Point” may be found at: www.preacherspoint.wordpress.com