We are obligated to God. That means two things. First, sanctification is not optional in our Christian life. Because we are dead to the law, we are now under Christ. Therefore, sanctification is a work of the Spirit in the life of the believer. Sanctification is God working in and through you.
But, secondly, neither is sanctification a means to obtain our salvation (Ephesians 2:8). The being in the Spirit proceeds the work He has given us to do. God doesn't owe me anything (don't we sometimes think He does?), we owe God. We must always feel that obligation. Putting this in bold because it blessed me so:
Every religion in the world except Christianity says, "DO something in order to become something else." But with Christians, it is exactly opposite in order. God makes us something else and says, "Now go DO." The order is essential in understanding who is indebted to whom.
Next our obligation is stated negatively; we are debtors not to live according to the flesh, verse 13. This is not talking about immature Christians verses mature Christians, but unbelievers verses non-believers. Those in the Spirit or those in the flesh. We have an obligation to not live according to the flesh.
Lastly, our obligation is stated positively. The opposite of living to the flesh is death. That's a verb-- put to death. Present, continual. It means action in your life. What are the deeds of the body verse 13 is talking about? Well, Romans 6:12 says not to let sin reign in our bodies, that we obey its lusts. Should not give in to it's immense pressure, desires, and appetites. There are two previously discussed truths that can encourage us here:
1) Romans 6:6: "that our old man was crucified with Him, that the body of sin might be done away with, that we should no longer be slaves of sin." Catch that? Our body of sin is done away with. The verse states crucified passively-- our old man in this exact moment as I'm sitting here in my pajamas with morning breath, is rendered ineffective by God. He has put that man to death! This new man is not controlled by its body of sin.
2) Romans 7:4: "Therefore, my brethren, you also have become dead to the law through the body of Christ, that you may be married to another—to Him who was raised from the dead, that we should bear fruit to God." When the law, the rules, incites a desire in us to buck against it, remember-- God put to death the law, as well, so that we might have a relationship with the Lawgiver. The awesome thing about this is that I wasn't even aware that Christ died for me when He did. It's all Him. All Him who has done this amazing thing for me.
So, the Lord put to death our old man and the law so that we might live. But now that we are alive unto Christ, there is something we must put to death: Our flesh.
We are obligated to God to put to death our appetites for fleshy things, to be continually mortifying the flesh, to be weeding our gardens that we might bear fruit. This is such an essential part of our Christian living. SO IMPORTANT. Because if we are not putting to death our flesh, our eyes' desires, our hands' desires, our mouth's desires, then we will not have a Spirit-filled life. Sometimes we don't like the battle, do we? We want God to just zap us and make us perfect. But that's not the ways of the Lord.
How do we do this, though? I mean really, turning from temptation is hard. Verse 13 shows us that we have to rely on His power, His means. If you put to death the deeds of the flesh according to the Spirit, you will live. God is sufficient for you! We must engage in this battle. Must do so every day, because God is glorified when we live a Spirit-filled life and we deal with ourselves. We are under obligation because of the complete, free grace He has given us. The desires of our body will not go away in this life, but God has given us victory over them! We can deal with our eyes, our mouth, our right hands.
Sin always brings forth some kind of death. But ya know what? We don't have to do gymnastics to get back to God. When we fall, we don't have to twist ourselves here and conform ourselves there or have our ducks in a row or have good posture to turn to God. We just go to Him with a humble spirit and repent. Let it all go to God. Confess your sins and turn to His Son and He will put you right next to His right hand as a co-heir in Christ's kingdom. He'll put you right back on the path. How completely awesome. We owe it to our Lord to deny ourselves, to be sanctified. When we mortify the deeds of the flesh, it pleases Him.
If you think you are a Christian, but you have no power to overcome your flesh, you may not be walking with the Spirit. Walking, learning, growing... Read the Word. Study the Scriptures because they are inspired by the Spirit. Seriously, what a blessing to be able to hear directly from Him just by opening a Book.
shared last month}. Striped shirt, eShakti dress, black belt, and my fav gray boots. :) And, I got to wear my super sparkley jewelry, so I was happpppy about that.
Shirt: JCPenny's: $12
Dress: eShakti: Free w/credit
Tights: No clue where they came from :P
Boots: SteinMart: $35
Belt: Thrift Store: $2
Jewelry: Marketplace: $12
Jewelry: Marketplace: $12