#DailyDevotion Will You Live By Faith (Spirit) or the Flesh (Law)?
Romans 812 And so, fellow Christians, we don’t owe it to the flesh to live according to the flesh. 13If you live according to the flesh, you will die. But if by the spirit you kill the activities of the body, you will live.
Fellow Christians. Yes, that is who Paul is talking to, you and me. We don’t owe it to the flesh to live according to the flesh. Just what does it mean to walk according to the flesh? Is living according to the flesh licentious living? I would say no because of what chapter seven of Paul says. You remember chapter seven? What stirs up our sin in our flesh? What stirs up its passions? What gets our licentiousness really going? The Law.
Yes, remember, it is all the dos and don’ts that sin uses to stir up our sinful flesh into action. To live according to the flesh is to live according to the Law, or rather live according to the Law as if our keeping of the Law is what makes us acceptable to God our Father. We simply know this isn’t true. Jesus’ keeping of the Law makes us acceptable to the Father. Our faith in his keeping of the Law is what God credits to us as righteousness. If you go around trying to keep the Law in order to be pleasing to God, you will fail stupendously. It is why many church members become hateful atheists. Having started well in faith they did not live by faith. No, they were pointed to the Law or thought they were pointed to the Law and so while they thought they were initially saved by God’s grace in Jesus Christ, they thought the rest of their lives, in order to be truly pleasing to God, they had to live these perfect lives according to the Law. No one but Jesus could do that. If you try that, ultimately you will rebel. Your sinful flesh will use that against you and you will be overcome with sin. You will end us living licentiously or as if God and Christ Jesus did not matter. You don’t owe it to the flesh to live according to the flesh, according to the Law. If you live this way you will die eternally.
If you live according to the Spirit you will live. You will also put off and kill the activities of the flesh. What does that mean? What does that look like? To live according to the Spirit is to live according to the Gospel, the Good News of Jesus Christ. It is to live believing Jesus Christ is your justification before God. It is living believing God has given you the free gift of his grace to have faith in Jesus’ work and Jesus as your Savior, your Redeemer, your Life, your Atonement for sins, your acceptableness before the Father. When you walk trusting in the free gift of the forgiveness of sins for Christ’s sake, you will do what God wants you to i.e. have mercy on others, forgive others, and love others. That’s how he treated you and that’s how you respond in faith. Such living puts to death the activity of the flesh. Sin dwelling in you cannot stir up your passions if you are focused on how freely the Father has loved you and forgiven you. Sin only controls you when you are focused on ‘having’ to live according to the Law. It cannot control you when you are focused on the ‘free gift’ of not having to do anything but trust in the free gift which makes you acceptable to God the Father in Christ Jesus.
Heavenly Father, continually give us your Holy Spirit that we may live according to the Spirit, living by faith in your Son Jesus Christ and not on trusting our works to be acceptable and loved by you. In Jesus’ name we pray. Amen.