Romans 8:12-14 - Living for Christ Defeats the Sinful Nature!
Rom 8:12 (KJV) Therefore, brethren, we are debtors, not to the
flesh, to live after the flesh.
Rom 8:13 (KJV) For if ye live after the flesh, ye shall die:
but if ye through the Spirit do mortify the deeds of the body, ye
Rom 8:14 (KJV) For as many as are led by the Spirit of God,
they are the sons of God.
Rom 8:12 (NAS) So then, brethren, we are under obligation, not
to the flesh, to live according to the flesh
Rom 8:13 (NAS) 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.
Rom 8:14 (NAS) For all who are being led by the Spirit of God,
these are sons of God.
Rom 8:12 (TEV) So then, my brothers, we have an obligation, but
it is not to live as our human nature wants us to.
Rom 8:13 (TEV) For if you live according to your human nature,
you are going to die; but if by the Spirit you put to death your
sinful actions, you will live.
Rom 8:14 (TEV) Those who are led by God's Spirit are God's sons.
Rom 8:12 (NCV) So, my brothers and sisters, we must not be
ruled by our sinful selves or live the way our sinful selves want.
Rom 8:13 (NCV) If you use your lives to do the wrong things
your sinful selves want, you will die spiritually. But if you use the
Spirit's help to stop doing the wrong things you do with your body, you
will have true life.
Rom 8:14 (NCV) The true children of God are those who let God's
Spirit lead them.
Rom 8:12 (EAV) So then, brethren, we are debtors, but not to
the flesh [we are not obligated to our carnal nature], to live [a
life ruled by the standards set up by the dictates] of the flesh.
Rom 8:13 (EAV) For if you live according to [the dictates of]
the flesh, you will surely die. But if through the power of the
[Holy] Spirit you are [habitually] putting to death (making extinct,
deadening) the [evil] deeds prompted by the body, you shall [really and
genuinely] live forever.
Rom 8:14 (EAV) For all who are led by the Spirit of God are
sons of God.
Rom 8:12 (TLB) So, dear brothers, you have no obligations
whatever to your old sinful nature to do what it begs you to do.
Rom 8:13 (TLB) For if you keep on following it you are lost and
will perish, but if through the power of the Holy Spirit you crush it
and its evil deeds, you shall live.
Rom 8:14 (TLB) For all who are led by the Spirit of God are
sons of God.
Literally it says "we are debtors". We owe it to God to live a
holy life. It is an absolute obligation based on the fact that he is
our Creator, and it is a debt of gratitude based on the fact that he
is our Redeemer.... We owe it to God to take full advantage of the
power and the potential existing within us through the Spirit--the
power to overcome the sinful cravings of the flesh and the potential
to obey God's commandments to the fullest. [College Press NIV
It is tremendously important to grasp the import of v. 12,
because it teaches beyond all question that the believer still has the
sinful nature within himself, despite having been crucified with
Christ. The flesh has not been eradicated. But we are obliged not "to
live according to it." [Expositors Bible Commentary]
The believer can have two "dispositions" (minds): he can lean
toward the things of the flesh and be a carnal Christian ("carnal"
means "of the flesh") who is at enmity with God; or he can incline
toward the things of the Spirit, be a spiritual Christian, and enjoy
life and peace. The carnal mind cannot please God; only the Spirit
working in and through us can please God. [Wiersbe Expository Outlines]
"The strength for our conquering and our victory is drawn
continually from Christ. The Bible does not teach that sin is completely
eradicated from Christians in this life, but it does teach that sin shall
no longer reign over you. The strength and power of sin have been
broken. The Christian now has resources available to live above and
beyond this world. The Bible teaches that whosoever is born of God does
not practice sin. Billy Graham [The 365-Day Devotional Commentary]
We cannot do it without the Spirit working it in us, and the
Spirit will not do it without our doing our endeavour. So that in a
word we are put upon this dilemma, either to displease the body or
destroy the soul. (Matthew Henry's Commentary)
The deeds of the body. Or, "the practices of the body." - The
Christian must not yield to bodily impulses and appetites, except to the
extent that they conform to the law of God. His eating and drinking and
everything that he does must be performed with a regard for the glory of
God (1 Cor. 10:31). [SDA Commentary]
Either our sins must die or we must. If they are allowed to
live, we shall die. If they are put to death, we shall be saved. No
man can be saved in his sins. [SDA Commentary]
If you live to indulge your carnal propensities, you will sink
to eternal death; (Barnes' Notes)
That a life of carnality is not only the sure prelude to endless
death, but fuel for the final flame. (Jamieson, Fausset, and Brown
Putting to death. i.e., separating from the deeds of the body. -
see Col 3:5 (NASB) Therefore consider the members of your earthly
body as dead to immorality, impurity, passion, evil desire, and
greed, which amounts to idolatry. [Ryrie SB]
The tense is present, indicating a continuous process of putting
to death. [SDA Commentary]
Sin is mortified when its power is destroyed, and it ceases to
be active....Either your sins must die, or you must. If they are
suffered to live, you will die. If they are put to death, you will be
saved. No man can be saved in his sins. (Barnes' Notes)
Believers are here exhorted to live according to the direction
of the Spirit, not according to the personal desires, thereby
putting to death the deeds of the body. [Jamieson, Fausset, And Brown
If any habitually live according to corrupt lustings, they will
certainly perish in their sins, whatever they profess.... Let us then, by
the Spirit, endeavour more and more to mortify the flesh.
Regeneration by the Holy Spirit brings a new and Divine life to the soul,.....
[Matthew Henry Commentary]
The special ministry described here is mortification. It is the
message of 6:11-14 all over again except for the reminder that no one
can hope to deal effectively with the sinful nature simply by
determination alone. The Holy Spirit is needed, and he is the Spirit of power.
[Expositors Bible Commentary]
[Through the Spirit] By the aid of the Spirit; by cherishing and
cultivating his influences. (Barnes' Notes)
[As are led] As submit to his influence and control. (Barnes'
Are led. Or, "are being led." The present tense indicates
continuous action. The leading of the Spirit does not mean a momentary
impulse but a steady, habitual influence. It is not those whose hearts
are occasionally touched by the Spirit, or those who now and then
yield to His power, who are the sons of God. God recognizes as His
sons only those who are continually led by His Spirit.
It is important to notice that the guiding and transforming
power of the Holy Spirit is described as leading, not forcing. There
is no coercion in the plan of salvation. The Spirit dwells only in
the hearts of those who accept Him in faith. And faith implies a
loving and willing submission to the will of God and the directing
influence of the Holy Spirit. [SDA Commentary]
If we were unable to obey God as non-Christians, then how can we
as Christians? What has happened to turn our slavery into freedom,
our sin into righteousness and our spiritual death into life?
The struggle described in Romans 7 does not end when we become
Christians. But there is a new dimension to that struggle that totally
changes its outcome. In chapter 8 Paul describes the life-giving effects
of the Spirit.
Warming Up to God: This chapter is one of celebration. What has
the Holy Spirit recently done in you that gives you reason to
rejoice? [Quiet Time SB]
No man who does not have divine assistance can either find the
way to heaven, or walk in it when found. As Christ, by his
sacrificial offering, has opened the kingdom of God to all believers; and,
as a Mediator, transacts the concerns of their kingdom before the
throne; so the Spirit of God is the great agent here below, to
enlighten, quicken, strengthen, and guide the true disciples of Christ; and
all that are born of this Spirit are led and guided by it; (Adam
Do Spirit-controlled Christians still sin? (8:2-14)
Yes, but not while they are controlled by the Spirit. Having the
Spirit of God within does not always mean surrendering to his control.
To use Paul's language, we can be in the Spirit, but not live
according to the Spirit. We can live in another part of the world, but not
live according to its customs, patterns and ways. The journey of
discipleship involves learning how to let the Spirit have control. [Quest
The facts that we have been regenerated, and that we have
received the gift of the indwelling Holy Spirit, do not in themselves
guarantee holy living. They make holy living possible; this is one of the
great gifts of grace celebrated in the gospel. But they do not make it
automatic and inevitable. Grace does not make us robots; we are still
freewill creatures who must personally seize the opportunity and
actualize the possibility created by grace. [College Press NIV
A do-it-yourselfer went into a hardware store and asked for a
saw. The salesman pulled a chain saw from the shelf and commented,
"This is our finest saw. Guaranteed to cut ten cords of lumber a
"I'll take it!" responded the customer jubilantly.
Next day he came back, haggard and exhausted, to return the
chain saw. "Something must be wrong," he moaned. "I could only cut
three cords of lumber a day with that thing."
"Let me try it," urged the salesman, pulling on the cord to
start the motor. "Vvvrooommm," went the chain saw.
"What's that noise?" exclaimed the customer.
Chapters 7 and 8 may remind you of the plight of that
do-it-yourselfer: wanting to do the right thing (chapter 7), but
failing to apply
the power for victorious living that God has supplied in the person
of the Holy Spirit (chapter 8). See if you can find five promises
in chapter 8 regarding the Holy Spirit's role in your daily life.
Then select one and draw upon it today. That's why they're there!
[Your Daily Walk SB]
Living for God
To buy or not to buy. That was the question.
Carrie Munson was the only one in her class who didn't have a
school jacket. Well, nearly the only one. Most of the kids had
them--navy blue and white, with a hood that rolled up into the zippered
collar when you didn't want it over your head.
And Cline's Sporting Goods had a special offer this weekend.
They would put the school name on the back of the coat and your
initials on the front--no charge. But only if you bought it this weekend.
"Let's see," Carrie thought aloud. That's a savings of . . . $8
for the school name and $3 for my initials . . . that's $11
True, it wasn't a fortune, but with Carrie's meager allowance,
every penny counted.
There was just one problem. Carrie had pledged to give $13 each
month to the church to help fund the new homeless shelter. And if she
bought the jacket she would have only $11 left.
That's $2 short, Carrie thought. And the pledge is due this
"Ugh!" Carrie grunted in frustration. Why had she made such a
big pledged? Thirteen dollars! That was almost a fourth of her
income! And besides, the jacket was on sale now. If Carrie didn't buy it
this weekend, it would cost her $11 dollars more next week, and she
wouldn't have enough money then--especially if she paid her pledge.
"What should I do?" Carrie asked, looking at the ceiling of the
sporting goods store.
Slowly, her eyebrows unfurled, her tense shoulders relaxed, and
she walked out of the store--away from the jacket she wanted.
When Carrie got home, she went to her bedroom, pulled $13 out of
her purse, and put it in the Bible next to her bed.
"If you want me to have the jacket you'll provide a way," she
prayed. "But I don't want to break my promise to you just to get what I
Carrie discovered it's not always easy to do what's right
especially when our own desires get in the way. Romans 8:6-17 talks about
why spiritual growth is sometimes hard.
* How is the conflict described in this passage like what
happened to Carrie?
* According to this passage, what should you do the next time
your own desires conflict with God's?
* Consider asking God's forgiveness for times you have chosen
your desires over his.
* Consider listing all the ways your desires might conflict with
God's and asking God to help you grow through following his desires
for your life. [Youth SB]
"I keep under my body," the apostle says. This means literally
to beat back its desires and impulses and passions by severe
discipline, even as did those competing for an earthly prize. Paul was ever
on the watch lest evil propensities should get the better of him.
He guarded well his appetites and passions and evil propensities.
"I cannot," said one ancient Christian leader, "keep a bird from
flying over my head. But I can certainly keep it from nesting in my
hair or from biting off my nose."
Jesus is telling us in Matthew 5 that we need to take sin
seriously. That means in part that Christians need to stop toying with
temptation and sin. If we don't, it will someday kill us. The subtlety of
sin makes illicit thoughts and pleasures of the flesh look like the
way of life. But, like the proverbial poisonous snake in the grass,
the way of sin is the way of death.
The biblical way is not to let sin lure us into destruction, but
to put it to death, to take it to the mortician. According to our
text today, God gives us His Holy Spirit to help us in this warfare.
We are not left to our own strength. Rather, we are to "put to
death the deeds of the body" through the Spirit. We need to implore
the Spirit's power at each step of the way.
But how can the Spirit aid us? For one thing, we need His help
so that we can avoid feeding the flesh (our sinful nature). "Put on
the Lord Jesus Christ," commands Paul, "and make no provision for
the flesh, to gratify its desires" (Rom. 13:14, RSV). There is a
fire within each of us. It is foolish to bring that fire within reach
of more fuel. We need to stay away from those situations, programs,
books, and people that cause the flame of sin to gain strength in us.
We need to "cut off" and "pluck out" certain things from our
But we need to watch out here. It is easy to become
overconfident in our abilities. We need to be in prayer throughout the day so
that we don't seek to fight the evil one in our own strength. To do
so is to guarantee our defeat. It is only through God's power that
we can mortify sin in our lives. [Walking With Jesus By Knight]
It's our relationship with God that brings us victory,.... we get
there by keeping our eyes fixed on Jesus and our hearts responsive to
the Spirit, [Victor Bible Reader's Companion]
God is the Father of all in the sense that he created all and
his love and providential care are extended to all (see Mt 5:45).
But not all are his children. Jesus said to the unbelieving Jews of
his day, "You belong to your father, the devil" (Jn 8:44). People
become children of God through faith in God's unique Son (see Jn
1:12-13), and being led by God's Spirit is the hallmark of this
relationship. [NIV SB]
An influence from above has been drawing us away from the
corrupting passions and vanities of this world? This is the work of the
Spirit.... yield to that influence, and to be conducted in the path of
purity and life?... follow cheerfully, and obey this pure influence,
leading us to mortify pride, subdue passion, destroy lust, humble
ambition, and annihilate the love of wealth and of the world? If so, we
are his children.... our peace and happiness consists only in yielding
ourselves to this influence entirely, (Barnes' Notes)
His leading is... an influence upon the heart, an empowerment of
the will to do what we already know is right based on the teaching
of Scripture. Our problem after all is not ignorance as such but
moral weakness. The Spirit leads us by taking our hand and giving us
inner strength to walk in the paths of righteousness... By allowing the
Spirit to lead us, we show ourselves to be sons of God; we demonstrate
that it is so. [College Press NIV Commentary]
Though this may seem to give a negative emphasis to the life of
sanctification, it should be emphasized that this is only part of the divine
plan. The positive is just as important--the putting on of the Lord
Jesus in such complete preoccupation with him and his will that the
believer does not make provision for the flesh (cf. 13:14). [Expositors
Each believer's responsibility is a positive one--to live each
day in the control and power of the Holy Spirit. [Bible Knowledge
Justification is always by faith; but this faith must produce
the "obedience of faith" (1:5). Otherwise the faith itself will die,
and so will the individual. Faith produces works; but good works
also strengthen and nourish faith, while sinful deeds poison and
strangle it. [College Press NIV Commentary]
Christ loved us so much, He died for us; the Spirit loves us so
much, He lives in us. [Wiersbe Expository Outlines]
Gal. 5:16 (KJV) This I say then, Walk in the Spirit, and ye
shall not fulfil the lust of the flesh.