Romans 8:12-14 - Living for Christ Defeats the Sinful Nature!

Rom.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 
shall live. 
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 
Clarke Commentary) 

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. 
{6BC 1089.7,8} 

"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 
Bible Commentary] 

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.