Today’s Reading: Romans 8:9-25 (additional reading: Psalm 18:16-36 & Proverbs 19:26)
Where is this battle with “the flesh” fought and how is victory achieved? What are our obligations in regards to the price that Jesus paid upon the Cross of Calvary? Where is the power to overcome “the flesh” to be found?
In Romans chapter 8, verse 12, the apostle moves from instruction to exhortation, from what God has done through Jesus Christ and the Holy Spirit to what is expected of the child of God in way of response. There is a strong emphasis on human responsibility in regard to what is truly the reflection of a repentant heart renewed by the Holy Spirit.
The obligation is to God, who created man’s body, mind and spirit. (Thru the Bible) He gave His one and only Son for the redemption of sinful mankind. (John 3:16) The obligation is to Jesus Christ who purchased God’s chosen with His own blood. (1 Peter 1:1-2)
“Obligation” (opheiletes) means to be bound by a duty. (Practical Word Studies of the New Testament) It is important to note that this is not an ambition, it is a duty. The application is this. With the position that the child of God has in Jesus Christ comes an obligation to live a life worthy of the gospel. The Christian has a debt to mortify the flesh. Before a battle can be won, there must be the recognition of an enemy. The most continual aggressive enemy the Christian has is the “sinful nature” or rather the “flesh.”
The “flesh” (sarx) or that sinful nature has been compared to cancer. It is not like a rotten branch on a tree that can be broken off and gotten out of the way, thus protecting the rest of the tree. No, it lies deep always looking for its opportunity to grow and cause more damage. Matthew Henry wrote, “Sin is a brat which nobody is willing to own up to, a sign that it is a scandalous thing.” It is that part in you that always wants to put the blame on someone else.
The first step to “Victoriously Living Over the Flesh” is to agree with God that a sinful nature lives in us and the next is to understand what the Bible says about how to walk in victory. The King James Bible says, “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.” (Romans 8:13)