For if you live according to the flesh, you will die. But if by the Spirit you put to death the deeds of the body, you will live.--Romans 8:13 (ESV)
The minute you woke up this morning, you walked into a battle zone in the most important and largest war ever fought. The bullets began flying when you opened your eyes; the enemy had you in their sights as you rolled out of bed. According to Romans 8:13, Christians are constantly in a life-and-death struggle with sin. In the last post, I talked about how we kill ourselves with our sin. In this post, I'll share what struck me about the second half of this verse. (Note: There's no shortage of insights and applications for this verse--John Owen wrote 160 pages of small print [The Mortification of Sin--excellent book] on just the last half of this verse!)
First, life and death are at stake. The Christian's pilgrimage is marching through enemy territory, not hiking for pleasure. The flesh is trying to kill you. You are trying to kill the flesh. This is war--brutal, bloody, constant war! Christians, who are in the greatest war ever, need to listen to John Owen's words, "Be killing sin, or it will be killing you." I know that many times in my life, I have let up my guard for a few minutes and in that time, sin has attacked and overpowered me. I need to keep this question in my mind at all times, "Am I killing sin, or is sin killing me?"
Second, though it is our duty to kill the flesh, we cannot do it with our own grit and determination. "If you by the Spirit put to death the deeds of the body, you will live." We, being weak and sinful to our very core, cannot kill sin without the help of the Holy Spirit. We need to depend on God for power over sin. This should humble us--we are simply incapable of killing sin by ourselves. This truth should also give us hope, though. The Holy Spirit dwells in each Christian for the purpose of killing sin by His omnipotent power.By God's grace, we have the infinite weapon provided to us for the killing of the deeds of the body: God Himself.