Romans 8:12-14 – So then, brethren, we are under obligation, not to the flesh, to live according to the flesh— 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. For all who are being led by the Spirit of God, these are sons of God.
Living according to the flesh VS living by the Spirit. We are under no obligation to live by the flesh. It is only by the spirit that we can put to death the deeds of the body. Putting to death the deeds of the body and walking in the Spirit is depending on being led by the Spirit.
Galatians 5:16-18 – But I say, walk by the Spirit, and you will not carry out the desire of the flesh. For the flesh sets its desire against the Spirit, and the Spirit against the flesh; for these are in opposition to one another, so that you may not do the things that you please. But if you are led by the Spirit, you are not under the Law.
You can’t walk by the Spirit without being led by the Spirit. When I walk by the Spirit I won’t be walking in the flesh and won’t be carrying out the desires of the flesh. The key isn’t trying to overcome the flesh but being led by the Spirit.
Romans 6:4-6, 11-14 – Therefore we have been buried with Him through baptism into death, so that as Christ was raised from the dead through the glory of the Father, so we too might walk in newness of life. For if we have become united with Him in the likeness of His death, certainly we shall also be in the likeness of His resurrection, knowing this, that our old self was crucified with Him, in order that our body of sin might be done away with, so that we would no longer be slaves to sin… Even so consider yourselves to be dead to sin, but alive to God in Christ Jesus. Therefore do not let sin reign in your mortal body so that you obey its lusts, and do not go on presenting the members of your body to sin as instruments of unrighteousness; but present yourselves to God as those alive from the dead, and your members as instruments of righteousness to God. For sin shall not be master over you, for you are not under law but under grace.
I walk in newness of life by the glory (the Spirit, the actual presence) of the Father.
I know that my old man died when He died. I also know that my new man was raised when He was raised. Now I am no longer a slave of sin. I am no longer obligated to walk in my old man. My victory starts when I know what He did and consider myself death to sin and alive to God. It is only then that I am able to not let sin reign and stop obeying the lusts of my flesh.
I present myself to God knowing I am dead to sin and alive to God and yield to the leading of the Spirit rather than the pull of the flesh.
Walking the Spirit is based on what Jesus accomplished for us and carried out by dependence on God through the leadership of the Holy Spirit in intimate fellowship with our Father. It isn’t at all based on following a list of things to do and not to do, though if done correctly will lead to a life lived doing what God requires and wants.
Romans 8:1-4 – Therefore there is now no condemnation for those who are in Christ Jesus. For the law of the Spirit of life in Christ Jesus has set you free from the law of sin and of death. For what the Law could not do, weak as it was through the flesh, God did: sending His own Son in the likeness of sinful flesh and as an offering for sin, He condemned sin in the flesh, so that the requirement of the Law might be fulfilled in us, who do not walk according to the flesh but according to the Spirit.
The list of requirements cannot set us free from the law of sin and death (I don’t do what I want but I do what I don’t want – Rom 7:14-23). Making stronger resolutions to follow God’s requirements and overcome areas of our life that are not yet where they should be isn’t the way God has set forth for our victory over the flesh and sin.
Romans 7:14-23 – For we know that the Law is spiritual, but I am of flesh, sold into bondage to sin. For what I am doing, I do not understand; for I am not practicing what I would like to do, but I am doing the very thing I hate. But if I do the very thing I do not want to do, I agree with the Law, confessing that the Law is good. So now, no longer am I the one doing it, but sin which dwells in me. For I know that nothing good dwells in me, that is, in my flesh; for the willing is present in me, but the doing of the good is not. For the good that I want, I do not do, but I practice the very evil that I do not want. But if I am doing the very thing I do not want, I am no longer the one doing it, but sin which dwells in me. I find then the principle that evil is present in me, the one who wants to do good. For I joyfully concur with the law of God in the inner man, but I see a different law in the members of my body, waging war against the law of my mind and making me a prisoner of the law of sin which is in my members.
If I am walking in the pattern of not doing what I want but falling continually into what my flesh wants to do, I am walking in the old man rather than the new man. I am walking in the law of sin and death rather that the law of the spirit of life. The sin in the old man is controlling me.
Even as a new creation of God desiring with all of my being to do God’s will, I can be living in this pattern. In fact, most people are. Why is that? It is because they are trying to overcome the works of the flesh through the power of the flesh rather than in God’s way which is by knowing what He did and what it means to us and applying it and walking it out through the leadership of the Holy Spirit who lives in us.
It is impossible for the power of the flesh to overcome the flesh. There would have been no need for Jesus to do what He did if we could have done it ourselves through will power and determination. There is no profit in trying to overcome the flesh with flesh power. The letter of the law kills and only the Holy Spirit makes alive.
John 6:63 – It is the Spirit Who gives life [He is the Life-giver]; the flesh conveys no benefit whatever [there is no profit in it]. The words (truths) that I have been speaking to you are spirit and life.
2 Corinthians 3:6 – [It is He] Who has qualified us [making us to be fit and worthy and sufficient] as ministers and dispensers of a new covenant [of salvation through Christ], not [ministers] of the letter (of legally written code) but of the Spirit; for the code [of the Law] kills, but the [Holy] Spirit makes alive.
Romans 7:4-6 – Therefore, my brethren, you also were made to die to the Law through the body of Christ, so that you might be joined to another, to Him who was raised from the dead, in order that we might bear fruit for God. For while we were in the flesh, the sinful passions, which were aroused by the Law, were at work in the members of our body to bear fruit for death. But now we have been released from the Law, having died to that by which we were bound, so that we serve in newness of the Spirit and not in oldness of the letter.
Only joined with Him and walking in and through Him can I bear the true fruit of the Spirit and not bear the works of the flesh.
John 15:4-5 – Abide in Me, and I in you. As the branch cannot bear fruit of itself unless it abides in the vine, so neither can you unless you abide in Me. I am the vine, you are the branches; he who abides in Me and I in him, he bears much fruit, for apart from Me you can do nothing.
Since all of this is true, my focus should not be in trying to change myself or overcome the areas in my life not yet right but in drawing near to God with all of my strength know that it is in and through whom I will find the victory.
- Victory over the Flesh
- You Can change
- Why Resolutions Don’t Work
- True Freedom
- In the Spirit is Self Control
- Will Power Isn’t Enough