Word for the day by Christian Education Forum
Good News: Life Through DeathRomans 8:12-17
“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”
The book of Romans is rich with theological underpinnings. In today’s devotional passage, the Apostle Paul dives deep into ideas that are not unfamiliar to believers: the flesh and the Spirit. These two are often times pit against one another in Scripture to reveal the glory of God and the fallen nature of man. Why does Paul choose to place such an emphasis on the Spirit? One reason for this is because the Spirit is key to living a purpose-driven life, which truly glorifies God.
Death and life. Slavery and liberation. The flesh and the Spirit. The concept of duality is put on full display in this text. Paul’s admonition to the faithful in verse 13 is to “put to death the deeds of the body”. In other words, crucify the flesh. Paul sheds light on the overarching theme of spiritual warfare. There is a battle taking place that is not visible to the naked eye. On one side are those who are led by the Spirit, and on the other side, are those who walk in accordance to the flesh. Believers are, at times, caught in “no man’s land” in the middle of the battlefield. This is where the Spirit comes into frame in the life of the struggling Christian. The Spirit of God is the driving force that calls believers back to the light.
On this side of eternity, Christians will always have an internal conflict to contend with. In different forms of media including television and cartoons, this idea is sometimes depicted visually. An angel and a devil stand on the shoulders of a character. The angel and the devil may whisper some words of counsel to the character. Those words of counsel stand in stark contrast to one another. This concept of the angel and the devil can often be used for comedic effect, but the illustration does merit some truth. The ultimate choice is left to the character. By extension, the ultimate choice is also left to the believer when presented with the flesh and the Spirit. It is an ongoing conflict where the believer has the freedom or free will to choose from one of the two: life or death.
Here’s the good news for us – our Father has given us freedom, life, and His Spirit. His Spirit is capable of overcoming our innumerable insufficiencies and shortcomings. The spirit provides us with course correction when we fall astray. In His Spirit, we find sustaining nourishment. His Spirit makes us His children and co-heirs with Christ. There is no richer treasure than that. Let that be flag that we brandish on this battlefield of life.
Lord Jesus, we thank you for the gift of another day. We thank you for the gift of the Holy Spirit that you promised to those who put their faith in you. Lord, walk us through this season of our lives. Give us Your Spirit in greater measure so that we may live a life pleasing to you.
Thought for the Day
The Holy Spirit is the rallying cry for the believer to run to Christ and
effectively put the deeds of the flesh to death.
Epiphany MTC, NY