“Wretched man that I am! Who will deliver me from this body of death?” (Romans 7:24). Like many who delight in God’s law in the inner person, the apostle Paul expressed this cry to God from help from those struggling with sin in the flesh. Paul described the helpless state of a person living with compulsive desires as having sin in the flesh and being judged under the law. Paul also displayed thanksgiving for God’s grace that delivers a person from indwelling sin, “I thank God — through Jesus Christ our Lord!” (Romans 7:25a). This post pulls from Romans 8:1–13 to understand freedom from sin living in the flesh.
No Condemnation in Christ
Romans 8:1–13 reveals that Christians are free from the law of sin and death so there is no judgment against those who walk according to the Spirit and not the flesh (8:1–2; cf. 7:5–6). Because of the weakness of the Law to make anyone free from sin, God sent His Son in the likeness of sinful flesh to condemn sin in the flesh (8:3). Thereby, righteousness is fulfilled in those who walk according to the Spirit (8:4). The apostle explained that those who live according to the flesh think on the flesh, and those who live according to the Spirit think on the Spirit (8:5). The thinking that fascinates on the flesh is hostile to God and cannot subordinate to God’s law to please God (8:6–8). Those who are of Christ have the Holy Spirit living within them (8:9). With Christ within oneself, the Spirit of life will give life to mortal bodies because the Spirit resurrected Jesus from the dead (8:10–11). Because of this life given to believers, Christians are not in debt to the flesh (8:12). By living in the Spirit, those who put to death the actions of the flesh will live (8:13).
Fascinating on the Spirit of God
Do you think on the things of the Spirit? Are you focused upon God and His works? Those who recognize God’s power and the pure divinity of the nature of Jesus’s teaching will think on the truth and the Word of God that will fill their hearts and direct their life in the Spirit. The Scriptures reveal, “Finally, brethren, whatever things are true, whatever things are noble, whatever things are just, whatever things are pure, whatever things are lovely, whatever things are of good report, if there is any virtue and if there is anything praiseworthy — meditate on these things” (Philippians 4:8 NKJV).
Death to Sinful Acts of the Body
God has given the strength to the faithful to put to death the sinful actions of the body and Christians can do this by living in the Spirit (Romans 8:13; cf. Colossians 3:5–8). Paul revealed that the faithful are free from the law and its condemnation by the grace of Christ to live in the new way of the Spirit within the heart (Romans 7:5–6; cf. Romans 2:29). Living in the Spirit requires the transformation of the mind to think on the things of the Spirit (Romans 8:5; 12:2). The Christian must consider oneself dead to sin and alive to God (Romans 6:11). For this reason, the Scriptures teach that the faithful must not let sin reign in the body to obey its desires (6:12). Furthermore, Christians are to present themselves as alive from the dead and so present the members of their body to God as instruments of righteousness to God (6:13).
The Holy Spirit gives strength as the Spirit dwells in the inner person (Ephesians 3:16). The Holy Spirit lives within every Christian so that they should avoid sin (1 Corinthians 6:9–11, 19–20). God gives the gift of the Holy Spirit to those who are baptized in Jesus’s name (Acts 2:38; cf. Matthew 28:19–20; Acts 10:47–48). Because the Holy Spirit has revealed the wisdom of God in His Word, that Word is written for the faithful to receive it and for it to live within their hearts (1 Corinthians 2:6–13; Ephesians 3:3–5; Colossians 3:16; 2 Peter 3:19–21).
The Blessing of Hope for Being Led by the Spirit
All who are led by the Spirit are children of God (Romans 8:14). Living by the Spirit, Christians no longer live under fear of enslavement to sin but in the Spirit as Sons calling God, “Abba, Father” (8:15). The Holy Spirit bears witness with each Christian’s spirit that they are children of God and thus heirs with Christ to be glorified with Him as they suffer with Him (8:16–17). As heirs of God, Christians are children of God and will receive glory for the creation longs for this (8:18–19). God subjected the creation to helplessness and the creation will be set free from the bondage of decay and obtain the freedom of the glory of God’s children (8:20–22).
The flesh of the body is of the creation that is in bondage to decay and helplessness. Because of this state of creation, the hope of the liberty and the glory of God’s children came with the weakness of the flesh. Paul reported that Christians already have the first blessing of the Spirit and so groan inwardly waiting for the redemption of the body (Romans 8:23). This is the hope of salvation (8:24). The faithful hope for this redemption that they do not yet see, and they do so with endurance (8:25).
Freedom from serving sin comes by walking in the Spirit. This is a matter of Christ living in the heart and Christians living by faith in the Son of God. Have you been raised from burial in baptism to newness of life and to be united with Christ in His resurrection (Romans 6:3–5)? God offers death to sin and eternal life for those who are faithful. Those who are faithful and rise from baptism are alive as children of God who hope for the resurrection of the body. For when people sin, the law comes, increases, and exposes the weakness of the flesh that cannot perfectly observe the law of God. Because all sin and the flesh is weak, all need God’s grace to be saved and to receive the hope of the life to come. God loved us while sinners so that He sent His Son who died for us (Romans 5:8).