Ask God to orient or reorient you to Himself. Confess any known sin. Thank Him for His forgiveness. Be still and reflect on Jesus and His sacrifice for you. Ask the Holy Spirit to open your heart and mind to God’s Word. Pray for others in your life that they, too, would know and love God today.
“12 Therefore, brothers, we have an obligation— but it is not to the sinful nature, to live according to it. 13 For if you live according to the sinful nature, you will die; but if by the Spirit you put to death the misdeeds of the body, you will live.”
In verses 12-13, Paul draws the conclusion from verses 5– 11. His conclusion is this: those who are in the Spirit instead of the flesh are under no obligation to the flesh.
The word obligation can be read over easily without giving it much thought. I think this would be a mistake, so let’s take a moment and look at what the word actually means. “An act or a course of action to which a person is morally or legally bound or committed to; a debt of gratitude for a service rendered.” It comes from our English word “oblige”.
Paul wanted believers to know that we owe nothing to the old flesh—the sinful nature; we’re not debtors to it. No, our obligation is to the Spirit. It’s through the Spirit—our obligation to Him—that we put to death the misdeeds of the body. Paul didn’t say this to give us the impression that we’re in and out as far as our security as believers goes; he wanted us to know that by the enablement of the Holy Spirit in our lives, we put to death the deeds of the body. In doing so, we enjoy eternal life now, as well as enter into life in its fullness when we leave this earth.
We’re called to put to death the misdeeds of the body. While we live in the already, not yet the misdeeds of the body can best be described as “wanting to burst forth into life.” That’s why Paul tells us elsewhere to “Put to death anything that belongs to your earthly nature. Get rid of your sexual sins and unclean acts. Don’t let your feelings get out of control. Remove from your life all evil longings. Stop always wanting more and more. You might as well be worshiping statues of gods (Colossians 3:5, NIRV)” What do we do with this? We must summon and harness our wills in order to overcome the sin that bubbles up within us and the desire to manifest itself in bodily actions.
At this point, you might be thinking “Wait a minute Jim, you’ve been saying we can’t do this on our own and now you are saying ‘Summon and harness your will.’” I’d answer, “Yes, as long as you’re doing it relying on the Spirit’s power.” That’s the only way we can do it; victory is only by means of the Spirit. You see, we conquer sinful passions by relying on and trusting in the Spirit to provide the strength we need to resist the passions that wage war within us. There is no other way.
Is there a sin working to bubble up within you and manifest itself in action? Would you let the Spirit lead you to victory and put this sin to death? What would you need to do to make this a reality?
*From what you have just read and considered, what is a personal implication/application for your life today?
(Personalize this prayer today; make it specific to the circumstances that face you.)
Ask God to lead you through His Spirit as you go through your day. Ask Him to bring to mind the truth of the Gospel and its implications for what you will encounter today. Tell Him “Yes” to His will and ask Him for His power and protection to live out this “yes.” Ask God to create and reveal opportunities to proclaim the Good News today. KEEP PRAYING THROUGHOUT YOUR DAY.
Inspiration and insight for the devotionals came from the following books: Reading Romans with John Stott; The Message of Romans: God’s Good News for the World (The Bible Speaks Today Series), Stott, John; Romans (The NIV Application Commentary Book 6) Moo, Douglas J.; Encountering the Book of Romans: A Theological Survey (Encountering Biblical Studies) Moo, Douglas J.; Believers Bible Commentary; The Expositor’s Bible Commentary, with the New International Version, Romans through Galatians; NIV Application Study Bible. The Cambridge Bible Commentary, Romans, Best, Ernest.