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Walking by the Spirit

Therefore, dear brothers and sisters, you have no obligation to do what your sinful nature urges you to do. For if you live by its dictates, you will die. But if through the power of the Spirit you put to death the deeds of your sinful nature, you will live. For all who are led by the Spirit of God are children of God. So you have not received a spirit that makes you fearful slaves. Instead, you received God’s Spirit when he adopted you as his own children. Now we call him, “Abba, Father.” Romans 8:12-15

In this section of Romans 8, Paul gives us a strong exhortation to live in a way appropriate to the reality of redemption. He presents another contrast between life according to the flesh and life empowered by the Spirit. He again focused on the tension within the believer between the competing obligations of the flesh and the Spirit. It is important that we Christians remember that, even living in the Spirit, not everything that seems natural is right. Even though the Christian has died to sin, the possibility of its practice—including the strong temptation—is still very real and must continually “to put to death the deeds of your sinful nature” (Romans 8:13). The new life in Christ restores the relationship with the Creator in which we can share the power necessary to destroy the works of sin. The Spirit gives the Christian the power to say no to the sinful practices of the body when he or she is tempted to do them. This restored relationship Paul describes as “adopted as his own children” (Romans 8:15). This is the same intimate relationship to which Jesus testified in His prayers by His use of the familiar form of address, “Abba, Father.” What really matters is our relationship with God; only in Him are we complete. This is the only way that we can rise above the conduct that is contrary to the working of the Spirit. The sinful desires will always rear its ugly head in the life of every believer and it is only by walking in the Spirit one will experience victory over sin. “Let the Holy Spirit guide your lives. Then you won’t be doing what your sinful nature craves. The sinful nature wants to do evil, which is just the opposite of what the Spirit wants. And the Spirit gives us desires that are the opposite of what the sinful nature desires” (Galatians 5:16-17).


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