“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.” – Romans 8:13
It seems like the onus is on us. We are to put to death the misdeeds of the body, by the Spirit. Yet how are we to do anything ‘by the Spirit’. I see this in two ways:
1. Paul is saying that, by the Spirit, we have power to put to death the mideeds of the body i.e because the Spirit lives in us we ourselves have the power to overcome sin.
2. Paul is saying that by allowing the Spirit to indwell us, the misdeeds of the body are put to death – by The Spirit – not by us.
So, which is true? Are we expected to overcome sin, or is it the Spirit’s job ?
For the answer we have to skip back to Romans 8:9:
“You, however, are not controlled by the sinful nature if the Spirit of God lives in you. And if anyone does not have the Spirit of Christ, he does not belong to Christ. But if the Spirit of Christ lives in you, your body is dead because of sin, yet your spirit is alive because of righteousness.”
Our bodies are dead because of sin! Our spirits are alive because of righteousness.
We who are in Christ are not controlled by the sinful nature. In fact, earlier in Romans Paul explains that we died with Christ, and “everyone who has died has been freed from sin.”
We are free from sin.
It is impossible for us in Christ to live according to the sinful nature. For, to God, our bodies are dead. We died with Christ. Yet our Spirits are alive in Christ, in righteousness.
We are the righteousness of Christ.
Our earthly bodies of sin are dying away, yet one day we will be resurrected with Him into our glorious, eternal bodies.