The Daily Word of Righteousness

Romans 8:12

Therefore, brethren, we are debtors, not to the flesh, to live after the flesh. (Romans 8:12)

What Paul is presenting in the above verse is as follows: because our body is dead because of sin and our inward nature is the location of our righteousness, we are not obligated to follow the desires of the flesh.

Here is a major concept. How often we hear people say, "As long as we are in the world we have to sin; no one's perfect; when we get to Heaven we won't sin"; and so forth.

I don't see Paul presenting this kind of negative gospel. I guess life knocks the idealism out of people, even out of Christians. Perhaps because of the long, wearying struggle against sin they come to the conclusion they might as well resign themselves to the fact they can't kill Goliath.

But it often is the case they are deeply involved in the world. They are not carrying their cross after Jesus. They do not realize our purpose in life is not solely to eat, drink, play, work, and reproduce. They are not only in the world but are of the world even though they are Christians and attend church.

There is this prevailing idea about going to Heaven being the solution to our urge to sin. "When I get to Heaven I won't sin any more. So I'll try to be as good as I can so God will accept me. Then I won't have to worry about sin."

A recent (March, 1997) poll asked American people if they thought they would go to Heaven when they die. More than half felt certain they will go to Heaven. This may be true. Let us hope so.

But going to Heaven is not the issue. The issue is, "Who will deliver me from my sinful body?" No passage of Scripture of which I am aware reveals that going to Heaven will meet Paul's need. (If you know of one please E-mail it to me. Thanks.)

In fact, the phrase "going to Heaven" does not appear in the King James New Testament.

No, dying and going to Heaven does not release us from the dilemma of our sinful actions being accused by the Law of Moses. The answer, and the only answer, is the redeeming of our mortal body by the infusion of the Life of the Father. We are eligible for infusion by the Life of the Father only as we cease to walk in the desires of the flesh and mind and think, speak, and act in the Spirit of God. The blood of Jesus meanwhile keeps us from condemnation.

We do not owe our death-doomed flesh anything that we should obey its desires. Living according to our fleshly desires leads only to corruption and spiritual death. The body is dead in sin and obedience to its passions and appetites results in sin and spiritual death, exactly as Paul has told us in the sixth chapter of Romans.

But keeping the body in control by the power of the Spirit of God, and following the Spirit in prayer, reading the Scriptures, and in whatever service God asks of us results in a continual increase of the Spirit of God in us as well as the forming of Christ in us. This is eternal life and the Kingdom of God. This is salvation.

The final product will be total deliverance from the sinful body and the fullness of incorruptible, eternal resurrection life in spirit, soul, and body.

What do you say? Do you want to go along?